Photo of the Week: Edna Huntington

[63-71 Sands Street], circa 1940, v1974.16.0043; Edna Huntington papers and photographs, ARC.044; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[63-71 Sands Street], circa 1940, v1974.16.0043; Edna Huntington papers and photographs, ARC.044; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Brooklyn Historical Society has a legacy of notable collection staff who work hard providing research assistance and enhancing our rich collections. We just passed National Library Week and thought it would be a good opportunity to draw your attention to a former librarian who donated hundreds of photographs and personal papers to the BHS collection. The photo of the week by former Head Librarian Edna Huntington, depicts 63-71 Sands Street on the border of Downtown Brooklyn and DUMBO neighborhoods of Brooklyn around 1940.  This photograph is particularly noteworthy because these buildings no longer exist due to major demolition projects by the BQE from 1946-1951.

Edna Huntington attended PS 131 in the Fort Hamilton neighborhood of Brooklyn and later completed Columbia University’s Home Study courses in librarianship. She began working for the Long Island Historical Society (now Brooklyn Historical Society) in 1926 and served as Head Librarian from 1936 until 1960. Huntington was part of a long line of female librarians who shaped the institution and its collections – you can read more about her predecessor, Emma Toedteberg, here. In addition to her work as a librarian, Huntington was an avid traveler and amateur photographer. She documented her excursions hiking and camping throughout the northeast United States with photographs and travel journals.

She donated hundreds of documentary-style photographs depicting Brooklyn street scenes during the 1940s, in addition to her travel photographs and writings. To see more photographs form this collection, check out this online gallery. Her photographs are particularly useful for housing 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.

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