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Guide to the Harold E. Weeks diaries 1985.039

128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Diana Garcia

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 18, 2011
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Finding aid revised and entered into Archivists' Toolkit by Nicholas Pavlik,  , February 7, 2011

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Weeks, Harold Eastman, 1886-1960
Title: Harold E. Weeks diaries
Dates [inclusive]: 1925-1932
Abstract: The Harold E. Weeks diaries are comprised of seven red cloth-bound diaries from the period 1925 to 1932 belonging to Harold Eastman Weeks (1886-1960). The diaries include numerous newspaper clippings and enclosures, and contain day-to-day entries relating primarily to Weeks’s professional activities as the Coordinating Engineer at the Brooklyn Edison Company. The diaries also contain references to Weeks's personal, family and social lives.
Quantity: 1.04 Linear feet in three manuscript boxes.
Text [Box]: 1985.039 3 of 3
Text [Box]: 1985.039 1 of 3
Text [Box]: 1985.039 2 of 3
Call Phrase: 1985.039
Sponsor: This collection was processed and described as part of the project, "Uncovering the Secrets of Brooklyn's 19th Century Past: Creation to Consolidation," funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources, with additional support from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

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Biographical Note

Harold Eastman Weeks (1886-1960), a descendent of the Weeks family of New Hampshire, and a relative of John Wingate Weeks, worked as the Coordinating Engineer in the Electrical Systems Bureau of the Brooklyn Edison Company (BEC), one of the major participants in Brooklyn's electrification.

Weeks graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1908, served in the Army Air Corps (presumably during World War I), and, during the time frame covered by the diaries, served as a Captain in the Air Corps Reserve.

Apart from his regular job duties at BEC, Weeks furthered his professional development by participating in continuing education courses, such as public utility economics, sales methods, and public speaking, and by working as a public utility instructor at both the Brooklyn Edison Company and the New York Edison Company. He was a member of the BEC Technical Advisory Committee and was responsible for the preparation of the committee's reports. He was also a member and coordinator for the Brooklyn Edison Club, in which he was responsible for organizing social and sporting events for company employees. Additionally, Weeks was a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE), the National Electric Light Association (NELA), the New York Electrical Society (NYES), and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and he regularly attended conferences hosted by these organizations.

Weeks also volunteered regularly. As a member of the Brooklyn Safety Council, he taught safety and first aid courses at the Brooklyn Edison Company. He also taught mapping and aviation to Boy Scouts, and served as a juror on a number of occasions.

Weeks's personal interests and hobbies, as evidenced by his diary entries and news clippings, included reading literature; playing chess and tennis; fencing; attending the opera and Boston Symphony performances in New York; and participating in the Debate Club and The Cicero Circle, among other clubs.

Weeks regularly read a number of New York and Brooklyn newspapers (e.g., The New York Times,  The New York Tribune,  The New York Sun,  The Daily News,  The New York World,  The Brooklyn Citizen,  The Brooklyn Standard Union, and  The Brooklyn Daily Times), clipping stories related primarily to the following topics: major local, national and international news events; public utilities; city planning and infrastructure; population estimates; the banking industry and the commodities markets; and aeronautics. Additionally, Weeks noted the birthdates of the Presidents and other figures in American history in his diaries.

Weeks resided at 20 Willow Street in Brooklyn, and was married to Dr. Virginia Travell Weeks, a Brooklyn pediatrician. Mrs. Travell Weeks was the sister of Dr. Janet Davidson Travell, President John F. Kennedy's personal physician. Mr. and Mrs. Weeks had four children: Sheldon Griswold Weeks, Dr. Willard Travell Weeks, Dr. Elinor Eastman Weeks, and Dr. Virginia D. Weeks (Mrs. Herbert van Wie Bergamini).

Harold Eastman Weeks died June 30, 1960, in Lake Placid, New York, at 74 years of age.


  1. "Harold E. Weeks." New York Times, July 1, 1960. Accessed January 31, 2008.
  2. "Pioneering Physician: Janet Grame Travell." New York Times, January 27, 1961. Accessed March 9, 2008.

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Scope and Contents

The Harold E. Weeks diaries consist of seven diaries from the period 1925 to 1932, with a gap for the year 1928. Each diary documents the day-to-day operations of the Electrical Systems Bureau of the Brooklyn Edison Company (BEC), as well as Weeks's professional activities as the Bureau's Coordinating Engineer. The diaries also contain references to Weeks's private life; local, national, and international news events; public utilities; city planning and infrastructure; population estimates; the banking industry; the commodities markets; and aeronautics.

Entries and enclosures pertaining to the day-to-day operations of the BEC's Electrical Systems Bureau include logs; measurements and calculations for Brooklyn substations; trouble reports; AC/DC transmission calculations for Brooklyn circuits; projected costs; plans for changeover programs; reports of outages; references to large customer changeovers; completion schedules; and Bureau staff vacation schedules.

Other enclosures consist primarily of newspaper clippings, as well as system diagrams, blueprints, work orders, schedules, reports, memoranda, brochures and programs, statements of work, and some maps and correspondence.

Topics of interest include the merger of the BEC with Consolidated Gas of New York, and the death of Thomas Alva Edison. The numerous Safety Council brochures included in the diaries, particularly from 1925 and 1926, are also of interest, as they document how the BEC communicated safety concerns with the Brooklyn community during the build-out of the municipal electrical infrastructure.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Edison, Thomas A., (Thomas Alva), 1847-1931
  • Travell, Janet G., 1901-1997
  • Weeks, Harold Eastman, 1886-1960
  • Weeks, John W., (John Wingate), 1860-1926

Document Type

  • Blueprints (reprographic copies)
  • Calculations
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Diagrams
  • Diaries
  • Estimates
  • Logs (records)
  • Memorandums
  • Printed ephemera
  • Reports
  • Schedules (time plans)

Subject Organizations

  • Brooklyn Edison Company. Electrical Systems Bureau.
  • Brooklyn Edison Company.
  • Consolidated Gas Company of New York.

Subject Topics

  • Aeronautics
  • Banks and banking
  • City planning -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Commodity exchanges
  • Electric industry workers -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Electric power distribution -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Electric power systems -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Electrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Engineers -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Public utilities -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Harold E. Weeks diaries, 1985.039, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Related Materials

Related archival collections at other repositories:

  1. Janet G. Travell Papers, 1910-1997. University Archives, Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University, MS0704.
  2. The Papers of John Wingate Weeks, (1860-1926). Dartmouth College, Rauner Special Collections Library, ML1.
  3. The Papers of Sinclair Weeks, (1893-1972). Dartmouth College, Rauner Special Collections Library, ML2.
  4. Weeks family. A Guide to the Papers of the Weeks Family of Lancaster, New Hampshire. Forward by Sinclair Weeks and Introduction by Herbert Wells Hill. Hanover, N.H.: Dartmouth College Library, 1969. Dartmouth College, Rauner Special Collections Library, Z6621.D3 W4.

Other Finding Aids note

An earlier version of this finding aid, containing more information, is available in paper form at the Brooklyn Historical Society. Please consult library staff for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Source and date of acquisition unknown. Formally accessioned in 1985.

Processing Information note

Minimally processed to the collection level.

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