Museum Tour « Curator's Introduction
Entrance porch, Museum of the Hispanic Society of America, 1906Entrance porch, Museum of the Hispanic Society of America, American Architecture Building News, v.89, no. 1592, June 30, 1906.

An Introduction to the Hispanic Society of America

The Hispanic Society of America was founded in 1904 by Archer Milton Huntington (1870–1955). In 1900, Archer Huntington inherited a huge fortune from his industrialist father, Collis Potter Huntington, using it to establish twelve institutions in the United States and Spain, including the five originally located on Audubon Terrace in upper Manhattan: The Hispanic Society of America, The American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Heye Foundation – Museum of the American Indian (now principally in Washington); the American Numismatic Society (now in the Wall Street area), and the American Geographical Society (now at the University of Wisconsin, with its building occupied by Boricua College).

The Hispanic Society of America is dedicated to the arts, literatures, and cultures of ancient Iberia, Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and all other areas where Spanish or Portuguese have been spoken. The collections of the Hispanic Society are unparalleled in their scope and quality outside the Iberian Peninsula, addressing nearly every aspect of culture from the Neolithic to the present. There are more than 15,000 rare books before 1701; 250,000 modern books and periodicals; 200,000 manuscripts; 23,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and decorative arts; 175,000 photographs from 1850 onward; and 15,000 prints and posters. The art displayed is of the highest quality, with works by El Greco, Velázquez, Murillo, Goya, Fortuny, and Sorolla, including Sorolla's "Vision of Spain," 1911–19, a huge mural cycle filling an entire room.

Marcus Burke, Ph.D., Senior Curator, Museum Department