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Guide to the Voices of Brooklyn oral histories 2008.031

Brooklyn Historical Society
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Brooklyn 11201
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Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Brett Dion

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on November 10, 2017
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Brooklyn Historical Society (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Sullivan, Sady
Creator: Brooklyn History Makers
Title: Voices of Brooklyn oral histories
Dates [inclusive]: 1998-
Dates [bulk]: 2008-
Abstract: This collection includes oral histories collected through several projects undertaken by the Brooklyn Historical Society beginning in 2006. The assembled collection took shape in 2008 under the project title "Brooklyn History Makers." The ongoing oral history collection, retitled in 2016, 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.
Quantity: 58.65 Gigabytes in 116 files; Running time (of described records): 65 hours, 57 minutes, 15 seconds.
Call Phrase: 2008.031
Sponsor: This collection was processed and described as part of the project, 'Voices of Generations: Investigating Brooklyn's Cultural Identity,' funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) and The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

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Historical note

Oral histories were conducted for projects with a focus on a Brooklyn neighborhood, such as Park Slope, Fort Greene, Coney Island, Red Hook and Vinegar Hill, as well as for projects tied thematically to the Brooklyn Dodgers, Miss Rheingold, and sports. Other individual interviews were arranged for "Brooklyn History Makers" consideration and others were not formally assigned to any project, listing, or collection when they were conducted. Staff for this project included Sady Sullivan (Director of Oral History), Corie Trancho Robie (Interviewer), Alexis Taines Coe (Interviewer), Manissa McCleave Maharawal (Interviewer) and other interviewers. Nearly all recordings and transcripts were born-digital.

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Scope and Contents

The Voices of Brooklyn oral histories feature a broad range of narrators. Some are well-known public figures and others are well-known in their communities. This ongoing collection focuses on Brooklyn history and the experiences of these narrators document national and international history as well. The oldest narrator in this collection was born in 1910. Within the collection are several series.

Arrangement

The oral history interview collection is organized into seven series based on content. Series 1: Arts and entertainment consists of recordings that focus on the narrator's production of works of art or entertainment media. Photographers, authors, and musicians are prominent.

Series 2: Business and industry includes interviews thematically linked by owning or operating workplaces. Store managers, small business owners, and restaurateurs are mainstays.

Oral histories represented in Series 3: Civic leaders pertain to narrators speaking to their outsized contribution to how New York City citizens live, work, and conduct business in the five boroughs. Developers, government officials, executives, benefactors, and board members are included.

Series 4: Community activists consists of the gathered recordings of people who have a history of or were presently supporting an underrepresented segment of society, or forming a social movement, which thereby effected broad change to a neighborhood, much of Brooklyn, or the country. The content relates directly to organized support of those harmed in natural disasters, creating cooperative business models, forming architectural preservation groups, and documenting civil rights and social justice movements.

Series 5: Our neighbors is the largest series of the collection and is likely to remain so. The interviews include people from diverse backgrounds making observations or sharing recollections about the growth and condition of several neighborhoods within Brooklyn. Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, and Fort Greene were heavily represented as of 2017.

Oral histories within Series 6: Sports and leisure pertain to narrators who proactively contributed to the athletic pursuits or relaxing diversions of Brooklyn. Professional and amateur athletes and Coney Island novelties are included.

Series 7: Veterans and wartime consists of the gathered recordings of those focusing on their time serving or time served within the country's armed forces, as well as those in support service organizations. There is also some recollection of civilian life before, during, and after mobilizations for fighting abroad. World War II, Vietnam, and the War on Terror are prominent.

The Voices of Brooklyn oral histories are a combination of project-based and individual interviews assembled by oral historians and Library and Archives management of Brooklyn Historical Society. Series were formed with a basis on content in a collection audit phase by the oral history project archivist. The oral history recordings are arranged alphabetically within each series. Two interviews are accompanied by transcripts in electronic files: Shelby White in Series 3 and Albert King in Series 6.

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Access Points

Document Type

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

Subject Organizations

  • Brooklyn History Makers
  • Brooklyn Dodgers (Baseball team)
  • New York Naval Shipyard

Subject Topics

  • Activism
  • Amusement parks -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Art -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Arts -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Business enterprises -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • City churches |z New York (State) |z Kings County
  • Civic improvement -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Civic leaders -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community activists -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community development -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Community identity -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community organi-ing -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Housing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Musicians -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Performing arts -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Race relations -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Social justice -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Sports -- United States -y 20th century
  • Storefronts -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Veterans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Emigration and immigration
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Genealogy
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x History |y 20th century
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social life and customs
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Religious life and customs
  • New York (N.Y.)
  • New York (State) |x Politics and government

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers with varied restrictions according to narrator agreement. Oral histories can be accessed onsite at the Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and online on the Oral History Portal. Administrative materials are open to researchers upon request and are accessible onsite at the Othmer Library.

Conditions Governing Use

Use of the oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires the permission of BHS. Please see the Oral History Note for guidelines on using Brooklyn Historical Society's oral history collections. For assistance, please consult library staff at library@brooklynhistory.org.

Preferred Citation

[Narrator Last name, First name], Oral history interview conducted by [Interviewer First Name Last Name], [Month day, YYYY], Voices of Brooklyn oral histories, [Object ID]; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Related Materials

Brooklyn Historical Society has oral history collections and other records related to the Voices of Brooklyn oral histories.

• Narrator Randy Weston recorded an oral history for the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral histories (2008.030).

• Narrator Ronald Shiffman recorded an oral history for the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral histories (2008.030). He donated his papers to BHS in 2013 (2013.023).

• Narrator Carlos E. Russell recorded an oral history for the Hispanic Communities Documentation Project records and oral histories (1989.004).

• Narrator Lucille Fornasieri Gold donated her photographs to BHS in 2008 (2008.013).

• Narrator Ellen Liman made a gift to BHS containing her collection of nineteenth century McLoughlin Brothers children books (2007.002).

• Narrator Frank Palescandolo made a gift to BHS containing photographs and a postcard of Villa Joe's in Coney Island in 1992. (V1992.014) His manuscript collection is also at BHS. (2011.014)

• Narrator Robert MacCrate made a gift to BHS containing the papers of Kenneth M. Swezey (2007.005).

• Narrator Shelby White is the subject of a photograph and an interview on audiocassette in two folders of the Packer Collegiate Institute records (2014.019).

• Narrator DK Holland's work on the community newsletter The Hill is represented in Box 1 of Brooklyn neighborhood associations and civic organizations publications (ARC.167).

• Narrator Ed Moran focused on the history of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in his oral history recordings. The church's records were donated in 2009 and 2015 (2009.011).

• Narrator Alan Nisselson donated the Nisselson family papers to BHS in 2016 (2016.022).

• Narrator Mary DeSaussure Sobers donated her collection to BHS in 2005 (2005.053).

For more information on these collections please visit our online finding aid portal.

Related collections located elsewhere include:

• Narrator Maxine Wolfe's oral history in the ACT UP Oral History Project videotapes (MssCol 6148) at the New York Public Library and as a transcript on the ACT UP Oral History Project website, http://www.actuporalhistory.org/interviews/index.html

• The James E. Jackson and Esther Cooper Jackson Papers at the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive (TAM.347)

• The Lesbian Herstory Archives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and http://www.lesbianherstoryarchives.org/

Separated Materials

Documents relating to the accessioning, exhibiting, and administrative processes are separate from the collection and are in the administrative files at Brooklyn Historical Society.

 

Oral History note

Oral history interviews are intimate conversations between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share these recordings with the Brooklyn Historical Society archives and with researchers. Please listen in the spirit with which these were shared. Researchers will understand that:

1. The Brooklyn Historical Society abides by the General Principles & Best Practices for Oral History as agreed upon by the Oral History Association (2009) and expects that use of this material will be done with respect for these professional ethics.

2. Every oral history relies on the memories, views and opinions of the narrator. Because of the personal nature of oral history, listeners may find some viewpoints or language of the recorded participants to be objectionable. In keeping with its mission of preservation and unfettered access whenever possible, BHS presents these views as recorded.

3. Transcripts commissioned by a party other than BHS serve as a guide to the interview and are not considered verbatim. The audio recording should be considered the primary source for each interview. It may contain natural false starts, verbal stumbles, misspeaks, repetitions that are common in conversation, and other passages and phrases omitted from the transcript. This decision was made because BHS gives primacy to the audible voice and also because some researchers do find useful information in these verbal patterns.

4. Unless these verbal patterns are germane to your scholarly work, when quoting from this material researchers are encouraged to correct the grammar and make other modifications maintaining the flavor of the narrator's speech while editing the material for the standards of print.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The oral histories that make up this collection were conducted by a team at Brooklyn Historical Society including an oral historian and graduate student assistants. The bulk of this work commenced in 2006 and continues at present.

Processing Information

A selection of Voices of Brooklyn oral histories were processed by Brett Dion, oral history project archivist, and Laura Juliano, project volunteer, in 2017. Selections in each series were processed to the item level. Due to privacy concerns, the specific dates of birth of all narrators or other named individuals were redacted from the digitized transcripts and audio recordings.

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Container List

Voices of Brooklyn oral histories: Arts and entertainment, 2006-

Scope and Contents

This series includes oral histories collected through several projects undertaken by Brooklyn Historical Society beginning in 2006. The assembled series took shape in 2008 under the project title "Brooklyn History Makers." The ongoing oral history series, retitled in 2016, features a range of narrators: jazz musicians, photographers, authors, and artists among them, who describe the changes they have observed in their neighborhoods over decades.

Engberg, Marianne, 2009 December 10

Biographical / Historical

Marianne Engberg is a Danish transplant who moved to the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood in 1968 with her husband, a furniture designer, and young son. An artist, Engberg is a professional photographer who spent her early career traveling around the world shooting for magazines before starting her own commercial studio in Manhattan. Her family moved to the Fort Greene neighborhood in 1972 and they renovated their brownstone, where she still lived as of 2017.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Marianne Engberg talks about moving to Brooklyn as a young family in the 1970s and how their early part of her and her husband's careers were focused on trying to establish themselves in New York City. She describes how the couple fell in love with Brooklyn, their movement from the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights to the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, and the differences, trials, and joys of living in Fort Greene for over thirty years. She reflects on the role race has played in her neighborhood, how the neighborhood has changed in the past decade, and what gentrification has done to their area. Interview conducted by Alexis Taines Coe.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Engberg, Jan, -2006
  • Engberg, Marianne, 1937-
  • Lee, Spike

Subject Organizations

  • Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • Brooklyn Technical High School (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • New York Naval Shipyard

Subject Topics

  • Architecture -- Conservation and restoration
  • Artists -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Arts -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Brownstone buildings -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community organi-ing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Historic districts -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Neighborhood government -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Photographers -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Race relations -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social conditions
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)
  • Fort Greene Park (New York, N.Y.)
  • Washington Park (New York, N.Y.)

Forbes, Sally, 2013 March 19

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to this recording is restricted by the donor. Please contact library@brooklynhistory.org for further questions.

George, Nelson, 2009 November 20

Biographical / Historical

Born in 1957 and raised in the Brownsville and East New York neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Nelson George moved to the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn in the mid-1980s. Best known as an author and filmmaker, his non-fiction books have largely focused on histories of popular music and biographies of Black musicians. He helped bankroll Spike Lee's filming of She's Gotta Have It (1986) and has produced, written and directed for the screen ever since. He featured Brooklyn in his book  City Kid: A Writer's Memoir of Ghetto Life and Post-Soul Success and the documentary  Brooklyn Boheme. In 2016, he was a writer on Netflix's  The Get-Down and he was continuing work on a series of detective novels. George shares credits and creative content at his website https://nelson-george.squarespace.com/.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Nelson George takes in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn from several perspectives. Moving in a mostly chronological approach, he recalls trips with his mother to the Abraham & Straus department store on Fulton Street and visits as an independent young adult to a girlfriend in the neighborhood. George remembers the floor plan of his first Fort Greene apartment in the 1980s, and a theft that took place just outside his window. He reflects on the culturally vibrant time of African American artists inhabiting the area and how their departure opened a void that was filled by a new upper-middle class and young professionals starting families. George's friends Spike Lee, Chris Rock, and Vernon Reid all figure into his personal connections with the neighborhood. In much of the final half-hour, he gives his points of view on several Fort Greene landmarks and shares how affected he was as a young writer by living in the same Fort Greene where Richard Wright once wrote. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • George, Nelson
  • Lee, Spike
  • Wright, Richard, 1908-1960

Subject Organizations

  • Abraham & Straus
  • Brooklyn Academy of Music

Subject Topics

  • African American neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • African Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community identity -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community development -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Crime -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Housing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Multiculturalism
  • Musicians -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Performing arts -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Race identity

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)
  • Fort Greene Park (New York, N.Y.)

