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Guide to the Listen to This: Crown Heights Oral History collection 2010.020

Brooklyn Historical Society
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Brooklyn 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Brett Dion

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 22, 2017
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Aubert, Maybell, 2010 April 14

Biographical / Historical

Maybell Aubert was born sometime before the end of World War II in Panama's Canal Zone, which at the time was a United States territory. She grew up speaking English and acquired Spanish as a second language while attending high school in Panama City. Along with her husband and children, Aubert moved to Brooklyn in the 1950s and has lived on St. Charles Street in Crown Heights since 1956. She graduated from Boys and Girls High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant and subsequently attended business school to train as an operator for the keypunch machine - a data processing device popular in offices through the 1970s. Upon retirement, Aubert continued her education at the City University of New York's Medgar Evers College. She has served as secretary of the St. Louis Senior Center where, at the time of the interview in 2010, she remains active. Having raised a family of accomplished children, Aubert is a proud great grandmother.

Scope and Contents

Maybell Aubert recalls life in Panama's American-controlled Canal Zone - where the English language and American consumer products were the norm - as well as her move to the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn in the 1950s. Aubert relates descriptions of mom-and-pop businesses, Eisenhower-era prices and neighborhood institutions during the postwar period - including schools, hospitals, and Ebbets Field. She recounts her education and career as a key punch operator, as well as her post-retirement return to school. Aubert also discusses her involvement as a member of the St. Louis Senior Center, where she once served as secretary. She describes meeting her husband, raising a family and offers some advice on love and success. Interview conducted by Floyya Richardson, Treverlyn Dehaarte and Alex Kelly.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to the interview is available onsite at the Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library. Use of the oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires the permission of BHS. For assistance, contact

Subject Names

  • Aubert, Maybell

Subject Organizations

  • City University of New York. Medgar Evers College
  • Ebbets Field (New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • Adult learning -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • African American neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Business enterprises -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Girls -x Education (Secondary) -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Education, Higher -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Office equipment and supplies
  • Panamanian Americans
  • Senior centers -- New York (State)

Subject Places

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