Congregation Beth Elohim Oral History, 2010. Sound recordings: 6 digital audio WAV files (7hr, 14min)
In 2010, the Brooklyn Historical Society partnered with Congregation Beth Elohim, a Reform synagogue founded in Park Slope, Brooklyn in 1861, to conduct an oral history with longtime member George Harris on the occasion of the Synagogue’s upcoming 150th anniversary (2011). The synagogue on 8th Avenue and Garfield Place was completed in 1910 and the Temple House across Garfield Place was completed in 1929.
In these interviews, George Harris talks about his childhood in Queens, lifelong friendships, his grandparents immigration experiences, education, religious education, his wife Katherine Harris’ conversion to Judaism, changes in Park Slope 1962-2010, and the community of Congregation Beth Elohim including influential rabbis and changes in ritual practice 1962-2010.
Recordings of these interviews and accompanying transcripts are available in the Brooklyn Historical Society’s Othmer Library and at Congregation Beth Elohim.
Crown Heights Oral History – Listen To This, 2010. Sound recordings: 22 CDs (80 minutes each)
This collection of 43 oral history interviews with Crown Heights residents was donated to the Brooklyn Historical Society by project director Alex Kelly. The interviews were conducted in 2010 with the help of the Crow Hill Community Association and five students from Paul Robeson High School who came to the project through the Brooklyn College Community Partnership (BCCP).
Recordings of these interviews and an accompanying guide are available in the library.
Emancipation Proclamation, Leland-Boker Authorized Edition, 1864.
Folio broadside of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, and John G. Nicolay, Private Secretary to the President. One from an edition of 48, it was printed at the request of Charles Godfrey Leland and George H. Boker to be offered for sale as a souvenir at the Great Central Sanitary Fair in Philadelphia, June 1864, in order to raise funds for sick and wounded soldiers and military camps.
Eardeley Genealogy Collection
William Applebie Daniel Eardeley (1870-1935) was a prolific genealogist hailing from Brooklyn, NY. Over the course of his career he amassed an extensive collection of genealogical information concerning families from all parts of the state of New York. The Brooklyn Historical Society has made Eardeley’s collection available to researchers on microfilm.
The Eardeley Collection consists of two components, the Manuscript Collection and the New York State Abstracts of Wills. The Manuscript Collection contains 14 reels of Eardeley’s handwritten notes, which he copied from original documentation in institutions across the state. The reels are arranged alphabetically by family last name. Each family file may contain any number of pages; some files consist of only 1 page while others number over 200 pages. Consequently, the scope of information included in each family file varies, but generally ranges from a family member’s date of birth/death, town of residence, and names and dates of birth/death of the deceased’s spouse and children, to titles of inheritance and copies of wills and deeds. The date range covered by the collection is quite extensive, reaching as far back as the time of New York’s founding up to the early twentieth century. The Manuscript Collection is accompanied by a printed index listing each family last name in alphabetical order and the corresponding reel on which the family file can be found. (Click here for an alphabetical listing of family names included in the collection).
The New York State Abstracts of Wills is comprised of 11 reels organized alphabetically by county name. The reels consist of abstracts of wills, administrations and guardianships compiled by Eardeley during the period 1929-1933, which he copied from original estate proceedings in the counties of New York. The abstracts generally cover the years 1787-1835, and each county file can range from several hundred pages to over a thousand pages. In addition, Eardeley indexed on 3×5 cards all the names in his abstracts, i.e., those of the decendents, executors, administrators, petitioners, guardians, witnesses, named beneficiaries and minor children. This index is available on a collection of 7 microfilm reels and is arranged alphabetically by last name. Each 3×5 card contains an individual’s name, date of death (if applicable), town of residence, and page number on which the indexed person can be found within the corresponding county file.
The Eardeley Genealogy Collection is a valuable resource for researchers seeking genealogical information on individuals across the state of New York from the time of its founding up to the early twentieth century. There is no appointment required to view this collection.
Crown Heights Oral History – Bridging Eastern Parkway, 1993-1994. Sound recordings: 40 cassettes (90 minutes each)
In 1993-1994, the Brooklyn Historical Society collected interviews with residents of the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights. Thirty-three interviews were conducted by Craig Wilder, Jill Vexler, and Aviva Segall. The subtitle, Bridging Eastern Parkway, refers to racial tensions expressed during the 1991 Crown Heights riots. Narrators are of African American, Caribbean, Jewish, Polish, and Russian descent and include members of the Lubavitch community.
Transcripts of 24 interviews from this collection may be read in the library (pdfs available). Recordings are not currently available to researchers.