Liman, Ellen, 2007 September 4

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to this recording is restricted by the donor. Please contact library@brooklynhistory.org for further questions.

Newman, Anne, 2009 July 8

Biographical / Historical

Born in 1932, Anne Newman grew up in Chino, California. The daughter of a father who became Chino's mayor, she attended Chino High School and went on to major in political science at Pomona College and University of California, Los Angeles. While a graduate student in social work at University of Southern California, she appeared in a student film and was drawn to acting. In 1959, Newman entered a Miss Rheingold contest as the Brooklyn-based brewery was cracking the California market. As a semi-finalist, she was flown to New York City and booked at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. She was interviewed there, chosen as a finalist, and received a prize of $25,000. For weeks in the summer of 1959, finalists campaigned to be Miss Rheingold of 1959-1960. Newman met her first husband, Harper's Bazaar publisher Robert MacLeod, when he was judging the contest. Although not chosen as Miss Rheingold, she joined the Ford Models agency and took acting classes. The couple relocated to Malibu, California in the mid-1960s and had a son. She later divorced and married actor Paul Mantee. While acting, she was repeatedly cast by one agency for commercial work. Her third husband, Joe Bacal, cofounded that agency. When she moved back to New York, Newman worked in children's television production in the mid-1980s and then volunteered with Bread and Roses, a cultural project of the 1199 Service Employees International Union. Leading up to this 2009 interview, Newman had chaired a women's theater group and was staying politically active with EMILY's List. She reunited with several Miss Rheingold finalists in 2012 at New-York Historical Society's exhibition on local breweries, and this inspired her 2015 documentary  Beauty and the Beer: 1940-1963.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Anne Newman speaks about much of her early adult life as a graduate student seeking acting roles and her lucky break at becoming a finalist in a Miss Rheingold contest in 1959. She also recalls pivotal moments like meeting her first husband, modeling, becoming a mother, getting into television production on The Great Space Coaster show, marrying her best friend and third husband, and volunteering. Newman considers the unique social significance of the beauty contest in the late 1950s, contrasts that with political campaigns and reality shows circa 2008, and reflects on her early recognition of her feminism and how that empowered her choices through much of her life. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Newman, Anne, 1932-

Document Type

  • Advertisements

Subject Organizations

  • Ford Models, Inc.
  • Miss Rheingold Pageant
  • Rheingold Breweries, Inc.

Subject Topics

  • Activism
  • Actors -- United States
  • Beauty contests
  • Beer
  • Breweries -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Feminism -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Models (Persons)
  • New York (N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -y 20th century
  • Performing arts -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Politics and culture -- United States
  • Women -- New York (State) -- New York -x Social conditions
  • Women -- United States -x Social conditions

Subject Places

  • California

Palescandolo, Frank, 2009 February 10

Biographical / Historical

Frank Palescandolo was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1917, and moved to the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1919. He grew up there and lived above the restaurant (Villa Joe's) owned and run by his family. His parents, both immigrants from Italy, ran the restaurant; it seated 500 people and was one of the biggest in Brooklyn. As a boy, he and his family had some local celebrity and were good friends with prominent members of the area, such as the Tilyou family, who ran and owned Steeplechase Park. Palescandolo was a trained social worker, and spent the majority of his time working with youths and longshoremen in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. He took over the family business when his father died and ran the restaurant in Coney Island until 1975, when it was sold to Urban Renewal. Under the pseudonym Frank Paley, he completed Rumble on the Docks, his first book, in 1953, and spent his life writing twenty-six books that range from novels to histories to translations. Palescandolo classifies himself as one of the few authentic Brooklyn writers.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Frank Palescandolo talks of the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn's past; restaurants that used to be there, the different ethnicities of the people that visited the beach, and the amusement parks that the area is famous for: Luna Park, Steeplechase Park, and Dreamland. He reflects on the restaurant his family had at Coney Island while he was growing up, Villa Joe's, and remembers his early days in the area; talking about his parents' lives as younger people, the house and restaurant they built, and the small farms that neighbors kept on vacant neighborhood lots. He laments the closing of the restaurant in 1975 and the way in which Coney Island has suffered in recent years. He discusses the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn in the 1950s; the teenage gangs there, the crime that was rampant in the area, and how he came to know many of the men involved in that underworld through his social work. He discusses his novel Rumble on the Docks, which takes place in Red Hook and deals with gangs and the gang violence endemic to the neighborhood in the late twentieth century. He recounts how he started writing because he was stuck in bed with the flu, and how he spent roughly thirty years prior to this 2009 interview as a writer. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Palescandolo, Frank J.

Subject Organizations

  • Luna Park (New York, N.Y.)
  • Steeplechase Park (New York, N.Y.)
  • Villa Joe's (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • Amusement parks -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x History
  • Crime -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gangs -- New York (State) -- Kings Country
  • Great Depression -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Immigrants -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Italian Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Restaurateurs -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Restaurants -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Urban renewal -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Waterfronts -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Economic conditions |y 20th century
  • Coney Island (New York, N.Y.)
  • Red Hook (New York, N.Y.)

Redbone, Martha, 2011

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to this recording is restricted by the donor. Please contact library@brooklynhistory.org for further questions.

Subject Names

  • Redbone, Martha

Weiner, Gina Ingoglia, 2014 April 21

Biographical / Historical

Born in Philadelphia in 1938, Gina Ingoglia Weiner grew up in New York City and Long Island. She moved to the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights in 1968 and, with her husband Earl Weiner, lived in a brownstone they bought in 1979. She attended Dickinson College for her undergraduate degree, mastered in Publishing at New York University and attained a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture at Rutgers University. Weiner wrote over eighty children's books and also wrote and illustrated publications on nature and gardening. In her private practice, she designed gardens and landscapes for residences. Weiner served on several boards and committees in the New York City cultural community, including that of Brooklyn Historical Society. Gina Ingoglia Weiner died in March, 2015.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Gina Ingoglia Weiner talks about her family and her family's history as well as her career as a children's books writer and illustrator. She tells her parents' stories; her mother, Denis Gerdes spent some formative years in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, and her father, Frank Ingoglia was born in Brooklyn and grew up in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn and later New Jersey. Weiner relates the various moves of the couple; New York City, then Philadelphia, and later New Hyde Park, Long Island, and traces their jobs and careers. She also goes further into her family background, covering her grandparents and a great grandmother. Weiner talks about her education, and some of her children's books, as well as meeting her husband Earl when they were both attending Dickinson College, and their decision to move to Brooklyn Heights in 1968. She discusses her career moves, work highlights, and creative process; taking note of her work for the Golden Books imprint, stories inspired by Disney properties, and Brooklyn Botanic Garden publications. In closing, she describes what volunteering means to her and welcomes a future opportunity to discuss her board service and experiences at Brooklyn Historical Society. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Ingoglia, Denis
  • Ingoglia, Frank
  • Ingoglia, Gina
  • Weiner, Earl

Document Type

  • Children's books

Subject Organizations

  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Brooklyn Historical Society (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Disney Press
  • Golden Books Publishing Company

Subject Topics

  • Artists -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Authors, American -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Families -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Illustration of books
  • Parents -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Publishers and publishing -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Women -x Education (Higher) -- New York (State) -- New York

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Long Island (N.Y.)
  • New York (N.Y.)

Weston, Randy and Cliff Smalls, 2006 October 11

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to this recording is restricted by the donor. Please contact library@brooklynhistory.org for further questions.

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Voices of Brooklyn oral histories: Business and industry, 2008-

Scope and Contents

This series includes oral histories collected through several projects undertaken by the Brooklyn Historical Society beginning in 2008. The assembled series took shape in 2008 under the project title "Brooklyn History Makers." The ongoing oral history series, retitled in 2016, features a range of narrators: store managers, small business owners, bakers, and restaurateurs among them, who describe the changes they have observed in their neighborhoods over decades.

Baker, Michael, 2010 June 25

Biographical / Historical

Michael Baker was born in Canada in 1959 and came to New York City to open the IKEA home furnishings store in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. As a college student, he had worked in retail. Baker went on to learn more in a management program and began a career with home furnishings retailers. After he was hired on by IKEA, he helped the company expand globally, until he was asked to not only oversee the construction of a store in Canada, but stay on as store manager. In the mid-2000s, he did the same for IKEA Brooklyn. As of the 2010 interview, he and his family were residing in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn; an area they deemed to have the best schools.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Michael Baker briefly discusses growing up in Canada and how he got involved in retail store management. He talks in great detail about opening the IKEA in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn; from negotiations with the City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the local community boards to finding bedrock for driving in anchor piles, and how the home furnishings store wanted to maintain the site's waterfront history. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Baker, Michael
  • Deserio, Pino

Subject Organizations

  • Ikea (Firm)
  • Todd Shipyards Corporation. Brooklyn Division

Subject Topics

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Economic conditions -y 21st century
  • Business enterprises -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Docks -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Employees -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Furniture industry and trade -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Local transit -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Retail trade -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Shipyards -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x History
  • Waterfronts -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Zoning -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Commerce
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social life and customs
  • Canada
  • Environmental impact analysis |z New York (State) |z Kings County
  • New York (N.Y.)
  • Red Hook (New York, N.Y.)

Caputo, James and John, 2010 April 8

Biographical / Historical

Born in 1941 in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn to a father from Brooklyn and a mother from Rome, Italy, John Caputo was the fourth generation to run a Caputo Bakery in Brooklyn. His son, James Caputo was born in 1971. Both Caputos enjoyed childhoods spent at the bakery shop. After being urged by his father to look into a less-physically demanding career, James studied finance and went to work on Wall Street for ten years. The son came back to the family business, and the two worked side by side. At the time of this 2010 interview, John Caputo was semi-retired.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, John and James Caputo talk about generations of the Caputo family and the business history of their co-owned Caputo Bakery in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn. John describes the sequence of locations for Caputo's; one near Union and Hicks Streets that was shuttered because of Brooklyn-Queens Expressway construction in the 1940s, another at 332 Court Street, and the present one that faces that old address. John recalls the businesses and scenery of his youth. The two discuss how each came into the business and how modern life has eased the demands of long hours and baking business inefficiencies. The two identify evolving styles and quality of bread in the overall market and at Caputo's. James reflects on appreciating the bakery in his youth, achieving a career in finance, and returning to work with his father at the bakery. They go over their changing clientele, the staffing of a bakery, and different technologies used in the bakery's different ovens through the years. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan and Margaret Fraser.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Caputo, James
  • Caputo, John

Subject Organizations

  • Caputo Bakery

Subject Topics

  • Bakery employees -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Bakeries -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Baking
  • Business enterprises -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Italian Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x History
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
  • Carroll Gardens (New York, N.Y.)

Deserio, Pino, 2010 July 28

Biographical note

Pino (Joseph) Deserio was born in Mola De Bari, Italy in 1952. He came to the United States in 1970 with his father via ship, and eventually his mother and six siblings joined them. As soon as he turned eighteen, he started working as an electrician's helper at Todd Shipyards in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. He worked there until Todd Shipyards closed and sold the land to IKEA in 2005. Along with the rest of his family, Deserio has lived in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn since the 1970s. He was married and raised two daughters there. At the time of the 2010 interview, Deserio was working as the facilities manager at IKEA in Red Hook on the same site as his previous job with Todd Shipyards.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Pino Deserio describes his life in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn and the Italian American community's establishments there; including the Van Westerhout Mola Sport Club, established by those originally from Mola Di Bari, Italy, and the St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church. He talks about his family, immigration, and changes in the neighborhood, and also changes back in Italy, which he visits every year. Deserio gives a thorough description of all the steps necessary for getting a ship into a graving dock, a difficult process that was his responsibility by the time Todd Shipyards closed. Deserio also discusses the loss of his wife to breast cancer when she was only forty-five years old and shares his hopes for his two daughters. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Deserio, Pino

Subject Organizations

  • New York Naval Shipyard
  • Todd Shipyards Corporation. Brooklyn Division

Subject Topics

  • Docks -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Italian Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Italian Americans -- Social life and customs
  • Marriage customs and rites -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Navy-yards and naval stations -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Parents -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Shipping -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Shipyards -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Waterfronts -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Emigration and immigration
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social life and customs
  • Carroll Gardens (New York, N.Y.)
  • Italy
  • Red Hook (New York, N.Y.)

