Brooklyn eagle finds a permanent nesting spot at public library

The Brooklyn Public Library is hosting a community contest to name its new tenant — a cast copper bald eagle. 

The sculpture that once stood as the mascot for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle now has a permanent home at the Brooklyn Public Library, compliments of the Brooklyn Historical Society. The library plans a pop-up exhibition for its homecoming.

Linda E. Johnson, the president and CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library, said the library holds the historical records of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in its Brooklyn Collection, where the eagle will feel at home.

“We are delighted to provide the paper’s mascot a permanent home in the Central Library lobby,” said Johnson, who described the sculpture as a "watchful and majestic eagle."

The call for the eagle’s new home started after library archivist Diana Bowers Smith was researching the sculpture for a blog post, said Fritzi Bodenheimer, press officer for the Brooklyn Public Library. 

“She discovered that the statue was loaned to the library by the Brooklyn Historical Society in 1997 as part of an exhibition about the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper,” Bodenheimer said. “And then reached out to the historic society staff to learn more. Eventually, the library discussed the possibility of making the statue a permanent gift and we are happy to say that the Brooklyn Historical Society agreed to do so.”

The idea to name the eagle came from librarians and staff members, who thought it would be a fun way to celebrate the gift.

The eagle served as the newspaper’s mascot until 1955, when its building was demolished. It was later donated to the Brooklyn Historical Society and was featured in the Brooklyn Museum for 11 years before it was returned to the historical society.

Deborah Schwartz, president of the Brooklyn Historical Society, said it felt right to give the eagle a permanent residence at the library.

“The library has done such a wonderful job at preserving the eagle’s history,” Schwartz said. “They have digitalized the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper and they’re home to the whole collection. It wouldn’t be right if the eagle was not there.

“We really felt that it made a great deal of sense to turn it over to them fully because of the way they have been taking care of it and making sure it is safe,” Schwartz said. “And that’s mutual for both organizations. That’s what we look to see.”

Anyone can submit a name for the eagle until Friday, Oct. 19, at 5 p.m. Five finalists will be selected for the public to vote on their favorite name; the winner will receive a library gift bag.

The exhibition will feature clippings and photographs from the newspaper, printing plates, the paper’s Pulitzer Prize medal and other memorabilia.

To submit a name, click here.