Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations oral history collection

Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations oral history collection, 2011 – 2014.

Call# 2011.019

Extent: 709.0 gigabytes of oral history interviews with 107 narrators. Collection includes transcripts, audio recordings, and photographs formatted as .wav, .mp3, .pdf, .jpg, and .png files, in addition to 3 linear feet of paper transcripts.  

Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations (CBBG) was an oral history project and public programming series sponsored by Brooklyn Historical Society from 2011 to 2014. CBBG was designed to examine the history and experiences of mixed-heritage people and families in Brooklyn. The project also explored the broader themes of cultural hybridity, race, ethnicity, and identity formation in the United States. CBBG was created by Sady Sullivan, Director of Oral History at Brooklyn Historical Society from 2006-2014, and the project was funded with assistance from public and private grants. CBBG expanded upon Brooklyn Historical Society’s oral history collection, which was founded in 1973 and contains interviews with over 1200 narrators.

This collection contains materials from the CBBG oral history project. Included are transcripts and audio recordings of interviews conducted by 25 oral historians with 107 narrators. Also included are photographs of the narrators and their families. The oral histories were conducted as life history interviews; topics of discussion include self and identity; religion and tradition; laws and mores; food and celebration; love and marriage; parents and children; race and ethnicity; and cultural preservation.

View Finding Aid

Oral histories can be accessed onsite at the Brooklyn Historical Society’s Othmer Library and online at the Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations website: cbbg.brooklynhistory.org.

Permission to use the oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires the permission of both Brooklyn Historical Society and the narrator. Restricted oral histories are clearly marked in the finding aid. For assistance, please consult library staff at library@brooklynhistory.org.

Document Type

  • Digital Photographs
  • Interviews (sound recordings)
  • Oral histories (document genres)
  • Transcripts

Subject Topics

  • Bullying in schools
  • Cultural diversity
  • Education
  • Gentrification
  • Interfaith families
  • Mixed heritage
  • Passing (Identity)
  • Privilege
  • Queer identity
  • Race identity
  • Racially mixed families
  • Racially mixed people
  • Racism
  • Religious identity

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • United States |x Emigration and immigration

Ebbets Field – Dodgers Oral History

Ebbets Field – Dodgers Oral History, 2010.

Extent: 34 digital audio recordings.

In 2010, students participating in Exhibition Laboratory (Ex-Lab), an after-school program in which students from Cobble Hill High School of American Studies, Brooklyn Technical High School, The Packer Collegiate Institute, and Saint Ann’s School learn the process of curating an exhibit from start to finish, conducted oral history interviews with 34 Dodgers fans who remembered Ebbets Field.

Students chose excerpts from these oral histories to include in their exhibit Home Base: Memories of the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field (2010 – 2012). The oral history montages from this exhibit are available for listening via Brooklyn Historical Society’s iTunes podcast.

Select oral histories can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society’s Othmer Library. Restrictions may apply. Permission to use the oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires the permission of both Brooklyn Historical Society and the narrator. For assistance, please consult library staff at library@brooklynhistory.org.

Coney Island Oral History

Coney Island Oral History, 1987 – present.

Extent: 4 audio cassettes and 3 digital audio files.

This ongoing oral history collection began in 1987 and features people talking about Coney Island, including:

Bernard Joseph “Barney” Illions (1901 – 1988)
Son of Coney Island carousel carver M.C. Illions (1872 – 1949)
Interview conducted 3/7/1988
Full interview available for listening here.

Matt Kennedy (1904 – 2006)
Born in Coney Island and at teh time of this interview he was President of the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce.
Interview conducted 8/7/1987

Lillian Santangello (1907 – )
Founder of the World of Wax Musee in Coney Island.
Interview conducted 1987
Full interview available for listening here.

Edward “Eak the Geek” Arrocha
Chronicles his fifteen tenure at the Coney Island sideshow with a vast array of stories describing Coney Island during the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Interview conducted 4/29/2009

Select oral histories can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society’s Othmer Library. Restrictions may apply. Permission to use the oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires the permission of both Brooklyn Historical Society and the narrator. For assistance, please consult library staff at library@brooklynhistory.org.

