Brooklyn Public Library's Brooklyn Collection documents the history of Brooklyn from pre-colonial times to the present. A unique resource for the study of Brooklyn’s social and cultural history, the Brooklyn Collection is a distinct division of Central Library, and is BPL's only collection of archival and rare book material. Founded in 1997 as a small book collection attached to the Library’s History Division, it has become the world’s largest public archive for the study of Brooklyn’s social and cultural history in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Documenting every aspect of the borough’s past in a variety of media, our holdings include more than 5,000 books, 200,000 photographs, manuscripts, newspapers, maps and atlases, directories, prints, illustrations, sheet music, posters and ephemera. Our holdings are continually growing, and contemporary news items related to Brooklyn are added to our files daily.
The Collection documents the ongoing life of the Brooklyn community through exhibits, programming and outreach efforts.
Our hours vary from the Central Library, and have changed as of July 2nd, 2018. Please see sidebar for Brooklyn Collection division hours.
While we welcome walk-ins, we recommend that you submit a research request, contact the Collection at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718.230.2762 before visiting. With advance notice, our staff can plan ahead by setting aside materials for your use. An appointment is required for access to original photographs, rare manuscripts and certain historical ephemera.
Brooklyn Bridge, 1880's
Gage & Tollner Restaurant, 1942
Parachute Jump at Coney Island's Steeplechase Park, 1946
"Diversity," photographed by Jamel Shabazz, 1997
Grand Army Plaza, 1951
First girl admitted to Polar Bear Club at Manhattan Beach, 1941
Luna Park, 1903
Wallabout Market, 1935
Fourteenth Regiment Armory, 1910's
Flatbush & Church Avenues, 1913
School children in Fort Greene Park, 1953
Events & Classes
Teaching With Primary Sources: A Skills Workshop For Paraprofessionals 4:00 pm, Central Library, Brooklyn Collection
Author Talk: Andrew Mele - Caesar's of the Diamond: Italian-Americans in Major League Baseball 1897-20177:00 pm, Central Library, Brooklyn Collection
Archival Research: An Introduction for Classroom Educators9:00 am, Central Library, Brooklyn Collection
Brooklyn's Bridges: Connecting Communities & Classrooms 9:00 am, Central Library, Brooklyn Collection
from our blog...
Processing Found Material: The Martha Gayle Collection
Archives acquire materials in a myriad number of ways; it could be through outright purchases, materials bequeathed by planned giving or estates; or...Read More
- Brooklyn Nonfiction
- Brownstone Brooklyn in Fiction
- Brooklyn History for Students
Fiftieth Anniversary Souvenir Program of the Cuyler Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, New York, 1886-1936Cuyler Presbyterian Church (Boerum Hill, New York, N.Y.)
First Historical Report of the ... Brooklyn Masonic Veterans ... From Date of Organization, November 26, 1888, to June 30, 1894Freemasons