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Flatbush + Main Episode 27: Factories in Brooklyn

By Julie Golia

Posted on July 31, 2018

In Episode 27 of Brooklyn Historical Society’s podcast Flatbush + Main, co-hosts Zaheer Ali and Julie Golia are joined by guest Joshua B. Freeman, author of Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World. They consider the impact of factories on Brooklyn’s social and economic history, and discuss the experiences of factory workers that worked and lived in Brooklyn.


02:58 Histories and Ideas with Joshua B. Freeman
26:27 Into the Archives
39.44 Voices of Brooklyn

For complete show notes, go to

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Segment 1: Histories and Ideas

In segment 1, Zaheer and Julie welcome guest Joshua B. Freeman, Distinguished Professor of History at CUNY Graduate Center and Queens College, and author of Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World. They consider the historical development of the factory, its impact on global commerce as well as local places like Brooklyn, and its changing role in the American popular imagination.

Get Josh Freeman’s important book here.

Segment 2: Into the Archives

Are factories always “behemoths,” like the massive complexes that Josh Freeman describes in his book? How do we categorize the smaller sites of production that dotted Brooklyn’s neighborhoods in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries? In this segment, we look at documents from the Wellmade Glove records (ARC.224), a manufactory and store that operated in the neighborhood of Park Slope in the mid-20th century.

You can access the finding aid to this manuscript collection here. And here are pictures of the documents we examined:

Segment 3: Voices of Brooklyn

Zaheer and Julie listen to excerpts from the March 20, 1989 oral history of Ida Pollack from the Brooklyn Navy Yard oral history collection, 1995.005.005. The complete interview can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society’s Othmer Library.

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