Visting BHS – Group 2

The first ad, is from the Long Island Star newspaper, published on January 10th, 1822. The newspaper is from Brooklyn, NY, about an indentured boy between the ages of 11-12 named David Smith. Our first highlight was the description, “Indented colored boy.” We were confused on why they said indented, and later were informed that it might have been a slang term for “indentured.” The ad also made us wonder a lot on why it was posted in the first place. The Master doesn’t want the boy, and as a group, we came to an agreement that the only reason that he posted up the ad in the first place is the fact that the boy was not a slave, and was an indenture, a servant with a contract that will expire after a certain amount of years and will later be free, he might be responsible for any negative actions that David Smith did while he ran away. He was described as a “great rogue,” and that the master tried to give the papers to the boy’s father but he refused to accept them. That also raised the question, since the boy’s father is colored as well, is he free or not? and will that affect the outcome on the privilage of accepting those papers.

The second article we got was an ad from Louisiana Slave Pamphlet, from 1835. It was about a runaway, Henry, which was about 18 years old, and was described as “middle sized, swelled cheeks, silky locks, black skin, well built, and speaks English and French.” Last seen on April 27th, carrying a basket of vegetables at the market. And it was supposed that he had fled on a steam boat. There was a $100 reward on whomever found and returned him. We noticed this ad was a bit different from the first one because this one had an icon, had a reward and the boy was described in a lot more detail than the David was.

In the ad, the boy resembles the lost song (either Buglar or Howards) of Sethe in the novel “Beloved.” Because in the ad, it says a rogue boy weas lurking in Brooklyn and owner couldn’t handle him.
In “Runaway Slaves,” Louisvilla Journal has published about a runaway slaves profile detail that says, he might go to Nashville where his mother lives as a free person.

Comparing to the novel “Beloved” and “Runaway Slaves,” the mother mentioned in Runaway slaves resembles Baby Suggs and her son Halle. Because in the novel “Beloved” Halle was out of the seen most of the time and he really takes care of his mother. He may be sold and reached Alabama but scaped. In “Runaway Slaves” the newspaper ad mentioned that a man named Jim or Armstead ran away with a horse, probably he will run to his mother where his many acquintance lived.

BHS Experience

throughout my 3 visits to BHS I can say that it was a new experience for me, I have never been to a place like that before so I wasn’t sure what to expect upon arriving. The first thing I noticed when getting there I noticed that the Door opened up differently, it slid to the side instead of opening by pulling back or forward. In my first visit we checked out different maps from Brooklyn. The maps were based on “only the dead know brooklyn” we were able to see how the city changed over the years, back then it was owned by different people and in the years the areas throughout the city were changed with different streets and new open areas to walk/drive through. Even the train was different back then. On our second visit we went to see different articles from the late 1800’s during slavery and how the news articles put up wanted posters or reward signs for wanted slaves that escaped. there were different amounts for reward and each described what the slave did, how they looked, body type, and if they had scars or any visible injury. On our third visit today we had to present on what we did during the last visit. Over all I feel like it was a good experience I learned a lot , and was able to visit a different place. I don’t know if I see myself going back unless I really need to for hw or class, but It’s good to know I have a place to go when I need information on a certain topic.

Group 1 Blog Post

Description of Document 1

  • Color:Tan/Off white

  • Consisted of: Dates, Authors and Slave activites

  • Typewriter style of printing

  • 8’ X 11’ (average size), fairly see through, soft texture

  • Was written in a Journal of Baxters of Flatlands

  • New York City

  • Original author passed away and his son carried on the Journal.

