Brooklynology

Fascinating Brooklyn stories from our local history archivists.

POTW: Moonlight

Kevina, Center for Brooklyn History

Moonlight, Nelson, Walter H., circa 1887, V1972.1.1218. Early Brooklyn and Long Island photograph collection, ARC.201. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
Tonight's Photo of the Week is a cool evening on the water in 1887 by Walter H. Nelson from our Early Brooklyn and Long Island photograph collection. In this scan the silvery photographic substrate slightly obscures the image. In person, the photograph seems touched with moonlight. Nelson was an amateur photographer about whom little has been written. Aside from…

Kitchen Connections

Sarah

One of the things I love about archival research is how many senses it activates. The obvious visual delights, tactile sensations, hints of grass and vanilla wafting from the boxes, and the reading room rustle of papers, chairs, and keyboards. Noticeably and rightfully absent is our fifth sense, taste. Archival research has no flavor*, but food is constantly on the minds of many researchers. What were their research subjects eating? What did it taste like? What did their homes smell like while it was cooking? How and where did they source ingredients? These questions are key to understanding…

woman sitting at computer has her hands up on her head

Opening the Pocket Doors: Everybody Has Those Days

Katherine, Leon Levy Senior Processing Archivist

Brooklyn Historical Society Staff, circa 1990. Brooklyn Historical Society Institutional Records, ARC 288. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.Have you ever felt like this at work? The real question is, what exactly is the person in the photograph feeling and expressing? Why was this photograph taken? To me, this photograph evokes extreme frustration, possibly having to do with their work or with their computer. But to different people, the picture could evoke different emotions, such as exhaustion or perhaps even pain from a headache. Unfortunately, we don’t have any more…

POTW: Coney Island Boardwalk

Allyson

It's officially summer time so today's Photo of the Week is brought to you by the Edgar E Rutter collection. It is an 8 x 10 print that shows the exterior view of Coney Island beach and the boardwalk under construction. Image includes a portion of the amusement park in the distant background. Inscription reads: "General view looking east from Steeplechase Pier."Edgar E. Rutter served as the official photographer for the borough of Brooklyn in the early 20th century. The photographs in this collection are almost exclusively from his work in that capacity, although some photographs are from the…

Group of schoolchildren gathered in front of libary under a banner reading: Make it a library summer.

POTW: Is Your Summer Booked?

Deborah

Library festival, BPL_0440. 1968. Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs
Summer is here, bringing long lazy days with time for relaxed reading at the beach and parks. This photo shows a group of youngsters attending a library festival at the Bushwick Branch of Brooklyn Public Library in 1968. Every year the library hosts free programs and resources to enrich your summer with reading and cultural activities. See what we have on offer this year on our Summer at the Library page.Interested in seeing more photos from CBH’s…

Small observatory building with dome in residential neighborhood.

Seeing Stars: Astronomical Observatories in Brooklyn

Deborah

Astronomical observatory/laboratory, Flatbush. [191-?] NEIG_0750. Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs.
Close on the heels of the recent excitement around the 2024 solar eclipse, we received an email from one of our readers who was able to expand on what we know about one of our photographs from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle: an astronomical observatory in the back yard of a Flatbush home. (I emphasize astronomical because I found in my research in our Brooklyn Newsstand that the word observatory was often used for observation points on high…

Black and white photograph of the Brooklyn waterfront facing the East River with dozens of train cars and empty rail tracks

POTW: New York's Floating Cars

Michelle

[Freight Trains at the New York Dock Company Docks, Red Hook, Brooklyn], circa 1920, V1973.5.878. Brooklyn photograph and illustration collection, ARC.202. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
Before trucks became common, trains carried most American freight over land. In the same era, New York Harbor became the busiest port in the United States — if not one of the busiest in the world. Brooklyn’s (and all of Long Island’s) factories, refineries, and warehouses were only connected via freight rail to…

POTW: A Mournful Ouroboros

Liza

Bracelet, [1875-1900], M1990.53.6. Fred Hoyt family research collection, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
 This black beaded bracelet is shaped like a coiled snake swallowing its own tail, which is an image known as an ouroboros. The ouroboros symbol can have many meanings, but this one, created during the late 19th century, represents the eternal cycle of life and death. The bracelet’s color, materials, and symbolism identify it as an article of mourning jewelry. Victorian mourning culture was…

Black and white photograph of a cat sitting on a wooden fence

POTW from the Vault: Cat named “Lazybones”

Alice

This From the Vault post was originally written by Tess Colwell and published on January 9, 2019 by the Brooklyn Historical Society. To see the latest Photo of the Week entries, visit the Brooklynology blog home, or subscribe to our Center for Brooklyn History newsletter.

