Scope and arrangement
Fort Washington Branch records span the years 1914-1999 and include reports, memoranda, correspondence, newspapers clippings and printed ephemera. This material illuminates operations of the branch, the social history of this Manhattan neighborhood, and the role of a public library in supporting public education.
The Fort Washington Branch records are arranged in three series:
Series 1 contains a wide assortment of documents relating to the life of the branch, including correspondence, internal memoranda as well as memoranda directed to the branch, circulation charts, branch brochures, newsletters, newspaper clippings and materials relating to the theatrical companies and productions using the branch theater in the 1930's and 1940's. There are also documents concerning the anniversary celebrations of the branch in 1989, 1994 and 1999, which include correspondence from branch patrons William Gibson, Henry Kissinger and Edwin Newman, as well as New York politicians Edward Koch, Henry Stern and Charles Rangel.
Series 2 assembles the annual reports for the branch for the period 1941-1994, and the informal and annual reports for the Children's Room of the branch for the period 1914-1967. These reports provide a detailed record of the operations of the branch over the years, and a vivid picture of the history of the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. The individual Children's Room reports, in particular, written on a monthly basis for decades, set forth compelling descriptions of the branch patrons and contain reflections on various local, national and world events - like the erection of the George Washington Bridge, the economic depression in the 1930's, World War II, changes in the housing stock and the steady flow of immigrants into the neighborhood.
Series 3 collects the files of Edna Dixon, the Branch Librarian from 1924-1946, and consists of correspondence and memoranda.