Windt, Robert, 2009 January 16

Biographical / Historical

Robert "Bob" Windt was born in Manhattan, but moved with his family at the age of four to the upper-middle class Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. Windt's father, a first-generation American of Austro-Hungarian Jewish heritage, gave up his half-partner position in a large manufacturing concern to spend more time with his children before founding the successful Fisk jewelry business. The elder Windt died in 1932, when his son was just twelve years old; the death had a lasting impact on the young Windt. Windt attended P.S. 180, Montauk Junior High School, and graduated from New Utrecht High School in 1938. In anticipation of the United States' entry to World War II, in 1940 Windt joined the Army, where he specialized in carburation and was a B-29 Bomber instructor; he was saved from deployment by the dropping of the atomic bomb. After the war's conclusion, Windt embarked on a successful career in show-business publicity, working with and for Dumont Laboratories, CBS, Pepsi Cola, and Rheingold Brewing Company before launching his own firm, whose major contract was with Fairchild Publications. Robert Windt passed away in October of 2014.

Scope and Contents

In this wide-ranging interview, Robert "Bob" Windt shares his life's history, starting with his family's ancestral history and ending with his retirement. He describes his Austro-Hungarian Jewish heritage and his family's capture of the American dream; and racial relations in the Jewish-Italian Borough Park neighborhood of his youth. He discusses his sadness at his father's early passing; and his early experiences with the Jewish religion. Windt describes his young adulthood, including two years spent "piddling around," which led to his decision to preemptively join the Army as a flight engineer. He describes his experiences in Army training, including Officer's training at the Boca Raton Club, his commission as a lieutenant, and his disappointment over not being deployed. Windt details his start in publicity for the show business industry, selling radios and television sets for CBS-Columbia, and frequently references screen stars of the 1940s and 1950s, including Sammy Kaye, Perry Como, Joan Crawford, Arthur Godfrey, and others. Windt tells of subsequent years spent at Pepsi Cola and Rheingold Beer, including tales of insider business drama, proxy wars, ego battles, and bitter competition. He discusses the launch of his own firm, where his major contract was with Fairchild Publications. At the interview's conclusion, Windt discusses his love of baseball and his passionate distaste for the abuse of eminent domain, even when invoked for the construction of sports arenas. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Windt, Robert

Subject Organizations

  • Brooklyn Dodgers (Baseball team)
  • PepsiCo, Inc.

Subject Topics

  • Business enterprises -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Entertainers -- United States
  • Jews, American -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Public relations
  • Religion -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • World War, 1939-1945

Subject Places

  • Borough Park (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)

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Voices of Brooklyn oral histories: Civic leaders, 2006-

Hamm, Charles, 2006 November 13

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to this recording is restricted by the donor. Please contact library@brooklynhistory.org for further questions.

Hamm, Charles, 2006 November 14

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to this recording is restricted by the donor. Please contact library@brooklynhistory.org for further questions.

MacCrate, Robert, 2007 March 15

Biographical / Historical

Robert MacCrate was born in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1921. He attended high school at Brooklyn Friends School, and then moved on to Haverford College. After his time at Haverford, he had a brief stint in the Navy serving in the Pacific theater of World War II, and then attended Harvard Law School, where he met his wife, then Constance Trapp. From Harvard, he got a job at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York, and moved to Long Island. Beginning in 1958 he worked as counsel to the Governor of New York (Nelson Rockefeller) until 1962. During this time he was heavily involved in the expansion of the State University of New York system. He chaired the American Bar Association Task Force on Law Schools and the Profession, which in 1992 issued what is popularly known today as "The MacCrate Report," which discussed the state of legal education in the United States and stressed the importance of practical experience over purely theoretical learning. It has had a large impact on the way law is taught in the U.S. and abroad. He was living on Long Island with his wife when the interview occurred in 2007. Robert and Constance MacCrate both died in 2016, and were survived by three children. Additional biographical details can be found in notes of other interviews with MacCrate.

Scope and Contents

In this first of four interviews, Robert MacCrate recollects the life of his grandparents and for a long period, tells the life-story of his father, who was a Brooklyn based lawyer and later, congressman and federal judge. He moves into a discussion of his own time in college and recounts the ways in which his life has been intertwined with a friend from Haverford. MacCrate describes his first job at the Sullivan & Cromwell law firm and his move back to New York City from Harvard in Boston. He also mentions that in 1959 he became the general counsel to the Governor of New York. MacCrate discusses what is popularly—although unfairly, according to him—called "The MacCrate Report," which was released by The American Bar Association Task Force on Law Schools and the Profession (which he chaired). Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • MacCrate, Constance
  • MacCrate, Robert
  • Swezey, Kenneth M.
  • Whitehead, John

Subject Organizations

  • American Bar Association
  • Brooklyn Friends School
  • Harvard University
  • Haverford College
  • New York Naval Shipyard

Subject Topics

  • Education, Higher -- New York (State)
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Governors -- New York (State)
  • Law firms -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Law reports, digests, etc. -- New York (State)
  • Lawyers -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Quakers -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x History
  • Greenpoint (New York, N.Y.)
  • Long Island (N.Y.)
  • New York (State) |x Politics and government

MacCrate, Robert, 2007 March 21

Biographical / Historical

Robert MacCrate was born in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1921. After attending Harvard Law School, he got a job at Sullivan and Cromwell law firm in New York, and moved to Long Island. Beginning in 1958 he worked as counsel to Governor Rockefeller until 1962. During this time he was heavily involved in the expansion of the State University of New York system, as well as engineering the modernization of state courts and redrawing a number of congressional district borders in New York City in order to increase representation for minority communities. He then moved back to Long Island and resumed work at Sullivan & Cromwell, where he was involved in a large number of international corporate cases and traveled widely. In 1969 he was asked to be involved in an investigation of the My Lai massacre and filed the report which ended up being the impetus for bringing charges against a number of soldiers for their actions in Vietnam. He and his assistant were the only civilians involved in the investigation. He was living on Long Island with his wife when the interview occurred in 2007. Robert MacCrate and his wife Constance both died in 2016, and were survived by three children. Additional biographical details can be found in notes of other interviews with MacCrate.

Scope and Contents

In this second of four interviews, Robert MacCrate discusses his time as general counsel to Nelson Rockefeller. He spends much of this section discussing his role in the re-structuring of the public higher education system in New York State. He also talks about his role in reorganizing the court system in the state. He provides insight into the politicking and importance of compromise that is integral to government. MacCrate then moves into a discussion about the history of Sullivan & Cromwell. He recalls his role in investigating the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. He details how he was contacted by the Army, and the background of My Lai. He talks about the trip he took to Vietnam, and the process of the investigation itself as well as the report he published and its repercussions. Within the final hour, MacCrate reads a lengthy speech, first delivered in 1971, about My Lai and his views on war. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • MacCrate, Robert
  • Peers, William R. (William Raymond), 1914-1984
  • Rockefeller, Nelson A. (Nelson Aldrich)

Subject Organizations

  • Sullivan & Cromwell
  • United States. Army
  • University of the State of New York

Subject Topics

  • Courts -- New York (State)
  • Education, Higher -- New York (State)
  • Governors -- New York (State)
  • Law firms -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Lawyers -- New York (State) -- New York
  • My Lai Massacre, Vietnam, 1968
  • Soldiers -- United States
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Subject Places

  • Long Island (N.Y.)
  • New York (State) |x Politics and government

MacCrate, Robert, 2007 March 27

Biographical / Historical

Robert MacCrate was born in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1921. He attended elementary and high school at Brooklyn Friends School, and then moved on to Haverford College. After his time at Haverford, he served during wartime in the Navy. With a degree from Harvard Law, he got a job at Sullivan and Cromwell in New York, and moved to Long Island. Beginning 1958 he worked as counsel to Governor Rockefeller until 1962. During this time he was heavily involved in redrawing a number of congressional district borders in New York City in order to increase representation for minority communities. He then resumed work at Sullivan & Cromwell, where he was involved in a large number of international corporate cases and traveled widely. He was living on Long Island with his wife when the interview occurred in 2007. Robert MacCrate and his wife Constance both died in 2016, and were survived by three children. Additional biographical details can be found in notes of other interviews with MacCrate.

Scope and Contents

In this third of four interviews, Robert MacCrate focuses on his relationship with/life in Brooklyn. He begins with reminiscing about his family life and his children. MacCrate recalls his own childhood, talking about public transportation he used to take to get to school and then moving into a discussion of New York's subways. Next, he talks about his role in redrawing congressional districts in New York City after 1960's census. He describes how his new borders stressed community representation. He launches into a discussion of baseball in Brooklyn. He recollects his childhood as a fan of the Dodgers and his efforts in government work to deed Queens parkland to create Shea Stadium. MacCrate then moves into a philosophical speech about of the role of law in society, and how he has an untenable faith in idealism. From here he talks for quite some time about his time in school. He mentions the cultural characteristics of Greenpoint when he was little. This moves him into a discussion about the different ethnic neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan. MacCrate ends by recounting a trip he took to Washington when Roosevelt declared war in 1941. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Chisholm, Shirley
  • MacCrate, Chris
  • MacCrate, Robert
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano)

Subject Organizations

  • Brooklyn Dodgers (Baseball team)
  • Brooklyn Friends School
  • Shriver Tyler MacCrate Center for Justice

Subject Topics

  • Baseball -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Community organi-ing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life
  • Lawyers -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Local transit -- New York (State) -- New York
  • United States -- Social policy -- History -y 20th century

Subject Places

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
  • Downtown Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Greenpoint (New York, N.Y.)
  • New York (N.Y.)
  • New York (State) |x Politics and government
  • Williamsburg (New York, N.Y.)

MacCrate, Robert, 2007 April 12

Biographical / Historical

Robert MacCrate was born in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1921. He attended elementary and high school at Brooklyn Friends School, and then moved on to Haverford College. With a degree from Harvard Law, he got a job at Sullivan and Cromwell in New York, and moved to Long Island. Beginning 1958 he worked as counsel to Governor Nelson Rockefeller until 1962. He then resumed work at Sullivan & Cromwell, where he was involved in a large number of international corporate cases and traveled widely. He chaired the American Bar Association Task Force on Law Schools and the Profession, which in 1992 issued what is popularly known today as "The MacCrate Report," which discussed the state of legal education in the United States and stressed the importance of practical experience over purely theoretical learning. It has had a large impact on the way law is taught in the US and abroad. He was living on Long Island with his wife when the interview occurred in 2007. Robert MacCrate and his wife Constance both died in 2016, and were survived by three children. Additional biographical details can be found in notes of other interviews with MacCrate.

Scope and Contents

In this fourth of four interviews, Robert MacCrate first appreciates a few people who greatly influenced him. He talks about many court cases in which he's been involved and observes the business advances he has seen since he started working. He thanks the people that mentored him and motivated him to join professional associations outside of his firm, and talks about the importance of networking. MacCrate relates a history of Sullivan & Cromwell. He philosophizes on law, then discusses his role in and the importance of court reorganization and modernization. He stresses the need for women and minorities to join the legal profession, and recalls his role in creating the American Bar Association Commission on Women; he chose Hillary Clinton as chair. He traces the paths of his children and some grandchildren. He discusses the various boards and committees he has chaired or served on since the 1970s. MacCrate prides himself on his involvement in the dialogue about legal education and the profession. He describes the process of creating what has been popularly named "the MacCrate Report," and its repercussions in the legal world. In closing, he mentions his outlook on his future. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Clinton, Hillary Rodham
  • MacCrate, Robert
  • Sullivan, Algernon Sydney

Subject Organizations

  • American Bar Association
  • Sullivan & Cromwell

Subject Topics

  • Education
  • Ethics -- Societies, etc.
  • Family life
  • Law firms -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Law reports, digests, etc. -- New York (State)
  • Lawyers -- New York (State) -- New York

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
  • New York (N.Y.) |x History
  • New York (State) |x Politics and government

Parsons, Richard, 2008 October 30

Biographical / Historical

Richard "Dick" Parsons was born in 1948 in Brooklyn. Along with his parents and a sister, he lived in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn until age five. The family relocated to the South Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens, and the young Parsons accelerated through school, graduating at age sixteen. He attended the University of Hawaii and the Albany Law School at Union University. After serving in state and federal government, practicing law as a partner in a firm, and being Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Dime Bancorp, he joined Time Warner; first as a board member beginning in 1991 and then as President starting in 1995. Taking other high-ranking positions at the company in the late 1990s, he was then CEO of Time Warner from 2002 to 2007 and Chairman of the Board from 2003 to 2009. He has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations and became Board Chair of the Rockefeller Foundation in 2016.

