Gabriel Furman's Brooklyn


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Created by Julie Golia for the SAFA Summer Fellowship

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  • What Brooklyns of the past have you learned about in SAFA?Brooklyn as boro vs. town or cityKings County vs. Brooklyn2010 population 2,504,700 (a little over 30% of NYC’s pop)1810, when GF was 10  4,402 (vs. NYC at the time which was almost 100K!) Today describe it: urban, crowded, etc. Describe it back then …
  • Remember these were separate towns and remained so until 1880s and 1890s.
  • Key – THIS is Gabriel Furman’s Brooklyn – but he also goes to visit farming areas, more rural areas. The Kings County he lives in is a mixed places – parts are vibrant urban centers, other parts are sleepy, barely populated agricultural hamlets.
  • Long history back to 1642, but very spotty – rowboats or sailboats, at the whim of the weather, couldn’t carry a lot of people or stuff, and farming foodstuffs often took precedent over people. Things changed in 1814 …
  • Furman’s Father William  as early as 1795 started ferry system from Main Street (Fulton Street) to Catharine Slip in Manhattan (but not a steam ferry). What a steam ferry did  regularized time; greater space; greater reliability. Made it possible for people in Brooklyn to regularly get back and forth to Manhattan in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Became a city by 1834. By the 1830s and 1840s, a bustling suburban center. Predominantly wealthy residents  merchants, lawyers, politicians, etc. 1810: 4,402 pop1850: 96,838 (7th largest city in country)1860: 266,661
  • While Brooklyn Heights was becoming a booming suburb, the commercial-industrial waterfront was growing as well. Diversifying economy  not just agriculture. Storage; relationship with New York
  • IMMIGRATION: Irish and German worked ports; undercut wages; industrial violenceBy middle of the century about ½ Brooklyn’s population was foreign born Increasing division between Brooklyn’s wealthy and poor
  • Brooklyn institutions – creating urban culture separate from that of New York. Furman’s role …
  • Gabriel Furman's Brooklyn

    1. 1. Exploring Gabriel Furman’sBrooklynSAFA Summer Fellowship 2013
    2. 2. Google map screenshot, taken July 22, 2012; Bernard Ratzer, Plan of the City of New York in North America, circa 1770; Map Collection, NYC-[1770].Fl.F.RA; Brooklyn Historical SocietyWhat is Brooklyn today? What was Brooklyn in the past?
    3. 3. Brooklyn Eagle Historic Series, 1946; reprinted from Flatbush, A Neighborhood Guide, Brooklyn Historical Society, 2008.Brooklyn … back then• Dutch origins• Just 1 of 6 small agricultural towns incolonial Kings County• Parts of the growing town of Brooklynbecame a village in 1816•Brooklyn became its own city in 1834•Consolidated with other parts of KingsCounty over the 19th century•Consolidated with Greater NYC in1898, becoming 1 of 5 boroughs
    4. 4. Brooklyn Eagle Historic Series, 1946; reprinted from Flatbush, A Neighborhood Guide, Brooklyn Historical Society, 2008.Gabriel Furman and Brooklyn• born in 1800 on Fulton Street – Brooklynonly small town of a few thousand people• Dad was an influential politician & judge• Prolifichistorian, writer, lawyer, politician• Helped establish municipalservices, institutions, schools• Declined as public figure in 1840s - mayhave been addicted to opium!• Died 1854 – Brooklyn had over 100,000residents and was on its way to being 3rdlargest city in country
    5. 5. Early Brooklyn farm, circa 1880, V1972.1.824; Early Brooklyn and Long Island photograph collection, ARC.201; Brooklyn Historical Society.Brooklyn’s origins: farming and agriculture
    6. 6. Slave bill of sale, Gilleyam Cornel and Jan Lefferts, May 21, 1751; Lefferts family papers, ARC.145, box 3, folder 9; Brooklyn Historical Society.Brooklyn’s reliance on slavery until 1827 emancipation
    7. 7. John William Hill, View of the Lower Aqueduct on the Erie Canal, New York, circa 1829-1830; 1974.47; New-York Historical Society.Erie Canal opens 1825, and Brooklyn farmers adapt
    8. 8. Man plowing field, 1888, V1974.7.10; Adrian Vanderveer Martense collection, ARC.191; Brooklyn Historical Society.In parts of Kings County like Flatbush, Flatlands, and NewUtrecht, farming persists until the 1910s and 1920s
    9. 9. Bernard Ratzer, Plan of the City of New York in North America, circa 1770; Map Collection, NYC-[1770].Fl.F.RA; Brooklyn Historical Society…But even as farms persist deep in Kings County, other areascloser to New York City begin to grow and develop.
    10. 10. Bernard Ratzer, Plan of the City of New York in North America, circa 1770; Map Collection, NYC-[1770].Fl.F.RA; Brooklyn Historical Society“Brookland Ferry”
    11. 11. G. Parker, Engraving of Robert Fulton, circa 1820; M1992.398.1; Brooklyn Historical Society.1814: Robert Fultonestablished the first steamferry line between Fulton Ferryin Brooklyn and Wall Street inNew York
    12. 12. John Chester Buttre, Engraving, Hezekiah Beers Pierrepont, 1860; M1975.176.1; Brooklyn Historical SocietyHezekiah Beers Pierrepontwas an early investor in thesteam ferry. He was alsoone of the first major realestate investors inBrooklyn’s history.
    13. 13. Hezekiah B. Pierrepont House; V1973.6.233; Brooklyn Historical Society.
    14. 14. Map of H.B. Pierreponts property and part of the adjoining land, in the village of Brooklyn, county of Kings and state of New York. Wm. C.Pierrepont. 1825. Pierrepont-1825.Fl. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.
    15. 15. Montague Street Hill in 1850; Brooklyn Eagle Postcard, Series 49, No. 290; V1973.4.955; Brooklyn Historical Society.
    16. 16. John William Hill, Lithograph, Brooklyn, Long Island, 1853; M1975.1155.1; Brooklyn Historical Society.Brooklyn’s Commercial Waterfront
    17. 17. Pierrepont Stores, circa 1890; V1973.5.854; Brooklyn Historical Society.
    18. 18. Brooklyn Brush Manufacturing Company articles of incorporation; 1978.191; Brooklyn Historical Society.Brooklyn’s free black communityexpanded as well.Faced with increasing racism –even after the 1827 emancipationlaw – many African Americansfocused on building self-sufficientblack institutions, businesses, andcommunities.Black Brooklynites were alsoamong the first and mostinfluential abolitionists – fightingfor the an end to slavery acrossthe country.
    19. 19. John B. Johnson and Edward Hall, Design for front elevation of Brooklyn City Hall, M1975.48.2; Brooklyn Historical Society.The growth of Brooklyn institutions: municipalorganizations, schools, theaters, libraries, and more.
    20. 20. Engraving, Long Island Historical Society, 1884; V1973.2.232; Brooklyn Historical Society.1845: Packer Institute1861: Brooklyn Academy of Music1863: Long Island HistoricalSociety (today BHS!)Gabriel Furman himself helpedspark Brooklynites’ interest incollecting and chronicling theirown history.
    21. 21. Brooklyn at Furman’s death…• Still only one of many very different townsin Kings County•7th largest city in country … soon to be the3rd largest• Bustling urban and residential center• Growing economy• Increasingly diverse – and unequal –population