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When I began to write this post, it was going to be just about bagels. It will still be about bagels, dear reader, however, I've added something very special to the end. It's worth the wait, I promise!
The Brooklyn Collection must be thinking about food lately -- specifically round breads with a hole in the middle. Tara wrote a fantastic post about the doughnut and now I'm writing about the bagel. While the bagel was not an original Brooklyn creation, we're close enough to the Lower East Side to practically have a mirrored history. Immigrants who moved across the East River to Brooklyn brought the recipe and lore of this delicious style of bread with them.
According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, few people outside of New York City knew what bagels were, at least during the mid 20th century. Bagels have definitely changed since 1953, when an article described them as a "... gustatory delight, ... large doughnut-shaped rolls with the consistency of battleship armor." Purists consider the water-boiled then baked bagel to be the only true bagel, but a new process involving steam-injection, producing a fluffier dough, is now used in the mass-produced product.
"All kinds of bread are included in international array of Brooklyn-baked products as Miss Ovenkrust, Irmgard Paul, Queen of International Bread Week, smiles."
In 1948, and then again in 1951 and 1953, Brooklyn suffered bagel deprivation. Strikes kept bagels out of the city as the Teamsters Union and the Bagel Bakers Association failed to reach an agreement about pay raises. A similar strike took place in 1951, in which a slow-down and then a strike were initiated by the bagel bakers. Ten bagel bakeries in Brooklyn closed and Brooklynites were left to eat mass-produced bagels--not the water-boiled bagels they knew and loved.
In an article written in 1954, an Eagle writer profiles Israel Hershman, owner of the Coney Island Bagel Bakery. Mr. Hersman's bagels were works of art, perfect circles created in dough.
Interested in making bagels? Here is a great step by step recipe - with Photos!
Or even better--and this is the new step--a film, transfered from our 16mm film collection, entitled Hot Bagels:
Your blogger today has personal experience of the bagel trade as a worker in a bagel shop on Long Beach Island. The shop was called Begeleddie's and to make the bagels, Eddie, the owner, would drop hand rolled bagels in boiling water and then bake them. How many times did I burn my hands reaching in the metal baskets to get a bagel for a customer? Too many. Now my hands barely feel heat. But I remember the smell: warm, yeasty bread, rich, earthy onions and garlic, warm cinnamon, sweet rasins. There is nothing quite like the smell of slightly overtoasted seeds on the everything bagel.
Sometimes you can't ignore a good coincidence. Around the time that I was planning my own wedding, I opened a drawer in the Eagle morgue labeled "unsorted." Inside I found lovely ladies smiling up at me, some in wedding gowns and some who looked as if they were posing for school photos. Reading through them, I found that they were all wedding and engagement photos! We have since rehoused the images in folders and will be listing them so that anyone wanting to add to their family photo album may be able to find an image or two here at the Brooklyn Collection.
Here we have the lovely Joan Betty Schwartz who resided at 1617 Avenue R. Her parents happily announced her engagement to Mr. Donald Weisberg of Brooklyn on December 13, 1954. Good thing they got this announcement in, because the Eagle closed just a few short weeks later. I do hope they made a lot of happy memories together.
These next two brides are Phyllis Funk (or Mrs. Henry Reuss) and Cynthia Collins (or Mrs. James Crane). While their announcements are beautifully descriptive (for example, Cynthia Collins "wore an antique taffeta gown trimmed with seed pearls and a Chantilly lace fingertip-length veil" and she carried "carnations on a white prayer book with a rosary") they also tell us quite a bit about the family members, where the wedding took place, and the wedding party--some of whom could be the long-lost relatives often sought by genealogists.
Our catalog also has a few photos that show the wonderfully rich cultural diversity of Brooklyn. The top photo, showing the bride and groom about to cut the Challah bread together, is of a traditional Hasidic wedding in Williamsburg. Below that, a bride and her father head for St. Cyril Methodius Roman Catholic Church. They are standing in front of the charred remains of the house where the new couple was to live. They went on to live with the bride's family. I hope they eventually got a house of their own.
