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Brooklyn History

This is a guide to primary and secondary resources on local Brooklyn history.


Archival BoxMany artifacts of Brooklyn history are not available online or in digital form which means making a trip to study them in person.  Each archive has different types of collections, different ways of organizing their artifacts and different rules for when and how you can use their collections.  Some may require an appointment, some may not allow photography. It's a good idea to check the guidelines posted on their website or call ahead.  It can be a little more work to do research in person but it's also an opportunity to look at letters, documents and photos that possibly no one has studied before! 

Brooklyn Historical Society

Brooklyn Historical SocietyThe Brooklyn Historical Society Library is located only two blocks away from Saint Francis College.  It is open from Weds-Fri 1pm-5pm.  

It's collections include:

  • photographs
  • maps 
  • business and neighborhood directories
  • municipal records 
  • paintings and published books
  • geneological information on Brooklyn families
  • information about Brooklyn neighborhoods and landmarks.

BPL Brooklyn Collection

Broklyn Public LibraryThe Brooklyn Collection is housed at the Central Library Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. 

The collection includes:

  • newspapers
  • books
  • maps
  • photographs
  • postcards
  • city directories
  • telephone directories
  • yearbooks
  • census information.

SFC Library Student Thesis Collection

The Library has a collection of theses written by Saint Francis students, many of which explore New York City and Brooklyn History.  The collection dates back to 1950. 

Select Archive CollectionTo search student theses:

  • visit the library catalog
  • limit your search to "Archive Collection" in the list of library locations on the left of the screen in the library catalog.


The library staff are currently in the process of digitizing student theses.  Some are available through a link in the catalog and some can only be viewed in person.

Digital Theses:

  • will say "Online access"
  • to access, click "View Online", then "Open source in a new window"

Digitized Thesis

Print Theses:

  • will say "Available at Archive Collection"
  • can be accessed by writing down the call number (circled in red) and showing it to a librarian at the Reference Desk
  • can only be used on-campus

Undigitized Thesis