I had long promised myself a tour of the grand old Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue, and finally fulfilled that promise. You must do the same. You will end up on top floor in the McGraw Rotunda with four magnificent WPA murals celebrating milestones in printing. The first: Moses and stone tablets. Next: a medieval scribe and illuminated manuscript. The third: Johan Gutenberg with his printed Bible. Here, Ottmar Mergenthaler demonstrates the Linotype machine to Whitelaw Reid, editor of the NY Tribune, where the machine was first used in 1886.
Final stop on the tour: the Rose Reading Room, open since 1911, where “patrons can read or study at long oak tables lit by elegant bronze lamps, beneath fifty-two foot tall ceilings decorated by dramatic murals of vibrant skies and billowing clouds.” Today, patrons can bring their laptops.
Save some time and money for the gift shop — unique and wonderful gifts.