Introduction
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George Peabody Library, main reading room, Obtained from Wikimedia Commons under the terms of the GNU FreeDocumentation License.

The George Peabody Library of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University can trace its roots back to the year 1857 when it was founded by philanthropist George Peabody.1 Originally a stand alone institution, the Peabody Institute later merged with Johns Hopkins University in 1982 and remains a part of that university to this day.2 The library houses over 300,000 volumes on a myriad of subjects dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.3 The building itself was designed by Baltimore architect Edmund G. Lind in the neo-Grec style.4 Having recently undergone a significant restoration the library still serves the students and community of the Johns Hopkins University in all its original splendor and glory.

Founding
Founded in 1857 at the bequest of George Peabody, the library originally served the Peabody Institute of the City of Baltimore.5 George Peabody was an entrepreneur who, among other things, made his wealth in the world of banking and investment. A donation of $1.4 million was made to begin the institute which was charted by Peabody to be comprised of a free public library, a lecture series, a conservatory of music and an art collection.6
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George Peabody, Obtained from Wikimedia Commons under the terms of the GNU FreeDocumentation License.

Architect
Edmund George Lind was born in England, later emigrating to New York City in 1855 where he found work as a draftsman in a local firm. He had previously studied architecture at the London School of Design before emigrating. One year later Lind left New York City and moved to Baltimore and joined with William T. Murdoch to form Lind & Murdoch. Shortly after the firm began work they were chosen to design the newly charted Peabody Institute of the City of Baltimore. The west wing was completed first in 1861 and housed the music hall, conservatory rooms and a picture gallery. The east wing was completed in 1878 and housed the library.7
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George Peabody Library, close-up of balconies, Obtained from Wikimedia Commons under the terms of the GNU FreeDocumentation License.
One of the most striking and notable features of the library is the large open reading room. The black and white marble floor anchors the bottom while five floors wrap around the open atrium which is topped by a delicate latticed skylight. The ground floor and the five balconies contain the 300,000 volumes that the library owns. The interior is said to be designed in the school of neo-Grec a sort of Greek renaissance architecture that was popular in the later half of the 19th century. Some of the other distinguishing features include columns that seemingly support each balcony and are completed at the top with semi-vaulted arches that give way to the glass skylight.

Early Years
From 1878 until 1966 the library remained part of the autonomous Peabody Institute of the City of Baltimore. However, in 1966 the library became part of the City of Baltimore’s public library administered under the Enoch Pratt Free Library. The collection along with the rest of the institute was transferred yet again to the Johns Hopkins University in 1982 where it remains to this day.8

References
http://www.library.jhu.edu/collections/specialcollections/rarebooks/peabody/index.html
http://www.peabodyevents.library.jhu.edu/index.html


1 http://www.peabodyevents.library.jhu.edu/history.html
2 http://www.peabodyevents.library.jhu.edu/history.html
3 http://www.library.jhu.edu/collections/specialcollections/rarebooks/peabody
4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peabody_Institute_Library
5 http://www.peabodyevents.library.jhu.edu/history.html
6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Peabody ; http://www.peabodyevents.library.jhu.edu/history.html
7 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_G._Lind
8 http://www.peabodyevents.library.jhu.edu/history.html