Description of Document 2

  • Color: Gray

  • Consisted of: Slaves description, owners name, picture of a woman carrying a bag

  • Newspaper print

  • A clipping from a newspaper ad

  • From the Louisiana slavery Pamphlet collection

  • $20 reward for bring the slave back


       During our second visit to the BHS my group was asked to focus on two pieces of documentation that had both been written up during the slavery days of America. The first document was a journal kept by John Baxter (of Flatlands, NY). He was a schoolteacher, amanuensis and a successful farmer. He began the diary from 1790 and carried out till 1826. This document gave our group the most trouble because of its lack of focus on the slave named “Taft”. John didn’t have much to say about his slave in the journal. He hadn’t mentioned any physical appearance, behaviors or any special marks. What our group gathered was that Taft (We assume his name was given to him by his slave owner) was a runaway slave who was found a short time later. After being brought back to his owner, John Baxter, the person who gave Taft back to him was rewarded $8 but a few days later Taft was sold to someone called Jacobus Lott for 90 pounds. Some of the daily entries were very cryptic and impossible to piece together. Being so, we used this document to show that if the story was told from the point of view of Sethe’s owners this is the process they would have taken to find her.

     The second document was a “reward-if-found” ad in a newspaper depicting a runaway slave. This advertisement was published in Black Code of the State of Louisiana around 1835. The advertisement is very small and in the left side of the ad there is a sketched picture of a woman with a bundle of clothes in her left hand. The ad, being as short as it was, had given clear details of the slave: “Her name is Charlotte…35 years old… woman… scar near mouth… walks with feet pointing outward.. speaks French and English.” The mentioning of the scar near her mouth and her feet pointing outward was necessary so she could be easily noticed.

      Comparing both the documents with the stories we have read “Beloved” and “Runaway Slaves Profile” we can say that running away of the slaves was not the story of only a couple of houses. Slaves used to run due to various reasons, mostly due to torcher and improper management. We don’t have much to compare with John’s journal except we can say that there were more male slaves than female who used to run away. But if we compare the ad from Louisiana with Sethe’s story we can find similarities. First of all both are middle-aged woman. Being that Sethe was a mother, Charlotte should be a mother too. They both had scars and scars are the proof of torcher given to them. John states in the diary that they were hunting for Taft, as the schoolteacher did in “Beloved” for Sethe. When the slaves were found, they were taken back to the owner or jail. John’s diary says that Taft was brought to him, whereas in the newspaper ad the owner puts notice either to bring Taft back to him or to jail. This act is also comparable to Sethe’s story because when she was found she was taken back to jail.

     We thought both articles gave a slight glimpse of what Toni Morrison tried to illustrate in Beloved. Even after the slave is able to get away, they are hunted until they are found. This compares to document one in the sense that the slave, Taft, every move is traced and written to until he is found. Even though Sethe wasn’t found by her owners, this is what she would’ve had to endure if she was found.

      In Runaway Slaves by John Hope Franklin, the slaves are described by the color of their skin, branding on face and and clothing. In document two, the owner advertised the slave by saying she had a scar on her face, her feet pointed outwards, she speaks two languages and is thirty-five years old. This is very clear description of the slave and relates to the articles that are in the Runaway Slaves story. In the appearance section of Runaway Slaves it says the scars on the slave would show that they were slaves and the owners would recognize them immediately. This is why in document two the owner wrote the slave had a scar by her mouth. As stated in the Runaway Slaves story it was rare for women to run away from their owners but when they did run away they were typical young in age, as the slave was in document two.



Group 3’s Blog Post – BHS

At our last visit to the Brooklyn Historical Society, we looked at runaway slave advertisements in newspapers. As a group, we looked at two different documents that both contained these ads, and we had the chance to compare and contrast what we saw here with our reading experiences in the novel “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, as well as Franklin/Schwinger’s “Runaway Slave Profile.” Our group came up with some interesting observations between all of the texts that we analyzed, as well as differences that we noticed.

The first document that we looked at was a typescript journal of John Baxter of Flatlands, Long Island; a slave owner. These were some of the observations we made.

