The Rosenbach specializes in books: illuminated manuscripts, parchment, rough drafts, and first editions. If you love the variations and beauty of the printed word, they'll love your presence.

The opulent town-house galleries contain 30,000 rare books and 270,000 documents. Some rooms preserve the Rosenbachs' elegant living quarters, with antique furniture and Sully paintings. Others are devoted to authors and illustrators: Marianne Moore's Greenwich Village study is reproduced in its entirety, and the Maurice Sendak drawings represent only the tip of his iceberg (or forest). Holdings include the original manuscript of Joyce's Ulysses and first editions of Melville, in the author's own bookcase. Small special exhibitions are tucked in throughout the house, and don't miss the shop behind the entrance for bargains in greeting cards and a nice collection of Sendak.

You are welcome to wander around the rooms unaccompanied, but you are not allowed to sit down and leaf through the books. For access to the books, you need to call and arrange special admission, granted for the most part only in conjunction with a specific scholarly purpose.