Center for Brooklyn History

Center for Brooklyn History

128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201, United States
The Center for Brooklyn History is your source for 33,000 books, 1,600 archival collections, 1,200 oral history interviews, 50,000 photographs, 2,000 maps, 8,000 artifacts, and 300 paintings that document the commercial, residential, community, and civic development of Brooklyn.

Collection Sampling

John D. Morrell photographs, 1957-1974, bulk Bulk, 1958-1963

John D. Morrell, assistant librarian at the Long Island Historical Society (now called the Brooklyn Historical Society) donated over 2,000 black and white and color negatives and prints to the Photography Collection. The images are indexed at the item level by address, street names, and/or neighborhood sometimes including proper names of businesses or institutions.
Collection ID: ARC.005

Puerto Rican Oral History Project Records, 1960-1984, bulk 1973-1975., bulk Bulk, 1973-1975

The Long Island Historical Society initiated the Puerto Rican Oral History Project in 1973. Using funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, over seventy-five interviews were conducted documenting the experiences of Brooklyn residents who arrived from Puerto Rico between 1917 and 1940. This collection includes recordings and transcripts of interviews conducted primarily between 1973 and 1975. Also included are newspaper clippings, brochures, booklets about Brooklyn’s Puerto Rican community, and administrative information on how the project was developed, carried out, and evaluated.
Collection ID: 1976.001

Teunis G. Bergen and Bergen family collection, 1639-1893

The Teunis G. Bergen and Bergen family collection comprises the papers of Teunis G. Bergen (1806-1881), as well as the papers of other Bergen family and extended family members. Materials in the collection span the years 1639 to 1893, and primarily document Bergen's role as a major civic and community figure in Brooklyn, as well as his family's history. In addition to his work as a farmer and surveyor, Teunis G. Bergen served on the Kings County Board of Supervisors as Supervisor of New Utrecht, NY, and in 1864, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat to the Thirty-ninth Congress. He was also known for his expertise in genealogy and local history, and published several articles and books on these topics. Highlights of the collection include maps, surveys, and map tracings of various Brooklyn locales drafted by Bergen; extensive materials pertaining to Bergen's research and publishing on local history and genealogy; and research materials on Bergen family genealogy.
Collection ID: ARC.006

Sarah Streeter Lester papers, 1731-1885

The Sarah Streeter Lester papers measure 0.08 linear feet and contain a 1731 bond between Joris Rapalje and Hendrick Suydam of Brooklyn; a deed for Benjamin Hildreth's purchase of New York City property from Benjamin Birdsall, 1788; and a resolution honoring Peter Wyckoff from his employees, 1855. Sarah Streeter Lester was the daughter of Milford B. and Sarah Maria Wyckoff Streeter, authors of The Wyckoff Family in America: A Genealogy.
Collection ID: 1978.056

Pierrepont family papers, 1761-1918

The Pierrepont family papers (1761-1918) document the intersection of commercial, civic and personal interests across three generations of one of the most prominent and influential families of nineteenth century Brooklyn, New York. The bulk of the collection concerns the business dealings of Henry Evelyn Pierrepont from 1838 to his death in 1888. This especially includes an extensive set of accounting and transactional records concerning the Pierrepont Stores, the family's warehouse on Brooklyn's East River waterfront; these include records of ships arriving at the Stores and their cargoes delivered. Additionally, there are substantive correspondence, legal documents and other materials concerning the Union Ferry Company, of which Henry was an officer. In addition to commerce and shipping, a major theme of the collection is that of land acquisition in Brooklyn Heights and at the adjacent waterfront in the early nineteenth century, and the development of that property over the course of the century. Included in the collection are correspondence, deeds, indentures, leases, accounting records, diaries, maps, invoices, receipts, business proposals, legal filings, clippings, and historical and genealogical manuscripts.
Collection ID: ARC.263

American Indians and English settlers Gravesend deed, 1665, 1909

Photocopy of a typescript deed documenting the sale of land in the present-day Brooklyn neighborhood of Gravesend by the American Indian inhabitants of the region to incoming English settlers. The land is referred to in the deed by its English name (Gravesend), as well as its Indian names, Narrumsum and Pootapeck. The typescript, created in 1909, is a transcription of the original manuscript deed recorded in 1665.
Collection ID: 1977.594

Richetta Randolph Wallace papers, 1906-1971

The collection consists of the personal and business papers of Richetta Randolph Wallace (1884-circa 1971), an African-American woman having a longstanding engagement with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Harlem (New York City), African-American literary and arts culture, and matters of race relations, racial justice and civil rights. Documents include correspondence, pamphlets and other published print matter, event programs and other ephemera, photographs, receipts, manuscripts, and newspaper clippings. Commonly known by her maiden name, Randolph was office manager for the NAACP until the mid-1940s and personal secretary to Mary White Ovington and James Weldon Johnson. The collection includes correspondence with Ovington and Johnson as well as other NAACP principals. including Walter White, William Pickens, and others. The collection includes a full typescript draft of Johnson's Black Manhattan, with notes, and a galley proof (1930) of the book. Much of the collection consists of print matter, which centers on matters of race in the United States, including discrimination, lynching, justice (or injustice), and civil rights. Other print matter includes programs, sermons, church newsletters, and other materials, principally concerning Mt. Olivet Baptist Church. Correspondence documents Randolph's activities on behalf of Mt. Olivet over the years. There are a small number of photographs in the collection, including those of Randolph, of Johnson and his wife in Great Barrington (1929), of Ovington, and stock images of NAACP principals, among others.
Collection ID: 1978.137

Hispanic Communities Documentation Project records and oral histories, 1924-1992, bulk Bulk, 1986-1991

The collection contains thirty-five oral history interview transcripts, photographs, a VHS videotape, and a variety of printed ephemera, including newspaper clippings, fliers, handouts, programs, business cards, brochures, booklets and restaurant menus. It is arranged thematically into four series: 1) Transcripts, 1988-1989, 2) Puerto Rican Community, 1973-1991, 3) Other Hispanic Communities, 1950-1992, and 4) Photographs.

Collection ID: ARC.032

Meserole family papers, circa 1717 to 1915

The Meserole family was one of the original five families who settled in the areas that are now the Greenpoint and Williamsburg neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Jean Miserol (d.1695), a French Huguenot, came to New Amsterdam, now New York City, in 1663. Originally from Picardy (now Picardie), France, Jean left France for Holland where he married Jonica Carten. With their young son Jan, Jean and Jonica immigrated to New Amsterdam and arrived on April 16, 1663. In 1667, Jean bought a farm in New Utrecht, now the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bay Ridge. He then bought another farm, Kyckout ("the Lookout"), that ran along the East River. Today, this farm would be located in Williamsburg between North 1st Street and Broadway. Jean lived at this farm until his death in 1695. The Meserole family papers spans the period circa 1717 to 1915 and measure 2.1 linear feet. The collection includes a handwritten volume containing the Meserole family genealogy; a bill of sale for a sloop from Anson Benton to Abraham Meserole, 1816; and an oversized parchment documenting a legal decision regarding a land dispute over the Miserole family farm, Kyckout ("the Lookout"), in the Town of Bushwick (now the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn), circa 1717.
Collection ID: ARC.063

William Koch glass plate negatives, 1890-1925, bulk Bulk, 1890-1910

All negatives in the collection are the work of William "Billy" Koch and are presumably set in Brooklyn, N.Y. Images show houses, farms, and street scenes, as well as portraits of groups and individuals outdoors.
Collection ID: V1985.004