Photo of the Week: Red Hook

[Boy walking in Red Hook], 1973 ca., V2008.013.64, Lucille Fornasieri Gold photographs, 2008.013; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Boy walking in Red Hook], ca. 1973, V2008.013.64, Lucille Fornasieri Gold photographs, 2008.013; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The photo of the week depicts an unidentified boy walking in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, around 1973. Personally, I love the striking red, white, and blue color palate of this photograph. The red fire hydrant, sign, and hat guides my eye throughout the frame. I think this photograph is a good example of how photographer Lucille Fornasieri Gold uses color and light in her work. She has said of her work: “There is always a movement, a gesture, an interesting or bizarre juxtaposition, a color or combination of colors that create a renewed impulse to see.”

This photograph comes from the Lucille Fornasieri Gold photographs collection. In 2008, Lucille donated 93 color and black and white photographs, taken between 1968 and 2008, to BHS. The majority of her photographs depicts streets scenes and portraits of people throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan, and New Jersey. To see 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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Photo of the Week: Glass plate negative

[Two boats off beach], 1900 ca., V1985.4.18, William Koch glass plate negatives, V1985.4; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Two boats off beach], 1900 ca., V1985.4.18, William Koch glass plate negatives, V1985.4; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Can you make out the two boats depicted in this photograph? I love the dreamy quality of this image created by the smudges and texture on the glass plate negative. Glass plate negatives are one of the earliest forms of photographic negatives, dating back to 1851. There are two types of glass plate negatives: collodion wet plate negative and the gelatin dry plate. Both techniques require a light-sensitive emulsion that is spread and fixed onto a glass plate.

The photo of the week is a glass plate negative depicting two boats in the water in an unidentified location in Brooklyn, sometime around 1900. This photograph comes from the William Koch glass plate negatives collection that comprises 66 negatives dating from 1890 to 1910. Williams “Billy” Koch was an amateur photographer who documented homes, street scenes, and portraits of people throughout Brooklyn. To see 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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Photo of the Week: Knickerbocker Field Club

[Men playing tennis, Flatbush, Brooklyn], 1889., V1974.7.71, Adrian Vanderveer Martense collection, Arc.191; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Men playing tennis, Flatbush, Brooklyn], 1889., V1974.7.71, Adrian Vanderveer Martense collection, Arc.191; Brooklyn Historical Society.

If you’ve ever walked along Church Avenue in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, you might not notice a gated entrance to the Knickerbocker Field Club, also known as “the Knick”, located at East 18th Street and Tennis Court. Since 1889, the private, member-owned tennis club has maintained five tennis courts tucked behind a large apartment complex and above the Q train line. It’s a hidden Brooklyn gem and if you’re a tennis lover, they are still taking members! To learn more, check out the Knickerbocker Field Club website.

The photo of the week depicts the Knickerbocker Field Club in 1889. This photograph comes from the Adrian Vanderveer Martense collection that comprises lantern slides and photographs taken by Martense from 1872 to 1889. Many of the photograph depicts the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, but other collection highlights include photographs of the Blizzard of 1888 and Prospect Park. To see 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 05: Whose Crown Heights?

In episode 05 of Brooklyn Historical Society’s podcast Flatbush + Main, co-hosts Zaheer Ali and Julie Golia do a deep dive into the history and future of Crown Heights, a neighborhood in central Brooklyn, on the 25th anniversary of the 1991 Crown Heights Riot. Throughout Crown Heights’ history, its many diverse residents have debated the boundaries, ownership, and meaning of this ever-evolving neighborhood. Julie and Zaheer consider how the question “Whose Crown Heights?” has shaped the neighborhood’s history from the 18th century to the present, they crack open the “Crown Heights” folder from the Vertical File in BHS’s Library and Archives, and they listen to residents Rabbi Simon Jacobson and Iyedun Ince reflect on their relationship with and observations about Crown Heights. For complete show notes, go to brooklynhistory.org/flatbush-main.

Index

03:38 – Histories and Ideas: Whose Crown Heights?
17:15 – Into the Archives: BHS’s Crown Heights Vertical File
26:53 – Voices of Brooklyn: Rabbi Simon Jacobson and Iyedun Ince

Interested in more on Crown Heights? Brooklyn Historical Society recently launched “Voices of Crown Heights,” a multi-year oral history and documentary project exploring themes of identity, community, social justice, ethnic relations, gentrification, and displacement. Learn more about the project here.