The Brooklyn Eagle also captured a couple of weddings that seem a bit off the beaten path. (You can read a great post by Leslie on Brooklyn Tom Thumb Weddings here.) While the below photo is not a Tom Thumb wedding, children dressed in wedding garb still make me a bit nervous. These tots are re-creating a traditional Dutch wedding at the Old First Dutch Reformed Church in Brooklyn. In my opinion, the best part of this photo is the expression on the "preacher's" face!
And this very non-traditional golden anniversary of the marriage between the hot dog and the roll took place in Coney Island in 1939. Borough President Ingersoll gave his blessing and sent Brooklyn's Assistant Commissioner of Public Works to preside over the ceremony at Feltman's Restaurant.
Finally, if you look the the Eagle microfilm, you will see advice columns for brides and advertisements for wedding attire.
This describes non-traditional gowns and colors. Those who did not want the "fancy wedding gown of white satin may don picturesque medieval attire in pastel hues." This article ran in 1930, so I don't imagine many people ran out to get a fancy medieval dress, since money was probably quite scarce.
The popular Brooklyn department store Namm's Loesers published this beautiful ad in the January 1955 edition of the Eagle. I believe I have admitted to blog readers before that I love 1950s style, so I had to include this ad. The dress advertised is quite close to what my wedding dress looked like. Ah, tea length dresses, and at a very reasonable price!
Finally, I found this little gem in our ephemera collection. I used to love going through my mother's wedding album. She was married in 1976 and this style is very close to what her dress looked like. Martin's was another Brooklyn Department store and this catalog lists their fall bridal collection. It's small, but it's fun to look through because it includes dress descritptions like: "Scotch Plaid taffeta skirt and shawl with white lace bodice." Or: "Candy pink faille with bowed watteau back." Other dresses had stripes and brocade and one dress was pale lime green. I'm pretty sure one of my mother's bridesmaid dresses was lime green. You have to love that 70s style.
This month marks the 147th anniversary of the New York City Draft riots. For three days in July of 1863, rioters turned Manhattan upside down in protest against the Civil War Draft. How did Brooklyn residents react to orders to fight for the Union forces in the Civil War?
In the early months of 1863 the National Conscription Act was passed and enforcement was planned for Brooklyn and New York City in July of 1863. The Conscription Act stated that all single men aged 20-45 and married men up to 35 would be enrolled in the draft lottery. The act also contained language for drafted men to avoid conscription. They could either pay a $300 fee or find someone to replace them. In New York of 1863, you can, I'm sure, imagine how well that went over with working class men and their families. Class struggles were nothing new to New Yorkers. New immigrants competed with both unskilled black and white workers. The draft seemed to be the spark that ignited long-held tensions among the lower classes of New York City.
On July 10, 1863, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle published an article that described the details of the upcoming draft. (Click on the image to read the full article.) New York City, Brooklyn, Queens, and surrounding counties were preparing the lottery to fulfill their quotas. Names were drawn for New York on July 10. As the names were published in the paper, People devised plans to resist the draft. On the morning of Monday, July 13, as more names were being announced, angry crowds formed and violence erupted. Here you can find a brief, but excellent description of the five days of rioting in July 1863.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports the mayhem in a way that would incite anyone to either join the rioters or to lock up their home and cower in the basement. And in Brooklyn, both happened. In the book The Armies of the Streets: The New York City Draft Riots of 1863, the author writes that "Brooklyn had remained quiet while anarchy reigned in New York. The city across the East River was so scandalously underpoliced that any mob outbreak would have met almost no opposition. Fortunately, many of those most likely to riot went over to New York to fight and pillage there." We must remember that there were no bridges to connect Brooklyn and Manhattan, so taking the ferry across the river required some resolve.