-the document was a big green book and the pages of it looked somewhat delicate, which indicates that it was old

-it was published in Brooklyn, NY 1955

-It was from the time periods of 1805- May 1817

-the farm that he owned was located in Flatlands, Long Island

-in page 21 of the journal; from July-Sept of 1807 we read events that go on in the man’s life and at the barn he owned

-He states that a slave ran off- of the name Abraham Wyckoff

-in page 133 of the journal; from April-June of 1815, Mr. Baxter’s “negro ran away” as he states on May 19th

– Mr. Baxter went to the town to publish an ad for his runaway slave, with a reward of $80 on May 22

The second document that we looked at was a runaway slave ad in a newspaper

-A.H Inskeep was the one who put up the ad

-it was for a mulatto named George of about 22 years of age

-he was described as tall and slender

-it cautioned all persons not to harbor or employ said boy

-it was estimated that the boy ran away June 2-3

Drawing a comparison between the documents that we looked at and our other source, there were many points of similarity. Franklin/Schweninger’s “Runaway slave profile” gave the age range of slaves likely to escape between the late twenties to early thirties and are usually male, and in the advertisement for the mulatto named George he falls into that category; being shown in the ad that he is 22 years old, still in his twenties. Also in the “runaway slave profile” it gives a few examples of different slave reward ads that are very similar to the ad for George in the newspaper. The ads usually start with a runaway slave or negro man and followed by the day the slaved escaped, then with a description of the slave, the height, skin color; whether they were dark or light skinned usually called mulattos, but they were also called yellow, light bacon, light copper. Also, what the slave was wearing and any significant or unique features to make the slaves easily identifiable such as scars, following a reward.

There were also some differences in these documents that we closely examined. In the “runaway slave profile” not only does it show that African slaves in the South were the most likely to run, but that there was more ethnic diversities than that of the North. Slaves were usually bilingual, spoke Spanish and English and may also have spoken French. The slaves in the north were also more educated and often knew trades that they were employed in. One ad in the South stated that a creole slave ran away and these were often called negrees. The ads usually described these slaves as ‘American creole’, ‘American mulatto’ or ‘American negro’.

The documents that we studied can also be compared to the runaway stories that we read of the characters in “Beloved.” What is interesting in “Beloved” is that Sethe was pregnant with Denver at the time she ran away, but in the “runaway slave profile”, it indicated that women were less likely to run because they would not want to leave their children behind. It also indicated that most of those who ran were strong because the escape was quite rough. This action by Sethe tells us a lot about her character. It gives quite an understanding on how her struggles had an effect on her ultimate decision, and courage to run.

There was no obvious mention of an advertisement by Mr. Garner when Howard, Burglar or any of the ‘Sweet Home’ men ran away. So it will be quite difficult to relate the two in this regard but obviously, many of the characters in who ran away in “Beloved” must share a lot of the characteristics with the typical runaway slave described in the “runaway slave profile”.


Group Project Runaway Slave BHS (Brian, Danny, Simone and Nicole)

In the first slave advertisement it is a reward of $20 to find the slave named Joe. They give a brief description of his outer appearance saying how tall he is (5’4), well-built and that he has no beard. He is also 20 years old. Also they mentioned that he has a scar on his face in order for others to recognize him. The article warns captains to not harbor this slave and if spotted to report it.

In the second slave advertisement it’s not a reward but a captured slave. This slave was arrested for calling himself Caesar and said that he belongs to Colonel Grem of Fort Hudson. In the advisement they said that he is being held in the jail of the Parisher St James. He is 35 years old and lost his right leg and the end of his left foot.

These slave advertisements compared to the Franklin/Schweninger “runaway slave profile” are brief and to the point. Although I found it interesting in the first document because the slave named Joe was 20 years old and according to the runaway slave profile, teens and early twenties was the common age for men to run away. They also mentioned his “built” and height which in the runaway slave was common for owners to state that. In the runaway slave profile they said that slaves were identifiable by marks or scars and in document 1 you can see that when they mentioned Joe having a scar on his face. It also mentions about missing limbs although in document 2 doesn’t mention how he lost his leg but it could be from an accident or disease that caused him to lose his leg according to the runaway slave profile. They never mentioned any of the slaves skin color in the advertisements or what their clothing may look like and that was also two of the things that were part of the profile of a runaway.  (Nicole Romano)


Danny: Bullet Point 3&5

3. When looking at the different documents we came upon an old news article that was reward amount for the slave that escaped and if found the reward on top was the payment for finding them. The wanted news article described the runaway slaves to be between 2035 years of age, both black and male, one was Joe and he had a scar on his face, no beard, well built, and was around 5 feet four inches tall. The article as posted by the state of Louisiana 1835 may 15th. Another article described a man who was jailed for referring himself as Cesar who belong to the colonial green of fort Hudson.  He was 35 years of age and lost his right leg and the end of his left in a big accident that isn’t specified. This article was published may 30th 1835.

