The photography collections at BHS include images documenting the built environment of Brooklyn and Long Island from the 1870s to the present, notable historic events and activities, and the faces of Brooklynites in family portraits and candid photographs. Daguerreotypes, tintypes, cartes de visite, glass negatives and slides, stereographic prints, negatives, and digital images reflect the development of photographic formats over time. A growing number of photographs are being digitized. Over 35,000 are searchable at an image workstation in the library reading room, while over 4,000 are available online here.
Keyword Search allows you to perform a general search across multiple fields for any catalog records online. Keyword searches use OR as the default connector between words (e.g. a search for Brooklyn Bridge will return records associated with Brooklyn OR Bridge). If you want to find records where both keywords are found, type in AND between the two words. To search for a specific phrase, be sure to put the phrase within quotes (e.g. "Brooklyn Bridge"). Searches are not case sensitive.
Advanced Search can help you be more specific with your search. You can search for a word or phrase within a particular search category or use multiple categories to further narrow down your search results. For example, searching White in the People field will bring up any records associated with a member of the White family, without having to sift through black & white photographs.
Random Images is a great way to just browse the collection. Each Random Images page displays a random assortment of images from the records online. If something piques your interest, click the thumbnail to view a larger version of the image.
Photos and Objects can also help narrow down your search, by only searching with a selected catalog. If you only want to search for Photos, click the Photos button and type in your keyword(s) or phrase. You can also browse records within that catalog without performing a search. Phrase searching, wildcards (*) as well as AND/OR statements are available when performing catalog searches.
Click on the highlighted collections below for a direct link to the image galleries.
Building and housing photographs:
Fine art photography:
Portraits (cartes de visite)
19th Century Brooklyn:
How to Request an Image
To request an image found in the online gallery, please fill out the Collection Reproduction Application form and email the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org. For a fee schedule, and information on our rights and reproduction policy, please review the Photocopies and Image Reproductions page.
Some of the images may be subject to third party rights such as copyright and/or rights of privacy/publicity. Before using any of these images, please review our Rights and Reproductions Policy.
The John D. Morrell photographs were digitized and cataloged through generous funding from Gerry Charitable Trust in 2009.
The 128 Pierrepont Street building architectural drawings were digitized and cataloged through generous funding from the Henry Luce Foundation in 2014.
The Eugene L. Armbruster scrapbooks were digitized and cataloged with generous funding through Gerry Charitable Trust in 2016.
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