Thursday, June 30, 2011

Brooklyn Online Resource: John D. Morrell Photograph Collection at BHS

The John D. Morrell Collection is a collection of photographs of buildings and street scenes from 1950s-1970s Brooklyn.  In 2008, the Brooklyn Historical Society received a grant to have the collection digitized, and all 2,675 photographs are online as part of their image gallery. The collection includes photographs in both black & white and color. According to the finding aid available through the BHS website, the photographs cover all of Brooklyn but concentrate on the neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights, Bath Beach, Flatbush, Downtown Brooklyn, and Carroll Gardens. (Luckily for me, my people hail from Red Hook, of which Carroll Gardens was once a part, so my main area of interest is pretty well represented.)

If you use the "Advanced Search" function, you can specify the "John D. Morrell" collection, and then keyword search on the names of streets or neighborhoods. Doing this, I was able to find pictures of some of my ancestral homes, as well as pictures of the neighborhoods my ancestors lived and worked in. There are also pictures of schools, stores, and other local landmarks. It's easy to find addresses online using Google Street View, but this collection could include buildings that were around at mid-century but are no longer extant, or give you a perspective not as far removed from the time when your ancestors actually lived there. 

You can see the collection here

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