Historical Brooklyn Photographs

Brooklyn Public Library's online catalog offers a selection of more than 20,000 historical photographs from the Brooklyn Collection.

Photograph Collections

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Photograph Collection (c. 1900-1955) provides many of the images, documenting change and development in Brooklyn throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Major subjects of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs in the catalog include Bridges, Churches, Coney Island, Neighborhoods, Parks, Schools and the Eagle itself. For a listing of all Eagle photograph files, including those not digitized in our catalog, see the collection guides for "Photographs from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Morgue" and "Photographs from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle -- Brooklyn Subjects."

The Brooklyn Collection also houses smaller photography collections by commercial and amateur photographers. Ranging from family photographs to images of street life to official municipal photographs, these collections capture a broader range of borough history. The following collections have been digitized and can be viewed online:

Daniel Berry Austin 1899-1909.

Subjects: Brooklyn, Manhattan. Farms; houses; neighborhoods; landscapes. Many stereoviews. Amateur photographer. *

George Bradford Brainerd 1845-1887.

Subjects: Brooklyn, Manhattan, Long Island, Connecticut. Street scenes; houses; landscapes; waterfront; parks. Many stereoviews. Amateur photographer. *

Brooklyn Public Library

More than 1,200 images of Brooklyn Public Library's 58 branches and their surrounding communities through the 20th century.

Carnegie Libraries

Exterior and interior photographs of Brooklyn Public Library branches built near the turn of the 19th century with funds from Andrew Carnegie.

Central Library - Brooklyn Public Library -. c. 1937 through the present.

This collection of over 1,300 photographs documents the construction of the Central Library at Grand Army Plaza as well as the events and exhibits in the building throughout the 20th century.

Cobb Collection 1907-1908.

Subjects: Prospect Park; Grand Army Plaza; Coney Island. Photographer's full name is not known.

Coney Island Dreamland Fire 1911.

Ten photographs of the aftermath of the May 27, 1911 fire that destroyed the Dreamland park in Coney Island.

Coney Island Lifeguards c. 1920.

Candid photographs of lifeguards and swimmers at Coney Island beaches from the 1920s. The photographer is unknown.

Raoul Froger-Doudemont 1898-1901.

Subjects: Manhattan and Brooklyn. Street scenes, waterfront, parades. Amateur photographer. *

Anders Goldfarb 1978 - 2009.

Subjects: Greenpoint; Williamsburg; buildings; industrial landscapes; street scenes; neighborhood festivals; color and black & white photography.

Irving I. Herzberg 1950-1990.

Subjects: Coney Island; Hasidic Williamsburg; Ocean Parkway; people on the subway; Brooklyn institutions; plane crash in Park Slope; character studies/portraits. Amateur photographer.

H.S. Lewis 1902-1917.

Subjects: Coney Island; Dreamland; Surf Avenue; Barnum and Bailey Circus.

George S. Ogden 1914.

Subjects: Historic Dutch houses in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, including the Wyckoff house, the Van Siclen house, the Schenck house and the Remsen house, among others.

Pope Mansion 1909.

Images of the interior and grounds of the Pope family home at 871 Bushwick.

Postcard Collection c. 1890 - present day.

Hundreds of postcards depicting landmarks throughout Brooklyn.

Edgar E. Rutter 1912-1954.

Subjects: Brooklyn streets; subway; road-building; sewers. Official photographer for the Borough of Brooklyn.

Boris Schleifer 1925 - 1926.

Photographs of the staff, inmates, and grounds of the Kingston Avenue Hospital, which specialized in treatment of contagious diseases.

Jamel Shabazz 1980 - 2010.

Subjects: Brooklyn street life, fashion, Prospect Park, youth culture; color and black & white photography

Shore Road Collection

Photographs of homes and landscapes along Bay Ridge's Shore Road in the early 1900s.

Steeplechase Park Circus c. 1934 - 1937.  

28 images of the cast of the Steeplechase Park Circus at Coney Island, many of them autographed.

Subway Construction

Over 300 images from the early 20th century (c. 1905 - 1915) depicting the construction of subway lines throughout Brooklyn.  Many of them are cyanotypes.

Edgar S. Thomson 1893-1900.

Subjects: Manhattan and Brooklyn; military; Navy Yard; waterfront; circus. Amateur photographer.*

Irving I. Underhill 1900-1949.

Subjects: Brooklyn municipal and commercial buildings, monuments, waterfront. Commercial photographer.*

Breading Way 1888.

Subjects: Home interiors; Brighton Beach; waterfront; Blizzard of 1888.

Eugene Wemlinger 1903 - 1910.

Subjects: Coney Island; Luna Park; Steeplechase Park; Dreamland.

Julius Wilcox c.1892.

Cyanotype photographs of Brooklyn and Manhattan by photographer Julius Wilcox. Brooklyn Bridge; Williamsburg Bridge; street life; tenements; waterfront.

* indicates collections owned jointly with the Brooklyn Museum

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Digital images from the Brooklyn Collection are available for purchase!  Review the fee schedule and submit your order.