Fascinating Brooklyn stories from our local history archivists.

Teaching with Primary Sources: Citing our Sources

Posted in Brooklynology by Jen Hoyer on Sep 19, 2018

Brooklyn Connections is the education outreach program in the Brooklyn Collection. It focuses on cultivating 21st Century learning skills in students and supporting teachers on the incorporation of archives materials into curricula. This blog post is part of a series from the Brooklyn Connections team, sharing skills and ideas for using archives primary source material in the classroom. Using primary sources in the classroom shows us that we can access history through many different formats as long as we are grounded in historical thinking. Whether we’re using primary or sources in the...

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Housing in Brooklyn

Posted in Brooklynology by Jen Hoyer on Sep 11, 2018

Brooklyn Connections is the education outreach program in the Brooklyn Collection. It focuses on cultivating 21st Century learning skills in students and supporting teachers on the incorporation of archives materials into curricula. As part of our work, we create Primary Source Packets to help students and teachers access primary source material from the Brooklyn Collection about local history topics. Each Packet contains one secondary source which provides a general introduction to the topic, followed by at least ten primary sources accompanied by document based questions. For the start...

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The Bridge: a book report

Posted in Brooklynology by Ashirah Newton on Aug 31, 2018

In the summer of 2018, Brooklyn Connections was delighted to have two of our student alumni join us as interns. Over the course of seven weeks, these interns learned about archival research and chose a topic of their interest to dig into in the Brooklyn Collection. They assembled their findings, and we're excited to share one of them with you on the Brooklynology blog! Intern Ashirah Newton chose to learn about the Brooklyn Bridge, and her research included a book report on a new book in our collection: The Bridge by Peter J. Tomasi, illustrated by Sara DuVall. The following...

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Processing Found Material: The Martha Gayle Collection

Posted in Brooklynology by Natiba Guy-Clement and Demar Ludford on Aug 2, 2018

Archives acquire materials in a myriad number of ways; it could be through outright purchases, materials bequeathed by planned giving or estates; or donations from collectors who’ve run out of space, time or energy to continue their pursuits. There are those other times when people find material that they deem not useful to them but of enough sentimental or historical value that makes throwing items in the trash not an option. The Martha Gayle Collection falls into the latter category. Donated by George Camarda in 2016; it documents the life of a Caribbean immigrant Martha Gayle and...

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Teaching with Primary Sources: Notetaking Skills

Posted in Brooklynology by Jen Hoyer on Jul 23, 2018

Brooklyn Connections is the education outreach program in the Brooklyn Collection. It focuses on cultivating 21st Century learning skills in students and supporting teachers on the incorporation of archives materials into curricula. This blog post is part of a series from the Brooklyn Connections team, sharing skills and ideas for using archives primary source material in the classroom. Using primary sources in the classroom shows us that we can access history through many different formats as long as we are grounded in historical thinking. [Children's Room at Grand Army Plaza Library...

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Brooklyn Connections is the education outreach program in the Brooklyn Collection. It focuses on cultivating 21st Century learning skills in students and supporting teachers on the incorporation of archives materials into curricula. This blog post is part of a series from the Brooklyn Connections team, sharing skills and ideas for using archives primary source material in the classroom. Using primary sources in the classroom shows us that we can access history through many different formats as long as we are grounded in historical thinking. The Brooklyn Connections team loves...

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Jen Hoyer and Julia Pelaez were thrilled to represent Brooklyn Connections at the 2018 American Library Association Annual Conference. They presented a session on fostering student engagement through local history research, which included a discussion about how local history research can spark civic engagement in students, and what tools we should equip students with so that they can succeed with their research.  The goals of this workshop were to understand how local history is a unique and relevant entry point for guiding inquiry-based learning and civic engagement; to identify,...

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A Look Back at Brooklyn's LGBTQ+ History

Posted in Brooklynology by Ally on May 25, 2018

  Happy Pride Month Brooklyn! Pride month is always tons of fun in Brooklyn. From the parades to the parties it’s a wonderful time to celebrate diversity, inclusion and visibility, the highlight of which is the Pride Parade. The Pride Parade was started in 1970 to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots which were a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the gay community to protest the police raid of the Stonewall Inn. Historically Stonewall is often seen as the start of the Gay Pride movement, a veritable phoenix rising from the ashes, but even before...

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Brooklyn Connections is the education outreach program in the Brooklyn Collection. It focuses on cultivating 21st Century learning skills in students and supporting teachers on the incorporation of archives materials into curricula. This blog post is part of a series from the Brooklyn Connections team, sharing skills and ideas for using archives primary source material in the classroom. Our big question is: How can we ask questions to help us with our research? Get Ready Asking good research questions is an important part of the research process. We love to explore how primary...

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Rambunctious Brooklyn boy falls for bridge

Posted in Brooklynology by Deborah Tint on May 3, 2018

Sunset behind the Brooklyn Bridge – Photo: Brooklyn Collection   Bill Powers - photographer, writer, theater director and filmmaker - has donated 125 of his photographs of the Brooklyn Bridge to the Brooklyn Collection chronicling his 47-year love affair with the iconic structure. To accompany those materials he also recorded an interview with BPL’s Our Streets, Our Stories oral history project about growing up in Brooklyn. His stories describe a Park Slope very different from its quiet gentility today. The Bridge as subject emerges Life Magazine, Jan. 30,...