In fact, those traveling across to Manhattan via the Fulton Ferry were some of Brooklyn's police force led by Inspector John S. Folk. You can read more about Brooklyn's police force in a great post by June. Folk and his forces left Brooklyn, believing that the city would remain quiet and he was right. One article in the Eagle on July 15 states that "Affairs in the city (Brooklyn) remain quiet and orderly...those inclined to aid in disreputable scenes proceeded to New York and left us in the enjoyment of peace". Folk however saw violence at Printing House Square, where the Tribune offices were attacked. According to the book President Lincoln's Third Largest City: Brooklyn and the Civil War, Folk's police force quelled the rioters near the square and "marched off to the Brooklyn ferries amidst cheers from their New York compatriots."
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported on the frenzy as it happened, which probably helped lead to the preparations taking place in Brooklyn. On July 14, 1863, it was announced that the draft had been postponed in New York and Brooklyn (remember, we haven't consolidated yet). The lists and enrollment papers were secured and stowed for safety in the event of an uprising in Brooklyn. Firemen were told to be on duty 24 hours a day. Guns and heavy artillery were removed to safer locations and it was announced that the Navy Yard's equipment would be available in an emergency.
African-Americans were among the main targets of the rioters. Brooklyn was home to one of the oldest and largest pre-Civil War independent African-American communities. During the draft riots, many African-Americans fled to Brooklyn and to Weeksville. While documentation is scarce on what happened within Weeksville during the riots, the Eagle and the New York Times both reported attacks on African-Americans, including murders and lynchings and the burning of the Colored Orphan Asylum at 44th Street in Manhattan. On July 16, the Eagle briefly mentions that the community of Weeksville had been thrown into a state of commotion by rumors that rioters from Jamaica, Queens were on their way to attack. The white citizens of the area organized to keep the peace swearing in special deputy sheriffs. Many African-Americans found refuge in the tiny community of Crow Hill (now Crown Heights). This article published by the Eagle in 1889, describes the events in Crow Hill of July 1863.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle suggests that while there was some trouble within Brooklyn, such as the destruction of two grain elevators (as in the image above) the violence should not necessarily be ascribed to the draft. As Henry Stiles, the classic 19th century Brooklyn historian states, "the law abiding disposition of the citizens of Brooklyn was shown in the universal observance of the peace throughout the city." In the aftermath, firemen and certain militia men were aided by the common council to gain exemptions in military service. Brooklyn and Kings County filled the draft quotas in September 1864 and within a year, the war ended. If you are interested in learning more about the Brooklyn in the Civil War, you are in the right place! Visit our digital collection by clicking on the image below:
I recently came across some photographs that were newly uploaded to the Brooklyn Public Library catalog, and since they are pictures of animals, I had to write about them. On a lovely day in late June of 1935, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and the ASPCA of Brooklyn hosted the Dog and Horse Parade. But before I go into all the fascinating details about the parade, I must give a brief account of the history of the ASPCA in Brooklyn.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals began as a small group of concerned citizens in New York City. In 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was incorporated by the legislature of the State of New York. The society had many honorary and ex-officio members such as Andrew Johnson (President of the United States) and Reuben Fenton (Governor of New York State). On April 19, 1866, the ASPCA's founder Henry Bergh delivered the passage of the first law ever erected in this country for the protection of animals: "Every person who shall, by his act or neglect, maliciously kill, maim, wound, injure, torture, or cruelly beat any horse, mule, cow, cattle, sheep, or other animal belonging to himself or another, shall upon conviction, be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor."
Unfortunately, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online and our morgue clipping files contain countless articles about animal abuse, more than any human would want to read. In 1867, a number of Brooklyn residents including such notables as Henry Ward Beecher and Henry Pierrepont established a Brooklyn branch of the ASPCA. The Brooklyn ASPCA went after the swill milk men, as you may remember from a previous post on distilleries by Joy. The society had authority to go after farmers who abused their animals and cruel dog catchers, and was instrumental in the abolition of the city pound, establishing shelters that would care for "vagrant" dogs and cats or if necesssary end their lives as humanely as possible.
Now, to the parade! Much like the Brooklyn Long Island Cat Club show, the Brooklyn Dog and Horse Parade was not for the "blue bloods" among pets, but was for the celebration of all types of companion animals. According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in its article in mid-June 1935, the parade would be a "truly cosmopolitan animal parade."
