Monday, March 4, 2013

Newspaper Research: 249 Clermont Avenue

Over the summer, I ordered my great-grandparents' 1923 marriage license, and saw that my great-grandfather, John O'Hara gave his address as 249 Clermont Avenue, an address I was theretofore unfamiliar with.

1923, O'Hara-Quinn marriage license
Brooklyn Daily Standard Union, 15 Sept. 1924
This week I was searching the Brooklyn Daily Standard Union on Fulton History, and found an ad from the next year, offering a furnished apartment to let at 249 Clermont Ave. This was not something I had ever thought of using newspaper research for, but I realized that it gives a wonderful picture of what the building would have been like at the approximate time that John O'Hara was living there. (One thing that's not entirely clear to me at the moment is whether the entire family was living there, or whether 27-year-old John had moved out and was living on his own. For context: In 1920, 23-year-old John was living with his parents at 303 Vanderbilt Ave; in 1925, his 26-year-old brother Eugene W. O'Hara was living with their parents at 509 6th St. The pattern does seem to be living at home as a young adult, up until marriage, but I can't be sure that it holds universally.)

The 15 September 1924 ad reads "249 CLERMONT AVE., near DeKalb: large, small rooms, kitchenette; phone; electric."

Since not every building in the city would have had electricity, much less phones, in the early 1920s, this is very enlightening! I suspect that the building was in a nice area and had better amenities than some. Now I'm hoping that the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and the Brooklyn Daily Standard Union contain similar references to other apartment buildings that my family lived in, which would be a great resource for establishing some information about the lifestyle and socioeconomic status of various families.

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