Brooklyn School of Inquiry Oral History

Brooklyn School of Inquiry Oral History, 2010 – present.

Extent: 400 digital audio files (and growing)

2011.009

Brooklyn School of Inquiry Oral History is an ongoing oral history collection featuring interviews with elementary-school age children who attend a new school in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.  In 2010, BHS partnered with Brooklyn School of Inquiry (PS/IS686), a public citywide Gifted and Talented school founded in 2009, to document its growth.

This collection currently contains over 400 interviews and each year, 140-200 more are added. BHS interviews every new First Grader and BHS has been following the first First Grade class longitudinally since 2010. All interviews are recorded in digital audio format and digital video format and archived at both institutions.

Read more about the project here: A School Grows in Brooklyn.

To protect the students’ privacy, the collection is closed to researchers until the students are 18 years old (2022 for the oldest class) and the students agree at that time to make their interviews publicly accessible.

Permission to use the oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires the permission of both Brooklyn Historical Society and the narrator. For assistance, please consult library staff at library@brooklynhistory.org.

 

Brooklyn History Makers Oral History

Brooklyn History Makers Oral History, 2006 – present.

Call #: 2008.031

Extent: 87 digital audio files (and growing)

This ongoing oral history collection features a broad range of narrators: jazz musicians, business leaders, civil rights activists, authors, artists, sports players, and longtime neighborhood residents who describe the changes they have observed in their neighborhoods over decades.

Some narrators are well-known public figures such as Shelby White (b. 1938), Nelson George (b. 1957), Esther Cooper Jackson (b. 1917), and Ruth Gruber (b. 1911) and others are well-known in their communities such as Joe Holtz, a founding member of the Park Slope Food Coop; Sally Forbes, founder of the Penny Bridge Players; and John and James Caputo of Caputo’s bakery in Carroll Gardens. The oldest narrator in this collection was born in 1910.

This oral history collection focuses on Brooklyn history and the experiences of these narrators document national and international history as well. For example, Robert MacCrate was born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in 1921; a lawyer, he was a member of the civilian council investigating My Lai Massacre in Vietnam. Frank Paley (nee Palescandolo) was born in Brooklyn in 1917 and his book Rumble on the Docks inspired the 1956 movie. Dick Parsons (b. 1948) grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant and was CEO of Time Warner and later chairman of Citigroup and an economic advisor to President Barack Obama.

Select oral histories can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society’s Othmer Library. Restrictions may apply. Permission to use the oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires the permission of both Brooklyn Historical Society and the narrator. For assistance, please consult library staff at library@brooklynhistory.org.

AIDS Brooklyn Oral History

AIDS Brooklyn Oral History, 1992.

Call #: 1993.001 / ArMs 1994.006

Extent:  30 audio cassettes

In 1992, Brooklyn Historical Society collected oral history interviews with 27 people who were affected by HIV/AIDS, including HIV-positive people; family and friends of people living with HIV/AIDS; and one family of a woman who passed away due to HIV/AIDS.

This oral history project was conducted in the middle of the emerging public health crisis:

The first official reporting of deaths that would later become known as the AIDS epidemic was in 1981.

ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), an international direct action advocacy group working to bring about legislation, medical research and treatment, and policies, was founded in 1987.

In 1992, AIDS became the number one cause of death for U.S. men ages 25 to 44, (30 Years of HIV/AIDS Timeline via AIDS.gov).

Collection currently closed. For assistance, please consult library staff at library@brooklynhistory.org.

 

Puerto Rican Oral History Project records, 1960-1984

Call number: 1976.001

Extent: 42.2 gigabytes in 445 files, total running time: 45 hr., 14 min., 51 sec. (series 1); in five manuscript boxes and seven audio cassette tape boxes

This collection includes recordings and transcripts of oral histories narrated by those in the Puerto Rican community of Brooklyn who arrived between 1917 and 1940. The Long Island Historical Society initiated the Puerto Rican Oral History Project in 1973, conducting over eighty interviews between 1973 and 1975. The oral histories often contain descriptions of immigration, living arrangements, neighborhood ethnicities, discrimination, employment, community development, and political leadership. 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.