The Eagle stated that Brooklyn had the largest dog population in the United States, and claimed that Brooklyn's dogs were the happiest in the world (not scientifically proven.) The parade paid homage not only to the animals entered, but also to the quality of care they enjoyed--the ASPCA after all, encourages responsible pet care.
500 dogs were expected at the parade as well as 252 horses--and, as we can see, at least one goat with a cart. Categories for prizes included happiest disposition, longest tail, longest ears, largest dog or smallest dog in the parade, to name just a few. Floats accommodated the oldest dogs and horses and members of the A.S.P.C.A. were on hand to make sure that the animals experienced no suffering or want of water, food, and care.
Companies even got in on the parade, including Sheffield Farms, a dairy (the goat is pulling a tiny Sheffield Farms cart) and Hittleman Goldenrod Brewery of Brooklyn, pictured below. The fire department had their Dalmations on hand while the Prospect Park Zoo entered a float carrying llamas and monkeys. The zoo also brought along several of their Siberian Huskies to participate.
At the end of the parade, many dogs had received prizes and so did some humans. Maybe Tara could write about them in her series on "Little Known Brooklyn Residents" if we find any more information about them! Both winners were milk cart drivers, one named John Malay who was 71 years old and the other John Nolan, 81, affectionately called "Pop" at Sheffield Farms Dairy. They drove their carts for over 43 and 68 years respectively in Brooklyn. Pop had delivered milk to homes during the Blizzard of 1888 and again during the Blizzard of 1933-1934. Each was given honors for his "humaneness to the succession of animals under his care." A nice note to end on, I think.
I'm sure, good readers, that you have all been watching the New York State and New York City budgets closely. Many of us in the Brooklyn Collection, and at Brooklyn Public Library as a whole, have been watching the budget negotiations compulsively. Budget mania is nothing new to the libraries in New York City and I write that with a sigh because libraries are easy targets over and over again. As archivist of the Brooklyn Collection, my work allows me to sort through photo folders and photocopied newspaper clippings and pieces of ephemera. I'm glad to say that we kept a lot of wonderful, though terribly familiar, documentation on the last major budget crisis the library faced.
Budget Cuts devastated the library in the early 1990s. In the photo below, Borough President Howard Golden (the namesake of our Reserve Room in the Brooklyn Collection) said of the crisis at a rally "What good are the books, the priceless collections, the films, tapes and records if these doors are padlocked?"
A New York Daily News columnist Bob Herbert wrote "A whole lot of libraries are targeted for oblivion. Closed, they will become quaint objects of our past. Eventually, they will fade from all but a corner of our consciousness, like the trolleys and the Dodgers."
In article after article, I read that people were outraged over the cuts. They wondered how such devastating cuts could happen in the face of increased library usage and ever increasing demands for service--when people were using the library for language classes, homework help and job searching. Sound familiar?
And what was the result of these rallies and marches and campaigns? Well, the city reallocated funds reducing the budget cuts from 33 to 18 percent--still a giant chunk of money gone. The library saw a very large number of layoffs that year. One particularly upsetting article came from New York Newsday from June 30, 1991. It describes the last day of one worker in a branch library. 202 employees had similar days. This year, it will be closer to 350.
Perhaps one of the more uplifting photos (abve) is of the group R.A.L.L.Y - Rap Artists For Libraries, Literacy, and Youth.
Tomorrow, Saturday June 12 through Sunday June 13 a different kind of rally will take place. The planned Read-In is simply a statement of dedication to libraries by library workers.
Please come to see the faces of those who work for you as reference, children's, young adult, adult, senior and special collections librarians, those who plan programs, check out your books and make sure you have help using the computers, those of us who show you where to find the books on the shelves and those who make sure those books are on the shelves in the first place, who create the catalogues and the web sites and exhibits. Click on the silhouette below to find out more about tomorrow's read-in and look for photos next week. Better yet, be a part of history and come to the rally. We don't shush you - don't let budget cuts shush us!