Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Winifred Gambrill earned her library degree in 1927 from Columbia’s School of Library Service and she entered NYPL that Fall.  Within two years she became an Acting First Assistant and in 1930 was promoted to that level permanently.  Nevertheless, the Depression slowed her rise to Branch Librarian.

Gambrill served as the Acting Branch Librarian at the Morrisania Branch in 1941-1946 before finally being promoted to be Branch Librarian at the Fort Washington Branch.   At Fort Washington, she was praised for building a wide-ranging book collection.   Her approach to librarianship was to promote reading more than group or community work.  Her annual report for 1948/49 noted that Fort Washington circulation had risen for the second year in a row and argued that “the emphasis here must be on keeping the wheels turning smoothly rather than on programs and ‘activities’.” 

Gambrill married Ralph Carruthers, the long time head of the Photographic Services Division of the NYPL Reference Department, who had been her classmate at Columbia in 1927. 

Winiftred Gamrill retired from NYPL in 1966.

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