Photo of the Week: Hurricane Sandy

[Woman in front of a damaged home caused by Hurricane Sandy]; 2012, 2014.010.8; Michael Claro Hurricane Sandy photograph collection, 2014.010; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Woman in front of a damaged home caused by Hurricane Sandy]; 2012, 2014.010.8; Michael Claro Hurricane Sandy photograph collection, 2014.010; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Where were you when Hurricane Sandy hit? The 2012 superstorm devastated homes, businesses, public transportation, and lives all throughout the region.  It’s been over two years since the storm, but the damage and memory of that event is not easily forgotten.

Teacher and photographer Michael Claro documented Hurricane Sandy through his lens, and donated the above photo, and seven others, to BHS’ Documenting Sandy collection initiative. Claro recalls worrying all night if his 100-year-old home in Bensonhurst would withstand the winds. He says, “The memory of waking up and immediately putting on the news to see Breezy Point on fire still gives me a sinking feeling in my stomach.”

The collection includes eight digital photographs documenting damage the day after the storm. Claro drove along the Belt Parkway toward Coney Island taking photographs along the way. 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.”

This collection of digital images is newly processed and can now be accessed online. Check out all eight photographs 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. photos@brooklynhistory.org

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Accessing the Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations Oral History Collection through the Digital Humanities

I’m pleased to announce that the Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations (CBBG) oral history collection is now open for research! From 2011 to 2014, a team of oral historians sponsored by BHS conducted interviews with mixed-heritage people and families in Brooklyn. CBBG narrators and interviewers explored the themes of cultural hybridity, race, ethnicity and identity formation in the United States. The complete collection of over 100 oral history interviews is available for use in the Othmer Library and a portion of the contents are accessible online at the CBBG website.

cbbg

An exciting feature of the CBBG website is a new digital humanities application known as OHMS, or the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer. OHMS, developed by oral history wunderkind Doug Boyd and his team at the University of Kentucky Libraries, tackles an inherent challenge in oral history archives, i.e. accessing the oral history via the recording manifestation vs. transcript manifestation. While the audio recording provides the richness and context of the narrator’s voice, the transcript offers researchers the capacity to conduct keyword searches throughout the interview. OHMS solves this dilemma by marrying the audio recording to the transcript, thereby making both manifestations of the interview searchable.

Let’s take the oral history with Ericka Basile as an example. Basile, an artist who grew up in Tennessee and lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, is the daughter of Haitian immigrants. Throughout her interview, she discusses the Creole language from both a personal and historical perspective. To find all discussions related to “Creole” in the transcript and audio recording, follow these 4 easy steps:

  1. Move the toggle switch to TRANSCRIPT
  2. Do a keyword search for “Creole” in the search box. OHMS will provide a list of instances where Basile and the interviewer mention the word.
  3. Click on an instance in the list. The transcript will scroll to the corresponding sentence.
  4. Click on the nearest time-code on the left-hand side of the transcript. The audio recording will jump to corresponding sentence.

ohms1

By marrying the transcript to the audio recording, OHMS provides researchers with unprecedented access to oral histories.

Another method of OHMS navigation is through indexes created by CBBG staff and interns. We’ve broken the transcript down into sequential segments based on the content of the interview. In the Basile interview, for example, you could go directly to a segment titled, “Haitian heritage and ethnic diversity in Tennessee” at moment 37:47. Since OHMS provides a direct link to each segment, you can send a link to the “Haitian heritage” segment. The recipient will then open the link to start the audio recording at 37:47.

index

OHMS is a truly amazing research tool and I encourage you to explore the application through the CBBG website. To launch OHMS, go the CBBG website and select LISTEN. Choose a narrator from the list by clicking on a name. At the bottom of the narrator page, select SEARCH SYNCHRONIZED AUDIO AND TRANSCRIPT. You will be directed to a new page with the OHMS application.