Segment 1: Histories and Ideas

Want to learn more about the history of Weeksville, one of the earliest and most significant independent free black communities in America? Plan a trip to Weeksville Heritage Center in Crown Heights. Weeksville hosts amazing events, community projects, exhibitions, and tours of houses that date back to the early 19th century.

The Brooklyn Movement Center works with local communities on issues related to education, environmental justice, food sovereignty, police accountability, and more. Their podcast, “Third Rail,” explores issues of politics, culture, and history and their impact on communities in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights.

Both Weeksville Heritage Center and the Brooklyn Movement Center are partners in BHS’s “Voices of Crown Heights” project.

Historian Judith Wellman’s 2014 book, Brooklyn’s Promised Land: The Free Black Community of Weeksville, New York, gives a terrific and readable overview of the neighborhood’s 19th-century origins and 20th century transformation.

Segment 2: Into the Archives

Here are images of some of the hundreds of documents in the “Crown Heights” folder from BHS’s Vertical File.

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You can find a collection-level description of BHS’s Vertical Files on Emma, BHS’s catablog.

Interested in learning more about the origins of Vertical Files? Take a look at this description from a turn-of-the-century library catalog.

Segment 3: Voices of Brooklyn

The oral histories featured in this episode of Flatbush + Main are from the Crown Heights History Project collection. The Crown Heights History Project, also known as “Bridging Eastern Parkway,” was a joint project by BHS with Brooklyn Children’s Museum and Weeksville Heritage Center (then known as the Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant History), undertaken in 1993, two years after the Crown Heights riot. The project included exhibitions at each partner institution, and the oral history interviews were a substantial component of the exhibition preparation and exhibited materials. The interviews are being made available for the first time in a digital format, thanks to a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Below is the full interview with Rabbi Simon Jacobson:

And, here is the full interview with Iyedun Ince:

During the segment, we mention the Eastern Parkway Coalition papers, a manuscript collection in BHS’s Archives. Explore the finding aid here.

Segment 4: Endorsements

Zaheer endorsed “Are We There Yet? The Illusion of a Post-Sexist Society,” an event held at BHS on Thursday, September 8 at 7pm. Moderated by Teresa Younger of the Ms. Foundation, the panel includes some pretty amazing speakers, including Marcia Gillespie (Ms. and Essence), Anna Holmes (Jezebel), Muthoni Wambu Kraal (Emily’s List), and Rebecca Traister (author of All the Single Ladies). Tickets are $10 ($5 for members) and can be purchased here.

Julie endorsed BHS’s next Free Friday event, which will be held on September 16 from 5 to 9pm. One Friday each month, BHS stays open late and offers free admission, live music, activities, and access to our exhibition galleries. The theme for September is, of course, Back to School! Learn more here.

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Photo of the Week: East 25th Street

[As at present at corner of East 25th St. and Avenue D – 1917], 1917., V1986.65.1.14, John Jay Pierrepont photograph collection, Arc.197; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[As at present at corner of East 25th St. and Avenue D – 1917], 1917., V1986.65.1.14, John Jay Pierrepont photograph collection, Arc.197; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Last week, the stretch of East 25th street (between Avenue D and Clarendon Rd) in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn was named the “Greenest Block in Brooklyn” by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Judging criteria included maintenance, creativity, community participation, suitability of plants, and more. How does your Brooklyn block compare?

The photo of the week depicts one portion of this block, the corner of East 25th Street and Avenue D, in 1914. This photo comes from the John Jay Pierrepont photograph collection that comprises lantern slides, one photograph album, and black and white photographic prints taken by Pierrepont. This photograph is part of a photograph album compiled by Pierrepont that primarily documents 17th and 18th century homes in Brooklyn.

John Jay Pierrepont (1849-1923) was the youngest son of a prominent Brooklyn family. He was a financier and businessman who eventually took over the family business, the Pierrepont Stores, following his father’s retirement. He was an avid amateur photographer and actively involved in Brooklyn organizations.  He served as treasurer for the Long Island Historical Society (now Brooklyn Historical Society) and as one of the original board members of the Committee on Brooklyn History (supervised by the Long island Historical Society). If you’re interested in learning more about John Jay Pierrepont, or his family, be sure to check out the Pierrepont family papers collection available by appointment at the Othmer Library.

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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