Photo of the Week: Spring

[Pathway and Trees in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden], circa 1975, v1990.2.166; Donald L. Nowlan Brooklyn collection, v1990.2.166; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Pathway and Trees in Prospect Park], circa 1975, v1990.2.166; Donald L. Nowlan Brooklyn collection, v1990.2.166; Brooklyn Historical Society.

*Update: We originally attributed this photograph to Brooklyn Botantic Garden, but thanks to reader feedback and to our colleagues at BBG we were able to confirm that it is in fact Prospect Park. Look how the public helps us update our collection records! Thanks!

Monday marked the first day of Spring, after the sixth warmest winter in New York City. The photo of the week depicts a pathway in Prospect Park in early Spring around 1975. This month, you can expect to see several plants begin to bloom in Brooklyn, including daffodils, crocus, and some flowering trees. Check out the Brooklyn Bloom Guide to learn more.

This photograph comes from the Donald L. Nowlan Brooklyn collection comprised of 122 color photographic prints, 165 color slides, and three black-and-white photographic prints, taken by Nowlan, that document locations in Brooklyn during the 1960s and 1970s. There are many images of Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Prospect Park, and Coney Island. To view more photographs from this collection, check out this online image gallery.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

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Bushwick and her Neighbors, Vol. 1-3 now online!

Brooklyn Historical Society received a generous grant from Gerry Charitable Trust in 2015 to digitize and catalog seven scrapbooks from the Eugene L. Armbruster photographs and scrapbooks [Arc.308]. Eugene Armbruster was an amateur photographer and historian during the late 19th century and early 20th century in Brooklyn. Following retirement from The H. Henkel Cigar Box Manufacturing Company, he became interested in local history and took thousands of photographs depicting buildings and street scenes throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, and neighboring states. His scrapbooks are organized by subject and include a combination of photographs, clippings, hand-drawn maps, drawings, and writings. With the help of project cataloger Regina Carra, we are working to get all seven scrapbooks published online.

This post is to announce that this project has hit a milestone! “Bushwick and her Neighbors, Volume 1-3” are digitized, cataloged, and available on our online gallery. In general, the three Bushwick volumes are fairly large compared to the rest of Armbruster’s scrapbook collection. Volumes 1 and 2, in particular, are about 250 pages each! Volume 3 is considerably smaller at 88 pages. Armbruster was very interested in historic infrastructure, and you can clearly see his fascination in all three scrapbooks. All heavily feature images and information about businesses, churches, famous houses, and cultural sites in Brooklyn, as well as Queens.

["Bushwick and her neighbors, Volume 1" cover], 1907, v1974.022.1.001; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[“Bushwick and her neighbors, Volume 1” cover], 1907, v1974.022.1.001; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

While there are many similarities, each volume does have its own unique characteristics.

Here are some highlights:

Of all the volumes, Volume 1 is the most diverse in terms of sources. In this scrapbook, you will find photographs, text, drawings, hand drawn maps, postcards, and clippings from newspapers and magazine. Each page looks very different. The focus of this scrapbook is somewhat specific. Its subject is primarily 17th and 18th century Brooklyn, specifically the formation of neighborhoods like Bushwick and Williamsburgh. It was compiled in 1907.

[Bushwick Church (left side)], 1907, b2974.022.1.058; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Bushwick Church (left side)], 1907, b2974.022.1.058; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The two Devoe Houses in 1867, 1907, v1974.022.1.038; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The two Devoe Houses in 1867, 1907, v1974.022.1.038; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Volume 2 (1909):

Volume 2, compiled in 1909, is especially full of text excerpts from 19th century history books. This scrapbook gives us a great glimpse into what kinds of texts early 20th century NYC historians were reading. The subject matter is wide-ranging and includes more Brooklyn neighborhoods, as well as information on Queens. Also, Volume 2 has some of the most spectacular hand drawn maps of the Bushwick series!

[Seventeenth century Brooklyn land holdings map], 1909, v1974.022.2.171; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Seventeenth century Brooklyn land holdings map], 1909, v1974.022.2.171; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Map of landholders near East River], 1909, v1974.022.2.173; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Map of landholders near East River], 1909, v1974.022.2.173; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Map of Gravesend in the 17th century], 1909, v1974.022.2.180; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Map of Gravesend in the 17th century], 1909, v1974.022.2.180; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Volume 3 is comprised almost entirely of newspaper and magazine clippings, and postcards. Like Volume 2 its subject matter is wide-ranging and also includes some images about Queens county. Compared to volume 1 and 2, Volume 3 is an outlier. It was compiled at least 15 years later than the first two volumes (circa 1925). This may explain why the scrapbook is considerably smaller. In 1912, Armbruster published his book “The Eastern District of Brooklyn.” It is likely that Volumes 1 and 2 were used to collect sources for this book in particular. Volume 3 might have been made to supplement the earlier volumes with newer images.

