S. Spafford Ackerly papers, circa 1890 to 2013

Call number: 2013.010

Extent: 1.7 linear feet in 1 manuscript box and 1 flat box

The papers document the life of psychiatrist Dr. S. Spafford Ackerly. The papers primarily consist of typescripts, photographs, publications, clippings, correspondence, transcripts, awards, and digital images, dating from circa 1890 to 2013, which were collected and assembled by his children. It also includes memorabilia owned by Dr. Ackerly, a scrapbook documenting his time at the Manual Training High School (Brooklyn, NY), and an audio cassette containing recordings of his memoirs.

Dr. Samuel Spafford Ackerly (1895-1947), was a pioneering psychiatrist who specialized in the treatment of mental illness. He was born in Brooklyn, NY, on May 20, 1895, to George Briggs and Nancy Spafford (Brown) Ackerly, and resided at 647 Monroe Street. He attended the Manual Training High School in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, graduating with honors in 1914. He then attended Wesleyan University, before joining the Armed Forces and serving in World War I, where he was wounded in 1918.

After recovering from his injuries, he attended Yale University Medical School, studying under Alfred Adler and graduating in 1925. He began his formal psychiatric training at the Westchester Division of the New York Hospital, then continued his studies in Massachusetts, London, and Vienna, before joining the University of Louisville faculty in 1932. He would remain at Louisville for the rest of his career.

The “Memorial to S. Spafford Ackerly, M.D.” by Harry H. Moorehead and Frank J. Curran (1981) summarizes his career as follows:

“He had the first Commonwealth Fund Grant in Kentucky and was awarded one of the first teaching grants from N.I.M.H. He was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. He was chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Louisville and the director of the Louisville Child Guidance Clinic. He founded the Kentucky Psychiatric Society, of which he served as president. He also served as vice-president of the American Psychiatric Association, and president of the American Orthopsychiatric Society. He was a charter fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists, a life fellow of the American College of Physicians, a founding member of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, and a member if its council. He worked constantly with civic groups and with mayors, governors, and legislators during the years.”

He married Carita Louise Clark on October 17, 1925, and had four children, Dr. William Clark Ackerly, Nancy (Steinson) Ehrlich, Elizabeth Wurtmann, and Carita A. Warner. He died on September 24, 1981, in Louisville, KY.

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  • Ackerly, S. Spafford, 1895-1981
  • Ackerly, William C.
  • Ackerly family
  • Adler, Alfred, 1870-1937
  • Ehrlich, Nancy S.
  • Janes Methodist Episcopal Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • Manual Training High School (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.).
  • University of Louisville.
  • Warner, Carita A.
  • Wurtman, Elizabeth A.


  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Kentucky


  • Genealogy
  • Medical sciences
  • Mental health
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychiatry
  • World War, 1914-1918

Types of materials:

  • Audiocassettes
  • Correspondence
  • Memorabilia
  • Photographs
  • Publications
  • Scrapbooks
  • Typescripts

Abstract of ownership of 181 Dean Street, Brooklyn, NY, 1891

Call number: 1997.081

Extent: .01 linear feet, in one folder

The document is officially titled “Abstract of the Title of John Goetz” and concerns the property located at 181 Dean St., Brooklyn, NY. Dated 1891, it contains a summary of property transactions dating back to 1766.


  • Goetz, John
  • Zulli, Mauro


  • Boerum Hill (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Dean Street (New York, N.Y.)


  • Acquisition of property — New York (State) — Kings County
  • Property — New York (State) — Kings County
  • Real property — New York (State) — Kings County

Types of Materials

  • Abstracts (summaries)

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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.


Abraham & Straus collection, 1865 – 1995

Call Number: ARC.223

Extent: 2.09 linear feet, in one manuscript box and one oversize box.

This collection includes various materials relating to Abraham & Straus throughout the period 1865 to 1995. The majority of the items date from 1964 and 1965 and were compiled by Abraham & Straus employee Juli Daves in preparation for the store’s centennial celebration. These items include newsletters, a history of Abraham & Straus, news clippings, and correspondence between Juli Daves and Mrs. Kenn Stryker-Rodda, Archivist at the Long Island Historical Society (later the Brooklyn Historical Society), regarding research for the centennial. Other materials in the collection include store directories, souvenir shopping bags, employee newsletters, various printed ephemera, and a catalog dating from 1886, when the store was known as Wechsler & Abraham. A small number of photographs are also included and depict Abraham & Straus founder Abraham Abraham; Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Sidney L. Solomon; President Walter N. Rothschild, Jr.; and the Wechsler & Abraham store at its original Fulton Street location. The photographs have biographical and historical information attached to their versos. There is also an oversize print showing an aerial view of the flagship Abraham & Straus store at its location on Fulton and Hoyt Streets, along with other parts of Downtown Brooklyn, circa 1893. This print is housed separately in an oversize box.

Abraham & Straus was a major department store founded in Brooklyn by Abraham Abraham and Joseph Wechsler in 1865. Originally called Wechsler & Abraham and located at 285 Fulton Street, the store was so successful that it moved to a new and larger location at the corner of Fulton and Hoyt Streets in 1885. The name of the store changed to Abraham & Straus in 1893 when the Straus family, partners of Macy’s department stores, bought out Wechsler’s interest in the store. By 1965, Abraham & Straus had become the third largest department store in the United States, with several branches in and surrounding the New York City area in addition to its flagship location at Fulton and Hoyt Streets. The store became part of Macy’s department stores in 1995. As of 2011, the original Abraham & Straus location on Fulton and Hoyt Streets continues to operate under the Macy’s name.