View Finding Aid

Names:

  • Acosta, Flora, 1894-1975
  • Colon, Jesus, 1901-1974
  • Cruz, Celia
  • Dennis, Antonia
  • Grevi, Santiago
  • Kelly, James
  • Weber, Louis
  • International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union
  • La Prensa
  • Long Island University
  • Museo del Barrio
  • New York City Public Schools
  • Pfizer Inc.
  • Puerto Rican Merchants Association
  • Puerto Rican Writers Association
  • Puerto Rico Winter League (Baseball league)
  • Universidad de Puerto Rico . Centro de Investigaciones
  • Acosta, Magda, 1905-
  • Acosta, Ramon, 1880-
  • Acosta, Rosenda, 1908-
  • Ally, Trina, 1921-
  • Armas, Encarnacion, 1910-
  • Arroyo, Angel M., 1912-
  • Arroyo, Carmen R., 1909-
  • Barreto, Jaime
  • Bermudez, Justina, 1921-
  • Bonilla, Carmelita, 1908-
  • Carrasquillo, Magdalena, 1910-
  • Carrero, Jean, 1914-
  • Colon, Ramon, 1900-
  • Correa, Elba
  • Cortes, Esther M., 1910-
  • Cortiella, Mayda
  • Cresente, Mercedes
  • Cresente, Pedro
  • De Jesus, Pastor, 1889-
  • Diaz, Mercedes
  • Estepa, Julio, 1918-
  • Ferrell, Julio, 1893-
  • Festa, Josephine, 1927-
  • Figueroa, Rosario, 1902-
  • Fontanez-Soto, Santiago, 1905-
  • Fortun, Maria, 1899-
  • Garden , Maximina, 1914-
  • Giboyeaux, Jose Ramon, 1901-
  • Gonzalez, Carmen, 1926-
  • Guanhill, Elizabeth, 1924-
  • Guanhill, Pedro, 1915-
  • Hernandez, Julio, 1925-
  • Hernandez, Luis, 1920-
  • Homar, Lorenzo
  • Hostalaza, Emilio, 1900-
  • Irizarry, Honorina Weber, 1906-
  • LaRosa, Ramon, 1898-
  • Larrequi, Dicky, 1927-
  • Loperena, Felix, 1906-
  • Maisonet, Jovita, 1904-
  • Malabe, Orlando, 1919-
  • Marinez, Gumercindo, 1935-
  • Marrero, Luis, 1901-
  • Marti, Anaberta, 1915-
  • Marti, Nereida, 1934-
  • Martinez, Gregorio, 1906-
  • Medina, Felipe, 1896-
  • Melendez, Angel, 1897-
  • Melendez, Filomena, 1885-
  • Mercado, Peter O., 1909-
  • Mongtignier, Gilbert, 1938-
  • Mulero, Mildred, 1928-
  • Negron, Sophie, 1891-
  • Oliveras, Edna Rosado, 1934
  • Padron, Lucila
  • Perez, Nick, 1905-
  • Plasencia, Gonzalo, 1909-
  • Pratts, Francisco, 1902-
  • Ramirez, Encarnation
  • Ramos, Juan, 1908-
  • Ramos, Maria C.
  • Rivera, Cecilia, 1903-
  • Rivera, Monte
  • Rivera, Pedro
  • Rivera, Tomas
  • Rodriquez, Juana Weber, 1897-
  • Rodriquez, Maria, 1911-
  • Rodriquez, Pedro, 1912-
  • Rodriquez, Ramon, 1902-
  • Rosado, Roberto
  • Ruiz
  • Santiago, Georgina, 1890-
  • Santos, William
  • Sepulveda, Ernesto, 1903-
  • Simmons, Rafaela, 1903-
  • Tapia, Carlos
  • Tejada, Gloria, 1925-
  • Torres, Clemente, 1905-
  • Torres
  • Torres, Olga, 1917-
  • Vazquez, John
  • Vazquez, Juan, 1912-
  • Velasquez, Carolina, 1911-
  • Vice, Celia M., 1913-
  • Villa, Betty, 1919-
  • Hunter College. Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos
  • New York City Community College. Puerto Rican and Latin Studies Program