5. When reading the “runaway slave profile” Franklin/Schweninger  the story described the runnaway slave to be young men in their teens or twenties and 78% of those were between the ages of 13-29. Rarely was there an older slave runaway but when there was one they were between the ages of 40-50. Most were described as having dark skin, not so well built, and height varied. But when seen in the newspaper article the two men described were between 20-40, well-built and unlike the ones described in the “runaway slave profile” the ones in the news article were injured in different ways. One had a scar on his face, and the other had no leg/ foot.


Brian: Bullet Point #6

The reality of connecting the acts of the “slaves” in Beloved to the descriptions given in the advertisements and even just connecting it to the actions taken by the “owners” is startling. The thought that these articles represented another human being is one that i still have problems accepting. For example in the case of Sethe she ran away without taking anything to help disguised herself. If her owner had created an ad for her its description would have been spot on until she gave birth and got the coat from the man and his son to carry her newborn child in. In the first advertisement we have an offered reward for the return or capture of a slave and a proclamation that warns ship captains to not harbor the slave whose name was Joe. Comparing these two things a fictitious account of a slave to that of a real advertisement sheds a light onto an issue that should be remembered and teach a new generation about where they were and how far they have come. In Beloved we learn the story of Sethe who has run away and is on the run for quite some time trying to make it to safety. She goes through many trials and tribulations before making it to Baby Suggs house her mother-in-law. This as it pertains to the ads is basically that she had somewhere to go to and someone that could help her when she got there. The people mentioned in these ads probably had no one and would have been on their own after arriving to safety. In retrospect I think both the story and these ads are part of history that should never be forgotten because it is what helps us to realize that we are an advancing people who are better off due to our experiences. I mean better as a collective whole and not just individually.

Simone McPherson

The size of the rewards are very small, they are just ads from the newspapers. The ads include from document 6; a $20.00 reward for a runaway slave named Joe, who doesn’t have a beard but has a scar on the face, about 20 years old, who is also 5’4 and well built. In document 5, describes a man named Caesar who is about 35 years old. He lost his right leg and the end of his left foot. During these times which is rounded to about the time of 1835. The slave owners have given good descriptions of their runaways and it seems like they are a value to them, since they want them back.

Attached are four pictures the first two are advertisements for run-away slaves the third is the citation for all the images and the fourth is a code that was the law for all slaves

Group 2

In “Runaway slave advertisement” we have seen that a man named Jim or Armstead. His age is 22 and he ran away with a young horse. They described the horse as if the values are similar to the man. It mentioned that this man might go to Nashville, Tennessee where his mother lives as free person with many acquaintance.

The character  in the advertisement are very similar to the character in “Beloved”. The runaway man called Jim or Armstead resembles Halle in Beloved. The mother said to be free resembles Baby Suggs and other people at Sweet Home.

The Advertisement we saw in BHS is the “The Long Island Star” newspaper, a boy named David Smith age 11 to 12 was larking around Brooklyn and the subscriber want to give away his indenture for free. This boy is rogue and the owner could not govern him. It is sure sign of more freedom here in New York than in other parts of slave states.


