Photo of the Week: David C. Hurd papers and photographs

David and Avril at their home in Brooklyn, July 1960. David C. Hurd papers, 2015.019; Brooklyn Historical Society.

David and Avril at their home in Brooklyn, July 1960. David C. Hurd papers, 2015.019; Brooklyn Historical Society.

One of the most exciting aspects of working with the rich collections at Brooklyn Historical Society is uncovering the lives and stories of past Brooklynites. The photographs and letters in the David C. Hurd papers, reveal a heartwarming courtship and love story between David and Avril Hurd, pictured here in July 1960.

David C. Hurd was born in Jamaica and migrated to Brooklyn in 1907, living in various locations in the Fort Greene and Crown Heights neighborhoods of Brooklyn. David’s brother Tom played matchmaker and nudged David to begin a pen pal courtship with Avril Cato who was living in Jamaica. Through the letters, you learn of David’s employment and experience living as an immigrant in Brooklyn, as well as his increasing affection for Avril.

On May 17, 1914, he wrote, “If you were but with me my love life would itself resolve into a very paradise. We could to each other imitate the birds: softly cooing, gently wooing breathing tender words of love, each into the other’s eager listening ear.”

Nearly a year after exchanging letters, the couple wed on August 26, 1914 in Port Antonio, Jamaica. They met in person for the first time just one day before their wedding. They settled in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn where they raised their six children. Avril died in 1962 and David in 1971, but their children and grandchildren continue to live in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn today.

We hope you will take the opportunity to visit this collection on your next visit to the Othmer Library. You can also read the letters in a book compiled and transcribed by Hurd’s granddaughter, Judith C. Lovell, Papa’s Letters: Love via First Class Mail, also available 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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Photo of the Week: Brooklyn Gardens

Students Tending Victory Garden, 1943, 2014.019.17.01.006; Packer Collegiate Institute records, 2014.019; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Students Tending Victory Garden, 1943, 2014.019.17.01.006; Packer Collegiate Institute records, 2014.019; Brooklyn Historical Society.

One of the best parts of spring in Brooklyn is the reward of endless produce options from the farmers market or grocery store to your local CSA or community garden. According to NYC Parks, community gardens account for 100 acres of public open space in the city. The photo of the week depicts Packer Collegiate Institute students tending to their Victory Garden on campus during the spring of 1943.

During World War II, the government initiated a food rationing program as part of the war effort. To supplement rations, civilians were encouraged to grow their own Victory Gardens.  Nearly 20 million Victory Gardens were planted and accounted for 40 percent of all vegetable consumption by 1943. Packer Collegiate institute students and faculty contributed their own Victory Garden to this movement (seen in the photograph above). To learn more about Packer during wartime and the fascinating history of the school, be sure to check out the BHS curated site, The Packer Collegiate Institute: A Story of Education in Brooklyn.

The photo of the week is from the Packer Collegiate Institute records collection comprised of administrative records, architectural records, Board of Trustee records, student and faculty records, publications, photographs, and memorabilia pertaining to the college from 1780-2016. 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: 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. library@brooklynhistory.org

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Flatbush + Main Episode 24: Brooklyn’s Revolutionary War Prison Ships

In Episode 24 of Brooklyn Historical Society’s podcast Flatbush + Main, co-hosts Zaheer Ali and Julie Golia discuss a Revolutionary War tragedy: the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans inside prison ships during the British wartime occupation of New York from 1776 to 1783.

Index
03:22 – Histories and Ideas
23:43 – Into the Archives
46:10 – Voices of Brooklyn

For complete show notes, go to brooklynhistory.org/flatbush-main.

We hope you’re enjoying our podcast! Please subscribe, rate, and review us at brooklynhistory.org/fm-itunes. And share the news of Flatbush + Main far and wide using the hashtag #FlatbushandMain.

Segment 1: Histories and Ideas

In segment 1, Zaheer and Julie explain how it came to be that the occupying British Army began converted ships into makeshift prisons during the Revolutionary War. They discuss the context in which the ships came to be, including the disastrous American loss during the Battle of Brooklyn and the question of whether and why New Yorkers were “patriots,” “loyalists,” or something in between. They also consider the horrific conditions on the ships in the context of today’s understanding of human rights and the history of public health.

Many of the stats and figures that Julie and Zaheer mention in this segment come from the terrific book by Ted Burrows, Forgotten Patriots: The Untold Story of American Prisoners During the Revolutionary War.

