The Harmonic Society of 1896

I unfortunately can’t find much history on the Harmonic Society of Brooklyn, except that they were organized sometime in the mid 1890’s and were an exceptional choir of around 180 members. They sang in churches, private gatherings, galas, and other social functions around New York, many times to support various charities. They were praised often in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.


My great-great Grandmother, Ella T. Sheaff, or as she’s named in most articles – Mrs. George B. Hawthorne, sang Soprano solos. All my life my mother mentioned a relative who was a quote “Opera Singer who sang in shows.” – That’s such a Brooklyn way of putting it!

Lately I’ve been conducting a lot of family research through and news clippings from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (See my clippings) and it’s been fun to put certain pieces together.


Here’s two beautiful songs Ella sang for the Harmonic Society. It helps me to imagine how she might’ve sounded while singing to the crowd.

Calm as the Night by Carl Bohm (1891)

“Adieu” by Gabriel Fauré

English Lyrics
How quickly all dies, the rose unfolds as the fresh mantle of the meadow.
The long sighs, the lovers: Vanished!
One sees in this rapid world change faster than the waves on the sand; our dreams, faster than the frost on the flowers;
our hearts!
I thought I was true to you, Cruel!
But, alas, the longest loves are the shortest ones!
And I say to you as I leave your charms, without tears; till the moment of my avowal:




I wanna get back to Brooklyn

A little off topic for the blog since it’s not Gilded Age Brooklyn, but nonetheless, I love finding little bits of history from different eras, especially adorable songs like this that have “Brooklyn” in the lyrics.

I’m always nostalgic for a Brooklyn that belonged to my parents, grandparents, great grandparents and great, great grandparents!

From the blog Brooklyn Butch 

You can also join in Facebook Discussions with Brooklyn Butch for Pre-1960 Brooklyn Nostalgia! 

Old New York Winter Slideshow

This is my old slideshow from nearly 10 years ago. I’d felt like collecting snowy images and putting them together. The Youtube quality back then was so low, unfortunately the video is grainy. But still enjoyable with the music. The music is called “Love is blue” by Paul Muriat.

I’m trying anything to keep cool in this stuffy place with no A/C!

Here’s a one minute video of a 2 ft. New York Blizzard from 2010.