Monday, May 14, 2012


Ella E. Wagar grew up in upstate NY, where she was educated in private schools.

Wagar began teaching at the age of 16 and in 1881 became an English teacher and later also served as the librarian at the Union Free School District of Chatham NY where she opened the school library to use by the public.  In 1901, Andrew Carnegie donated the money required for the town to build a library.  Wagar became the librarian of the Chatham Public Library in 1903 and held that position until she resigned in 1907.

Ella Wagar became a children’s librarian at NYPL in 1907.  She later took a leave of absence to attend the NYPL Library School and received her diploma in 1916.  In 1923 she became the Acting Branch Librarian at the Kingsbridge Branch.  The following year, Wagar became the Branch Librarian at the Tottenville Branch on Staten Island. 

Once pensions for librarians were enacted in 1937, those over 70 years old required special permission to continue working.  In 1938, the library determined that Wagar “cannot, of course, be retained” after her 78th  birthday and so she retired from Tottenville later that year.

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