Enjoy!

david

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Photo of the Week: Brooklyn Bridge

[Glimpses of Brooklyn], circa 1894, V1986.12.1.4; Glimpses of Brooklyn viewbooks, ARC.227; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Glimpses of Brooklyn], circa 1894, V1986.12.1.4; Glimpses of Brooklyn viewbooks, ARC.227; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of my favorite Brooklyn landmarks, and fortunately for me, the bridge is just a few blocks from the BHS office. Pictured above is the Brooklyn Bridge in 1894, with just a few women and one man walking along the pedestrian bridge. Today, nearly 4,000 people walk the bridge every day. Can you imagine experiencing the bridge without the crowds?

When the bridge opened to the public in 1883, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, and remained that way until 1903, when the Williamsburg Bridge surpassed it. At the time, it connected two separate cities (Brooklyn and New York City), which weren’t consolidated until 1898, four years after this image was taken. To learn more about Brooklyn Bridge history, be sure to check out the Brooklyn Waterfront History website, developed by BHS and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

This image is from the Glimpses of Brooklyn viewbooks collection. Viewbooks, also called souvenir albums or view albums, are books that contain commercially published groups of photographs depicting a place, activity, or event. This is the third image in Glimpses of Brooklyn souvenir album, printed by Mercantile Illustrating Co. The collection includes 25 black and white non-photographic prints of photographs with scenes of Brooklyn, including Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, Green-wood Cemetery, and Brooklyn Heights. To learn more about the viewbooks from this collection, check out the finding aid 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. photos@brooklynhistory.org

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Photo of the Week: Bickford’s

[351-357 Fulton Street], ca 1940, V1974.16.0028; Edna Huntington papers and photographs, 1974.16, Brooklyn Historical Society.

[351-357 Fulton Street], ca 1940, V1974.16.0028; Edna Huntington papers and photographs, ARC.044; Brooklyn Historical Society.

What’s your go-to lunch spot in Brooklyn? Pictured above is Bickford’s, a luncheonette on Fulton Street, in 1940. The restaurant opened in 1921 with the goal of providing quick service and moderately priced fare.

Bickford’s had 24 locations and extended hours, which attracted characters of all types and backgrounds. Most notably, Beat writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were spotted late at night at Bickford’s locations throughout the city. Ginsberg wrote in his famous work Howl, “Sank all night in submarine light of Bickford’s.” The last Bickford’s location closed in 1982, but you can still see a Bickford’s sign at the former 34th Street and Eighth Avenue location. To learn more about Bickford’s, be sure to check out this website.

This photograph comes from the Edna Huntington collection. Huntington worked at the Long Island Historical Society (now Brooklyn Historical Society) starting in 1926, and served as the head librarian from 1936-1960. The collection includes 1,550 black and white photographs, the majority of which document Brooklyn from 1938 to 1956. To see more of Huntington’s photographs, be sure to 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. photos@brooklynhistory.org

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Photo of the Week: In Bloom

[Scene in Park “wild”], ca 1880, V1974.7.110; Adrian Vanderveer Martense collection, 1974.7, Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Scene in Park “wild”], ca 1880, V1974.7.110; Adrian Vanderveer Martense collection, 1974.7, Brooklyn Historical Society.

It’s officially March, which hopefully means the worst of this long winter is behind us. According to the New York Times, this frigid winter has its benefits: the snow covered ground is a great insulator, and creates the perfect environment for beautiful and lush spring foliage. As reporter Andy Newman said in the article last week, “Enjoy the hard winter that makes a good spring.” That’s something to look forward to!

With that in mind, the photo of the week is from the Adrian Vanderveer Martense Collection and features an 1880 lantern slide of Ambergill Falls in Prospect Park. “Wild” was written on the photograph, presumably the title. The circular shape of the image comes from the shape of the mount or mask used. To me, this photograph feels like a portal to a secret (warm) garden.

Adrian Vanderveer Martense (1852-1898) was an amateur photographer and longtime resident of Flatbush. He photographed primarily neighbors and landscapes of his neighborhood, including the scene above. You can see more of Martense’s photos 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. photos@brooklynhistory.org

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