Scope and Contents

In this first of two interviews, Richard "Dick" Parsons describes impressionable sights and feelings about being a small boy in Brooklyn in the 1950's. He recalls his passion for the Brooklyn Dodgers at two points, and shares special memories of Coney Island, riding trolleys, Prospect Park, seeing movies, and street games. A short description of home life is followed by the family's uprooting and resettling in Queens. Parsons relates his public school experience, basketball playing, and his surprising turn to attend the University of Hawaii. In closing, he describes his unpreparedness for life in the new fiftieth state, how he fit in, and some classmates' understanding of the northeast United States. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Newcombe, Don
  • Parsons, Richard D.

Subject Organizations

  • Brooklyn Dodgers (Baseball team)
  • University of Hawaii

Subject Topics

  • Baseball -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Basketball -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Children -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Games -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Local transit -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Public schools -- New York (State) -- New York

Subject Places

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
  • Coney Island (New York, N.Y.)
  • Hawaii
  • Ozone Park (New York, N.Y.)
  • Prospect Park (New York, N.Y.)
  • Queens (New York, N.Y.)

Parsons, Richard, 2008 November 20

Biographical / Historical

Richard "Dick" Parsons was born in 1948 in Brooklyn. Along with his parents and a sister, he lived in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn until age five. The family relocated to the South Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens, and the young Parsons accelerated through school, graduating at age sixteen. He attended the University of Hawaii and the Albany Law School at Union University. After serving in state and federal government, practicing law as a partner in a firm, and being Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Dime Bancorp, he joined Time Warner; first as a board member beginning in 1991 and then as President starting in 1995. Taking other high-ranking positions at the company in the late 1990s, he was then CEO of Time Warner from 2002 to 2007 and Chairman of the Board from 2003 to 2009. He has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations and became Board Chair of the Rockefeller Foundation in 2016.

Scope and Contents

In this second of two interviews, Richard "Dick" Parsons begins with a quick run-through of his career timeline from circa 1970 to 1995. He recalls his early encounters with government work in Albany and contrasts the surroundings of Washington, D.C. with Albany. He touches on a few biographical details of his children and moving the family for different opportunities, with some time spent at the Rockefeller estate in Pocantico, New York. Parsons relates his adjusting from work in the Ford White House to private litigation at Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler. He describes his preparing for leadership at Dime Bancorp. Turning philosophical, Parsons observes the importance managing people and having judgement, and just how much those skills are transferable. In closing, Parsons cites the people who mentored him, discusses economic failure in the face of the 2008 Great Recession, and details a bit more about his family tree. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan with Deborah Schwartz.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Parsons, Richard D.
  • Rockefeller, Nelson A. (Nelson Aldrich)

Subject Organizations

  • Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn
  • Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler
  • Time Warner, Inc.

Subject Topics

  • Businessmen -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Family life
  • Governors -- New York (State)
  • Law firms -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Lawyers -- New York (State) -- New York

Subject Places

  • Albany (N.Y.)
  • Downtown Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • New York (State) |x Politics and government
  • Queens (New York, N.Y.)
  • United States -- Economic conditions -- 21st century
  • United States |x Politics and government |y 20th century
  • Washington (D.C.)
  • Westchester County (N.Y.)

Rubin, Marty, 2009 April 2

Biographical / Historical

Martha "Marty" Rubin was born in 1932 and raised in Abilene, Texas. Her father, Homer Hastings Adams was a geologist who started an oil business in Rubin's youth. When she was fifteen with one younger sister, her father died and her mother, Mildred Grizzard, ran the business. Rubin attended Occidental College in California, graduating in 1954, and Radcliffe's graduate business classes in 1955. Robert "Bob" Rubin was also at Radcliffe and the two became a couple. They married and had four children. The family had been in the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights for over fifty years when this interview took place in 2009. The Rubins became founders of the private Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn Heights, with Bob serving as treasurer and Marty teaching history, anthropology, and some geography. Marty Rubin also served on the board of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for many years. In 1993, her book Countryside, Garden and Table was published. Rubin died in February, 2017. Her family had grown to include seven grandchildren.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Martha "Marty" Rubin remembers some features of Brooklyn neighborhoods, in particular how they had developed and survived more polluted periods. She recommends narrators that could also speak to Brooklyn heritage and landmarks, and this leads into her description of some community activism to alter the path of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. Rubin recalls her first encounter with Brooklyn and how her family has thrived there. She goes back to her own childhood; describing Abilene, Texas, her father's respect for science—particularly Darwin's writing—and her mother's stereotypical "ladylike" sensibilities. Rubin tells her experiences of higher education, including time at Occidental College and Radcliffe, as well as debating whether a graduate degree in archaeology or anthropology was best for her. She talks about the formation of Saint Ann's School as a private institution and the many ways her family has been part of it. In closing, she remembers the thrill of first owning a home and discovering community in Brooklyn, and how the borough dodged the skyscraper boom of Manhattan. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Lancaster, Clay
  • Pearsall, Otis
  • Rubin, Martha
  • Rubin, Robert

Subject Organizations

  • Radcliffe College
  • St. Ann's School (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • Community development -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community identity -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community organi-ing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Historic preservation -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Home ownership -x Social aspects -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Private schools -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Urban renewal -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Carroll Gardens (New York, N.Y.)
  • Texas

Shiffman, Ronald, 2009 December 29

Biographical / Historical

Ronald Shiffman was born in 1938 in Israel. His parents had immigrated to Israel from Russia after his father was imprisoned in a Siberian gulag for his expression of Zionist political views. Shiffman's parents later emigrated to the Bronx borough of New York City, where Shiffman grew up. Shiffman graduated from Pratt Institute's school of architecture, and later its school of urban planning. In 1964, Shiffman co-founded the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development (now known as the Pratt Center for Community Development). In 1965, Shiffman, in partnership with the Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, conceived and launched the first community development corporation, known today as the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. In 2012, Shiffman won the Jane Jacobs medal for Lifetime Achievement from the Rockefeller Foundation.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Ronald Shiffman remembers the struggling Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, and Fort Greene neighborhoods of Brooklyn, their decaying housing situations and the various forms that revitalization took over decades. He recalls the forming of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, and several other alliances and partnerships that came out of efforts of the Pratt Center for Community Development (PCCD). He looks back on fifty years of urban development in the area around Pratt Institute. He tells of the community investment activities of the Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council. Shiffman discusses how social movements for the nation affected federal funding and local action for community development. He describes resistance from Pratt's administration to some partnerships of PCCD that appeared suspicious. Draft counseling and reaction to veterans back from Vietnam are also part of his reflections. Shiffman closes with the advice that select manufacturing and housing can co-mingle safely in the 2000s; remarking that the Brooklyn Navy Yard needs to have improved connections to the adjoining neighborhoods for better social and economic impact. Interview conducted by Alexis Taines Coe.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Russell, Carlos
  • Shiffman, Ron

Subject Organizations

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
  • Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • New York Naval Shipyard
  • Pratt Institute

Subject Topics

  • Architects -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • City planning -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community development corporations -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Community organi-ing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Local transit -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Social justice -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Urban policy -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Urban renewal -- New York (State) -- New York

Subject Places

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
  • Bronx (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Politics and government
  • Clinton Hill (New York, N.Y.)
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)

Tuttle, Esther Leeming, 2006 November 6

Biographical / Historical

Esther Leeming Tuttle, nicknamed "Faity," was born in 1911, grew up in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood on Henry Street, and was orphaned at age eleven. She became a professional actress, appearing on Broadway with Humphrey Bogart, among others. In 1944, she moved to Park Slope with her husband, Ben, and their three children. The couple later lived on Prospect Park West. She was a longtime supporter of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG); she chaired the Board for seven years, and in 1988 she was awarded the BBG's Forsythia Award for outstanding service. Her autobiography No Rocking Chair For Me was published in 2003. In 2015, Esther Leeming Tuttle died at her longtime summer retreat of Kinderhook, New York, leaving two sons, and many grandchildren, great grandkids, and a great-great granddaughter.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Esther Leeming Tuttle begins with her memories of being raised in Connecticut and Brooklyn. She recalls the architectural ingenuity of both parents and how her mother oversaw two different conversions of homes into multi-apartment dwellings in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. Tuttle remembers the arrangements of the family and house staff at her childhood home. She recalls Brooklyn cultural institutions like the Apprentices' Library, early models of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Institute of Arts and Sciences. She refers to the upper class residents and influential shapers of Brooklyn in centuries gone by; some were ancestors or friends of her parents. Tuttle shares the process and decision-making that led her and her husband to a home in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn in order to raise a family. She adds that the couple enjoyed spectacular views from a Prospect Park West apartment years later. After sharing some details about her children's experiences of growing up in Brooklyn, she details much about her volunteer work with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. After several other historical subjects, including family contact with Samuel Clemens and Henry Ward Beecher, Tuttle closes with some of her favorite sights and sounds of the borough. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Beecher, Henry Ward
  • Tuttle, Esther Leeming

Subject Organizations

  • Berkeley Institute (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • Brooklyn Apprentices' Library Association
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences

Subject Topics

  • Children -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Fundraising -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Philanthropists -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Voluntarism -- New York (State) - Kings County -x Societies, etc.
  • Women authors, American

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Buildings, structures, etc.
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x History
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social life and customs
  • Park Slope (New York, N.Y.)
  • Prospect Park (New York, N.Y.)

Weissberg, Norbert, 2012 February 27

Biographical / Historical

Norbert Weissberg was born in Brooklyn in 1934. His father, Bernard Weissberg, immigrated to New York from Lezajsk, Poland; his mother, Anna Spitzer Weissberg, was also of Polish-Jewish heritage but she was born in the United States and grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Weissberg grew up with one brother in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn at 881 Washington Avenue. His education took him from PS 241 to Erasmus Hall High School and then, in 1951, he went to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He then attended Harvard Law School. Married to Judith Schneider Weissberg, the couple resided in Manhattan and, as of 2017, East Hampton, New York. He is currently Chairman of Package Research Laboratory, LLC and Stapling Machines Company, LLC. He serves on several boards, including those at Brandeis University's Ethics Center and-- from 2012 to 2016-- Brooklyn Historical Society.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Norbert Weissberg talks about his childhood in Brooklyn and how his Brooklyn community and the events of World War II influenced his life. Touching on many biographical details, Weissberg recalls PS 241 where he attended elementary school and the fun he had with friends playing street games and following sports like Dodgers baseball. He remembers being raised as a Conservative Jew, maintaining a kosher household, and going to the Catskills for Passover, like many New York families. Weissberg describes his parents' community; they would attend performances at the Metropolitan Opera House weekly and on Thursdays his mother would host a mahjong club. He notes how the family consumed New York media; his father read the New York Post and  PM, while he listened to Uncle Dan and Mayor LaGuardia's broadcasts. The news of Pearl Harbor in 1941 was pivotal for his worldview as a young boy. Weissberg delves into his Jewish identity, then considers antisemitism and how his two children both think differently on the subject. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Weissberg, Norbert

Subject Organizations

  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Brooklyn Dodgers (Baseball team)
  • Erasmus Hall High School

Subject Topics

  • American newspapers -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Antisemitism
  • Apartment houses -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Baseball -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Baseball teams -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Games -x Street -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Jews, American -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Judaism
  • Public schools -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Radio -- United States -y 20th century
  • School children -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Emigration and immigration
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Religious life and customs
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
  • Catskill Mountains (N.Y.)
  • Crown Heights (New York, N.Y.)

