Donated to the Society by his descendants, this commemorative medal is one of many in BHS’s collection that belonged to Brooklynite Alfred E. Steers (1860-1948).
Born into a grocer family in the town of Flatbush (today a neighborhood of Brooklyn), Steers quickly rose to prominence in local government. Appointed first a justice of the peace in Flatbush in the 1880s, Steers became city magistrate the following decade. In 1910, he was elected Brooklyn Borough President.
Steers’ large collection of medals and ribbons document his official municipal activities and his involvement in important local civic organizations. For example, in 1910, Steers wore this medal at the opening of the Long Island Tunnel that connected the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan. Together, this assemblage of artifacts captures a snapshot of local affairs at a critical transitional moment in Brooklyn’s history, when the independent city gave way to the borough.
Our collections staff has recently cataloged and photographed many of the 5,700 objects in BHS’s historic artifact collection. We are excited to make this collection available online for the first time! Explore more artifacts in our Digital Collections.