Places:

  • Astoria (New York, N.Y.)
  • Bay Ridge (New York, N.Y)
  • Bronx (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Bushwick (New York, N.Y.)
  • Cobble Hill (New York, N.Y.)
  • Flatbush (New York, N.Y.)
  • Flushing (New York, N.Y.)
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)
  • Manhattan (New York, N.Y.)
  • Ponce (P.R.)
  • Puerto Rico
  • Red Hook (New York, N.Y.)
  • San Juan (P.R)
  • San Lorenzo (P.R.)
  • San Tulce (P.R.)
  • South America
  • Staten Island (New York, N.Y.) — Maps
  • Sunset Park (New York, N.Y.)
  • United States — Emigration and immigration
  • Williamsburg (New York, N.Y.)

Subjects:

  • El Diario La Prensa
  • Armed Forces
  • Citizenship — New York (State) — New York
  • Depressions — 1929
  • Factories — New York (State)
  • Korean War, 1950-1953
  • Local transit — New York (State) — New York
  • Parades — New York (State) — New York
  • Political clubs — New York (State) — New York
  • Puerto Rican families — New York (State) — New York
  • Puerto Rican poetry
  • Puerto Rican women
  • Puerto Rican women — Employment — New York (State) — New York
  • Puerto Rican women — Political activity — New York (State) — New York
  • Puerto Rican women — New York (State) — New York — Social conditions
  • Puerto Rican youth
  • Puerto Ricans
  • Puerto Ricans | z New York (State) — New York — Social condititions — 20th century
  • Puerto Ricans — Cultural assimilation — United States
  • Puerto Ricans — Education — New York (State) — New York
  • Puerto Ricans — Employment — New York (State) — New York
  • Puerto Ricans — Health and hygiene — New York (State) — New York
  • Puerto Ricans — Housing — New York (State) — New York
  • Puerto Ricans — Poetry
  • Puerto Ricans — Race identity
  • Puerto Ricans — New York (State) — New York
  • Puerto Ricans — New York (State) — New York Region — Religion
  • Puerto Ricans — New York (State) — New York — Interviews
  • Puerto Ricans — New York (State) — New York — Newspapers
  • Puerto Ricans — New York (State) — New York — Economic conditions
  • Puerto Ricans — New York (State) — New York — Ethnic identity
  • Puerto Ricans — New York (State) — New York — History — 20th century
  • Puerto Ricans — New York (State) — New York — Intellectual life
  • Puerto Ricans — New York (State) — New York — Language
  • Puerto Ricans — New York (State) — New York — Music
  • Puerto Ricans — New York (State) — New York — Politics and government — 20th century
  • Puerto Ricans — New York (State) — New York — Social life and customs — 20th century
  • Puerto Ricans — New York (State) — New York — Societies, etc.
  • Race discrimination — New York (State) — New York
  • Race relations — United States
  • Racism — New York (State) — New York
  • Transportation
  • Wages — New York (State) — New York
  • Work environment — Puerto Rico
  • Work environment — United States
  • World War, 1914-1918
  • World War, 1939-1945

Hispanic Communities Documentation Project records and oral histories, 1924 – 1992

Hispanic Communities Documentation Project records and oral histories, 1924 – 1992.

Call #: ARC.032

Extent: 2.0 Linear feet, in 5 manuscript boxes.

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.

The Hispanic Communities Documentation Project was an archival initiative based at the Brooklyn Historical Society in the late 1980s and directed by Morton Marks. The project sought to capture the cultural ethos of the Hispanic community in Brooklyn through printed ephemera (e.g. handouts, fliers, clippings, restaurant menus) and through the voices of community members themselves. At the heart of this collection stands a series of oral histories in which men and women of varying nationalities (Puerto Rican, Mexican, Ecuadorian, etc.) rendered the stories of their lives from birth to their experience as immigrants in the United States.

