1900’s Family History

My great-grandfather and great-grandmother on my mother’s side of the family were mentioned in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle for an engagement and wedding announcement between the years 1911 and 1912.

I believe it was common in that era to run ads for special announcements like this. Particularly if you had a higher standing in society. Newspapers in the past often posted the address of the people mentioned in their articles. Unfortunately today that’d be an extremely dangerous thing to do.

If your family has roots in Brooklyn going back between the publication years of 1841 – 1955, use the search engine on the The Brooklyn Newsstand Archive  to type in names and events. You may find your ancestors mentioned. It’s a fun and educational resource provided by the Brooklyn Public Library for history buffs, writers, bloggers, and anyone who wants to know the newsworthy events, lifestyles, and interests of Brooklynites during the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century.

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The Bowery Boys Podcasts

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(Image from The Bowery Boys: New York City History website. I adore this photo of them! Hope they don’t mind that I linked it. O_O)

I love the idea of podcasts, but the reality is I never seem to find time to listen as I’d like to. But the one that has me tuning in is The Bowery Boys, a podcast all about old New York hosted by two cute guys, Greg Young and Tom Meyers. I’m a new (ish) fan, but The Bowery Boys have podcasts going back 9 years and counting!

I have a ton of catching up to do! They’re are active on Facebook – Adventures of Old New York. They’ve given online interviews, been featured in all sorts of media and make frequent appearances around New York to share their knowledge of its rich history. Once this massive heat wave is over, I’ll have to attend one.

Mr. Young and Mr. Meyers have thoughtfully created a Podcast archive for fans and history buffs. They offer various ways to listen and they are available on iTunes.

Be sure to bookmark this page!

Every Bowery Boys Podcast in Chronological order by subject

I’m happy to note they’ve released their first History Book in June 2016 available in Print and on Kindle –

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I find the Bowery Boys Podcasts factual, insightful, and fun. The guys are witty and funny without being raucous or annoying. You can tell they have a deep knowledge and love for the topics they discuss. I also admire that they keep their broadcasts fairly clean and profanity free, even when discussing the most shocking scandals from back in the Golden age.

Keep it classy guys!! You’re awesome!

I enjoy how they set the stage with subtle and meaningful background music and I’m drawn into the air of mystery they create when discussing the strange tales of the past. The imagination ignites. Those are my favorite kinds of stories – missing persons, crimes, cons, and all the intrigue that Old New York has to offer.

Two juicy ones that come to mind are “The curious case of Typhoid Mary” and “The disappearance of Dorothy Arnold”

Settle down, grab a snack, do some knitting, or just lay back and close your eyes and let the Bowery Boys transport you to the past.

Getting out of the water at Rockaway Beach

I’m all for modest swimwear, I particularly love the 40’s and 50’s styles, but I often wondered what the drowning casualty rate was during that era thanks to these heavy suits and stockings!

Ephemeral New York

Coney Island may be New York’s favorite seaside playground, but at the turn of the century (and for many decades afterward), Rockaway Beach rivaled Coney as the city’s premier beach destination.

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This 1907 postcard, from the Museum of the City of New York’s digital collection, shows us unspoiled sand, tents and hotels for guests, and a young girl in bathing attire that looks extremely uncomfortable by today’s standards.

Rockaway has been rediscovered again, supposedly by hipsters and surfers—but it’s doubtful that anyone will venture into the water in black tights.

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Brooklyn Visual Heritage

Brooklyn Visual Heritage partners with the Brooklyn Historical Society, The Brooklyn Public library, and the Brooklyn Museum to celebrate Brooklyn’s rich history through fantastic pictures from the 19th and 20th century. It’s in blog format and the photos are available with watermarks. Prints can be ordered and as much background information as possible is provided for each image.

Happy viewing!

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More cute creative old Business postcards courtesy of the Brooklyn Public Library.

Ephemeral New York

The Brooklyn Public Library has a wonderful digitized collection of late 19th century business cards from hundreds of shops and companies located in the teeming city of Brooklyn.

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They’re whimsical and imaginative—and some honor the cold weather while advertising their goods, like J.V. Dubernell, tailor.

His shop was at 331 and 333 Fulton Avenue, and his suits sound kind of expensive for the era.

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That’s some sled illustrated in this card, for this clothing store, which comes off like the L.L. Bean of the time. Check out these prices for trendy wool cloaks!

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This sweet scene advertises the business of a paint dealer. Sumpter Street is in today’s Bedford-Stuyvesant, quite a bit away from the other businesses, which are located closer to downtown Brooklyn in what was the fashionable shopping area of the time.

Perhaps a paint store was not welcome on refined Fulton Street?

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A Peril to young girls…

After reading this ‘letter to the editor’ from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle circa 1902, I stopped to realize how society just doesn’t seem much different today. The focus is on solicitation ads for unscrupulous advertisers out to seduce and harm young women. Is it any different from the salacious adverts you’d find in NYC news rags or now online in places like Craigslist? And then there’s the fact that people can and do get killed after answering the ads. It happens now in horrific ways and it happened then. The reader has M.D. after their name, they were obviously well aware of the dangerous situations after seeing the battered, injured women who had fallen prey to these scoundrels!

The reader pines for the good old days of America where women were safe anywhere in the land. A bit of an exaggeration. Our good old days are always viewed with rose-colored glasses, but things progressively worsened by the turn of the century. And like today, Washington and Government officials get the blame heaped on them by this particular irate reader.

They cry for a population decrease, otherwise we’d become like ‘Western China’ with its “vast population, its misery, and indifference to life.” Ouch. They also rant about labor unions as the tools of foreign anarchists. The reader jumps from one subject to the next, starting off with a simple concern for young innocent women (Are you picturing a top-hat villain twirling a curly, dark mustache?) and then gets increasingly angry at the state of everything else.

Some things never change!

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