Photo of the Week: Coney Island Boardwalk

[View of boardwalk at Coney Island.], 1958, V1974.4.526; John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[View of boardwalk at Coney Island.], 1958, V1974.4.526; John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The Coney Island boardwalk is fun for visitors all year long, but there’s nothing quite like Coney Island in the summer! Last week, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) designated the Brooklyn boardwalk a Scenic Landmark in recognition of its historic significance and as an effort to preserve the site for future generations. This weekend is the perfect time to celebrate Coney Island and its boardwalk because the beach is officially open for the season. Lifeguards are on duty from 10am-6pm on Saturday across nearly three miles of beaches along the Coney Island coastline.

The photo of the week depicts the Coney Island boardwalk during the summer of 1958. This photograph comes from the John D. Morrell photographs collection comprised of over 2,000 photographs taken between 1958 and 1963. The photographs are documentary in nature and focus primarily on buildings and street scenes throughout Brooklyn. John D. Morrell was an assistant librarian at Long Island Historical Society (now Brooklyn Historical Society) and donated the photographs to BHS.

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: Tony Velez Photographs

[Home of Consuelo de Passos], 1989, v1989.1.13.9; Brooklyn’s Hispanic Communities Documentation Project, ARC.120; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Home of Consuelo de Passos], 1989, v1989.1.13.9; Brooklyn’s Hispanic Communities Documentation Project, ARC.120; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The photo of the week by Tony Velez depicts Consuelo de Passos in her Brooklyn home with part of her collection of Mexican regional costumes in 1989. This photograph is part of the Hispanic Communities Documentation project, initiated by Brooklyn Historical Society in 1988 to document the experiences of Brooklyn residents who arrived from Puerto Rico, Panama, Ecuador, and several other Central and South American nations in the latter half of the twentieth century. The collection includes over fifty oral history interviews conducted between 1988 and 1989. The  narrators describe experiences of immigration, living arrangements upon arrival in Brooklyn, neighborhood demographics, discrimination, employment, community development, and political leadership. You can listen to these interviews on our award-winning Oral History Portal, which allows you to search across nearly 400 individual interviews.

The collection also includes photographs, most of which were taken by project photographer, Tony Velezin the late 1980s. They document Brooklyn’s Latino/a communities in countless ways, capturing  religious festivals, parades, community gatherings, and individual and group portraits.

Tony Velez was born to Puerto Rican immigrants in the South Bronx and grew up there and in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. After serving in the Vietnam War, he studied photography at Brooklyn College under the guidance of legendary photographer Walter Rosenblum. Velez’s work is widely recognized through exhibitions, grants, and commissioned work throughout New York City.  This photographs in this collection are not digitized, but we hope you will take the time to visit the Othmer Library to view these evocative photographs.

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 25: Brooklyn’s Pioneering Women Doctors

In Episode 25 of Brooklyn Historical Society’s podcast Flatbush + Main, co-hosts Zaheer Ali and Julie Golia, joined by fellow BHS historian Erin Wuebker, explore the fascinating history of gender and medicine in Brooklyn and learn about some of Brooklyn’s pioneering female physicians.

Index
03:03 Histories and Ideas
25:26 Into the Archives
43:57 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 welcome Erin Wuebker, historian of public health and Assistant Curator on the upcoming BHS exhibition Sick: Seven Diseases that Changed Brooklyn. They discuss the challenges and opportunities that shaped the experiences of the earliest generations of female physicians in Brooklyn, and frame their stories around the origins of health care in Brooklyn, the professionalization of medicine, and Progressive-era ideas about women’s supposedly unique capacity to provide care. They highlight one unknown leader in the medical profession, Dr. Susan McKinney Steward, who was the first African American female doctor in New York state.

Julie, Zaheer, and Erin mention several fascinating books and articles in this segment. Check out Regina Morantz-Sanchez’s book, Conduct Unbecoming A Woman: Medicine on Trial in Turn-of-the-Century Brooklyn.

For more contemporary debates about gender, misogyny, and the medical field, check out these fascinating stories:

Joe Fassler’s 2015 piece in The Atlantic, “How Doctors Take Women’s Pain Less Seriously

Linda Villarosa’s remarkable april 2018 piece in the New York Times Magazine, “Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies are in a Life-or-Death Crisis

Tennis superstar Serena Williams’ harrowing postpartum experience as reported in Vogue: “Serena Williams on Motherhood, Marriage, and Making her Comeback

Segment 2: Into the Archives

Erin joined Zaheer and Julie again for segment 2 to analyze “The Memorial Hospital Tablet,” an 1898 monthly newsletter of the Memorial Hospital for Women and Children. The Memorial Hospital was a medical care facility for women patients, staffed and run exclusively by women physicians. One of its founders was the abovementioned Susan McKinney Steward.

Here are some pictures of the newsletter:

Erin found the newsletter in the Brooklyn Hospitals and Health Services Organizations collection (ARC.141), a manuscript collection in BHS’s Library and Archives. Access the finding aid here.

Segment 3: Voices of Brooklyn

Zaheer and Julie listen to an excerpt from the oral history of Dr. Josephine English, a pioneering 20th-century Obstetrician/Gynecologist. Listen to her full oral history on our oral history portal here.

Segment 4: Endorsements

Zaheer endorsed the public program “The Poetry of Kevin Young,” which takes place at BHS’s Pierrepont building on Wednesday, May 16. Kevin Young, Director of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and poetry editor of The New Yorker, will read from his latest collection of poems and talk with fellow distinguished poet and recently appointed president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Elizabeth Alexander. The event starts at 6:30pm; tickets are $10, $5 for members. Reserve them here.

Julie endorsed the public program, “Walt Whitman Turns 199: Harbors, Heights, and a Brooklyn Celebration,” which takes place at BHS’s Pierrepont building on Tuesday, May 29. To celebrate this consummate Brooklynite, Greg Trupiano of The Walt Whitman Project, Charles Jarden and Julian Macrone of the Fort Greene Park Conservancy, and Karen Karbiener of NYU and the Walt Whitman Initiative, along with readers Lonely Christopher and Elizabeth Nunez and opera singer Nicole Mitchell will stage a immersive, multimedia exploration of Brooklyn’s Bard on the occasion of his 199th birthday. The event starts at 6:30pm; tickets are $5 and free for members. Get them here.

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Photo of the Week: Cherry Blossoms at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

[Blossoms], circa 1977, v1990.2.219; Donald L. Nowlan Brooklyn collection, ARC.120; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Blossoms], circa 1977, v1990.2.219; Donald L. Nowlan Brooklyn collection, ARC.120; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden opened on May 13, 1911, over a century ago. According to their website, the Original Native Flora Garden was the first display garden at BBG which showcased native plants. Springtime is my favorite time to visit when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. You can now keep track of the blossoms using the Cherrywatch feature on the BBG site. The photo of the week depicts the Cherry Esplanade in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden around 1975.

This photograph comes from the Donald L. Nowlan Brooklyn collection comprised of 122 color photographic prints, 165 color slides, and three black-and-white photographic prints, taken by Nowlan, that document locations in Brooklyn in the 1960s and 1970s. You can view more photographs from this collection, including more views inside Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 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: 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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