Brooklyn Trip

The  Brooklyn Historical Society was a really good experience I have never been to it before and getting to explore around as well as check out the treasures was a really good experience.  BHS has many rare collections about Brooklyn’s past and I’m sure it will have more from the now to show off late in the future, I found it interesting to see maps and photographs but back then, I could picture Brooklyn and how it was back then. The Atlas of New Utrecht, 1874 gave me some idea about the urbanization of Brooklyn. it showed how streets as wells as territory was divided back then, i also found it interesting how back then one single person could own a large portion of land. Development companies bought the farmer’s land and made it commercial by plotting the land and constructing buildings and apartments houses. Over all it helped me to fully understand the story and gave me a mental picture of how the borough was like back then

Visiting the BHS

Our class took a trip to the Brooklyn Historical Society last wednesday to learn more about Brooklyn. Although i visited the BHS in another class about two semesters ago, it was still a wonderful experience in which learned alot about Brooklyn. The last time i went on a trip to the BHS it was for a history class in which we researched vaudeville and were assigned to write a research paper on the subject. So going the Brooklyn Historical Society was a big help on giving me enough information to write that research paper. The last trip was basically the same as this trip except for the fact that we researched vaudeville and used the back room of the library to have the research session. In fact im almost positive that the two women that were presenting were the same ones that presented to my history class last time about a year ago.
This trip was focused mainly on researching Brooklyn itself and its history. the material that i researched in my group were mainly maps of brooklyn which showed different historical facts about its development. There were also some photographs which illustrated how like was back then in that time period, which was around the 1920s. I was unable to take any photographs of the materials because unfortunately my phone died prior to entering the BHS. I will however describe what the photographs and maps displayed. The first piece was a map of Brooklyn in 1925 which displayed what the original streets were made out of. the second map displayed how Brooklyn was divided into sections or towns. The other two photos hat i viewed were merely pictures of the daily lives of people who were living in brooklyn during that time period. Although the materials that i viewed gave me a deeper understanding of Brooklyn and it’s history, i was still left with a few questions. first of all, what a the main mode of transportation during that time and why did Brooklyn seem so much larger back then than what it is now? Hopefully we will be able to revisit the BHS sometime during this semester so I could get an answer to some of these questions.

The streets of Brooklyn

I’ve known Brooklyn for sometime now but the visit to the BHS gave me more understanding on what Brooklyn stands for in the state of New York. Seeing the map of the place showed how big and unique of this borough is. The picture of the man and boy taken at the Coney Island beach tells us how important this place is in the history of the borough.
One important observation I’ve always made is the name of some streets. Very close to the BHS are pineapple, orange and cranberry street. I asked about the reason for the names but the ladies there said there was no record of how they were named. They said Gabriel Furman, a nineteenth century brooklyner wrote that that most of the streets in Brooklyn were named after important figures as its done in most places and other names were given by real estate personnel to make places sound nicer that they looked in order to attract people in those neighborhood but when it got to those streets I mentioned earlier, he only said they were fancier, wymstical among others.


Getting to know more about Brooklyn is exciting

I enjoyed my visit to the Brooklyn Historical Society because we got to see the old maps and photos from the late 1800s and it was interesting to see how things have changed and stayed the same since then.

When I moved to Brooklyn a few years ago I instantly fell in love with it and wanted to learn more about the area. Brooklyn is rather large so getting to learn a little of its history was fun. I enjoyed the story “Only The Dead Know Brooklyn” because the “Big Guy” in the story is curious about Brooklyn just like I was when I first moved here and still am.

Sometimes I bike around Brooklyn with no real destination in mind and I feel like at the end of the story when the Big Guy speaks of “drowning” in Brooklyn he is referring to drowning in a river of curiosity because there is so much to see and learn about Brooklyn. I can relate to that feeling very well and I think I feel the same way The Big Guy feels toward Brooklyn.

At the Brooklyn Historical Society, I saw a map in 1874 and a photo in 1958. (for details, see below). Even though things may have changed as far as what they look like now, I think the division of the areas of Brooklyn are mostly the same as far as the map goes. In the photo you can see a real change with the train station being simpler and the all houses being lower.

