Photo of the Week: Meserole House

Meserole House, 1000 Lorimer St., ca. 1905, V1981.15.124, Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides, 1981.15; Brooklyn Historical Society

Meserole House, 1000 Lorimer St., ca. 1905, V1981.15.124, Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides, 1981.15; Brooklyn Historical Society

The photo of the week depicts the Meserole house located at 1000 Lorimer Street in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, around 1905. The Meserole family was one of the original five families who settled in Bushwick, then one of the five towns of Brooklyn, and  today known as the neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Jean Miserol (d.1695), a French Huguenot, immigrated to New Amsterdam (now New York City) with his young son and wife in 1663. In 1667, Jean bought a farm in New Utrecht, now the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bay Ridge. He then bought another farm, Kyckout (“the Lookout”) that ran along the East River. Today, this farm would be located in Williamsburg between North 1st Street and Broadway.  Over many generations, the family became prominent land owners, eventually resulting in the ownership of nearly all of the land that comprised present day Greenpoint as well as the riverfront area of Williamsburg, from 1727-1750.

The wood-framed home at 1000 Lorimer Street (above) was built and occupied by descendent Peter Meserole (b. 1768) and included an impressive 13-rooms on the grounds of the family apple and cherry orchard. The home was demolished in 1919, following the death of Peter’s youngest son, Adrian.

To learn more about the fascinating history of the Meserole family, be sure to check out the Meserole family papers comprised of a handwritten volume containing the Meserole family genealogy. The genealogy was written by Adrian Meserole, with additions by Francis V. Morrell in 1915. The volume consists of 123 pages and includes an index of names. Also included in the collection are a bill of sale for a sloop from Anson Benton to Abraham Meserole, 1816; and an oversized parchment documenting a legal decision pertaining to a land dispute in the present-day Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, circa 1717.

The photo of the week comes from the Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides comprised of (roughly) 400 black-and-white lantern slides, created by Lloyd, that depict 17th, 18th, and 19th century historic houses, homesteads, churches, storefronts, cemeteries and sepulchral monuments (gravestones), and schools in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan; and 19th and early 20th century street scenes of Brooklyn. The images of buildings are predominantly exterior views, but the collection does have several interior views. To see more photographs from this collection, check out this gallery.

If you’re interested in your own house research, we recommend starting your search with our House and Building Research guide. This guide highlights resources most frequently consulted by researchers of Brooklyn property and buildings.

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: Ramus Family Papers

Julian Ramus, ca. 1900, V1978.174.2, Ramus family papers and photographs, 1978.174; Brooklyn Historical Society

Julian Ramus, ca. 1900, V1978.174.2, Ramus family papers and photographs, 1978.174; Brooklyn Historical Society

Brooklyn Historical Society’s vast photography collections includes several family portrait collections, including the Ramus family portraits. The photo of the week depicts a young boy, Julian Ramus, on a bicycle in front of 214 Dean Street in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, around 1900.

The Ramus family in Brooklyn began with Isaac Ramus (circa 1805-1876). He was a retail dealer in hosiery and undergarments with a store located at 385 Canal Street in Manhattan. Isaac and his wife Esther Baruth immigrated from London and lived at 214 Dean Street. They had two sons, Angelo and Louis Ramus. Angelo died at the age of 26 from yellow fever. Louis Ramus married Hannah Levy and had two children, Ira and Julian (pictured above).

This photograph comes from the Ramus family papers and photographs collection comprised of documents, ephemera, and photographs pertaining to members of the Ramus family and in-laws, spanning from 1836 to 1917. To view more photographs from this collection, check out this gallery.

If you’re interested in your own family research, we recommend starting your search with our Family and Genealogy Research Guide. This guide highlights BHS resources most helpful to genealogy and family research.

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: Autumn

Fall [Prospect Park West], ca. 1905, V1981.15.207, Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides, V1981.15; Brooklyn Historical Society

Fall [Prospect Park West], ca. 1905, V1981.15.207, Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides, V1981.15; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Fall is officially here, and it happens to be my favorite time of year in Brooklyn. I love the crisp air, changing leaves, and the abundance of apple varieties. The photo of the week by Ralph Irving Lloyd is titled “Fall” and depicts the tree-lined sidewalk along the stone wall bordering Prospect Park West around 1905. I previously highlighted another photograph by Lloyd titled “Summer.” Which photograph is your favorite?

The photograph comes from the Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides comprised of (roughly) 400 black-and-white lantern slides, created by Lloyd, that depict 17th, 18th, and 19th century historic houses, homesteads, churches, storefronts, cemeteries and sepulchral monuments (gravestones), and schools in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan; and 19th and early 20th century street scenes of Brooklyn. To view more photographs from this collection, check out this 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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Flatbush + Main Episode 29: Cholera in Brooklyn

In Episode 29 of Brooklyn Historical Society’s podcast Flatbush + Main, host Zaheer Ali and guest-host Erin Wuebker, fellow BHS historian, discuss the impact of cholera on Brooklyn, which led to the illness and death of thousands of residents in the 19th century. Zaheer and Erin consider how epidemics of cholera were both symptoms of the city’s tremendous growth and change in this era, and catalysts for Brooklyn to develop basic infrastructure we associate with a modern city.

Index
02:49 Histories and Ideas
22:29 Into the Archives
45:59 Voices of Brooklyn

For complete show notes, go to brooklynhistory.org/flatbush-main.

We hope you’re enjoying our podcast! Please subscribe, rate, and review us at brooklynhistory.org/fm-apple. And share the news of Flatbush + Main far and wide using the hashtag #FlatbushandMain.

Support for this episode was provided by the Wellcome Trust’s Contagious Cities project, which supports local conversations around the global challenges of epidemic preparedness.