Though an official administrative history of the project does not exist, it seems to have been carried out as an expansion of the Puerto Rican Oral History Project, which the Society (then the Long Island Historical Society) initiated in 1973 and completed in the mid-1970s. Like the Puerto Rican project before it, the Hispanic Communities Documentation Project provides a substantial body of source material on the immigrant experience in late 20th century America.

Select oral histories can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society’s Othmer Library. Restrictions may apply. Permission to use the oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires the permission of both Brooklyn Historical Society and the narrator. For assistance, please consult library staff at library@brooklynhistory.org.

Names:

  • Brooklyn Historical Society (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Velez, Tony
  • Long Island Historical Society

Places:

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • United States — Emigration and immigration

Subjects:

  • Documentary photography
  • Hispanic Americans — New York (State) — New York
  • Puerto Ricans — New York (State) — New York

Types of material:

  • Magazines (periodicals)
  • Oral histories (document genres)
  • Photographs
  • Programs (documents)

View Finding Aid

Independence Community Bank records and oral histories, 1850 – 2007

Independence Community Bank records and oral histories, 1850 – 2007.

Call #: ARC.269

Extent: 14.7 Linear feet, in 12 record cartons, two oversize boxes, one loose framed photograph, and 18 digital audio files.

This collection consists of records of the Board of Trustees of Independence Community Bank dating from 1850 and circa 1920 to 1981, including annual reports, various administrative and financial reports, photographs, and trophies awarded to the bank. Also included are oral history interviews with bank employees, conducted and recorded by the Brooklyn Historical Society after Independence Community Bank was bought out by Sovereign Bank in 2006. Recordings of these interviews may be listened to in the Othmer Library at the Brooklyn Historical Society. An index and transcriptions of these interviews may be read in the library.

Independence Community Bank was founded in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1850 and was originally named The South Brooklyn Savings Institution. It was bought out by Sovereign Bank in 2006. After the buyout, the Brooklyn Historical Society, with the support of the Independence Community Foundation (now the Brooklyn Community Foundation), conducted 16 extended interviews with past and present employees of Independence Community Bank to document the end of the Bank’s 155 years based in Brooklyn.

Select oral histories can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society’s Othmer Library. Restrictions may apply. Permission to use the oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires the permission of both Brooklyn Historical Society and the narrator. For assistance, please consult library staff at library@brooklynhistory.org.

Names:

  • Independence Community Bank (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.). Board of Trustees
  • Independence Community Bank (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

Places:

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) — Commerce

Subjects:

  • Bank employees — New York (State) — Kings County
  • Banks and banking — New York (State) — Kings County
  • Community banks — New York (State) — Kings County

Types of material:

  • Annual reports
  • Business records
  • Interviews
  • Oral histories (document genres)
  • Photographs
  • Reports
  • Sound recordings

View Finding Aid

Brooklyn Navy Yard Oral History, 2006-2011

Brooklyn Navy Yard Oral History, 2006-2011.

Call#: 2010.003

Extent: 47 digital audio files

In partnership with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, Brooklyn Historical Society collected interviews with men and women who worked in or around the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  The majority of the interviews are with people who worked in the Yard during WWII.  The narrators discuss growing up in New York, their work at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, their relationships with others in the Yard, gender relations and transportation to and from work.  Many narrators bring up issues of ethnicity, race, and religion at the Yard or in their neighborhoods.  Several narrators describe the launching of the U.S.S. Missouri battleship and recall in detail their daily tasks at the Yard as welders, office workers, and ship fitters.  While interviews focus primarily on experiences in and around the Yard, many narrators also discuss their lives after the Navy Yard, relating stories about their careers, dating and marriage, children, social activities, living conditions, and changes in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

View List of Interviews

Select oral histories can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society’s Othmer Library. Restrictions may apply. Permission to use the oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires the permission of both Brooklyn Historical Society and the narrator. For assistance, please consult library staff at library@brooklynhistory.org. Oral histories are also available at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at Building 92.