Search the Collections


Library Catalog (aka Bobcat) 
Search for books, periodicals, and maps. Bobcat is a cooperative catalog hosted by NYU.

Finding Aids 
Processed archival collections containing manuscripts, records, oral histories, and photographs are described in finding aids. The NYU Finding Aid Portal brings together finding aids from several archives in New York City.

Oral History Collections

Search through interviews from Brooklyn Historical Society's oral history collections. Interviews date back to 1973, with narrators born as early as 1880. Access via our oral history portal here.

Online image gallery 
Search for individual photographs. Almost 4,000 images are currently available online, and more are added regularly. However, over 35,000 images can be viewed in person in the reading room during open hours.

Your feedback is important to us. We are interested in hearing about your experience using the Online Image Gallery. If you have a moment, please fill out this survey to help us serve you better.

Emma is a BHS website that contains many useful research subject guides and that describes library collections as a whole (whereas, for example, each map is cataloged individually in the Bobcat catalog, all of BHS's maps are described together on Emma). 

Emma also helps internet users find basic information about BHS collections through search engines, and archival collections can be browsed by topic using the drop-downs in the right-hand sidebar.

The Long Island Star, 1809-1863
On June 8, 1809, the first printing of The Long Island Star newspaper exclaimed the legitimate need for such a serious endeavor.

An Address to the Inhabitants of Long-Island
The growing prosperity and increasing population of the town of Brooklyn -- its local advantages for domestic manufactures and commercial enterprize; but, above all, the improving taste and     prevailing spirit of enquiry of the inhabitants of Long-Island generally, have encouraged the behalf, that the establishment of a Weekly Newspaper in this Town would be zealously patronized and liberally supported... Besides a summary of the most important and interesting passing events of the day, relative to this and other countries, the columns of The Long-Island Star will be occasionally enriched with some original papers, and copious selections, calculated to amuse, and perhaps edify, the admirer or literary genius, the lover of scientific research, and the reader of practical improvement.

The paper listed its specific conditions by which the paper would be published also:

I. It shall be printed on a handsome Type, and on Demy Paper of a good quality.
II. The price to Subscribers will be Two Dollars and fifty Cents per annum, payably quarterly -- no payments in advance will be required.
III. Advertisements will be carefully and conspicuously inserted on the usual terms. To those who advertise by the year, a considerable abatement will be made.

The paper indeed survived, but our methods for reading about such events has changed considerably.  Thus, thanks to a generous grant from the Gerry Charitable Trust, we make the newspaper available and fully searchable online.

In the Library

Image database
Search over 35,000 images of individual photographs, prints, drawings, and paintings in our PastPerfect database. No appointment is needed.

Oral history database
Search and listen to audio recordings of oral history interviews in our PastPerfect database. No appointment is needed.

Library and archives staff
During open hours, two BHS reference staff are always available to help you develop a research strategy or identify useful sources. You can also reach us at or 347-381-3708.