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.
The Eugene Armbruster Scrapbook Digitization Project has gotten out of the city!The project has reached yet another milestone with the addition of “Views of Nassau County” to Brooklyn Historical Society’s online image gallery. This scrapbook is about 175 pages long, which appears to be typical for the scrapbooks Armbruster compiled. It includes mostly visual materials including clippings from newspapers and other popular publications, postcards, and panoramic drawings. Some text is also included and details the early history of towns in Nassau County.
Armbruster began compiling “Nassau County” in 1909. The scrapbook pages are ordered by towns and townships. Featured prominently are Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Mineola, Port Washington, Freeport, Rockville Centre, Long Beach, Glen Cove, Sea Cliff, Cold Spring Harbor (in Suffolk County), and Massapequa. Nassau County’s maritime and recreational boating history is featured prominently in the scrapbook with many images of coastal scenes and infrastructure, such as lighthouses, sailboats, and boat docks.There are also many sketches of houses and mansions of prominent Nassau County residents. These sketches appear to have been mass produced in magazines in the early 20th century.
The U.S. military base at Hempstead Plains is also featured in the scrapbook and includes images of Camp Black, a camp that trained soldiers to fight in the Spanish-American War, and the Mitchel Air Force Base, active 1918-1961.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: firstname.lastname@example.org.