Map: Atlas of New Utrecht, Kings County, New York, 1874
from Brooklyn Historical Society

Photo : View From N. end of 62nd s. station B.M.T. 60th st. looking N.E. 1958
from Brooklyn Historical Society[gallery]



Know more about Brooklyn, BHS

Visiting Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) was a wonderful opportunity for me to know more about Brooklyn. BHS has rich collections from Brooklyn’s history including various maps and photographs. Looking at those maps and photographs, I could picture Brooklyn of century ago. The Atlas of New Utrecht, 1874 gave me some idea about the urbanization of Brooklyn. I could see some estates under the name of person and some estates under the name of development companies. As I understood, these development companies bought the farmer’s land and made it commercial by plotting the land and constructing buildings and apartments houses. After the map, I looked at a photograph of Coney Island Beach, which was taken in July 1958. Comparing today’s Coney Island with the photograph, I found a huge difference. I could see crowd of people enjoying at the beach, but there were no boardwalk and houses were just under construction. This means the Coney Island area was being prepared for commercialization.

Only The Dead Know Brooklyn VS. BHS

Our table was filled with details an images of the places mentioned in the story, We saw multiple pictures of people at different locations, a map and three miscellaneous ferry tickets. In the map at our table it shows the location of where the train station would later be built at the exact cross streets. Also at our table were pictures of the train station on 15th avenue and New Utrecht. There were two pictures at the light table. One picture was a photograph of an aerial view of people swimming in the ocean at coney island and the other was a father and son down the block from the beach, The other picture on the table was a picture of a boy playing on the Red Hook Pier. All of these places were mentioned in the story.

BHS & Only The Dead Know Brooklyn

Out of the photographs and other forms of illustrations at BHS, I was the most impressed by the maps of the train system.  I never fathomed how long the New York City Subway System has been in service and that its service map is so similar to the one today.  With the exception of a few added lines and new stations, the map is very similar to the one the MTA provides today.  Considering the advancements in in engineering technology in the last 40 years, its impressive to know the tracks have been around since the 20s.  I also took note of the pictures of Coney Island and other landmarks.  Just like the subway maps, majority of the environment has been preserved and remains to be used by the public (like the boardwalk and beach at Coney Island).  I think it adds a special kind of sentimental value that would not be preserved has the city been altered in its developmental structure.

in Only The Dead Know Brooklyn, “Big Guy” asked the narrator if he knew how to go to Brooklyn (in a thick Brooklynese accent).  Big Guy had the idea of discovering Brooklyn by traveling around “jus to see the place”, including wandering around the bars in Red Hook, which to most would not be a good idea.  I discovered Brooklyn in a similar way; going to new places with friends, wandering around unknown areas in search of something that we could eventually come back to.  If you can afford the train fare, you can see all of Brooklyn.

Visting BHS

Reading “Only The Dead Know Brooklyn,” was really challenging, personally, because I’m not from Brooklyn. I’m really into vintage and antique things. Seeing images and maps and ticket stubs from years before my parents were even born was pretty awesome. While looking at all of these objects, my group and I were comparing it to the story. It was kind of incredible looking at things that were in the story; it was almost like watching a stop motion, and going back in time. We got to see locations that Big Guy went to and love to explore. For example New Utrectch Ave, and there was a picture of the station in year 1962. As well as a photograph of a boy running at the Red Hook Pier. The map that we got to see was a map from 1914, and the station was not on it due to it not being built yet. I thought it was pretty awesome how we got to see before’s and after’s and we had that advantage to connect it to the story.

Brooklyn Historical Society + Only the Dead Know Brooklyn

During my visit in the Brooklyn Historical Society, i got the opportunity to view some old archival materials. These old photographs and maps had a piece of Brooklyn’s history. Right after i had gotten a glimpse of each, i remembered that some of these archives were in the story “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn”. The map that i saw was a basic map of Brooklyn’s railroad, i’m guessing the only ways of transportation back in the days. This map not only had railroads, but it also had street layouts and tunnels. Another archive that i was able to observe was three (3) New Jersey transportation ticket stubs. These stubs were for ferry rides from Brooklyn to Jersey City and back. When i saw the other 3 archives, they were photographs. One of those photographs was a photo of “New Urtrecht Ave-15th Ave Station(Sea Beach Line) taken in 1962 of June 18. The other two photographs were pictures of a place named “Hook Pier” (1978) and the famous “Coney Island”(1968). In the story of “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn”, These 3 photographs were mentioned in the story.