White, Shelby, 2013 October 23

Biographical / Historical

Shelby Baier White was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1938. Her parents, both of Jewish heritage, had both immigrated to New York as children circa 1910. White grew up in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn near Prospect Park and the Parade Grounds, where her family lived from 1938 - 1974. She attended PS 139 and later PS 92 for elementary school and PS 246 Walt Whitman Junior High. For high school, she commuted to Packer Collegiate Institute in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood until graduation in 1957. White attended Mount Holyoke College and graduate school at Columbia University. White has served on the boards of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Institute for Advanced Study, New York Botanical Garden, New York University, Bard Graduate Center, and The Writers Room. She is president of the American Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority. She also serves as chairman of the Shelby White and Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications at Harvard University. White has written a book, as well as financial articles for leading publications. Shelby Baier White has been listed as one of the country's top philanthropists.*

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Shelby Baier White talks about her childhood in Brooklyn with inspired recollections of Jewish community in Flatbush; names and memories of neighborhood businesses and restaurants; influential teachers in both public school and at Packer Collegiate Institute; and enjoying Brooklyn institutions like Brooklyn Public Library and Brooklyn Museum. She remembers the impact of World War II when she was a small child. White describes the recreation and sport she enjoyed in Prospect Park and Ebbets Field. She also recalls her religious education and the family's religious practices, as well as her participation in clubs and camp. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan. Scope note by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

*Source:

"Officers & Staff." Leon Levy Foundation.http://leonlevyfoundation.org/category/the-foundation/officers-staff/

Subject Names

  • White, Shelby

Subject Organizations

  • Brooklyn Dodgers (Baseball team)
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • Packer Collegiate Institute

Subject Topics

  • Air raid warning systems
  • Business enterprises -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Children -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Cultural facilities -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Education -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Games -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Immigrants -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Jewish neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Jews, American -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Parks -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Religious discrimination
  • Teachers -- New York (State) -- New York
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Yiddish language

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Religious life and customs
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
  • Brownsville (New York, N.Y.)
  • Flatbush (New York, N.Y.)
  • Prospect Park (New York, N.Y.)
  • United States |x Emigration and immigration

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Voices of Brooklyn oral histories: Community activists, 2007-

Scope and Contents

This series includes oral histories collected through several projects undertaken by Brooklyn Historical Society beginning in 2007. The assembled series took shape in 2008 under the project title "Brooklyn History Makers." The ongoing oral history collection, retitled in 2016, features a range of narrators: Civil rights activists, documenters, and preservationists among them, who describe the changes they have observed in their neighborhoods and in society over decades.

Harris, Pam, 2013 October 18

Biographical / Historical

Pam Harris has lived in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn all her life. She attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice, St. Joseph's College, and Capella University, where she received a master's degree in Human Development and Family Studies. A retired corrections officer in 2013, she devoted her time to local community efforts including the founding of the non-profit organization for youth; Coney Island Generation Gap. An advocate for restoring services following Superstorm Sandy, Harris was elected to the New York State Assembly in 2015.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Pam Harris reflects on growing up in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn and identifies the diversity there. She speaks about retiring, but never ceasing to work on community-focused projects, and starting up a youth program that enables young people (her "kids") to create video productions in their free time. Harris recounts, in nearly hour-by-hour detail, when Superstorm Sandy made landfall and the immediate effects it had on her family and her neighbors. She recalls her efforts at outreach; checking on neighbors, gathering supplies, and preparing meals in the early days, then repairing her home, making a new effort at her youth organization and advocating for funds and repairs for Coney Island at large. Interview conducted by Manissa McCleave Maharawal.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Harris, Pamela

Subject Organizations

  • Coney Island Generation Gap

Subject Topics

  • Children -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community activists -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Hurricane damage -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Hurricane Sandy, 2012
  • Mental health
  • Neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Nonprofit organi-ations -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Urban beautification -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social life and customs
  • Coney Island (New York, N.Y.)

Holtz, Joe, 2008 September 5

Biographical / Historical

Joe Holtz is a founding member, served on the Board of Directors, and remains a General Coordinator of the Park Slope Food Coop, a food cooperative market in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. Holtz became an adult in the late 1960s, when multiple social causes were trending mainstream. Awareness of food science also grew in the early 1970s, and that period overlapped with Holtz's arrival in New York City. He settled in Park Slope as a renter and later as a homeowner. With other founders in place, the Coop opened in February of 1973 and management began tinkering with how to make the cooperative system of customers/owners/workers a viable, sustainable operation. The Coop was originally in a space that was sublet by a community center. In 1978, with over a thousand members, the Coop made a down payment to buy 782 Union Street. Two neighboring buildings were purchased in the two decades that followed. In 2016, membership was between 16,000 and 17,000.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Joe Holtz identifies the various strains of food cooperatives and how Park Slope Food Coop fits in with the members-only ownership and sales model. He recalls the founding principles of the Coop, and the other models of coops on the city marketplace in the early 1970s. He discusses the rollout of their labor strategy and the growing interest in food sources and research in that era. He speaks about the physical spaces the Coop has occupied, some organizing principles, and membership fluctuations. Holtz points out several ways the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn has benefitted from the Coop's practices. He also sees the pressures that gentrification is having on the area, in general and through firsthand examples. With the Coop a success, he has advised other newly-forming coops. In closing, Holtz speaks to the benefits and tensions of the rules for members working at the Coop, the approach to product boycotts, and how the Board of Directors functions. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Holtz, Joseph

Subject Organizations

  • Park Slope Food Coop

Subject Topics

  • Community organi-ing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Environmentalism -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Food -- Social aspects
  • Food supply -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Markets -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Social justice -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Buildings, structures, etc.
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social life and customs
  • New York (N.Y.)
  • Park Slope (New York, N.Y.)

Jackson, Esther Cooper, 2010 February 8

Biographical / Historical

Esther Cooper Jackson was born in in Arlington, Virginia in 1917. The younger of two children, her father was an officer in the Army and her mother was a bureaucrat who worked for the Forest Service, as well as an activist. Jackson graduated from Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. She went to Oberlin College and then onto Fisk University, where she received a master's degree in sociology. Jackson moved to Birmingham, Alabama in 1940 to work on a voter registration project; spending seven years working there as a community organizer. She met her husband during that era, and they later decided to move to New York City in the early 1950s. Settling in Brooklyn, Jackson began working as an activist and board member with the Committee to Defend Negro Leadership. In 1961, she became a founding member and managing editor of the magazine Freedomways. She continued at the magazine for a quarter century. Jackson followed that with work as an activist and speaker, all while living in the same apartment in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn since 1963. As recently as 2015, she had donated many personal papers to the New York University library.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Esther Cooper Jackson begins by describing the lives of her mother and father. Among many of her own biographical details, she talks about her early life in Arlington, Virginia and her education. She notes her thesis at Fisk University has been re-discovered by a number of contemporary academics. Jackson discusses the seven years she spent working as a community organizer in Birmingham, Alabama. She gives a basic picture of the civil inequalities African-Americans faced in the South. Jackson recalls her move to Brooklyn and her involvement in Freedomways magazine, a Black quarterly dedicated to art and culture. Throughout, she shares details and anecdotes about her daughters. The interview ends with her reflections on the change in the racial makeup of the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn in the late 2000s. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt)
  • Jackson, Esther Cooper

Subject Organizations

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
  • Freedomways Associates
  • National Committee to Defend Negro Leadership
  • Pratt Institute
  • Southern Negro Youth Congress

Subject Topics

  • African Americans -- Civil rights -- History -y 20th century
  • African Americans -x Civil rights -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Community organi-ing -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Editors -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Segregation -- United States -x History
  • Social justice -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social conditions
  • Brownsville (New York, N.Y.)
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)
  • New York (N.Y.)
  • Southern States |x History
  • Virginia

Pearsall, Nancy, 2007 February 15 and 21

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to this recording is restricted by the donor. Please contact library@brooklynhistory.org for further questions.

Wolfe, Maxine, 2008 September 2

Biographical / Historical

Maxine Wolfe was born in 1941 and raised in a working-class, Jewish family in Brooklyn. Attending public school, she graduated from New Utrecht High School at age sixteen. Wolfe went on to Brooklyn College, receiving an undergraduate degree in psychology. She attained her doctoral degree in social psychology from the City University of New York (CUNY). Later, Wolfe was a professor in that school's Environmental Psychology Program. Having had an interest in activism since her teens, Wolfe joined and supported several organizations, being a notable mentor in ACT UP beginning in 1987. In 1984, while living in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, Wolfe began attending weekly volunteer meetings of the Lesbian Herstory Archives (LHA). With the collections growing, LHA fundraised and coordinated the purchase of a house in Park Slope in 1990. The Archives were moved there from the Upper West Side apartment of founder Joan Nestle in 1993. As of 2017, Wolfe remains a coordinator at LHA and a professor emeritus at CUNY's Graduate Center.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Maxine Wolfe describes the Lesbian Herstory Archives (LHA) in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. She lists the variety of collected genre types and, much later, the arrangement of the material; filling in with broad overviews and some specific details about the intellectual content of LHA. She recalls joining as a volunteer, and the event of moving the collection to a Park Slope house. Wolfe shares some history of LHA itself and some insight into its administration in the 2000s. She considers the community interaction of LHA and Park Slope, as well as the effects of gentrification, activism and homogenization in the area. Returning to the internal activity of the Archives, Wolfe gives an overview of the visiting researchers and guests, the collection policy, staffing, and decision-making. In conclusion, she emphasizes the open access principles of LHA. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Nestle, Joan
  • Wolfe, Maxine

Subject Organizations

  • Lesbian Herstory Archives

Subject Topics

  • Activism
  • Activists -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Community organi-ing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • History -x Research -- North America
  • Lesbians
  • Libraries -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Social justice -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Social movements -- United States
  • Women -- United States -x Social conditions

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Voices of Brooklyn oral histories: Our neighbors, 2007-

Scope and Contents

This series includes oral histories collected through several projects undertaken by the Brooklyn Historical Society beginning in 2007. The assembled collection took shape in 2008 under the project title "Brooklyn History Makers." The ongoing oral history collection, retitled in 2016, features a diverse range of narrators; all longtime neighborhood residents who describe the changes they have observed in their neighborhoods over decades.

Abumrad, Jad and Karla Murthy, 2010 August 29

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to this recording is restricted by the donor. Please contact library@brooklynhistory.org for further questions.

Castellano, Madeline, 2009 May 12

Biographical / Historical

Madeline Rotondo Castellano was born in Brooklyn in 1927. She was raised in the Fort Greene, Canarsie, and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Later, she resided in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. In her earliest years, she lived in a home that included three generations of her Italian American family. Castellano's childhood was spent running chores for family, seeing friends in Fort Greene Park, and attending school. While still a young girl, she was permanently injured in a hit-and-run incident. It left her without the full use of her legs. Castellano was one of seven siblings. She married, raised a daughter, and later divorced. After working in jobs at movie theaters and a shop, she became an advocate for improved social services for the physically challenged. In her late fifties, she returned to school at Adelphi University and held a long-term bookkeeping position with Citibank. As of 2009, she was residing at an assisted living facility in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Madeline Rontondo Castellano shares anecdotes that reflect her way of life in the Brooklyn of the Great Depression, Second World War, and postwar eras. She also formulates that society's issues of the 2000s grew out of those earlier periods. The three-generation family unit in which she grew up in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn is illustrated in vignettes about her running errands, taking part in Sunday dinners, and entertaining visiting neighbors. Castellano also discusses her times of taking responsibility for herself as a little girl and teenager, with Fort Greene Park, area social clubs, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard as backdrops. She recalls her family history and Italian heritage. In several segments throughout the interview, Castellano relates the story of her injury by hit-and-run driver at age nine, being hospitalized, then treated differently in school, and later in life becoming an advocate for those with physical disabilities. In the final half-hour, Castellano looks at her adult life as a mother and wife, and how she ended her marriage on her terms. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal . Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Castellano, Madeline

Subject Organizations

  • New York Naval Shipyard

Subject Topics

  • Ethnic neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Games -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Great Depression -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Immigrants -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Italian Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • People with disabilities -x Services for -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social conditions |y 20th century
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)
  • Fort Greene Park (New York, N.Y.)