St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1920 ca., v1974.022.3.016; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1920 ca., v1974.022.3.016; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Bushwick Chemical Works, 1920 ca., v1974.022.3.067; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Bushwick Chemical Works, 1920 ca., v1974.022.3.067; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

German Hospital, 1920 ca., v1974.022.3.088; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

German Hospital, 1920 ca., v1974.022.3.088; Eugene L. Armbruster photograph and scrapbook collection, v1974.022; Brooklyn Historical Society.

You can stay up to date with our project via Instagram and the hashtag #armbruster or searching our online image gallery for more frequent additions here. Our library is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. To make an appointment to view the collection, please contact us at: library@brooklynhistory.org.

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Photo of the Week: Reliable & Frank’s

Inside Reliable and Frank's, two customers], 1978, v1988.21.370; Frank J. Trezza Seatrain Shipbuilding collection, v1988.21; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Inside Reliable and Frank’s, two customers], 1978, v1988.21.370; Frank J. Trezza Seatrain Shipbuilding collection, v1988.21; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The photo of the week depicts the interior of Reliable and Frank’s, an Army-Navy store located across from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in 1978. The store sold uniforms to sailors until 1966, when the Navy decommissioned the Yard. Despite this, the store remained opened by diversifying their clientele. They later sold uniforms to cruise ship workers, college students, and even the Village People. The Brooklyn store closed in 2006.

This photograph comes from the Frank J. Trezza Seatrain Shipbuilding collection that documents the shipbuilding activities at the Brooklyn Navy Yard from its closing in the 1960s through its reuse under the management of the Seatrain Shipbuilding Corps from 1968 to 1981. Frank Trezza was hired by Seatrain Shipbuilding as a Mechanic Helper, and eventually worked his way up to First Class Marine Electrician. He took hundreds of photographs during his tenure at Seatrain Shipbuilding during the 1970s. The photographs from this collection have been digitized and are available online.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

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Photo of the Week: Bernard Gotfryd photographs

[East New York courtyard.], 1970 ca, v1987.3.6; Bernard Gotfryd color slides and photographs, v1987.3; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[East New York courtyard.], 1970 ca, v1987.3.6; Bernard Gotfryd color slides and photographs, v1987.3; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The Bernard Gotfryd color slides and photographs is one of my favorite collections at Brooklyn Historical Society. Gotfryd’s photographs capture Brooklyn street scenes with children playing, people sitting on stoops, and sidewalk activity from 1965 to 1983. The photo of the week is an image from this collection that depicts people cleaning up a courtyard in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. Gotfryd was a photojournalist, trained to tell stories through photographs. This photograph stands out to me for many reasons: the composition, the charming detail of the kids in the window, but also the powerful story it tells about East New York. This Brooklyn neighborhood was hit hard by 20th century urban decline, segregation, and deindustrialization and this photograph depicts one example of the grassroots efforts by the community to clean up the neighborhood.

Bernard Gotfryd was a professional photographer and staff photojournalist at Newsweek for over 30 years. He was born in Poland in 1924 and entered a photography apprenticeship at the start of WWII. He became involved with the Polish resistance and was later imprisoned for his involvement. By the end of the war, he had survived imprisonment in six different concentration camps. In 1945, he immigrated to the United States and continued his photography pursuit while serving in the U.S. Army. Gotfryd traveled all over the world while working at Newsweek, documenting people, places, and events. We were sad to hear that Gotfryd passed away last summer at age 92. At Brooklyn Historical Society, we have 174 photographs by Gotfryd. This collection is not digitized, but we would love for you to visit the Othmer Library and view this collection in person.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m.  library@brooklynhistory.org

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Photo of the Week: Smith-9th Street Station

[View of portion of Smith-9th Street Station (IND).], 1958, v1974.4.1131; John D. Morrell photographs, v1974.4; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[View of portion of Smith-9th Street Station (IND).], 1958, v1974.4.1131; John D. Morrell photographs, v1974.4; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Do you live off the Smith-9th Street station? The photo of the week depicts the snow-covered station located in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, in December 1958. The station opened in 1933 and closed for two years during massive renovations between 2011 and 2013. The elevated station is 87.5 feet high and is considered the highest above-ground subway station in the world.

This photograph comes from the John D. Morrell photographs collection comprised of roughly 2,000 black and white and color negative prints and photographs. John D. Morrell was an assistant librarian at Long Island Historical Society (now Brooklyn Historical Society) for many years and documented nearly ever Brooklyn neighborhood between 1957 and 1974. Lucky for us, Morrell provided descriptions of each photograph, and now the photographs are fully digitized and available online. If you’re interested in Brooklyn housing and building research, be sure to check out this rich collection.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

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