The prominent New York financier and industrialist John Pierpont Morgan served on the Council of the museum (and added regularly to its coffers). But it was Morgan’s earliest contribution, in 1902, that most changed the course of the museum. Morgan reportedly learned of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt's interest in an important textile collection in Barcelona; shortly thereafter, while traveling in Europe, he nonchalantly purchased three extraordinary collections of textiles: the Badia collection in Barcelona, the Vives collection in Madrid, and the Baron collection in Paris. He donated these in their entirety—more than 1,000 items—to the young museum, making it suddenly among the top holders of textiles in... more.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=http://collection.cooperhewitt.org/people/18049445/ |title=John Pierpont Morgan |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=2 September 2014 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>