BHS, What’s Red, Old, and New all over?

Visiting a  place like the Brooklyn Historical Society is enchanting to say the least. The building’s exterior is all red brick, differentiating it from the rest of the buildings surrounding it. Even at a distance i took notice of it. As i looked closer and payed more attention to the building’s exterior, i noticed several head sculptures along the sides. Clearly, they were there not just for aesthetic purposes, but also to give the building a more historic vibe. it is also a very comfortable place to be in. As soon as i stepped foot inside i felt at home. The librarians were very friendly and the interior of the building was as welcoming as the exterior. The colors and materials used were meant to make visitors like me feel just that, welcomed.

As the librarians led us to the library upstairs i was very impressed with the style the place had. Most of the visible material used was wood. The stairs creaked immensely with every step we took. It almost seemed like the stairs creaked on purpose to make the building seem older. According to the librarians the building has been around since the late 1800’s. Apparently it’s been very well preserved. The library was beautiful. It’s not like any other public library I’ve visited. This library felt especially great to be in. Like one of my classmates said, the library made me want to read.

After forming groups, my group had the privilege of viewing a first hand letter written by Lucille Kolkin whom we’ve been reading about. It’s amazing how one insignificant piece of paper can be so intimidating. My first thought upon seeing the letter was, how is it the general public can have access to this? I quickly realized I was lucky enough to see it. Reading Lucy’s script was tedious but we got through it. We as a group. Lucy’s letter wasn’t all that different than what any other person would write. Her letter was relatable. At least to me it was, but i think it’s safe to say my classmates felt the same.

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6 Responses to BHS, What’s Red, Old, and New all over?

  1. Prof. Gold says:

    “Like one of my classmates said, the library made me want to read.”

    I think my work here is done. 🙂 Thanks for the great report!

    I’d be interested in hearing a bit more about what you mean when you write that “[Kolkin’s] letter was relatable.” What parts of it, exactly, did you connect to?

    As for feeling privileged to be able to see and touch Lucy’s letter, all I can say is that that sense of wonder at examining a rare and fragile document is at the heart of the experience of being in the archives. It’s a feeling that is very familiar to every scholar I know. We’ll talk more this semester about the other types of archival materials around the city that are freely available to you and that you can and should check out!!

    — Prof. Gold

  2. Prof. Gold says:

    p.s. It looks like some of your photos didn’t come through. Here’s are two guides to adding photos to posts that might help: or

  3. Prof. Gold says:

    Also, I love your title. It’s a great example of what we talked about in class — a title that plays with language and entices readers to read through the post. Well done!

  4. ftejeda says:

    Going back to some of the class discussion we had ,where we talk about the different connection and approach that someone could have with an archives , I might argue that
    in a way we can’t directly connect to the archive, for the fact that we did not live at that time it happen (whether we had an image or knowledge of the life style or the people of certain time ) the reality is that we are only capable of just making a superficial connection and yet its arguable that if the archive provokes a certain feeling or remain you of something it can led to a sentimental connection .

  5. julie001 says:

    I myself didn’t get to view Lucy’s letter however I felt the same way with archives. Looking at these documents was kind of intimidating. You are given these pieces of history for the first time and it’s just a shock how something so old and personal can be viewed. It makes you think in so many years will people be looking at our letters or e-mails and feel the same way. I agree with what you say about a connection or a relation to a document. I feel that everyone has their own personal feeling to what see or read. I disagree with the comment that you can’t have a real connection with it because you don’t know what happens in a person’s life to feel that way. To me each connection is different from everyone else’s we all relate on a certain level.

    • Exactly, i completely agree with you on that one. I understand the other perspective in that you can never truly relate to the archives but i must disagree. Like Julie said, every person has their own unique connection with the object. No one shares the same connection therefore i would not describe my individual connection as superficial.

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