Huntington Library
library and museum in San Marino, California



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Huntington Library
library and museum in San Marino, California
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1151 Oxford Rd
San Marino, California
United States

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The Huntington Library is the result of nepotism.

Henry E. Huntington, better know as “Ed,” had an close relationship with his uncle, who considered him not only his nephew but the heir of his successful railroad empire. Ed became rich working for his uncle and later inherited even more money after his uncle’s passing. Weirdly enough he also married his uncle’s widow Arabella who influenced Ed to start collecting art.

Huntington made international news when he bought Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy for $728,800 in 1921, making it the most expensive painting ever sold at the time. By then he was already retired from the railroad business and making plans to develop his newly-bought San Marino estate. He wanted to make a great center of the arts and scientific research on the West Coast.

Today the Huntington Library contains over 7 million manuscripts, and the Huntington Art collection contains over 1,000 artworks. The Art Gallery houses holds mostly 18th- and 19th-century British and French art, but you can also admire the work of American artists like Jonathan Singer Sargent, Robert Motherwell, Edward Hopper, Mary Cassatt, and Andy Warhol. American painters Kehinde Wiley and Robert Rauschenberg credit the Huntington Library for influencing their careers.

With an endowment of $400 million, the Huntington Library is one of the wealthiest cultural institutions in the world. Its hometown of San Marino is considered one of the most expensive places to live in America, so admission to the Huntington Library is a bit pricey at $25 per person. But honestly, the 120-acre botanical gardens alone are worth the price. If your favorite movie or TV series has a garden scene, it was most likely filmed there. And if the Southern California weather is too hot to handle, you can always head inside the air-conditioned galleries and enjoy a wide range of art collected by one mega-rich dude. What more could you want?



  1. Robert O. Schad, Henry Edwards Huntington: The Founder and the LIbrary (San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 1957)
  2. Robert R. Wark, “Arabella Huntington and the Beginnings of the Art Collection,” Huntington Library Quarterly 32, no. 4 (1969),
  3. Malcolm Warner & Robyn Asleson, Great British Paintings from American Collections:Holbein to Hockney (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001), 11
  4. John E. Pomfret, The Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery : From Its Beginnings To 1969, (San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 1969)
  5. “Library Collections” The Huntington. Accessed May 22, 2018.
  6. “Art Collections,” The Huntington. Accessed May 22, 2018.
  7. “American Art Collection,” The Huntington. Accessed May 22, 2018.
  8. Robert Hobbs, “Kehinde Wiley’s Conceptual Realism” in Kehinde Wiley (New York: Rizzoli, 2012), 12
  9. Mary Lynn Kotz, Rauschenberg / Art and Live (New York: H. N. Abrams, 1990), 60
  10. Edward Rothstein, “A Treasure House of Shifting Aspirations: ‘The Library Re-Imagined’ at the Huntington,” The New York Times, December 20, 2013

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Huntington Library

The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens, known as The Huntington, is a collections-based educational and research institution established by Henry E. Huntington (1850–1927) and Arabella Huntington (c.1851–1924) and located in San Marino, California, United States. In addition to the library, the institution houses an extensive art collection with a focus on 18th- and 19th-century European art and 17th- to mid-20th-century American art. The property also includes approximately 120 acres (49 ha) of specialized botanical landscaped gardens, most notably the "Japanese Garden", the "Desert Garden", and the "Chinese Garden" (Liu Fang Yuan). On September 5, 2019, The Huntington kicked off a year-long celebration of its centennial year with exhibitions, special programs, initiatives, a special Huntington 100th rose, and a float in the 2020 Rose Parade in nearby Pasadena, CA.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Huntington Library.