Photo of the Week: Self Portrait

Untitled, January 11, 1899, 2010.023.30; 141 Quincy Street photograph album, 2010.023; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Untitled, January 11, 1899, 2010.023.30; 141 Quincy Street photograph album, 2010.023; Brooklyn Historical Society.

This charming photograph comes from a photo album discovered and donated to the Brooklyn Historical Society by the current owner of 141 Quincy Street.  The album contains interior photographs of the home, this young lady’s family members including a sister, both parents, and a baby, in addition to a parade and a few outings.  141 Quincy Street is located between Bedford and Franklin Avenues in the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant.  The house was built around the turn of the century in what was at that time a middle-class neighborhood of German immigrants.  Legend has it that the sisters lived in the house their entire lives.  When they died, the house was auctioned off, but the person who bought it lived there only a short while.  The current owner and donor of this album intends on staying in the house for a while and is enjoying the original details throughout the house: floor to ceiling mirrors, some of the original furniture, the multiple fireplaces, and the beautiful light fixtures.

I love looking at this picture and imagining this young woman experiencing the changes of Brooklyn from the late 19th century well into the 20th century.  I also like that her self-portrait includes her camera.  This looks like an early roll film camera with bellows and a fixed lens.  It was at this time that Kodak started making Brownies available to the masses, but this camera looks a bit more complicated indicating a more involved interest in photography.  Want to see a similar camera?  BHS has several cameras on exhibit that trace the technological progress of photography and its cameras in our 3rd floor gallery where Say Cheese: Portraits to Pics is on view.

Interested in seeing more photographs from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery which includes a selection of our images.  To search our entire collection of images, visit BHS Othmer Library Wed-Fri 1:00-5:00 p.m.

About Julie May

I am the Managing Director of Library & Archives at Brooklyn Historical Society.
This entry was posted in Brooklyn Past & Present, Library & Archives and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Photo of the Week: Self Portrait

  1. Julie May says:

    Thanks for your research Kathy. We’ll add it to our records.

  2. kathy condon says:

    I just found 3 family trees on that include the family members I mentioned in my reply to your blog post. One tree is “public” (although only viewable, I think, by ancestry members). The other two are private, which means that you have to ask the tree authors if they would please send you an access link. I just messaged the three tree authors through and told them about your blog post, so you may be hearing from them as well.

    Kathy Condon

  3. kathy condon says:


    I think it is likely that the girl in this photo is Leita Arline Noble. Born in New York in July of 1883, she was only child of Charles D. Rust and Marion C. Rust. The 1900 census lists Leita as living at 141 Quincy with her parents and a servant in 1900. Charles, who worked as a lawyer in Manhattan, was listed as living in at 141 Quincy as early as 1872, which is around the time he and Marion married. (In 1871 he is listed at 108 Quincy). Charles and Marion lived at this house for the remainder of their lives.

    Leita graduated from Pratt Institute High School on June 17 in 1902, according to a Brooklyn Daily Eagle article reporting on the event. (Her 1940 census listing indicates that she did not go on to attend college.) Leita and her husband Frederick Noble raised their two daughters, Eleanor and Margaret, at 141 Quincy. These two, I guess, would be the “sisters” of legend. For many years these sisters lived at 141 Quincy only from November through April. They spent May through October at their summer home, a historic stone house in Willsboro, NY on Lake Champlain in the Adirondacks. (Sources:, p. 4-5, and
    Eleanor, who died first in 1997, probably lived on Quincy Street until her death. However, Margaret probably did not. She transferred the deed to the house to someone who lived there for about the next 10 years (according to ACRIS online NYC property records). Also, the zip code listed for Margaret’s last residence in her social security death record is 11205. This is not the zip for the Quincy Street house but instead is the zip of an adjacent neighborhood.

    Because the online comment format is not exactly footnote friendly, I’m listing my sources for all this very informally. I’ve also included more specific details on Leita and her family below.

    Best to you,
    Kathy Condon, Brooklyn, NY


    Charles D. Rust was born July 1843 in New York (according to 1900 census). He was buried March 29, 1913 in Greenwood Cemetery (according to Cemetery Index). Charles’ wife, Marion C. Rust, who Charles married in 1883, was born August 1861 (according to 1900 census). She died at her home on May 9, 1953 (NY Times obit), and is also buried at Greenwood.

    Their only child, Leita Arline Rust, was born in July of 1883 (according to the 1900 census). She was buried in Greenwood Cemetery on March 26, 1960 (according to cemetery index).
    Leita married Frederick Whiting Noble on June 20, 1907 (date according to a Syracuse U. alumni listing I found online for Frederick; this source also provides Leita’s middle name). Frederick was born Aug 14, 1877 in Middleburg, NY (according to his WWI and WWII draft registration forms) and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery on Sept. 5, 1958.

    Eleanor E. Noble (24 Jul 1908-25 Nov 1997) and Margaret W. Noble (27 Sep 1912-12 Jun 1999). Both were buried in Greenwood Cemetery. Birth and death dates from the Social Security Death Index. Middle initials from address directory listings and from ACRIS property records.

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