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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 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

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Lovell, Judith, 2010 March 4

Biographical / Historical

Judith M. Lovell was born in 1933 and raised in Brooklyn. Her early years were spent living on Putnam Avenue and Decatur Avenue in Brooklyn, and circa 1950, the family home became 1381 Union Street in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights. Lovell commuted to Franklin K. Lane High School, where she majored in bookkeeping. She took her first job as an assistant bookkeeper in Manhattan's garment district. She met her husband, another Crown Heights resident, in 1953. They married at St. Gregory's Church in 1958, and parented two children (Judith C. Lovell is her daughter), living on Lincoln Place. Lovell balanced motherhood with a job as a school crossing guard on Nostrand Avenue. She also went to night school at Brooklyn College to study teaching. Lovell taught at P.S. 138, in a special education setting. At the time of the interview in 2010, she was volunteering as a literacy tutor at Brooklyn Public Library. Lovell and her family are longtime members of the Lincoln Civic Block Association and she attended St. Mark's and St. Gregory's churches.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Judith Lovell talks about moving from downtown Brooklyn to the neighborhood of Crown Heights. She cites the addresses of family residences then and in 2010 and recalls growing up in Crown Heights and commuting to her high school outside of the neighborhood. She relates the details of her first job as a bookkeeper, how she met her husband and their wedding. Lovell remembers her time as a school crossing guard on Nostrand Avenue, teaching at P.S. 138 and going to night school at Brooklyn College. She describes her current volunteer work as a literacy tutor at the Eastern Parkway Learning Center of the Brooklyn Public Library. Lovell remarks on the shifting demographics of her neighborhood, recalls a blackout that led to violence, and lists the family's participation in block parties, the Lincoln Civic Block Association, St. Mark's Church and St. Gregory's Church. She notes the change in Franklin Avenue over the years. Interview conducted by Alex Kelly.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

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

Subject Names

  • Lovell, Judith

Subject Organizations

  • Brooklyn College
  • Brooklyn Public Library
  • Church of St. Mark (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Lincoln Civic Block Association (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Saint Gregory's Roman Catholic Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • African American neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Crime -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Education -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Home ownership -x Social aspects -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Multiculturalism
  • Older people -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Religious life and customs
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
  • Crown Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Franklin Avenue (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
  • Nostrand Avenue (New York, N.Y.)