Photo of the Week: Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at Grand Army Plaza

[Soldiers and Sailors Arch, 1894], 1894, V1986.250.1.18, William Schroeder, Sr. scrapbook collection, ARC.121; Brooklyn Historical Society

[Soldiers and Sailors Arch, 1894], 1894, V1986.250.1.18, William Schroeder, Sr. scrapbook collection, ARC.121; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at Grand Army Plaza was unveiled 125 years ago on October 21, 1892 to commemorate those who fought with the Union troops during The Civil War. John H. Duncan won a $1,000 prize for the design of the arch and construction began in 1889. While the war ended over 30 years earlier, the 1880s and the 1890s were at the heart of a period historians call “Reconciliation” or “Reunion” and the commemoration of the war.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that thousands of people attended the unveiling event that included remarks by Mayor Boody and several officials and religious figures. In one of the addresses, Rev. Father McCarty said, “May these memorials remind succeeding generations of the awful price we paid in the lives of the chivalry of our country for the maintenance of the union. May they be a warning that will keep the monster of rebellion from lifting again its cursed head. May our blessed land never again drink the blood of its people. May our family of powerful states become constantly more united not only by the iron hands of business interests, but by the more enduring ties of love and loyalty.” Historians estimate that upwards of 750,000 Americans died during the war.

The photo of the week depicts the Solders’ and Sailors’ arch as it appeared in 1894, two years after the unveiling. The impressive quadriga sculpture located at the top of the arch, as well as the smaller sculptures depicting soldiers and sailors mounted on pedestals, were designed by Brooklyn-based sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies and added several years later, in 1898 and 1901. This image comes from the William Schroeder, Sr. scrapbook collection comprised of three scrapbooks compiled by Dr. William Schroeder, Sr. between 1900 and 1905. He was a physician who lived on President Street in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn.

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: Hurricane Sandy

[Woman in front of a damaged home caused by Hurricane Sandy], 10/29/2012, 2014.010.8, Michael Claro Hurricane Sandy Photographs, 2010.010; Brooklyn Historical Society

[Woman in front of a damaged home caused by Hurricane Sandy], 10/29/2012, 2014.010.8, Michael Claro Hurricane Sandy Photographs, 2010.010; Brooklyn Historical Society.

It’s hard to believe five years have passed since Hurricane Sandy hit the New York City region. The city is still recovering from the devastation caused to homes, businesses, public transportation, and lives since the 2012 superstorm. We are heartbroken to hear of the devastation caused by storms in the Caribbean, Florida, and Texas. If you feel inclined, we hope you will consider a contribution or donating blood for the continued relief efforts.

This week’s photograph shows a woman and dog in front of a damaged home near Coney Island the day after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. This photograph is part of a collection from Michael Claro, a resident of  the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, who drove along the Belt Parkway toward Coney Island the day after the storm and took photographs of what he saw throughout his sometimes obstructed drive. About the above photograph, Claro says, “Finally I reached the beach. Damaged sea walls, ruined cars, age-old landmarks destroyed, all of this seemed inconsequential when, as I looked out toward the ocean, I heard a woman’s voice breaking down to a loved one as she spoke on the phone close by. I turned to see this and, well…that about sums it up.”

You can view the rest of the images from this collection here. Also, be sure to check out the most recent episode of Flatbush + Main for further discussion on remembering and documenting Hurricane Sandy.

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: Telephone Booths

[Yard worker in a telephone booth], circa 1865, v1988.37.36, Anthony Costanzo Brooklyn Navy Yard Collection, v1988.37; Brooklyn Historical Society

[Yard worker in a telephone booth], circa 1965, v1988.37.36, Anthony Costanzo Brooklyn Navy Yard Collection, v1988.37; Brooklyn Historical Society

In the not-so-distant past, telephone booths could be seen on nearly every street in New York City. Today, there are only four remaining old-style, glass, enclosed, functioning sidewalk phone booths along West End Avenue in Manhattan. The photo of the week depicts a yard worker making a phone call in a telephone booth at the Brooklyn Navy Yard around 1965.