Favorito, Vincent, 2011 June 10

Biographical / Historical

Vincent Favorito was born in Brooklyn in 1941. He is of Italian heritage and he grew up in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn. He attended school at Sacred Hearts-St. Stephen's (Hicks Street), Delehanty High School and later St. John's University and St. John's School of Law. At the time of this interview, Favorito and his wife had sold the Carroll Gardens brownstone that his father-in-law bought in 1946 and where he and his wife first lived in 1962 when they got married. They returned to live in the brownstone in 2003 after his father-in-law passed away. From 1972 – 2003, they lived in the Marine Park neighborhood of Brooklyn and that is where their three children grew up. Favorito and his wife, having sold their brownstone shortly before this 2011 interview, planned to move to Westchester to be closer to one of their sons and live in a condominium without too many stairs.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Vincent Favorito remembers his childhood in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn and the schools he attended through to his adulthood. He recalls the Italian families in the neighborhood and the bakeries, butchers, and other neighborhood businesses. He talks about adult life in different homes in Carroll Gardens and the Marine Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, with summers on Breezy Point in Queens. Favorito discusses being part of the 1969 effort to get landmark status for Carroll Gardens. He reflects on the importance of "the Place blocks" (First – Fourth Places) built in 1846. He also relates how the construction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway divided the neighborhood and destroyed the commerce along Union Street. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Favorito, Vincent

Subject Topics

  • Architecture -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x History -y 19th century
  • Brownstone buildings -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • City planning -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community identity -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Historic preservation -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Home ownership -x Social aspects -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Italian Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x History
  • Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (New York, N.Y.)
  • Carroll Gardens (New York, N.Y.)
  • Clinton Street (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

Garcia, Yolande, 2010 September 29

Biographical / Historical

Yolande Garcia was born and raised in Haiti in 1930, moving to New York City in 1954 to start a new life. She met her husband in the city and had two children, a boy and a girl, while living in Queens. In 1980, they moved to the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn where they have lived ever since. Highly involved in community activism and global humanitarian work, Garcia had spent thirty years in Fort Greene, helping to improve the neighborhood, and enjoying her retirement with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She visited Haiti every year and has deep roots to the community in both her home country and her adopted country. Garcia's son, Marc, was also interviewed for this collection.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Yolande Garcia discusses immigrating to New York City and moving to the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn later in life. She talks about her role in starting a block association, creating a safe neighborhood, and the changes she has witnessed in Fort Greene throughout the past three decades. She reflects on her family roots in Haiti, her activism in Haiti and in Fort Greene, and on raising a family in the city. She describes her love of music and the arts and the different venues she frequents around Brooklyn. She talks about the benefits she sees in living in a multicultural neighborhood, the sensory experiences of Fort Greene, and her love of the neighborhood she adopted as her own. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Garcia, Yolande

Subject Topics

  • Caribbean Americans -- New York (State) -- New York -x History -y 20th century
  • Community identity -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community organi-ing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Haitian Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Intergenerational relations -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Multiculturalism
  • Neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Older people -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Women in charitable work -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social life and customs
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)
  • Fort Greene Park (New York, N.Y.)
  • Haiti

Glicksman, Hal, 2009 January 14

Biographical / Historical

Born in Brooklyn in 1937, Hal Glicksman grew up in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn at the same location as his father's glass shop. He attended PS 11, PS 64, Boys' High School, and Brooklyn College. While young Glicksman was in his teens his father suffered a heart attack, and the young man assisted with glass installation for the family business. Permanently shuttering the shop in the early 1970s, Glicksman left for Chicago, where he got started in local broadcast television work. He returned to Brooklyn a couple years later and found long term employment with CBS News. In the several years before this 2009 interview, Glicksman had become a Manhattan resident, left CBS after staffing cuts, and had become a tour guide in the city for the Gray Line bus company. After eight years at Gray Line, he was leading a variety of tours for New York City Vacation Packages as of 2017.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Hal Glicksman looks back on his time as a boy and young man in and around the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, as well as shares the knowledge of a tour guide in regard to the Brooklyn of the early twenty-first century. Throughout, he mentions many biographical details and recalls much about the two generations of his family that preceded him. Glicksman recalls his home and how that also served as the base for his father's glass shop. He focuses on notable moments and landmarks of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and shares personal stories of volunteering for the team and meeting Dan Bankhead and Jackie Robinson. Often Glicksman discusses the changes in Brooklyn neighborhoods, contrasting a location of his youth with his adult view of the same place. The landmarks and institutions mentioned include Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, Fort Greene Park, elevated trains, Ebbets Field, Barclay's Center, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Pfizer Pharmaceutical, Fort Greene Meat Market, and Brooklyn Academy of Music. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Bankhead, Dan
  • Glicksman, Hal

Subject Organizations

  • Boys' High School (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • Brooklyn Dodgers (Baseball team)
  • Ebbets Field (New York, N.Y.)
  • New York Naval Shipyard

Subject Topics

  • Baseball -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Baseball fields -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Business enterprises -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Games -x Street -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Housing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Immigrants -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Jews, American -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Public schools -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • School children -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Tourism -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Religious life and customs
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
  • Clinton Hill (New York, N.Y.)
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)

Holland, Deborah "DK", 2010 March 1

Biographical / Historical

Born in 1947, Deborah "DK" Holland was a Manhattan resident until 1983. She was teaching a graphic design class at Pratt Institute then, and was wooed to the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn because of the value for housing stock at the time and the welcoming sense of community within the social gatherings of the Society for Clinton Hill. She renovated the home she bought there, but soon found it too large for a single person. She relocated to a home that had been a tack barn on Adelphi Street at Lafayette Avenue. The property also included a corner storefront that, in 2017, housed the restaurant Olea. Holland built on the Society's community values and, in 1984, started a newsletter with neighbors titled The Hill, the Journal of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Wallabout. It had also become a website by 2010, but ceased publication that same year. Holland co-founded the Greene Hill Food Co-op, a long gestating organization that opened its doors in 2011. In 2017, she had co-founded the education-focused non-profit Inquiring Minds. More of her biographical details can be found at dkholland.com

Scope and Contents

In this interview, "DK" Holland focuses mainly on her life in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. She chronicles her experiences with homes there; her neighbors' as well as her own. Holland discusses her involvement with the Board of the Society for Clinton Hill, and the efforts between her, Abigail Golde, and Rogen Brown in getting a newsletter into circulation for Clinton Hill, and the nearby Fort Greene and Wallabout neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Holland surveys the changes in her area; from a crime-ridden era to more recent times when fine dining and a food co-op are becoming staples. In her eyes, it's neighborliness and home restoration that have strengthened the community. Other tools that Holland emphasizes are organizing sustainably and patronizing businesses. Interview conducted by Alexis Taines Coe.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Brown, Rogen S.
  • Golde, Abigail
  • Holland, DK

Document Type

  • Newsletters

Subject Organizations

  • Greene Hill Food Coop (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Hill (Newsletter)
  • Olea (Restaurant)
  • Pratt Institute
  • Society for Clinton Hill

Subject Topics

  • Architecture -- Conservation and restoration
  • Business enterprises -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community organi-ing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Crime -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Housing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Markets -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Public schools -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Restaurants -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Women in community development -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social conditions
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social life and customs
  • Clinton Hill (New York, N.Y.)
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)
  • Wallabout (New York, N.Y.)

Moran, Ed, 2008 November 12

Biographical / Historical

Edward "Ed" Moran was born in 1947 and raised in a small town of Pennsylvania. At age twenty in 1968, he sailed to Europe for a four-month tour of the continent. Moving to New York City later that year, he lived in Manhattan until 1974. After moving to Brooklyn, he joined a theatrical company that performed at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. In 1976, he formally became a member of the church. He became an Elder with the Session of the church a year later and after less involvement in the church for much of the 1980s, he joined the Session again from 1989 to 1991. Writing for a living, Moran is recognized as the unofficial historian of Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church; knowledgeable about the church's mid-nineteenth century origin and subsequent decades, and equipped with first-hand observations of the 1970s through the 2000s.

Scope and Contents

In this first of three interviews, Edward "Ed" Moran begins with his initial contact with the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church and Reverend George Knight due to his interest in the theatre group that performed there. He looks at the special nature of the church services in that they didn't conform to type. Moran reflects on his own journey in the tumultuous late-1960s that led him to New York City, then Brooklyn, and his rapid rise in the church's hierarchy. He speaks to the social justice mission of the church, its use of history for perspective and learning, and its forward-thinking legacy. Moran spends much of the middle of the interview dissecting whether the church played a role in abolition or the Underground Railroad in Brooklyn. He shares a few short anecdotes of some of the most memorable congregants and occasions. Moran then looks back at the 1970s and 1980s when the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn was struggling and the church was actively reaching out to the community. In closing, he considers Reverend Knight's attachment to the church and that it may have been pathological. Interview conducted by Hillel Arnold.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Knight, George Litch
  • Lincoln, Abraham
  • Moran, Edward

Subject Organizations

  • Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • Abolitionists -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Amateur theater -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Churches -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Presbyterian Church -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Presbyterian Church -- New York (State) -- New York -x Clergy
  • Presbyterians -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Religious institutions -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x History
  • Slavery -- United States -x History
  • Social justice -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Religious life and customs
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social conditions |y 20th century

Moran, Ed, 2008 November 26

Biographical / Historical

Edward "Ed" Moran was born in 1947 and raised in a small town of Pennsylvania. At age twenty in 1968, he sailed to Europe for a four-month tour of the continent. Moving to New York City later that year, he lived in Manhattan until 1974. After moving to Brooklyn, he joined a theatrical company that performed at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. In 1976, he formally became a member of the church. He became an Elder with the Session of the church a year later and, after less involvement in the church for much of the 1980s, he joined the Session again from 1989 to 1991. Writing for a living, Moran is recognized as the unofficial historian of Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church; knowledgeable about the church's mid-nineteenth century origin and subsequent decades, and equipped with first-hand observations of the 1970s through the 2000s.

Scope and Contents

In this second of three interviews, Edward "Ed" Moran begins with his recollections of Reverend George Knight and the creativity and sense of community that Moran enjoyed at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. He looks at the the social justice mission of the church through the lens of the More Light Presbyterians coalition that began at the church in 1979 with little difficulty. He examines how More Light was reaffirmed in the early 1990s with some challenges by those affected by a Religious Right ideology. Moran cites this same period as a time of upheaval in the church's functionality because of the Reverend Knight's personal troubles, his swift resignation, and an ensuing chaotic three-year period of four interim pastors. The details of that period were expected to be part of the follow-up oral history. While recording, Moran requested that some thoughts on Rev. Fred Davie be redacted. Two minutes late in the first hour have been cut. Interview conducted by Hillel Arnold.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Dyson, David W.
  • Knight, George Litch
  • Moran, Edward

Subject Organizations

  • Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • More Light Presbyterians

Subject Topics

  • Amateur theater -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Church controversies -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Church management -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Churches -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gay rights
  • Presbyterian Church -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Presbyterian Church -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x Clergy
  • Presbyterians -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Religious institutions -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x History
  • Social justice -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Religious life and customs
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social conditions |y 20th century
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)

Moran, Ed, 2009 January 29

Biographical / Historical

Edward "Ed" Moran was born in 1947 and raised in a small town of Pennsylvania. At age twenty in 1968, he sailed to Europe for a four-month tour of the continent. Moving to New York City later that year, he lived in Manhattan until 1974. After moving to Brooklyn, he joined a theatrical company that performed at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. In 1976, he formally became a member of the church. He became an Elder with the Session of the church a year later and, after less involvement in the church for much of the 1980s, he joined the Session again from 1989 to 1991. Writing for a living, Moran is recognized as the unofficial historian of Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church; knowledgeable about the church's mid-nineteenth century origin and subsequent decades, and equipped with first-hand observations of the 1970s through the 2000s.

Scope and Contents

In this third of three interviews, Edward "Ed" Moran delves into the challenges of a three-and-a-half year period between permanent pastors at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in 1989 to 1992. He goes into detail about some of the interim pastors, Reverend Davie's role as associate pastor, and the institutional chaos in the wake of Reverend George Knight's tumultuous final days as pastor. He describes the procedures of the Session and their role in reaffirming the More Light position of the church; an open-door policy to welcome members to be of any sexual preference, as well as electing Reverend David Dyson as permanent pastor. Both efforts were challenged by a few members and by the lingering disarray of Rev. Knight's management. Moran looks at this period as a reflection of larger movements happening in 1990s America. He hypothesizes about the church's future and church attendance in general, then breaks down what appeals to him and others about attending services. Moran closes with visceral memories of old Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church sights and sounds. While recording, Moran expressed that he was making a personal aside that was not for the record. One minute near the one hour mark was cut. Interview conducted by Hillel Arnold.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Crumb, Susan
  • Davie, Fred
  • Dyson, David W.
  • Knight, George Litch
  • Moran, Edward

Subject Organizations

  • Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • More Light Presbyterians

Subject Topics

  • Church controversies -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Church management -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Churches -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gay rights
  • Identity politics
  • Politics and culture -- United States
  • Presbyterian Church -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Presbyterian Church -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x Clergy
  • Sexuality & culture
  • Social justice -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Religious life and customs
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social conditions |y 20th century
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)

Santos, Frank, 2008 September 5

Biographical / Historical

One of six children, Frank Santos was born in 1927 and raised on Hicks Street in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. His parents had emigrated from the Canary Islands in the early 1920s. He and several siblings followed their father into the woodworking trades. As a child, Santos attended the parochial Assumption School in the Heights. A father and grandfather, he was also a Florida resident as of 2017.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Frank Santos shares many of his and his family's biographical details. He tells of the disruption to the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood caused by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, as well as his family's relocation to a new Hicks Street home. Santos vividly recalls many features of 1930s and 1940s Downtown Brooklyn and Heights neighborhoods. He speaks of his schooling at the Assumption School, and then quickly moves into an overview of the careers of his children and grandchildren. Focusing on one daughter's challenges in a couple marriages to police officers, Santos expresses his criticism of the police in general and the New York Police Department specifically; citing encounters he experienced in 1959, the 1970s, and 2007. The interview ends abruptly due to an issue with the recording equipment. Santos was interviewed again, weeks later, and that interview is also within this series. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Esposito, Diana
  • Santos, Frank

Subject Organizations

  • Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Bergen Cabinet (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • New York (N.Y.). Police Department

Subject Topics

  • Catholic schools -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community development, Urban -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community gardens -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Crime -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Elections -x Corrupt practices -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Housing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Jews -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Police-community relations -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • School children -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (New York, N.Y.)
  • Downtown Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Florida

Santos, Frank with Gaffney, Elizabeth, 2008 October 27

Biographical / Historical

One of six children, Frank Santos was born in 1927 and raised on Hicks Street in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. His parents had emigrated from the Canary Islands in the early 1920s. He and several siblings followed their father into the woodworking trades. As a child, Santos attended the parochial Assumption School in the Heights. A father and grandfather, he was also a Florida resident as of 2017.

