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Guide to the Brooklyn Navy Yard oral history collection ARC.003

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Amy Lau, Mary Mann, Aliki Caloyeras, and Margaret Fraser

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on  , September 3, 2020
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Oral History Interview with Mildred Leipzig, September 16, 2009

Biographical / Historical

Mildred (Mimi) Levin Leipzig (1923- ) was born at the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital across the street from her father's pharmacy in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Leipzig attended Girl's Commercial High School (now Prospect Heights High School). She began working at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1940 or 1941 shortly after marrying Arthur Leipzig, a photographer for the New York City newspaper PM. Mildred Leipzig left her job as an assistant shipfitter at the Navy Yard in 1942 when she had her first child.

Scope and Contents

Mildred (Mimi) Levin Leipzig (1923- ) remembers many detailed stories about her childhood and life in Brooklyn, New York, as well as the experiences of her sisters and parents. She describes her and her two sisters helping her father at his pharmacy and tells stories about visiting the Brooklyn Children's Museum, the Botanic Garden and Prospect Park with her father and sisters. Leipzig discusses growing up in a Jewish family in an Italian Catholic neighborhood, where her father often distributed medicines for free to families who could not afford them. Leipzig took a mechanical aptitude test for the Navy Yard shortly after finishing high school, and began working as a shipfitter's assistant where her main job was as an arc welder. There, she recalls using an asbestos blanket while welding as protection from burns. She also discusses her unique role as a woman at the Navy Yard and that men were often uncomfortable doing the same work as the women. More specifically, she discusses issues with the women's bathroom in her shop and an instance when a woman offered to give her a skirt while she was on her way to work in her coveralls (implying that Leipzig was dressed inappropriately). Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access

This interview can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and online at the Oral History Portal.

Subject Names

  • Leipzig, Arthur

Subject Organizations

  • New York Naval Shipyard
  • Brooklyn Children's Museum

Subject Topics

  • Family
  • Italian Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Jewish women
  • Local transit -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Photographers -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Religion and culture
  • Sex role
  • Shipbuilding -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Shipfitting
  • Transportation
  • Wages -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Welding
  • Women -x Employment -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Work environment -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • World War, 1939-1945

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Crown Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Prospect Park (New York, N.Y.)