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Segment 1: Histories and Ideas

In this segment, Zaheer and Erin discuss epidemics of cholera that reached the shores of Brooklyn in the mid-19th century in the context of the city’s transformation from a small farming town of 6,000 residents to the third largest city in America and a global center of trade and manufacturing. They detail why working-class Brooklynites were the most likely to contract cholera and the challenges in telling their histories. Zaheer and Erin also reflect on how these epidemics pushed Brooklyn to modernize, resulting in new roles for government and the city’s first hospitals, sewers, and more.

For more on 19th-century cholera epidemics in the US and New York City, see Charles E. Rosenberg, The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866.

For details on continuing challenges controlling cholera across the globe, see the World Health Organization.

Segment 2: Into the Archives

Zaheer and Erin delve into the prolific journals of Gabriel Furman, Brooklyn lawyer, politician, and amateur historian, who closely documented an 1832 outbreak of cholera. Furman’s journals reveal the different ways people understood cholera specifically and disease more broadly in this era – religion, morality, miasmas, climate – as well as the fear and uncertainty that many Brooklynites had as they waited for cholera to reach their city or heard contrasting advice on how to stay healthy. Zaheer and Erin also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Furman’s journals as a source on cholera. Though well versed in the politics and medical knowledge of the time, as a wealthy resident who never contracted the illness, there are some parts of the story of cholera in Brooklyn that are absent from his accounts.

You can access the finding aid to this manuscript collection here (ARC.190). Below are images of Furman’s journals that we discuss:

Segment 3: Voices of Brooklyn

Zaheer and Erin listen to an excerpt from the oral history of Albert Johnson from the Voices of Crown Heights oral histories. In this selection, Johnson speaks about his experience with different physicians when he was diagnosed with HIV in the 1990s. You can listen to his entire oral history on BHS’s Oral History Portal.

Segment 4: Endorsements

Erin endorsed the program, “Immigrant Women, Labor, and the Quest for Gender Justice,” which takes place on Wednesday, October 10 at 6:30 pm at BHS’s Pierrepont building. Bernice Yeung, ProPublica reporter and author of In a Day’s Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers, shares the harrowing experiences she chronicles in her book. She is joined by Rachel Isreeli of the Center for Family Life’s Cooperative Development Program in Sunset Park, which organizes cooperatives in the traditionally exploitative domestic work industry. Joanna Morales, a home care worker, will share her perspective as a worker-owner of Golden Steps Elder Care Cooperative. Tickets are $5, free for members, reserve them here.

Zaheer endorsed “The Not-So-Sweet History of Sugar,” a public program on Tuesday, October 16 at 6:30 pm at BHS’s Pierrepont building. Join social historian, York College professor, and author of Sugar: The World Corrupted, From Slavery to Obesity, James Walvin, as he uncovers the fraught history of one of our most prevalent ingredients: sugar. From its role in catalyzing colonialism and slave trading, to its current contributions to health crises, Walvin delivers this history without any sugar coating. Tickets are $5, free for members, reserve them here.

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BHS Map Collection Update

Brooklyn Historical Society’s Library & Archives team has an exciting project update to share! In 2017, BHS received a generous grant from National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support Portal to the Past: Creating Brooklyn Historical Society’s Digital Map Collection, a project that will increase public access to the institution’s extensive collection of flat and folded maps through conservation, digitization, and the creation of a web-based portal.

The map collection at BHS is unique and robust in the content and historical sweep. Comprised of manuscript and printed street, political, typographical, nautical, property, survey, pictorial, demographic, and transit maps, collections cover the time period from the 17th century, through the Revolutionary War; to 1834, when Brooklyn was first incorporated as a city; to 1898, when Brooklyn became a borough by consolidating with New York City; to 2015.

Map of the New York City subway system. 1955. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

Map of the New York City subway system. 1955. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

Catalog records have long existed for the maps and we highly recommend a visit to the landmarked library for a closer look. For those who are unable to visit, the project team has been assessing the maps for conservation, adding GIS coordinates, and will soon digitize them. Thanks to the support of NEH, BHS will create online access to the collection, thereby enabling and encouraging new scholarship with a nationwide scope, as internet researchers will be able to find information about the collection, view maps, and draw connections to related collections held by other repositories.

We are in the early stages of assessment, conservation, and digitization, but we encourage you to stay tuned as the project develops. At the completion of the project, we expect over 1,600 maps to be digitized and published on a web-based portal, similar to our award-winning Oral History Portal.

During this exciting time, there will be limited access to maps in the reading room. Please contact library staff to check on map availability before your visit. In the meantime, please take a look a small selection of digitized maps. We look forward to sharing more details as the project progresses.

Map of the village of Williamsburgh, Kings County : as laid out by the Commissioners appointed by the Legislature in 1827 : reduced from the large map in possession of the Trustees of the Village. D. Ewen. 1833. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection

Map of the village of Williamsburgh, Kings County : as laid out by the Commissioners appointed by the Legislature in 1827 : reduced from the large map in possession of the Trustees of the Village. D. Ewen. 1833. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection

Pas Caerte van Nieu Nederlandt en de Engelsche Virginies, van Cabo Cod tot Cabo Canrick. Pieter Goos. 1666. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

Pas Caerte van Nieu Nederlandt en de Engelsche Virginies, van Cabo Cod tot Cabo Canrick. Pieter Goos. 1666. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

Travellers Map of Long Island, New York : J.H. Colton, 1850. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

Travellers Map of Long Island, New York : J.H. Colton, 1850. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

Colorgraph map of New York, 1954. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

Colorgraph map of New York, 1954. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

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