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First Communion Pictures

Posted in Brooklynology by Guest post by Larry Racioppo on Apr 23, 2018

I’ve been photographing First Communions, one of the three Catholic Initiation Sacraments, since 1971. One of my first ‘serious’ photographs depicts my Aunt Millie and her son John standing in the rain outside our parish church. John has just made his First Communion and is proudly holding his little prayer book wide open for me. Over the years I often returned to photograph at this church St. Michael the Archangel in Sunset Park (where I had made my First Communion), and to St. John the Evangelist in South Brooklyn where I lived in the 1970’s and 80’s. Millie and John, Fourth Avenue,...

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Brooklyn Connections is the education outreach program in the Brooklyn Collection. It focuses on cultivating 21st Century learning skills in students and supporting teachers on the incorporation of archives materials into curricula. This blog post is part of a series from the Brooklyn Connections team, sharing skills and ideas for using archives primary source material in the classroom. We all spend more time online than we can probably add up (or would like to admit?!), but are we experts at finding primary sources online? Moreover, how do we teach our students to become pros at digging...

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An Ode to Brooklyn Poets

Posted in Brooklynology by Natiba Guy-Clement on Apr 4, 2018

  Array of noted literary talent (ca. 1960's)-Photo: Brooklyn Collection   Brooklyn has been the home (in some cases, adoptive or transitionary but still, home) to a myriad number of literary figures. Drawn to it by its vibrancy and multiculturalism, Brooklyn inspires most who visit, and encourages them to put down roots and become a part of its fabric. For poets it’s a natural fit, a place to spin a tale, where all you need is an imagination and a gift of prose. There are few literary figures that come to mind when you think of Brooklyn, and their...

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Brooklyn Connections is the education outreach program in the Brooklyn Collection. It focuses on cultivating 21st Century learning skills in students and supporting teachers on the incorporation of archives materials into curricula. This blog post is part of a series from the Brooklyn Connections team, sharing skills and ideas for using archives primary source material in the classroom. At Brooklyn Connections, we love to share ideas on how to develop skills for teaching and learning with primary sources. But let’s take a moment to step back and ask ourselves: what IS a primary source...

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Coney Island Season Is Here!

Posted in Brooklynology by Guest Blog: Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce on Mar 8, 2018

This guest post is in conjunction with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and their "Last Stop in Brooklyn" Contest. You can read the first post in the series here and enter to win a copy of "Last Stop in Brooklyn" here courtesy of Crown Publishing!   Last Stop in Brooklyn by Lawrence H. Levy   As you read Last Stop in Brooklyn by Lawrence H. Levy, you’ll get a beautiful vision of what Coney Island once looked like, yet a gloomy view into the late-1800s politics and social tensions. While you gear up for this summer’s adventures and the iconic Boardwalk,...

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The Eagle Above Our Doorway

Posted in Brooklynology by Diana Bowers-Smith on Feb 23, 2018

If you've been to BPL's Central Library, you may have noticed that there is a large eagle sculpture presiding over the inside of the front entrance, and if you've taken one of our building tours, you know that the sculpture came from the headquarters of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper. The records of the Eagle have been at BPL since 1957 and are still a large part of the Brooklyn Collection's holdings, so the eagle looms large here in more ways than one. There's been some debate about the eagle sculpture amongst our staff before. The questions center around a comparison of...

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Valentine's Day/Ash Wednesday: Musings & Photos

Posted in Brooklynology by Guest post by Larry Racioppo on Feb 13, 2018

Photographer Larry Racioppo is back with another guest post for Brooklynology, this one musing on this year's rare congruence of Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday. Today is the first time since 1945 that Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day fall on the same day. This rare occurrence has made me think about the significance of each day and what they symbolize: Ash Wednesday – death, Valentine’s Day – romantic love. What I learned about Ash Wednesday in Catholic grammar school is summed up here: “…we use ashes made form the burned palm branches distributed on the Palm Sunday of the...

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Teaching with Primary Sources: Maps and Atlases

Posted in Brooklynology by Jen Hoyer on Feb 12, 2018

Brooklyn Connections is the education outreach program in the Brooklyn Collection. It focuses on cultivating 21st Century learning skills in students and supporting teachers on the incorporation of archives materials into curricula. This blog post is part of a series from the Brooklyn Connections team, sharing skills and ideas for using archives primary source material in the classroom. With Google Maps available at the touch of a finger, students are more familiar than ever with using maps to get around. Exploring the ways we can use maps as informational texts leads to great classroom...

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Welcome to Black History Month at the Brooklyn Collection! Last year our blog highlighted the good work of Hattie "The Tree Lady" Carthan. This year we want to share the story of another black woman pioneer – Susan Smith McKinney Steward who was Brooklyn's first black woman physician (who also happened to be the third black physician in the whole country.) Dr. Kinney Steward had a very successful practice with locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan but for her, medicine was more than just treatment. It was a means by which she could further elevate and impact the community she loved...

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Badges of Honor

Posted in Brooklynology by June on Jan 20, 2018

Most of the exhibitions we create here in the Brookyn Collection are comprised solely of material from our numerous holdings - historical photographs, letters, prints, maps,etc.  We took a slightly different approach with our curent exhibit, "Badges of Honor: Brooklyn's Protectors".  The result is an exciting collaboration, pairing the Brooklyn Collection's resources, with the unique Brooklyn badge collection on loan from Art Sinai. Brooklyn born Art Sinai started acquiring badges in 1978 when he worked for the Treasury Department.  His first badge was a gift from a...

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