When the Fort Washington Branch celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1989, several well-known personalities, including Henry Kissinger and journalist/author Edwin Newman, fondly recalled how important the branch was to them as teenagers. Among the many other noted residents this branch has served are Lou Gehrig, Maria Callas, Ralph Ellison, Marianne Moore, and Jacob Javits. Built with funds donated by Andrew Carnegie, Fort Washington opened to the public in April 1914 in its present location, two blocks east of the George Washington Bridge. Today the branch continues to be a valuable resource to the community.
Read more about the early history of the New York Public Library, including that of Washington Heights and Inwood:
History of The New York Public Library, by Harry Miller Lydenberg, available online in our Digital Collections (PDF, 659 MB)
The section on the history of Washington Heights begins on p. 189 (p. 249 of the PDF), and a statistical history of the Fort Washington Branch appears on pp. 544–545 (pp. 664–665 of the PDF)