Dressing for Tradition

Dee Bowers

Kimberly McEwen dressed up in 1971
Kimberly McEwen, 1971, color photograph. Brooklyn Heights Garden Club collection, BCMS.0082. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History. 

I recently finished processing the Brooklyn Heights Garden Club collection, which chronicles the club's history through documents, ephemera, clippings, and scrapbooks. The club was founded in 1940 by Mrs. Thomas Sturgis to "bring added beauty to Brooklyn Heights by the creation and cultivation of gardens, plantings and window boxes." In 1949, the club started organizing an annual lighting ceremony for a large Christmas tree at the Montague Street entrance to the Brooklyn Heights promenade. The tree lighting tradition has continued for decades and is still active today.

Part of the tradition is to have a local child ceremoniously flip the switch to turn on the tree's lights. In 1971, that child was Kimberly McEwen, pictured here. According to the tree lighting's order of ceremonies for that year, Kimberly was 4 years old, a fifth generation Brooklynite, and a fourth generation "Brooklyn Heightser." In this charming photo, Kimberly poses in her special tree lighting outfit: black Mary Jane shoes, pink trousers, a matching pink sweater with fur trim, and what appears to be a matching hat as well. The look is topped off with a festive brooch. You can tell she is thrilled for her exciting evening.

Interested in seeing more photos from CBH’s collections? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images, or the digital collections portal at Brooklyn Public Library. We look forward to inviting you to CBH in the future to research in our entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections. In the meantime, please visit our resources page to search our collections. Questions? Our reference staff is available to help with your research! You can reach us at cbhreference@bklynlibrary.org.


This blog post reflects the opinions of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of Brooklyn Public Library.


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