Photo of the Week: Fire on Montague Street

[Taken Friday morning May 17, 1974 day after fire at 130 Montague Street.], 1974, V1974.9.471; John D. Morrell photographs collection, v1974.9; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Taken Friday morning May 17, 1974 day after fire at 130 Montague Street.], 1974, V1974.9.471; John D. Morrell photographs collection, v1974.9; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The photo of the week depicts the damages from a fire that took place on Montague Street in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn in the spring of 1974. In a New York Times article published the day after the fire, there were considerable damages to the 130 Montague Street brownstone. The three-alarm fire left six families homeless, and one elderly woman in need of resuscitation (she was otherwise uninjured). It took one hour and 120 firefighters to extinguish the fire.

This photograph comes from the John D. Morrell photograph collection which contains over 2,000 black-and-white and color negatives and prints from 1957-1974. Morrell was an assistant librarian at the Long Island Historical Society (now the Brooklyn Historical Society) and photographed nearly every Brooklyn neighborhood, focusing primarily on buildings and street scenes. We’ve digitized his entire collection and it is available 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. library@brooklynhistory.org

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Photo of the Week: A.I. Namm & Son Department Store

[Namm Store interior], 1898, V1972.1.743; Early Brooklyn and Long Island photograph collection, ARC.201; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Namm Store interior], 1898, V1972.1.743; Early Brooklyn and Long Island photograph collection, ARC.201; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The photo of the week depicts the A.I. Namm & Son department store interior, located at 450 – 458 Fulton Street in the Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1898. Adolph I. Namm was a Polish immigrant with an embroidery and upholstery business in Manhattan. In 1885, he moved his business in Brooklyn, and by 1891 he opened a new store at 452 Fulton. At the time, that stretch of Fulton Street was emerging as a popular commercial shopping destination. His son, Benjamin Harrison Namm, eventually took over the business. During its heyday, the store was enormously successful. It was also one of the largest cash-only enterprises in Brooklyn, competing with other large department stores like Abraham & Straus.

The A.I. Namm & Son flagship store was closed in 1957, and the business moved to the suburbs. The building has since been sold and purchased several times. The store once covered an entire city block, but the 450-458 is the last remaining portion today. Fulton Street is still a commercial district today. To learn more about the history of Fulton Street, check out My Brooklyn, a documentary film by Kelly Anderson.

This photograph comes from the Early Brooklyn and Long Island photograph collection. This collection comprises roughly 1,400 black-and-white photographs taken by various photographers between 1860 and 1920. The majority of the photographs in this collection depict views of Brooklyn and Suffolk County. To view 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: Bob Adelman photographs

[Operation Clean Sweep Demonstration on Sidewalk], 1962, v1989.22.17; Bob Adelman photographs of Brooklyn Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) demonstrations, v1989.22; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Operation Clean Sweep Demonstration on Sidewalk], 1962, v1989.22.17; Bob Adelman photographs of Brooklyn Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) demonstrations, v1989.22; Brooklyn Historical Society.

We were sad to hear about the recent passing of photographer and activist Bob Adelman, who extensively documented the civil rights movement in Brooklyn and the southern United States, as well as pivotal historical moments like the 1963 March on Washington. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Far Rockaway, Queens, Mr. Adelman was a member of and photographer for Brooklyn CORE during the early 1960s when the chapter focused on many issues of racism and inequity, including the living conditions of African Americans living in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. About his approach to photography, he has said, “I shot with one eye on the lens, one eye on history, and my heart with the movement.”

The photo of the week depicts demonstrators during “Operation Clean Sweep,” a 1962 protest movement addressing discriminatory sanitation policies in New York City. This photograph comes from the Bob Adelman photographs of Brooklyn Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) demonstrations collection. This collection is comprised of 17 black-and-white photographs depicting several civil rights demonstrations organized by the Brooklyn chapter of CORE. This collection is not fully digitized, but you can still view the photographs by making an appointment at the Othmer Library.  To learn more about Mr. Adelman, and to see additional photographs, check out this gallery and interview at the New York Times. And to read more about Brooklyn CORE and Operation Clean Sweep, check out Fighting Jim Crow in the County of Kings, a terrific book by historian Brian Purnell.

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: Scouts

[Scouts at Campsite], 1912, V1981.284.636; Emmanuel House lantern slide collection, ARC.136; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Scouts at Campsite], 1912, V1981.284.636; Emmanuel House lantern slide collection, ARC.136; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The photo of the week depicts a group of scouts at a campsite in Forest Park in Queens, during the spring of 1912. A Brooklyn Daily Eagle article printed a week before this photograph was taken describes Forest Park as the site for a scout rally, skills test, and program. “Next Saturday, the individual scouts who are ready for their firebuilding test will be examined by the scout masters on some features of actual camp life, such as cooking, lighting fires, etc., at Forest Park. This is part of the examination toward the grade of second class scout, a comprehensive test which includes as well a certain amount of first aid work.”

The scout movement began in England around 1908, inspired by the publication of Scouting for Boys, which emphasized the support and development of young people through outdoor and survival skills. By 1910, several youth organizations in New York formed scout troops based on this model, and the Boy Scouts of America was established. What began with roughly 2,000 U.S.- based scouts has grown to millions today.

This photograph comes from the Emmanuel House lantern slide collection. This collection contains 87 slides dating from 1900 to 1914 that depict children at the Emmanuel House, their activities and interior and exterior shots of the building. The Emmanuel House was located at 131 Steuben Street in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. It was run by the Young Men’s League of the Emmanuel Baptist Church as a civic center and place of outreach, offering kindergarten classes and recreational classes to children in the neighborhood. 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: Early Spring

[Brooklyn Photographs: Prospect Park-lake], ca. 1975, V1990.2.176; Donald L. Nowlan Brooklyn collection, ARC.120; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Brooklyn Photographs: Prospect Park-lake], ca. 1975, V1990.2.176; Donald L. Nowlan Brooklyn collection, ARC.120; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Spring is my favorite season in Brooklyn, so the early spring-like temperatures lately make me excited for the warmer months ahead. What excites you about springtime in Brooklyn? Personally, I can’t wait to spend time in Prospect Park, reading and riding my bike. With that in mind, the photo of the week depicts the reservoir in Prospect Park in early spring, sometime around 1975.

This photograph has a pink tone which can occur from older photographic prints. Color photographs are naturally unstable and impermanent, with the color dyes fading at different rates. While largely unavoidable, the deterioration and discoloration of photographs can be delayed by proper storage and care. General guidelines for the storage of photographs includes a relatively dry (30-40% relative humidity), cool (room temperature or below), stable environment. To learn more about the care of photographs, check out this useful resource, created by the Library of Congress.

This photograph comes from the Donald L. Nowlan Brooklyn collection. Donald L. Nowlan grew up at 470 3rd Street in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. He attended Brooklyn schools from elementary through college. The photographs in this collection include 122 color photographic prints, 165 color slides, and three black-and-white photographic prints taken by Nowlan that document Brooklyn in the 1960s and 1970s. The primary subject-matter of the photographs are Coney Island, Brooklyn Botantic Garden, Prospect Park, and the Reenactment of the Battle of Brooklyn in Prospect Park (circa 1979). To view 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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