Cat named “Lazybones,” circa 1910, V1981.15.182; Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides, V1981.15; Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
The photo of the week depicts a cat named “Lazybones,”…

Child wearing headphones while holding a green teddy bear.

Opening the Pocket Doors: Here’s to Baseball!

Nicole

[Child wearing headphones], October 1995. Brooklyn Historical Society Institutional Records, ARC 288. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Brooklyn Dodgers' victory over the Yankees in the 1955 World Series, the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) curated PLAY BALL! – an exhibit that told the story of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson. Today’s Photo of the Week captures a moment from the exhibition's opening day festivities, where attendees were invited to participate…

Brooklyn poets remember

Kevina, Center for Brooklyn History

Dina Abdulhadi reading, April 24 2024. Photo: Kevina Tidwell.
“She wrote poetry, she published, she was read, and then she died.” Former Brooklyn poet laureate D. Nurkse spoke those words as an introduction to the poet Enid Dame. Nurkse was one of seven poets who read in the Othmer library last month to a packed room. Each poet selected poems from the Center for Brooklyn History’s library and archives collections and read them in conversation with their own poetry and reflections. Nurkse, in his words on Dame…

Black and white photographic postcard depicting a large house on a hill in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

The House on the Hill

Dee

The Albertype Co., Northwest Corner Ridge Boulevard and 85th Street, circa 1940; black and white photographic postcard, V1973.4.547; Brooklyn photograph and illustration collection, ARC.202, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
Today's Photo of the Week showcases a beautiful home in Bay Ridge at 8311 Ridge Boulevard. This stunning mansion at the top of a hill is still standing today, though it is located at the corner of 84th Street and Ridge Boulevard, not 85th Street as this postcard states. The house…

Array of noted literary talent of Brooklyn gathers around folk singer Oscar Brand at the National Library Week Luncheon in the Hotel St. George on Tuesday, April 5. Seated, left, is Marianne Moore, the famous poetess of Cumberland Street. Standing, left to right, are Chief Librarian Francis R. St. John of Brooklyn Public Library; Brooklyn Heights humorist Ira Wallach; Paule Marshall, guest speaker, and Norman Rosten, Remsen Street poet and playwright who wrote a special poem for the occasion.

From the Vault: An Ode to Brooklyn Poets

Kevina, Center for Brooklyn History

 

Array of noted literary talent, 1960s, gelatin silver print, CBPL_1062. Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
I am reviving, from the vaults, this photo of a major gathering of Brooklyn "literary talent", first featured in this blog about Brooklyn poetry. The original Brooklyn Daily Eagle captions read:"Array of noted literary talent of Brooklyn gathers around folk singer Oscar Brand at the National Library Week Luncheon in the Hotel St. George on Tuesday, April 5. Seated, left…

Postcard featuring the entrance of Green-Wood Cemetery from the Brooklyn Postcard collection.

Green-Wood Cemetery

Anna

Entrance to Greenwood Cemetery, [190-?], Brooklyn Postcard collection, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History. The Center for Brooklyn History provides this guide for those researching Green-Wood Cemetery.  The Center for Brooklyn History’s holdings include books, photographs, maps, deeds, illustrations, and oral histories. In addition to these materials, researchers are encouraged to browse the collections and other research guides for resources that may be relevant to their work. To make an appointment or ask a question, please contact cbhreference@bklynlibrary.org…

Black and white photograph of a metal cylinder covered in floral patterns being worked by a pair of hands with a small hammer

Hello, Doily!

Michelle

Jules Geller, Royal Lace Paper Works, 1954, gelatin silver print, WORK_0299. Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
Mass-produced items can still require the human touch. This Photo of the Week depicts an employee of the Royal Lace Paper Works at 846 Lorimer Street hand-engraving a metal die with intricate floral patterns. Though the dies themselves were manufacturing tools, the skill needed to create them was similar to that needed to engrave fine silver. Each die would…

a group of twelve young children with their bikes gather in front of two storefronts in Coney Island

