See all finding aids in this repository

Table of Contents

Print / View Finding Aid as Single Page

Brooklyn Historical Society logo

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 Alfred Kolkin, July 15, 2008

Biographical / Historical

Alfred Kolkin (1918- ) grew up in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. After graduating from high school, Kolkin worked for the Sperry Gyroscope Company in Downtown Brooklyn, after which he applied to be a mechanic at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where he began working in 1940. He married his wife, Lucille Gerwitz Kolkin (who was interviewed in 1989 and has since passed away), shortly before enlisting in the army and moving to Chicago to receive special electronic training, and then to California, where Lucille Kolkin joined him.

Scope and Contents

During his interview, Alfred Kolkin (1918- ) discusses his life growing up in New York and trying to find a job after graduating from high school during the Depression. At the Navy Yard, Kolkin worked as a machinist in Building 128, where he made ship parts and used a horizontal boring mill to finish the surfaces on castings for ship artillery. Later, he was promoted into a managerial position. During his time at the Navy Yard, Kolkin was also an editor of a local union newspaper. Kolkin joined the army in 1944, and relates his experience on a repair ship in the Pacific at the end of WWII, where he witnessed Japan surrendering aboard the USS Missouri. During the interview, he also speaks about his various jobs after the end of WWII, working in machine shops, a tool and dye factory and a printing factory. Kolkin discusses his union involvement, and the difficulties of getting by with a family during union strikes (something that his wife also discusses during her interview). Also present during the interview was Alfred and Lucille Kolkin's daughter, Judy Kaplan. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan and Jennifer Egan.

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

  • Kolkin, Alfred

Subject Organizations

  • New York Naval Shipyard
  • Sperry Gyroscope Company, inc
  • Missouri (Battleship : BB 63)

Subject Topics

  • Family
  • Labor unions -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Navy-yards and naval stations
  • Shipbuilding -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Shipfitting
  • Shipyards -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Transportation -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • World War, 1939-1945