  • Abraham & Straus
  • Wechsler & Abraham
  • Daves, Juli


  • Business enterprises — New York (State) — Kings County
  • Centennial celebrations, etc.
  • Department stores — New York (State) — Kings County
  • Department stores — New York (State) — Kings County — History
  • Retail trade — New York (State) — Kings County
  • Shopping centers — New York (State) — Kings County

Types of material:

  • Catalogs
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Directories
  • Histories
  • Newsletters
  • Photographs

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American Sugar Refining Company records, 1876-2001

Call Number: 2008.042

Extent: 2.25 linear feet in two manuscript boxes and one oversize box

The American Sugar Refining Company operated a refinery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for nearly 150 years and employed, at its height, over 4,500 people at a time. Founded in 1807 as Wm. and F.C. Havemeyer, the company went through many name and ownership changes, eventually incorporating as American Sugar Refining Company in 1891, and is today known as Domino Foods, Inc. This collection includes annual reports describing the business operations of the firm (1907-1951), publications featuring photographs and stories about some of those workers (1876-circa 2000), and items relating to a Domino Sugar refinery labor dispute (1999-2001).


  • AFL-CIO.
  • American Sugar Refining Company
  • Havemeyer, Frederick C., 1807-1891
  • Havemeyer, Henry Osborne, 1847-1907
  • Havemeyer, Horace, 1886-1956
  • New York State AFL-CIO.
  • Tate & Lyle (Firm).


  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Williamsburg (New York, N.Y.)


  • Food supply — New York (State) — Kings County
  • General strikes -Z New York (State) — Kings County
  • Labor disputes — New York (State) — Kings County
  • Labor — New York (State) — Kings County
  • Sugar factories — New York (State) — Kings County
  • Sugar trade — New York (State) — Kings County
  • Sugar — New York (State) — Kings County

Types of material:

  • Annual reports
  • Financial statements
  • Flyers (printed matter)
  • Picket signs
  • Publications

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Edmond Andros judgment concerning John Underhill estate, 1672

Call Number: 1974.004

Extent: 0.01 Linear feet, in one folder

The collection includes one item, the 1672 judgment of British colonial New York governor Edmond Andros (1637-1714) concerning the estate of the late Captain John Underhill (circa 1597-1672) of Oyster Bay, Long Island. In his will, Underhill had left his estate to his wife, Elizabeth. Elizabeth died intestate. Andros’s judgment named Underhill’s eldest son, John, administrator of the estate.

John Underhill (circa 1597-1672) was a colonial military leader and magistrate. In the 1640s he moved from New England to Flushing, Long Island. After his second marriage, to Elizabeth Feake in the late 1650s, he moved to Oyster Bay, L.I., establishing an estate called Killingworth. Underhill helped the English gain control over New Amsterdam in 1664, became a surveyor of customs for Long Island, and eventually high constable and under-sheriff of North Riding, Yorkshire (L.I.).


  • Andros, Edmund, 1637-1714
  • Underhill, John, d. 1672
  • New York (Colony)


  • Long Island (N.Y.)
  • Oyster Bay (N.Y.)


  • Decedents’ estates
  • Executors and administrators — New York (State) — Queens County
  • Governors — New York (State)

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Victoria Andritz collection of Brooklyn Life issues and Ruth Ann Shipley wedding photographs, circa 1923-1925

Call Number: 2000.003

Extent: 1.2 Linear feet, in one oversize box.

This collection contains items donated to the Brooklyn Historical Society by Victoria Andritz, including various issues of Brooklyn Life, a weekly illustrated periodical for Brooklyn and Long Island, and two wedding photographs of Ruth Ann Shipley and her bridal party.


  • Andritz, Victoria
  • Shipley, Ruth Ann


  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) — Social life and customs


  • Brooklyn life (Periodical)
  • Weddings — New York (State) — Kings County

Types of material:

  • Periodicals
  • Photographs

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Brooklyn Armstrong Association and Brooklyn Hampton Association records, 1906-1943

Call Number: 1981.001

Extent: 0.33 Linear feet, in five folders

The collection includes material from throughout the life of the Brooklyn Armstrong (1906-1920) and Hampton (1920-1943) Associations. A scrapbook (1906-1939) includes clippings about events and meetings (notably a visit to Brooklyn by Booker T. Washington and Secretary of War Taft), solicitations, meeting invitations, announcements, reports, membership lists, Hampton Institute publications, and the like. There are some annual reports in the collection. There are minute books (1906-1943) for the Executive Committee and Annual meetings. There is a small amount of correspondence, principally from 1943, concerning the final days of the organization.


  • Brooklyn Armstrong Association
  • Brooklyn Hampton Association (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Hampton Institute
  • Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (Va.)


  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)


  • African Americans — Education — History
  • Charitable giving
  • Charity organization — New York (State) — Kings County
  • Race relations — United States

Types of material:

  • Annual reports
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Minutes
  • Scrapbooks

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Ambrotype collection

Ambrotype collection, 1851 – 1881. 2 boxes (1.5 linear feet)


AMBRO.22: Lavinia Longmire with Walter and William Longmire

The Ambrotype collection is made up of individually accessioned photographs from the Photography Collection, items from the Archive & Manuscript Collections, and items found in the collection. The photographs are portraits depicting Brooklyn residents of the 19th century.

Ambrotypes are an application of the wet collodion process. A faint negative image was printed onto glass, which was then backed with a black material to make the image appear positive. They were much cheaper than daguerreotypes, and were most popular in the U.S. in the 1850s. Some ambrotypes were colored by hand, and many were kept in small cases.

Ritzenthaler, Mary Lynn, and Diane Vogt-O’Connor. 2008. Photographs: Archival Care and Management. Chicago: Society of American Archivists.


  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Photographs
  • Commercial portraiture

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