Portals to the Past: A Peek Through the Archives

Kevin

For the past few years, in pursuit of a new career as an information professional, I have been working towards a master’s degree in library and information science (MLIS) with a concentration in archival studies from the iSchool at the University of Missouri, where I will be graduating in May. My profound passion for libraries and archives stems from the belief that providing access to valuable resources is a fundamental service to the community, especially for those underrepresented individuals whose stories are often overlooked and difficult to discover. As a queer first-generation minority…

woman with short hair and a plaid shirt opening drawer of a card catalog

Opening the Pocket Doors: The Enthusiastic Catalogers Department

Katherine, Leon Levy Senior Processing Archivist

Brooklyn Historical Society Staff, circa 1994. Brooklyn Historical Society Institutional Records, ARC 288. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.Did your favorite singer release an album recently and use an image of a card catalog to promote said album? Are you not entirely sure what a card catalog actually is? Not to worry, we are here to explain!  Let’s first look at the word catalog: for the purpose of libraries at its most basic level, it is an organized list of books held by a specific library. Prior to cards, library catalogs were recorded in books. But as…

The Rocks Cry Out

Deborah

One among a row of boulders in Prospect Park with protest posters showing the faces of Oluwatoyin Salau, Rem'mie Fells, Dominique Jonathan Ferrell and Freddie Carlos Gray Jr. in Prospect Park; BRCP_0039. 2020. Brooklyn Resists community photographs, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History 
On June 8, 2020, at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests in Brooklyn, I took a walk in Prospect Park on a shady path across the East Drive from the Vale of Cashmere, notable for a line of large rocks…

A Tree Grows on Garfield Place

Sarah

[Garfield Place trees], circa 1916; Raymond V. Ingersoll collection (BCMS.0061), Box 13. Center for Brooklyn History, Brooklyn Public Library.
Walking around Park Slope is especially lovely in the Spring as the trees bloom to create a canopy over the sidewalks. One of the neighborhood's most beautiful streets, Garfield Place, has Raymond V. Ingersoll to thank. Ingersoll served as Brooklyn Parks Commissioner from 1914 to 1917, making tree planting around the borough a top priority for his administration. Garfield Place…

Margaret Armstrong, Alice Morse, and the Decorated Cloth Book Cover

Liza

 In the 1880s, two New Yorkers burst into the competitive scene of cloth book cover design: Margaret Nielson Armstrong (1867–1944), a Manhattanite, and Alice Cordelia Morse (1863–1961), a Brooklynite. They became two of the major forces behind the art's golden age, which lasted from about 1880 to 1910. Fourteen of their works are on display at the Center for Brooklyn History, now through June 2024.

Left: Van Dyke, Henry. Days Off. Scribner's Sons, 1908. Cover design by Margaret Armstrong. Right: Ford, Paul Leicester. Tattle…

A Peek Inside Brooklyn Eye and Ear Hospital

Liza

Bklyn Eye & Ear Hospital, [189-?], photographic print, V1972.1.804; Early Brooklyn and Long Island photograph collection, Center for Brooklyn History, Brooklyn Public Library.
Beware letting a photographer document your medical procedures lest it end up in a future form of communication we have yet to imagine. This Photo of the Week, taken around 1890, is one of five scenes captured inside the Brooklyn Eye and Ear Hospital around 1890, possibly for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Here a doctor administers anesthesia to a…

Opening the Pocket Doors: Voices of Brooklyn

Nicole

[Voices of Brooklyn performance], 1998. Brooklyn Historical Society Institutional Records, ARC 288. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
 On January 1, 1898, the city of Brooklyn officially became a borough and joined Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx to form New York City. To mark the centennial of this event, the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) created an original theatrical production titled Voices of Brooklyn. Voices of Brooklyn is a 40-minute dramatic performance that tells the…

Cutting up carpenters

Alice

Carpenters, 1952, Gelatin silver print, SWEL_0721; Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
Who knew shopwork classes could be so fun! This week's Photo of the Week depicts (from left to right) 6-year-olds Richard Steiner, Augustus Jackson, and Nicholas Parese working on some carpentry projects in May 1952. This class was hosted by Willoughby House, a settlement house founded in 1901, which provided art, drama, and athletic workshops for Brooklyn kids and young people in…

Rain, rain, go away

Dee

Ralph Irving Lloyd, A Rainy Day, circa 1910; black and white photograph, V1981.15.176; Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides, V1981.015, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History. 
I don't know about you but I'm pretty sick of rain - and we haven't even reached the storied April showers yet. Regardless, I take solace in the fact that rain-flooded streets are nothing new in Brooklyn, as this circa 1910 lantern slide by Ralph Irving Lloyd proves. Dr. Ralph Irving Lloyd (1875-1969) was a Brooklyn…

