The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (or simply “The Huntington” for short) is one of the best existing examples of philanthropy and, lucky you, it’s nestled snugly in Los Angeles. Originally the private residence of Henry E. Huntington, the Huntington estate was built on railroad tycoon money and, upon Mr. Huntington’s passing in 1927, became the library, art collection and botanical gardens it’s known as today. The 120-acre estate is a special escape in the heart of Los Angeles, and its specialized gardens, its fabulous art collection, and its superlative collection of rare books are a treat separately or as a whole day excursion.
Mr. Huntington began collecting art late in life, but the impressive collection that now stands at in the Huntington Art Collection is one of the best collections of British portraiture in the world, and is known far and wide for this and their collection of Frank Lloyd Wright furniture and its world class visiting exhibits. Upon visiting, you’ll also find the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art, which is the Huntington’s American Art gallery which proudly displays great American works from artists spanning the 1690s to as late as 1950, such as Edward Hopper and Mary Cassatt.
The Huntington Botanical Gardens span the range of the estate and consist of more than a dozen specialized niches, including the Desert, Japanese, Rose and Chinese Gardens. In addition, there stand a teaching greenhouse and The Rose Hill Foundation Conservation for Botanical Science which aims to engage the senses of children and their families in an educational approach to botany and plant husbandry.
Finally, there’s the Huntington Library. This is perhaps the most notable library in all of North America, and assuredly holds one of the greatest collections of rare books and bibles in all the world. Here, rare book lovers will appreciate an original Gutenberg Bible, the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer, Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, thousands of historical documents about Abraham Lincoln, and much more The Huntington Library also is the only library in the world to hold the first two quartos of Shakespeare’s Hamlet among its 6.5 million manuscripts on file.