A little girl’s diary sheds light on the 1849 city

This is a tiny treasure that gives us a small peek into the earlier part of the Golden Age of Brooklyn.

Ephemeral New York

“I am ten years old to-day, and I am going to begin to keep a diary,” wrote Catherine Elizabeth Havens on August 6, 1849.

CatherinehavensandfatherCatherine only kept her diary for a year. But lucky for us, as an adult, she had the foresight to publish it in 1919.

Now, future generations can peek into what day-to-day city life was like for kids in the mid-19th century.

Well-off kids, that is. The daughter of a businessman (with her father at right), she first lived on exclusive Lafayette Place, then in Brooklyn, where she tells us her brother “liked to go crabbing.”

Her family finally settled on Ninth Street near Fifth Avenue. “It is a beautiful house and has glass sliding doors with birds of Paradise sitting on palm trees painted on them. And back of our dining room is a piazza, and a grape vine, and we have lots of…

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140 Years of Change: The George Bradford Brainerd Project

Back at the end of April, Yahoo ran this interesting article. Photographer Jordan Liles was inspired to compare some of the oldest images of the City taken by George Bradford Brainerd, and photograph modern replica images at the exact locations.

The Brooklyn Museum website has over a thousand more original Old New York photos by Brainerd click here. 

They are amazing –The Brooklyn Bridge before the walk-way was even built. It’s almost eerie. 

 http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/170281/Construction_of_Brooklyn_Bridge

Or this beautifully composed photo, which sparks the imagination – perhaps a turn of the century Mystery or the beginning of a sweeping urban romance in the 1880’s? I’d prefer a mix of both. 🙂

http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/170282/Street_Scene_Near_Brooklyn_Bridge

Brooklyn Historical Society Exhibit: The Union Ferry Company

Union Ferry

Brooklyn Historical Society Exhibit: The Union Ferry Company

A month late with the post, but I wanted to share this article from the New York Daily News. I love the BHS. If only I had more time these days to visit such events and places. I also want to be more diligent on this blog. I forgot how fun the research was. My apologies to followers and readers.

If you’re interested, visit or give them a call and ask about the “Full Steam Ahead: 200 Years of Ferries in Brooklyn” exhibit which started on May 10th. They also have many other fine exhibits listed on the page to explore.