Ramadan

Kevina, Center for Brooklyn History

Young girl at evening prayers with her father during Ramadan, 2010, GERH_0001; Robert E. Gerhardt, Jr. photograph collection, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.This Sunday, March 10 marks the new moon and the start of Ramadan. In this photo from the Robert E. Gerhardt, Jr. photograph collection, a young girl stares intently into the camera. She and her father are praying at the Muslim American Society in Bath Beach, 1933 Bath Avenue, in 2010. Robert Gerhardt Began photographing Muslims in Brooklyn in 2010 during Ramadan, leading him to photograph mosques and Muslims all…

Dipping into the Collection: Thall and Lopez family papers and photographs

Allyson

For this month's blog post we thought we might take a peek into the collection, looking at the Thall and Lopez family papers and photographs. The collection consists of documents, ephemera, and photographs related to several generations of the Thall and Lopez families of Canarsie, Brooklyn. Included in the collection are letters, photographs, account ledgers, blue prints, wills, deeds, stock certificates, Civil War infantry manual, Civil War currency, notes, newspaper clippings, electrification contracts, and assorted legal documents. It’s an interesting look at a family that has lived in…

Railfan Sandwich Man's Loco-Motive to Increase Business

Deborah

Sodas delivered by train. WORK_0842. 1951. Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs 
Local businesses are acts of faith - an individual dream of creating a place that people will want to patronize, enriching the owners and community alike. This Photo of the Week shows one inventive owner’s novel idea to boost his business. In early 1951, Ben Lewanda took over the Parkway Sandwich Shop, 4223 Fort Hamilton Parkway. Finding his custom lacked pep, he got the idea of installing a model train to travel around the periphery…

poster of six white women wearing blue dresses, underneath reads "Beauty and the Beer"

Opening the Pocket Doors: Beauty and the Beer (An Exhibit That Never Was)

Katherine, Leon Levy Senior Processing Archivist

[Beauty and the Beer exhibit advertisement], ca. 2000. Brooklyn Historical Society Institutional Records, ARC 288. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.She’s beauty and she’s grace, she’s Miss..Rheingold? That’s right. From 1941 until 1965, the beer company, Rheingold Brewery—best known as the official beer of the New York Mets—also ran a beauty contest called Miss Rheingold. The beer company was founded by German-Jewish immigrant Samuel Liebmann in the 1850s in Brooklyn. His sons took over their father’s brewery about a decade later and eventually changed the name to…

For Valentine’s Day, a Love Letter to Joan Maynard, Activist and Artist

Dominique

February is both the month of Black history and the month of love, so what better time to discuss one of Brooklyn’s most beloved historical figures, Joan Maynard!  

Joan Maynard, Weeksville Heritage Center, ca. Brownstoner 
Joan Maynard is probably best known for her work as the first Executive Director of the Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant History (now usually shortened to the Weeksville Society), a position she held from 1974-2011. Weeksville was an independent community of…

Biking with a Friend

Sarah

 [Tandem bicycle on the beach at Coney Island], 1889, V1972.1.808; Early Brooklyn and Long Island photograph collection, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History
What's better than riding a bike on the beach? Riding a bike on the beach with a friend. Today's Photo of the Week looks at the tandem bicycle, an intimate vehicle that requires teamwork. Operating a tandem bike might be easy, but finding a tandem partner is tricky. You need someone sporty, unafraid of leg cramps, with the desire to go in the same direction as…

Documenting a Brownstone's Rebirth

Dee Bowers

In 2018, the New York Times published a story about an unusual Carroll Gardens brownstone for sale. 12 Second Place had been painstakingly restored during the brownstone revival movement of the 1960s and 70s, and had been owned by the same couple, Jane and Thor Rinden, ever since. Moreover, the Rindens had documented their five-year renovation process (1968-1973) in a charming and intimate scrapbook filled with photographs and memories. Fascinated by this story, I left a comment on the article, and fortuitously enough, the Rindens' estate decided that the scrapbook should come to the…

Happy Black History Month

Allyson

   

Man carrying small boy on his shoulders at demonstration at Brooklyn Borough Hall, Anthony Geathers photograph collection, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History
Happy Black History Month! Today's Photo of the Week is from the Anthony Geathers photograph collection, which consists of about 66 images taken in 2020 during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations throughout Brooklyn. This image depicts a young boy on a man's shoulder as they listen to people speaking at a demonstration at Brooklyn Borough Hall. Mr…