Segment 2: Into the Archives

In the decades after the American Revolution, survivors of the prison ships began publishing their recollections of imprisonment. Zaheer and Julie examine one of these books, Recollections of the Jersey prison ship: from the manuscript of Capt. Thomas Dring prisoner, by Thomas Dring and Albert Greene, revealing how these personal narratives cannot be separated from the politicization of the Revolutionary War and the growing political factionalism in American politics in the decades after the Revolution.

The Othmer Library at Brooklyn Historical Society holds this book in our collections; access the catalog record here.

You can also read Dring’s account as an e-book available on Internet Archive.

Segment 3: Voices of Brooklyn

Zaheer and Julie listen to an excerpt from the oral history of Alice Terson, from BHS’s AIDS/Brooklyn Oral History Project collection. Alice Terson was an HIV positive Latina lesbian born in 1952; her oral history was taken in 1992. Terson discusses her time in prison, her struggles with drug addiction, and her interactions with an HIV positive woman imprisoned with her before Terson’s own diagnosis.

You can listen to the full interview on BHS’s Oral History Portal here.

Segment 4: Endorsements

Both Julie and Zaheer endorsed programs in connection with BHS’s new long-term exhibition, Waterfront, at BHS DUMBO.

Julie endorsed the public program “Invisible Water, Invisible Watersheds: The Gowanus Canal as a Case Study.” This panel uses the Gowanus Canal as a case study for a discussion of urban ecology, stressed city ecosystems, and innovative design solutions. Jarrett Murphy of City Limits moderates a discussion with panelists Eric Sanderson, senior conservation ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and director of the Manahatta Project; Kate Orff, MacArthur Award-winning landscape architect whose firm, SCAPE, has designed a visionary plan for the Gowanus Canal; and Andrea Parker, executive director of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy.

The panel takes place at BHS’s Pierrepont location on Wednesday, April 18. 2018 at 6:30pm. Tickets are $5, and free for members. Reserve them here.

Zaheer endorsed the public program “Roasted: The History of Coffee in NYC.” From Arbuckle Coffee to Brooklyn Roasting Company, coffee has been at the center of Brooklyn life for well over a century. Join BHS Director of Public History Julie Golia, coffee impresario and owner of Gillies Coffee Company (which was founded in 1840) Donald Schoenholt, Brooklyn Roasting Company’s Jim Munson, and Erin Meister author of New York City Coffee: A Caffeinated History for a conversation about the love affair that wakes us up every morning.

The panel takes place at BHS’s Pierrepont location on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 6:30pm. Tickets are $10, and $5 for members. Reserve them here.

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Photo of the Week: Baseball

Boys Club, circa 1910, v1981.284.51; Emmanuel House lantern slide collection, ARC.136; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Boys Club, circa 1910, v1981.284.51; Emmanuel House lantern slide collection, ARC.136; Brooklyn Historical Society.

It’s officially spring, which also means the start of baseball season. The photo of the week depicts a portrait of a boys baseball club taken at the Emmanuel House in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, around 1910. Brooklyn played a key role in baseball’s early history, in part because of the rapid growth of amateur clubs that developed within a decade after 1845. By 1858, there were 71 clubs in Brooklyn, including the Atlantics of Bedford, the Excelsiors of South Brooklyn, and the Williamsburg Eckfords. According an 1858 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, “Their games have been attended by large crowds of spectators and it became evident that a great popular want was being supplied by these clubs.” To learn more about this fascinating history, check out Brooklyn! An Illustrated History available at the Othmer Library.

This photograph comes from the Emmanuel House lantern slide collection comprised of 87 photographs from 1900 to 1914 that document children at the Emmanuel House, their activities, interior and exterior shots of the buildings. The majority of the photographs are group portraits of clubs, classes, and recreational activities at Emmanuel House. Emmanuel House was located at 131 Steuben Street in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn and served as a civic center and place of outreach run by the Young Men’s League of the Emmanuel Baptist Church. To see more photographs from this collection, check out this gallery.

If you haven’t seen the BHS Pierrepont baseball exhibition, Until Everyone Has It Made: Jackie Robinson’s Legacy, you have until June to check it out! This exhibition celebrates Jackie Robinson’s legacy and features an array of archival materials, photography, programs and memorabilia.

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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