Sunday, October 27, 2013

EUGENIE KRAUSS (1870-1947)

Eugenie Krauss was a life-long resident of Manhattan, but her life remains something of a mystery despite working as a librarian for 40 years. 

It is unlikely that Krauss had formal library training, but she started at the New York Free Circulating Library sometime before 1897.  She was serving as the head of the Bloomingdale Branch of the NYFCL at the time of consolidation with NYPL in 1901.  She remained in charge of Bloomingdale until 1905 and headed three other Manhattan branches before she retired in 1937.

Although Krauss did not leave many traces in the Library’s surviving archival records, we know that in 1898, shortly after being named head of the original NYFCL Bloomingdale Branch, she began to work with the architect James Brown Lord on the design of a new structure for the branch.  The resulting building served NYPL until 1960, and in 1989 was declared a landmark by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.  The LPC designation report noted Krauss’ involvement with the design work and suggested that the Bloomingdale building served as a “prototype” for the architects who designed NYPL’s Carnegie branch buildings in the early twentieth century.

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