Midwinter Remembrance

Liza

[Fort Greene Park], 1926, gelatin silver print, PARK_0111; Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History
  As we enter midwinter, take in this snowy Photo of the Week of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park from 1926. This monument was created by Stanford White and Adolph Alexander Weinman in 1908. It memorializes the roughly 11,500 captives who died aboard British prison ships in Brooklyn’s Wallabout Bay during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). The conditions on the ships were horrific…

Great big beautiful dolls

Alice

Great big beautiful dolls, 1951, Gelatin silver print, SCHL_1325; Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
In August of 1951, Park Slope kids competed in P.S. 77's "beautiful doll" contest. This week's Photo of the Week shows the winners standing proudly with their entries in the schoolyard (from left to right): Judith Flynn (third place), Barbara Joyce Wendel, Roberta Hope Wendel (the Wendel's got the grand prize), and Camille Stafanello (first place). Second place winner Arlene Kennedy did not…

Opening the Pocket Doors: Adopt-A-Block

Nicole

[Daphney Desir (left) and Uchenna Agbim (right) rehousing land conveyances], ca. 1989. Brooklyn Historical Society Institutional Records, ARC 288. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
In the 1990s, the librarians at the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) dedicated significant efforts to implementing measures aimed at preserving and enhancing access to the Society’s collections. Several of these initiatives took the form of cataloging projects, many of which spanned multiple years and were funded by state and government agencies. By the…

From the Vault: Majestic Theater

Dee Bowers

This From the Vault post was originally written by Tess Colwell and published on January 27, 2016 by the Brooklyn Historical Society. To see the latest Photo of the Week entries, visit the Brooklynology blog home, or subscribe to our Center for Brooklyn History newsletter.

[View of Fulton Street.], 1959, V1974.9.13; John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
The photo of the week depicts a view of Fulton Street, including the Majestic Theater, in the Fort…

Love of Line, of Light and Shadow: The Brooklyn Bridge

Kevina, Center for Brooklyn History

Love of Line, of Light and Shadow: The Brooklyn Bridge, October 24, 1982, V1973.4.86; Postcard Collection, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History
Clarinetist F. Gerard Errante commissioned a clarinet score and video from Reynold Weidenaar as a "centennial tribute to the Brooklyn Bridge" in 1982. Musical America described Love of Line, of Light and Shadow: The Brooklyn Bridge as "a strangely moving, evocative work ... visually spectacular ... with an equally fascinating soundtrack of traffic resonances and…

Opening the Pocket Doors: A History of Education at the Brooklyn Historical Society

Nicole

[Kids in Museum], ca. 1990. Brooklyn Historical Society Institutional Records, ARC 288. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History. 
Education departments play a pivotal role in museum settings. Through teacher workshops, student and adult programs, guided tours, and more, museum educators are tasked with creating accessible educational opportunities, facilitating open conversations, reducing barriers to participation, and ultimately ensuring that the museum experience is meaningful for all patrons. One of the record groups that I was most…

Opening the Pocket Doors: Say Cheese!

Katherine, Leon Levy Senior Processing Archivist

Brooklyn Historical Society Staff Party, circa 1990. Brooklyn photograph and illustration collection. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
Is it even a holiday if you didn't all get together for a big, awkward group photo? While we don’t have all the details behind this particular group photo of a staff party for the Brooklyn Historical Society, we know that director, David Kahn, is pictured on the far right with fellow staff members around 1990. And we can definitely relate to everyone being told to “squeeze together!” or the classic, “say…

From the Vault: Real Brooklyn, a day in our lives photographs now available at BHS

Sarah

This From the Vault post was originally written by John Zarrillo and published on March 10, 2016 by the Brooklyn Historical Society. To see the latest Photo of the Week entries, visit the Brooklynology blog home, or subscribe to our Center for Brooklyn History newsletter.

Chosen for Mom, by Doris Adler, 2003; Real Brooklyn, a day in our lives photographs, 2007.041, Box 1; Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History
This post was authored by BHS Library and Archives processing intern…

World Wildlife Day & the Pigeon

Liza

Man with pigeons, 1990, gelatin silver print, COHEN_0166; George Cohen photograph collection, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History
December 4th marks World Wildlife Day, which the United Nations describes as “an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that their conservation provides to people.” When thinking of Brooklyn wildlife, the first that comes to mind might be the pigeon. This bird certainly does not require conservation efforts today, and…

Man and woman breaking out of closet with baseball bats.

Honor Among Thieves?

