On this Day in 1854 - The Astor Library Opened!  - 0

On this Day in 1854 - The Astor Library Opened!

Fun Fact! On this day in 1854 the Astor Library opened in what is now the The Public Theater. The library initially opened as a reference library, meaning no books could be taken from the building for any purpose! On opening day the library was filled with between 80,000 and 90,000 volumes covering linguistics, sciences and history, all purchased at a cost of about $100,000. 

The library eventually closed in 1911…many years later in the early 1960’s the Public Theater persuaded the city to purchase the building for use as a theater, it was then converted between 1967 and 1976. Thanks to the perseverance of the Public Theaters founder, Joseph Papp, the building was one the first to be designated a New York City Landmark in 1965, by the then newly formed NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. 

The library was built by William B. Astor, son of the library's founder, John Jacob Astor, and was designed by German-born architect, Alexander Saeltzer, who designed the building in a Rundbogenstil style, then the prevailing style for public building in Germany.