As stated on her website, Elizabeth Gaffney is also "a native Brooklynite. She graduated with honors from Vassar College and holds a master's degree in fiction from Brooklyn College; she also studied philosophy and German at Ludwig-Maximillian University in Munich. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the neurologist Alex Boro, and their daughters. Her second novel, When the World Was Young, was published by Random House in 2014." The story is set in Brooklyn Heights in the period of the Second World War.*

*Source: http://www.elizabethgaffney.net/author.html

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Frank Santos begins with some of his family's biographical details, then describes local doctors in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of his youth. He recalls many elements of his childhood throughout the interview; such as building wagons and scooters to race with friends, the neighborhood before the disruption of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, and personal hygiene in a cold water flat. Santos vividly recalls amenities and features of the 1930s and 1940s Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights neighborhoods. He speaks of his respect for Jewish neighbors and their philanthropy. Aspects of life during World War II like working on oil barges for the Army, rationing, blackouts, air raid warnings, and soldiers on duty in Cadman Plaza. Elizabeth Gaffney shares a few details about her history with the Heights and she and Santos make comparisons about real estate and investment in the area. Prior to this oral history, Santos was interviewed weeks earlier, and that interview is also within this series. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan, with Elizabeth Gaffney contributing interview questions as part of her writing preparation.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Gaffney, Elizabeth
  • Santos, Frank

Subject Organizations

  • United States. Army

Subject Topics

  • Community development, Urban -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Crime -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Housing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Jews -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Police-community relations -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • School children -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Waterfronts -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (New York, N.Y.)
  • Downtown Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)

Williams, Fenton, 2013 August 9

Biographical / Historical

Fenton Williams was born in Suffolk, Virginia in 1931 and raised in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. He attended the area's public elementary schools and a Manhattan vocational high school. Shortly after beginning in the city's community college and passing a test for a coveted position within the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Williams was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. After his service, he returned to school and to a job in the Yard as a shipwright. He married and raised a family in a house bought in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1958. After the close of the Yard, Williams went to work for the city as a building inspector and carpenter in the late 1960s. He then became a plant mechanic at Greenpoint Hospital, and followed that with higher superintendent and foreman positions at Cumberland and Woodhull Hospitals. Williams and his wife moved to the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1984. He was a grandfather and widower by 2013.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Fenton Williams tells the broad history of his family origins; a legacy that included slavery and former slaves and field hands in the South. He describes his many siblings; several of whom were lost to tuberculosis, and life in Brooklyn's cold water flats. Williams shares vivid details about childhood play in the Fort Greene neighborhood and surrounding areas of Brooklyn. He recalls the interaction between African American and Italian American people in Fort Greene; it was largely neighborly in the 1930s and 1940s, but racially-motivated fighting did occur. Williams outlines his education from public elementary schools to a technical high school to community college. The middle of the interview is largely about his work as a shipwright in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Williams runs through his many jobs after the Yard closed and goes into detail on his wife's dress-making and careers of their three children. He ends with a description of home ownership in the Park Slope and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods, from the 1950s to 1980s. Interview conducted by Rebecca Jacobs.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Williams, Fenton

Subject Organizations

  • New York Naval Shipyard

Subject Topics

  • African Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Ethnic neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Games -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Housing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Italian Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Shipbuilding -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social conditions |y 20th century
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
  • Downtown Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)
  • Park Slope (New York, N.Y.)

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Voices of Brooklyn oral histories: Sports and leisure, 2008-

Scope and Contents

This series includes oral histories collected through several projects undertaken by Brooklyn Historical Society beginning in 2008. The assembled collection took shape in 2008 under the project title "Brooklyn History Makers." The ongoing oral history collection, retitled in 2016, features a range of narrators: Amateur athletes, sports players, and Coney Island performers recall personal moments and the changes they have observed in their neighborhoods over decades.

Arrocha, Edward, 2009 April 29

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to this recording is restricted by the donor. Please contact library@brooklynhistory.org for further questions.

King, Albert, 2009 November 4

Biographical / Historical

Albert King was born in 1959 and raised along with four brothers and one sister on Myrtle Avenue in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. Attending public school, he began playing basketball at age ten. He played on the teams at Sands Junior High School and Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn. Attaining a basketball scholarship, King played for the University of Maryland Terrapins beginning in 1977. Drafted by the New Jersey Nets in 1981, he played professional ball for nine seasons, until 1991. Within a few years, he was looking into running a Wendy's restaurant and was a co-investor in one in 1995. In 1998, he became a sole Wendy's franchisee, expanding to ownership of three restaurants. As recently as 2015, King was giving tips to kids playing ball in NBA (National Basketball Association) Cares clinics.

Scope and Contents

Beginning his interview, Albert King recalls his journey from childhood to his teens in school and on the basketball courts of Brooklyn. He talks about his older brother Bernard King as a street ball player and later as a New York Knick. He fondly remembers his own youth; playing ball, emulating star players of the '70s, building a reputation, and training under the legendary coach Gil Reynolds. He discusses his time in his high school team within the surroundings of the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn and meeting the demands of his parents at home in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. He speaks about experiencing blatant or subtle racism during his time as a kid. King shares some details on his parents and how basketball flourished in the family. He describes his time as a college player at the University of Maryland, who his teammates were, and how they coalesced into a good team. King reminisces more about being a kid in Fort Greene. He describes the rush of playing as a professional and his ability to transition to running a business. Interview conducted via telephone by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • King, Albert
  • King, Bernard
  • Reynolds, Gil

Subject Organizations

  • Brooklyn Nets (Basketball team)‏
  • University of Maryland

Subject Topics

  • African Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x Social life and customs
  • Basketball -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Basketball players -- United States
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Games -x Street -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • School sports -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Sports for children -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Bay Ridge (New York, N.Y)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social conditions |y 20th century
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)
  • Fort Greene Park (New York, N.Y.)
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey

Kramer, Allan, 2008 September 4

Biographical / Historical

Allan F. Kramer II was born, raised, and resides in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. He attended St. Savior School and Brooklyn Preparatory School. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 1972 and from Pratt Institute in 1979, attaining a graduate degree in Information Science. He worked in publishing and took an interest in many Brooklyn organizations; including as a volunteer and committee member at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden since 1978; Board of Directors of CAMBA; Past Board member and President of the private Montauk Club in Park Slope; a member of the Municipal Club of the City; Board member of the Prospect Park YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association); Executive Board Member and the Treasurer of Reel Works: Teen Filmmaking; Board member and President of the New York Memory Center; and a Life Member of the Society of Old Brooklynites.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, while onsite at the Montauk Club during an event, Allan F. Kramer II begins by talking about his family's long residence in Brooklyn. He recalls his early years of living in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn and visits to Prospect Park. Kramer recounts where he attended school. He speaks about the Montauk Club via his family's membership. Kramer's adulthood didn't initially include much time at the club because of his career, he says, but he made up for it by later becoming a Board member and President. He describes the changing nature of the club; historically and structurally. Kramer shares some history of the neighborhood, as well. In closing, he gives a short tour and points out visually impressive features. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Kramer, Allan

Subject Organizations

  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Brooklyn Preparatory School
  • Montauk Club of Brooklyn

Subject Topics

  • Historic buildings -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Historic preservation -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Private clubs -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Societies -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Voluntarism -- New York (State) - Kings County -x Societies, etc.

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Buildings, structures, etc.
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x History
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social life and customs
  • Park Slope (New York, N.Y.)

Nisselson, Alan, 2009 March 26

Biographical / Historical

Alan Nisselson was born in 1947 and raised in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn. While the family was living above a delicatessen in Coney Island, they opened a custard stand near Steeplechase Park and put Nisselson to work when he was a young boy. Later in his youth, the family moved north to a Kings Highway address. Work at the custard stand ended in 1965 and young Nisselson went on to work for the City Parks Department in Brooklyn for a few summers. He attained an undergraduate degree from American University in 1968 and a doctoral degree from Brooklyn Law in 1976. With a master's degree in business administration from New York University as well, he became an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. He also worked with creditors' rights firms. As of 2017, Nisselson resided in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn, was a partner at Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, and served as a trustee in U.S. Bankruptcy Courts and elaborate Chapter 11 cases. He is on the Board of Trustees at Brooklyn Historical Society.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Alan Nisselson speaks in detail about the origins of his family's seaside custard stand business in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn. He recalls the stand's offerings, the layout, and the operation. Nisselson also remembers the surroundings of his home, school, and work life within Coney Island. He recollects his swimming routine at Steeplechase Park and enjoying and mastering many of the attractions at that amusement park. He adds details about the sideshow performers, the family that lived on the Thunderbolt roller coaster property, the parachute jump, and custard stand competitors. He then shares some of what his parents told him about older venues; such as Luna Park, Feltman's and the bathhouses. Some less pleasant memories for Nisselson were the demands of summer work when friends were vacationing, segregation of private swimming pools, his mother's workplace accident, and the prevalence of rats. In closing, he reflects on his unique childhood and observes the changes to Surf Avenue and the seaside in 2009. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Nisselson, Alan

Subject Organizations

  • Nathan's Famous, Inc
  • Steeplechase Park (New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • Amusement parks -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x History
  • Business enterprises -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Child labor -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Children -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Desserts
  • Italian Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Public housing -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Buildings, structures, etc.
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x History
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social life and customs
  • Coney Island (New York, N.Y.)

Shuba, George, 2008 July 23

Biographical / Historical

George Thomas "Shotgun" Shuba was born in Youngstown, Ohio in 1924. He played in Little League ball clubs and high school baseball as a boy. After a try-out to be a professional baseball player in 1943, the Dodgers club signed him in 1944. In 1946, he was playing as a left fielder for the Dodgers' farm team, the Montreal Royals, when he met teammate Jackie Robinson. His on-deck greeting upon Robinson's crossing home plate at a Jersey City season opener was a publicly notable effort at racial tolerance. Shuba spent time in an Alabama minor-league team for the Dodgers before he was ordered up to Brooklyn's Ebbets Field in 1948. Called upon infrequently by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949 and 1950, the left-handed pinch hitter stepped up his appearances in 1951 and subsequently in three World Series, including their winning season in 1955. He was a frequent resident of the Bossert Hotel in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood for much of his career. After playing for Montreal again in 1956, he went on to become a postal clerk in Youngstown. Married since age thirty-three, Shuba was a father of three. As of his death in 2014, he had eight grandchildren.

Scope and Contents

Beginning his interview, George Thomas "Shotgun" Shuba mentions a few factors that led to his time in Brooklyn as one of the Dodgers. He then recalls details and stories about teammates, plays at Ebbets Field, team President Walter O'Malley, living in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, and messages from local fans. He contrasts Brooklyn baseball with other major league New York teams of the late-1940s to mid-1950s. He turns back to some personal details; including the source of his nickname, his ambidextrous ability on the field, and his overactive thyroid. He compares the business of baseball of then with the twenty-first century. In the middle of the interview, Shuba recalls Jackie Robinson in terms of character and in plays. He returns to his own background; his post-Dodgers years and family life, as well as the lives of his parents, and his earliest times playing ball. He closes with memories of a 1985 Dodgers reunion and a salute to the Brooklyn fans. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • O'Malley, Walter F. (Walter Francis)
  • Robinson, Jackie
  • Shuba, George Thomas "Shotgun"

Subject Organizations

  • Brooklyn Dodgers (Baseball team)
  • Ebbets Field (New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • Baseball -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Baseball fans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Baseball fields -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Baseball players -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Bay Ridge (New York, N.Y)
  • Brooklyn Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social life and customs
  • Florida
  • New York (N.Y.)