This photograph comes from the Anthony Costanzo Brooklyn Navy Yard collection comprised of materials documenting the years just prior to the decommissioning of the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1966. The collection includes photographs, newspaper clippings, souvenirs, letters, promotional materials, press releases, and directories. 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 18: Hurricane Sandy, Five Years Later

In Episode 18 of Brooklyn Historical Society’s podcast Flatbush + Main, co-hosts Zaheer Ali and Julie Golia consider what it means to remember and document Hurricane Sandy five years after the storm devastated many parts of Brooklyn.

Index

02:37 – Histories and Ideas: Robin Michals
18:21 – Into the Archives: Julie May
32:06 – Voices of Brooklyn: Pam Harris

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-itunes. And share the news of Flatbush + Main far and wide using the hashtag #FlatbushandMain.

Segment 1: Histories and Ideas

In segment 1, Zaheer and Julie speak to Robin Michals, Professor of Communication Design at City Tech and acclaimed photographer. In 2010, Robin began a project called Castles Made of Sand, in which she documented areas of New York City under threat from global sea rise. When Sandy hit New York City in October 2012, Robin’s collection of photographs allowed for a powerful “before and after” of the storm. Robin discusses the role of photography in educating the public about climate change, and the haunting experiences of chronicling the impact of sea rise in Brooklyn and beyond.

Here are two photographs that Robin, Julie, and Zaheer discuss in the segment:

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These are the sea rise maps that Robin mentions.

Segment 2: Into the Archives

BHS’s Managing Director of the Library and Archives Julie May sat down with Julie and Zaheer to discuss BHS’s “Documenting Sandy” initiative that the institution undertook in the weeks after October 2012.

You can explore just a few of the collected images here.

Segment 3: Voices of Brooklyn

Zaheer and Julie listen to the experiences of Pam Harris, a Coney Island resident, during he height of the storm surge caused by Hurricane Sandy. Pam Harris lived in Coney Island all her life, and was an active community leader who founded Coney Island Generation Gap, a non-profit youth organization. An advocate for restoring services following Sandy, Harris was elected to the New York State Assembly in 2015.

You can listen to the full interview on BHS’s Oral History Portal here.

Segment 4: Endorsements

Zaheer endorsed Linda Gordon’s book talk with Rick Perlstein about her new book, The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition. On Thursday, October 26, Rick Perlstein, described by Politico as “chronicler extraordinaire of American conservatism,” leads this conversation with renowned historian Linda Gordon, whose new book takes an in-depth look at the roots and ramifications of the KKK’s 1920s resurgence. Get tickets here.

Julie endorsed BHS’s three-part series celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York State. In the series of conversations, Julie sits down with leading scholars and activists to consider the histories and legacies of women and the vote. Part 1 on Wednesday, November 1, features historian Deborah Gray White. Get tickets here. Part 2 on Monday, November 6, includes Christine Quinn and A’Shanti F. Gholar. Get tickets here. And part 3 on Wednesday, November 8, presents Joan Malin, Allison K. Lange, and Jamia Wilson. Get tickets here.

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Photo of the Week: John D. Morrell photographs

[Hicks Street], 1974, v1974.9.477, John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Hicks Street], 1974, v1974.9.477, John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The photo of the week depicts Hicks Street in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1974. I love the variety of retro cars visible along the street in this photograph. How many can you name? If you’re looking to be transported to 1960s and 1970s Brooklyn streets, look no further than the John D. Morrell photographs collection. This collection is comprised of over 2,000 photographs that include buildings and street scenes in almost every Brooklyn neighborhood.

Photographer John D. Morrell was a former assistant librarian at Long Island Historical Society (now Brooklyn Historical Society) and provided detailed metadata with street names and locations of each photograph. If you’re interested in housing research, this collection is a great place to start. This collection is fully digitized and available online here.

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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