Deborah

How they got out. CRIM_0143. 1952. Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs
Today’s dramatic Photo of the Week documents a slick Flatbush burglary with an unusual conclusion. A tenacious robber, who tried several times to gain entry claiming to be a repairman, finally hoodwinked the wary housekeeper by waiting until she brought out the garbage. He brandished a gun and then, joined by a partner lurking nearby, they gained access. Once in, they stole furs, jewels and cash and locked Mrs. Arline Tompkins and the other person on the…

All this for the Dodgers!

Alice

Take me in to the ball game, 1952, Gelatin silver print, DODG_0184; Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
Anyone else missing baseball season? This week's Photo of the Week takes us to Ebbets Field where we see a crowd of fans who were unable to get into the final game of the Yankees-Dodgers 1952 World Series. Over 33,000 people attended the game, so many people were turned away at the gates. The boy in the middle appears to be pleading with the photographer to let him in, others look like they would squeeze…

Pint-Sized Pilgrims

Sarah

[Young turkey hunters], 1951, HOLI_0109; Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History
Residents of the Infants Home of Brooklyn, located at 1358 56th Street attended their 1951 Thanksgiving dinner dressed as pint-sized pilgrims, ready to hunt their own turkey! For children living at the Infants Home, a holiday to gather with family may have felt a little sad, but we love how their caregivers tried to make the holiday a little more fun. We hope these little ones had the best Thanksgiving ever.  At…

Not forgotten: Activism in the AIDS/Brooklyn exhibition collection

Alice

[Protest posters], circa 1992, AIDS/Brooklyn Exhibition records, 1993.001; Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
Friday, December 1 is World AIDS Day, a day started by the World Health Organization in 1988 to "show strength and solidarity against HIV stigma and to remember lives lost." The first World AIDS Day was recognized by awareness events (such as condom distributions and fundraisers), discussions among medical experts and human rights advocates, and world leaders calling on the United Nations to increase their efforts to combat the…

Opening the Pocket Doors: What Could Have Been

Katherine

Plan of Elevation on Clinton St for Long Island Historical Society Building competition, circa 1878. 128 Pierrepont Street building architectural drawings, M1980.8.7. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
Looking up at the looming and detailed façade of 128 Pierrepont, it’s difficult to imagine anything else in its place. The classic Queen Anne style seems to fit right in with the surrounding brownstones, completing the historic feel of the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. But in 1868, when the former Long Island Historical Society (LIHS)…

From the Vault: Ruby's Bar

Allyson

This From the Vault post was originally written by Julie May and published on May 13, 2013 by the Brooklyn Historical Society. To see the latest Photo of the Week entries, visit the Brooklynology blog home, or subscribe to our Center for Brooklyn History newsletter. This Photo of the Week was originally written and published by the Brooklyn Historical Society, so some terms and links may be out of date. To see the latest Photo of the Week entries, visit the Brooklynology blog home, or subscribe to the Center for Brooklyn History…

Opening the Pocket Doors: A Stained Glass Mystery

Nicole

[Stained glass lunette in the Othmer Library], circa 1990s. Brooklyn Historical Society Institutional Records, ARC 288. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
If you've visited the Othmer Library, you might have noticed the large stained glass lunettes (arched windows) on the gallery level. These are original to the space, but did you know there used to be more stained glass features throughout the building? Similar lunettes, faintly visible in the photo below, once adorned the Great Hall. More obscure is the stained glass screen at the rear…

May the Library Be With You

Dee Bowers

[Child in Luke Skywalker Halloween costume], 1977; Long Island Historical Society photographs, V1974.031, V1974.31.127; Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
The year is 1977. You're obsessed with the best movie you've ever seen in your life, Star Wars. Of course you want to dress as the movie's hero, Luke Skywalker, for Halloween. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of Star Wars costumes everywhere, as retailers scrambled to catch up with the movie's unforeseen popularity. So you pull out your galoshes and utility belt to get that perfect…

Opening the Pocket Doors: A Room of (Our) Own

Katherine, Leon Levy Senior Processing Archivist

Long Island Historical Society, the Directors' Room, 1938. Long Island Historical Society photographs, V1974.031. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.
  If you were to go up to the third floor of 128 Pierrepont and walk to the doors that read “Gina Ingoglia Weiner Gallery” and peer through the windows, you would see a room that currently holds a portion of the Center for Brooklyn History’s collections in neat rows of archival boxes. But this room was not always utilized for storage; prior to a storage room, it was used as an exhibit…