The Harkness House at One East 75th Street is a beautifully example of the neo-Italian Renaissance style, built in 1907-08 by James Gamble Rogers of the firm Hale And Rogers as the private home of Edward Harkness. The building lot is relatively thin and elongated, having only 32 feet facing Fifth Avenue and 100 on 75, thus the entrance was placed on the side street so as to allow for a better layout and access to light on the interiors. Height-wise the building is in total seven stories, two are underground and the top floor is set back beyond a stone balustrade, providing an appearance of only four stories, understated elegance and a modest lack of ostentation, save for the beautiful wrought iron fence around the property which is considered by many, us included, to be one of the finest examples of cast iron work in the city.
Throughout his life Edward Harkness can perhaps best be called a philanthropist, having not worked so much as managed his families wealth and given back to society, when he died January 29th 1940, he left the home to his wife Mary, but instructed that on her passing his fortune would be given to education and charitable organizations. The house on 75th was given to The Commonwealth Fund, of which Edwards mother Anna had founded in 1918, and is today still their headquarters.