About Us

Jean Strouse

Jean Strouse authored the Pulitzer Prize-winning Morgan: American Financier. She has been a Library member since 1978.

The following excerpt come from addresses to Library trustees, staff and friends at an event launching the anniversary celebration on November 5, 2003.

Working in my first job as an editor's assistant at the New York Review of Books, I learned an amazing thing. You could call an elegant-sounding place called The New York Society Library to ask about a title, and some nice person would look it up in the catalogue and then actually go into the stacks to find out whether or not the book was on the shelf. Now, of course, the librarians can check on availability by computer, but they are still extremely nice about it.

Like all the other writers who are speaking tonight, I do not have an academic affiliation, which means that the Library was really my intellectual home during the many years I worked on biographies of J. P. Morgan and Alice James. I happened to have picked two subjects from the American 19th-century, an area in which this Library is particularly strong. Anyone who's done research here will know the extraordinary pleasure of being able to browse in the stacks, to find exactly what you want, and the even more extraordinary pleasure of discovering the book next to the one you were looking for, which turns out to be even more exactly what you want, even though until that moment you didn't know it existed.