Every City Should Have a Toy Library

On July 30, 1942, then–New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia was uptown in Harlem, playing with toys.

Harlem Gets First Toyery,” announced a Paramount newsreel heralding the opening of the neighborhood’s first toy-lending library, a storefront on West 135th Street stocked with 1,000 playthings and sponsored by a branch of the Domestic Relations Court.

Ida Cash, a city probation officer, had conceived of the “toyery” in the late 1920s upon “contrasting the barren homes she...

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