Eric K. Washington

I am a New York City-based independent historian and author of Boss of the Grips: The Life of  James H. Williams and the Red Caps of Grand Central Terminal (Liveright/W.W. Norton), a biography of a once influential Harlem Renaissance-era labor figure. My book was honored as Winner of the Herbert H. Lehman Prize and Finalist for the Brendan Gill Prize. It was also cited among Open Letters Review 's 10 Best Biographies of 2019, and The Bowery Boys Podcast's 10 Favorite Books of 2019.
I am a Columbia University Community Scholars Fellow 2014-2017, a CUNY Leon Levy Center for Biography Fellow 2015-2016, and a Fellow in Residence of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston/Brown Foundation's Dora Maar House in Ménerbes, France, 2017. My member affiliations include the American Historical Association (AHA), the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and the Organization of American Historians (OAH). I'm currently on the board of directors of the Biographers International Organization (BIO).
The locale of my first book, Manhattanville: Old Heart of West Harlem (Arcadia), inspired my interpretive signage in West Harlem Piers Park, a design project awarded the 2010 MASterworks Award from the Municipal Art Society of New York.
I am the owner of Tagging-the-Past, which endeavors to reconnect forgotten history to present landscapes through articles, talks and tours.
You can order my books at


  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon