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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 Frances Haber, November 13, 2009

Biographical / Historical

Frances Haber (1923 - 2010) grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Williamsburg neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Both her parents moved to the United States at young ages, her mother from Russia and her father from Austria. After graduating from Eastern District High School, Haber attended beauty school and worked briefly in her mother's beauty salon. Shortly after, she took an exam with the United States Civil Service Commission and worked for a short time before she moved with her family to California. Haber worked as a riveter for the Douglas Aircraft Company for a few months, after which she returned to Brooklyn, where she stayed with family until she found her own apartment at the age of 20. After leaving her position as a clerk typist for the pipefitter supervisors at the Navy Yard in 1945, Haber was one of the first two women to become a transit police officer. She also worked for the US Customs Service and eventually moved from Brooklyn to Croton-on-Hudson, New York.

Scope and Contents

Frances Haber (1923- 2010) worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for several years, until she was laid off just after the end of WWII. In her interview, she recalls many details about her life in Brooklyn and the short time she spent in California, recollecting specific names, job titles, addresses and dates. Haber talks about growing up during the Depression, listening to the radio, her relationship with her mother and sister and local foods and restaurants. She also describes the ethnic makeup of her neighborhood and school and often brings up her Jewish background. Haber also describes the work she did at the Navy Yard as a clerk typist for the pipefitter supervisors, where she was often the only woman and fondly remembers eating lunch with the friendly supervisors. 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 Organizations

  • New York Naval Shipyard
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.). Eastern District High School

Subject Topics

  • Beauty parlors
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Friendship
  • Great Depression -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Judaism
  • Local transit -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Race discrimination
  • Security systems
  • Transportation
  • Work environment -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • World War, 1939-1945

Subject Places

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
  • California
  • Williamsburg (New York, N.Y.)