Like its namesake, Raymond Ingersoll, Central Library's Eagle sculpture has a long history in Brooklyn. The Eagle originally nested atop the Washington Street headquarters of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper. The Library holds the historical records of the newspaper in the Brooklyn Collection, a vast public archive for the study of Brooklyn’s social and cultural history in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Following the demolition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle building, the eagle sculpture was donated to Brooklyn Historical Society. From 1966 to 1987, the eagle sculpture was loaned to the Brooklyn Museum, where it stood in the museum’s Warburg Sculpture Garden. After decades of battling the elements, the eagle sculpture returned to Brooklyn Historical Society in 1989 and underwent much needed conservation. New talons and the lower beak were recast in fiberglass and repainted to match the surrounding material. In 1997, upon completion of the restoration project, the sculpture was then loaned to Brooklyn Public Library. In the summer of 2018, Brooklyn Historical Society made the sculpture a permanent gift to BPL.
“The extended family of former Borough President Raymond V. Ingersoll is honored that Ingersoll the Eagle will soar in Brooklyn Public Library as an inspiring tribute to my grandfather’s legacy of service to the Borough of Brooklyn,” said Raymond V. Ingersoll II, the grandson of the former borough president.
To celebrate, the Library launched a naming contest in 2018, garnering over 300 suggestions from around the borough and as far away as Los Angeles and Montreal. Five finalists were selected by a panel of librarians, members of the Brooklyn Eagles (a group of young Brooklynites who are passionate about BPL and their community) and staff members of the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS). The public selected the winning name via online vote.