Sobers, Mary DeSaussure, 2009 January 21

Biographical / Historical

Mary DeSaussure Sobers, a track runner from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, became the first African American female to run in a sanctioned track meet when she participated in the Olympic Carnival, sponsored by the New York City Department of Parks, in 1945. Sobers won gold medal for the forty-yard dash. She and her twin sister Martha were born in Utahville, South Carolina in 1931. They attended Girls' High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant and helped form the Trailblazers, the first girls track team under the auspices of the Police Athletic League (PAL) in Brooklyn. Both DeSaussure sisters went to the Olympic tryouts in 1948. Sobers went on to become a coach and adviser to the Queens Trailblazers Track Club. She worked as a secretary at a shoe-polish plant as well as a manufacturer of vacuum-cleaners, but her long term workplace was Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens. She retired in 1997. She married Lowell Sobers in 1958. The couple resided in the Springfield Gardens neighborhood of Queens when the interview took place in 2009.

Scope and Contents

In her lengthy interview, Mary DeSaussure Sobers recalls her life by way of many of her memories, press clippings, photographs and the people she's known. She tells about recently receiving an honorary award, and then shares biographical details about herself, twin sister Martha, and their parents. She connects the politics of the 2008 presidential elections to disrespectful children of the era. Sobers begins to tell the tale of her first track meet experience late in the interview's first hour, and comes back to that and an all-borough meet in hours two and three, with many offshoot topics along the way. The initial track meet experience was a personal success, but was blunted by racism in the awarding of medals. She also discusses sexism in sports as well as in her personal upbringing. She looks back at the historic arc of civil rights. Sobers shares details on people dear to her, like her sister Martha, and friend Inge Auerbacher. Sobers also speaks of her genealogy research on her family. Throughout, she is mindful of instilling children with a positive outlook and goals, using her experience as lessons for them. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Auerbacher, Inge
  • DeSaussure, Martha
  • Sobers, Mary DeSaussure

Subject Organizations

  • Girls' High School (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • New York (N.Y.). Dept. of Parks

Subject Topics

  • African Americans -- Civil rights -- History -y 20th century
  • African Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x Social life and customs
  • Discrimination in sports -- United States
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Genealogy
  • Girls -x Education (Secondary) -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • School sports -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Sports -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Sports for children -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Women runners -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social conditions |y 20th century
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century

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Voices of Brooklyn oral histories: Veterans and wartime, 1998-

Scope and Contents

This series includes oral histories collected through several projects undertaken by Brooklyn Historical Society beginning in 1998. The assembled series took shape in 2008 under the project title "Brooklyn History Makers." The ongoing oral history series, retitled in 2016, features a range of narrators: Service members from the United Services Organization, Army Reserves, Women's Army Corps, and those who fought in World War II and Vietnam, recall personal moments and the changes they have observed in their Brooklyn neighborhoods over decades.

Bourdonnay, Katherine, 2007 March 2

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to this recording is restricted by the donor. Please contact library@brooklynhistory.org for further questions.

Subject Names

  • Bourdonnay, Katherine

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)

Fletcher, Ozzie, 2008 March 25

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to this recording is restricted by the donor. Please contact library@brooklynhistory.org for further questions.

Garcia, Marc, 2011 February 18

Biographical / Historical

Colonel Marc Garcia, of the United States Army Reserve and the United States Department of State, was born in 1962 in Brooklyn, New York to parents of Colombian and Haitian heritage. Garcia grew up in Queens, where he graduated from Holy Cross High School. Garcia attended the historically-African American Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Virginia, where he joined the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) and the Virginia Army National Guard. As a freshman in college, Garcia was promoted meritoriously to the position of sergeant, and as a sophomore in college was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Upon graduation from college, Garcia moved to Brooklyn, where he worked for Assemblyman Roger L. Green as a legislative aide, and became an elected county commissioner. Garcia spent time working at the United Nations before leaving to work in the United States Department of State as a foreign service specialist under Ambassador Vernon Walters, a retired three-star general. In 2009, Garcia was activated as a member of the Virginia Army National Guard and was sent to Iraq to serve as a Military Police Battalion Commander. When he returned in November of 2010, Garcia was promoted to Colonel for his performance in Iraq. At the time of the 2011 interview, Garcia looked forward to an official promotion to Colonel.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Colonel Marc Garcia provides a detailed account of his military and civilian career, which was spent as a member of the Virginia National Guard and a foreign services specialist at the United States Department of State. In the interview's beginning, Garcia describes the evolution of Brooklyn throughout the 1980s, including from being filled with renters and artists, to being filled with single-family homes. He discusses workaday life at the offices of New York Assemblyman Roger L. Green and the economic development of Brooklyn that resulted from the Metrotech Plan. At the interview's end, Garcia discusses his service in the Iraq War, which led to his decoration as a Colonel in the division of Military Police. He describes the next day's pinning ceremony and celebration plans thereafter. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Garcia, Marc
  • Green, Roger L. (Roger Leon)

Subject Organizations

  • United Nations
  • United States. Army. Reserve Officers' Training Corps
  • United States. Department of State

Subject Topics

  • Civil Service -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Soldiers -x Family relationships -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Veterans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • War on Terrorism, 2001-2009

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Politics and government
  • Fort Greene (New York, N.Y.)
  • New York (State) |x Politics and government

Gruber, Ruth, 2008 February 7

Biographical / Historical

Ruth Gruber was an award-winning Jewish American journalist, photographer, and humanitarian. Born to immigrants in Brooklyn in 1911, she became the youngest person in the world to receive a PhD, at age twenty--with a dissertation on Virginia Woolf. In 1935, she became the first correspondent to travel to the Siberian Gulag and Soviet Arctic. She went on to author nineteen books and wrote several memoirs documenting her experiences. Photography was a component of her earliest reportage; her groundbreaking work as a photojournalist spanned more than five decades on four continents. Gruber was appointed by Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes in 1941 to report on conditions in the Alaska Territory. In 1947, Gruber's photographs documenting the harrowing voyage of the Exodus 1947 were sent internationally via wire services to thousands of newspapers and magazines, and transformed attitudes toward the plight of Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors after the war. She lived in Manhattan, where the interview occurred in 2008. A mother to two, stepmother to three, a grandmother and great-grandmother to many, she died in 2016.

Sources: Gruber, Ruth. Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America (New York, NY: Open Road Media, 1983). "Ruth Gruber, Photojournalist."  International Center of Photography, https://www.icp.org/exhibitions/ruth-gruber-photojournalist. Accessed 25 May 2017. Turner, Philip. "Virginia Woolf and Ruth Gruber, Driven to Create as Women."  The Great Gray Bridge, www.philipsturner.com/2012/04/15/virginia-woolf-ruth-gruber-create-women/ Accessed 25 May 2017.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Ruth Gruber, PhD recalls life as a child and young adult in the Williamsburg and Bushwick neighborhoods of Brooklyn in the nineteen-teens and twenties. She goes into family history of parents and grandparents, and her young life at home. Gruber recalls teachers who made formative impressions on her. She shares the accomplishments of a brother in medicine, a son in public health, and a daughter's reporting and childrearing. Gruber reflects on her studies and getting to know Virginia Woolf. She remembers her pursuit of a career in journalism that took a turn with her connection to explorer Vilhjalmur Steffanson; who shared his knowledge of the Siberian Arctic so that she could pursue an interview there with Soviet scientist Otto Shmidt. She identifies two other major reporting moments; 1948's Arab-Israeli War and the refugee crisis of the Exodus 1947. Gruber picks out several memorable images of her Brooklyn youth; including the Williamsburg Bridge, the temple her father attended, and Bushwick Public Library. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Gruber, Harry, 1907-
  • Gruber, Ruth, 1911-2016
  • Huggins, Willis Nathaniel
  • Michaels, David, 1954-
  • Shmidt, Otto I︠U︡lʹevich, 1891-1956
  • Stefansson, Vilhjalmur, 1879-1962

Subject Organizations

  • Exodus 1947 (Ship)

Subject Topics

  • Arab-Israeli conflict
  • Children -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Feminism -- New York (State) -- New York
  • German Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
  • Immigrants -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Jews
  • Jews, American -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Journalists -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Photographers -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Teachers -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Women authors, American

Subject Places

  • Arctic regions |x Discovery and exploration |x American
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Bushwick (New York, N.Y.)
  • Israel
  • Russia
  • Williamsburg (New York, N.Y.)

Mussen, Kathy, 2007 February 26

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to this recording is restricted by the donor. Please contact library@brooklynhistory.org for further questions.

Subject Names

  • Mussen, Katherine

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)

Palo, Lucy Anbrosino, 2008 December 15

Biographical / Historical

Lucy Anbrosino was born in 1919. Her childhood in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn was plagued by the loss of her father and the family's poverty. With her family unable to care for her, she was institutionalized during the Great Depression; within that time she was misdiagnosed as insane, although she likely suffered from a severe learning disability, and spent much of her teens doing chores on a farm in rural New York State. After release as an eighteen-year-old, Anbrosino returned to Coney Island and took on jobs including mangler work at a laundry, adding frills to dresses, and adding color to artificial flowers. Later factory work included the manufacture of sweaters and clothespins. In the last few years of World War II, Anbrosino joined her brothers in war-work; she was a spot-welder on battleship hulls in Port Newark, New Jersey, then measured bullets and anti-aircraft cannons at a Brooklyn factory, and also attached buttons to Navy pea coats at another factory in the city. Also in the 1940s, she met her husband while working at an apple coring facility in Manhattan. She took his name, Palo, and had children. Lucy Anbrosino Palo died in 2011.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Lucy Anbrosino Palo begins with the story of her parents meeting and describes the family's difficulties in her childhood. She talks about her institutionalization at a few facilities and overcoming a learning disability. Much of the discussion revolves around her hard work during the Second World War. With short detours into other topics along the way, Palo delivers many details about her spot-welding work on battleships, being treated for poisoning from galvanized steel, what workers drank and ate on breaks at the Port Newark shipyard, how she was paid, and her mother's collecting of the adult children's wages. Additionally, Palo describes other war-related work on anti-aircraft guns in a Brooklyn factory and remembers how society took on a different look during the war. Palo also delves into her personal history; such as her life during the Great Depression and living with a difficult husband who died at an early age. Palo's son, Michael (also an oral history narrator in this series), makes a few comments during the recording. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Palo, Lucy Anbrosino

Subject Organizations

  • Elizabeth-PA Marine Terminal (N.J.)

Subject Topics

  • Air raid warning systems
  • Children -- Institutional care
  • Children -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Factories -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Great Depression -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Italian Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Navy-yards and naval stations
  • Older people -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Parenting
  • Shipbuilding -- New Jersey
  • Ships -- Welding
  • World War, 1939-1945 -x Women -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social conditions |y 20th century
  • Coney Island (New York, N.Y.)
  • New Jersey

Palo, Michael, 2008 November 18

Biographical / Historical

Michael Palo was born to Italian American immigrants in Brooklyn, New York in 1948. (His mother, Lucy Anbrosino Palo, was also interviewed and is in the same series.) Upon graduating high school, he was drafted into the Vietnam War where he was deployed for a year. He moved back to Brooklyn after the war, worked in clinical systems for hospitals, and has been married three times. He has two children with his second wife; a son and a daughter. When the interview took place in 2008, he was living in Staten Island and was heavily involved with veterans organizations.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Michael Palo talks about being drafted into the Vietnam War after high school, the effects the war had on his personality, his relationships upon his return, his physical wellness, and his children's health. He discusses the way in which veterans are treated by civilians and by the government upon their return to the United States and how that has directly influenced his involvement in various veterans' organizations later in life. He reflects on growing up in Brooklyn as the child of second-generation Italian immigrants and how he lived with his family in a three room apartment with little to no luxuries. In closing, Palo talks about his three marriages and how he feels responsible for the health of his children. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access is available onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and the Oral History Portal. Use of oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Palo, Michael P.

Subject Organizations

  • Patriot Guard Riders
  • United States. Army
  • United States. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Wounded Warrior Project

Subject Topics

  • Immigrants -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Italian Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Medical care -- United States
  • Mental health
  • Nonprofit organi-ations -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Soldiers -x Family relationships -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Soldiers -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Stigma (Social psychology) -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -x Veterans -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Coney Island (New York, N.Y.)
  • Prospect Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Staten Island (New York, N.Y.)
  • United States |x Politics and government

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