Brooklyn Historical Society

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United States Gotoarrow.png New York Gotoarrow.png Archives and LibrariesGotoarrow.png Brooklyn Historical Society

Brooklyn Historical Society

Contact Information



128 Pierrepont Street at Clinton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Telephone:Tel: +1-718-222-4111
Fax: +1-718-222-3794

Hours and holidays:[2]  Wednesday - Friday: 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

  • Special Summer Hours:  the library and museum are open until 8 p.m. the last Thursday of the month.
  • Contact the library prior to visit. General admission provides access to all current exhibitions, public programs and the library area during Library hours.

Directions, maps, and public transportation:[3]   Public transportation is recommended due to limited parking.

  • Map
  • Subway: 2,3,4,5 to Borough Hall, A,C,F to Jay St/Borough Hall, or M,R to Court St.
  • Bus:

North – South: B 38, B52, B25, B26, B41 to Montague/Court Street East – West: B 67, B65 to Jay Street From Manhattan: B51 City Hall to Court St. /Cadman Plaza WEEKDAY SERVICE ONLY

  • From Brooklyn: Take the Belt Parkway West., which becomes Brooklyn Queens Expressway/I-278 East, to Atlantic Avenue (exit 27). Turn slight right onto Atlantic Avenue. Turn left onto Clinton Street for seven blocks to Pierrepont Street.
  • From Manhattan: Take the Brooklyn Bridge to Cadman Plaza West ramp. Go straight ahead onto Middagh Street. Turn left onto Henry Street for six blocks. Turn left onto Pierrepont Street.
  • Parking: There is limited on-street parking in the neighborhood as well as several garages: Manhattan Parking, 40 Clinton St., between Pierrepont and Cadman Plaza West; 300 Cadman Plaza West, between Clinton and Pierrepont; and Ultra on Montague between Clinton and Court.
  • Bicycles: There are designated bike lanes along Clinton and Henry Streets leading to the Brooklyn Historical Society. Public bicycle racks may be found along Montague Street, one block from BHS.

Internet sites and databases:

  • Brooklyn Historical Society Internet site-Home: Museum, Library, Blog, Public Programs, Calendar, Contact Us, Online Store, Exhibits, Current BHS Projects, Professional Development Workshops, Donations, Books, Publications, Newsletter.
  • Contact Us
  • Bobcat - online catalog. Use this to search books, periodicals, and maps. Bobcat is found on a different website as it is a cooperative catalog hosted by NYU.
  • NYU Finding Aid Portal: Use this to search for finding aids to processed archival, manuscript, oral history, and photographic collections. This is found on a different website as it is a cooperative catalog hosted by NYU.
  • Emma: Use this to search for archives, manuscripts, oral histories, photographs, library collections, and special collections.
  • Online Image Gallery: Use this to search for individual photographs. A small number of our images are currently available online, but more images are added regularly.

Collection Description

The Brooklyn Historical Society's (BHS) mission is to discover, procure, and preserve whatever may relate to general history, especially the natural, civil, literary, and ecclesiastical history of the United States, the State of New York, and more particularly of the counties, towns, and villages of Long Island. The collection includes finding aids and collections guides to archives, manuscripts, oral histories, photographs, paintings, oral history database, and maps which document property ownership and street expansion in central and southern Brooklyn.[4]


  • Finding Aids, Image and Oral History databases can be used anytime the library is open, no appointment necessary.[5]
  • New admission policy will be in effect throughout the duration of our remodeling project, from July 2012 through August 2013.[2]


  • Online Guide: Detailed listing of resources which are most frequently consulted by genealogists and family historians. Finding Aids, Image and Oral History databases can be used anytime the library is open, no appointment necessary.

Alternate Repositories

If you cannot visit or find a source at the Brooklyn Historical Society, a similar source may be available at one of the following.

Overlapping Collections

  • New York Public Library Genealogy Division has an outstanding collection of American history at national, state and local levels; international genealogy and heraldry in Roman alphabets; Dorot Jewish collection; photos; New York censuses, directories, and vital records.
  • New York Public Library Branches over 90 in New York City.
  • New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, national in scope. Over 100 million name database, of vital records, genealogies, journals, over 200,000 books, 100,000 microfilms, and over 20 million manuscripts with emphasis on New England and New York since the 1600s.
  • National Archives at New York City, censuses,, military, pensions, bounty land, photos, passenger indexes, New York port and shipping, naturalizations, inventions.
  • National Archives Northeast Region (Boston) (that is Waltham), censuses,, military, pensions, bounty land, photos, passenger indexes, naturalizations, African Americans, Indians.
  • Stadsarchief Amsterdam (Amsterdam Municipal Archives) early Dutch notarial records of New York.

Similar Collections

  • Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, holds 450 computers, 3,400 databases, 3.1 million microforms, 4,500 periodicals, 310,000 books of worldwide family and local histories, civil, church, immigration, ethnic, military, and Mormon records.
  • Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana, premier periodical collection, genealogies, local histories, databases, military, censuses, directories, passenger lists, ethnic collections, and Canadians.
  • Library of Congress, Washington, DC, Local History and Genealogy Reading Room is part of the world's largest library including 50,000 genealogies, 100,000 local histories, manuscripts, microfilms, maps, newspapers, photographs, books, strong in North American, British Isles, and German sources
  • Newberry Library, Chicago, genealogies, local histories, censuses, military, land, indexes, vital records, court, and tax records mostly from the Mississippi Valley, eastern seaboard, Canada, & British Isles.
  • Mid-Continent Public Library Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO, national censuses/indexes, 80,000 family histories, 100,000 local histories, 565,000 microfilms, 7,000 maps, and newspapers.
  • National Archives I, Washington DC, census, pre-WWI military service & pensions, passenger lists, naturalizations, passports, federal bounty land, homesteads, bankruptcy, ethnic sources, prisons.
  • Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 85,000 volumes about the Jewish Holocaust, largest yizkor book collection.

Neighboring Collections

  • New York State Library, Albany, has local histories, genealogies, atlases, church, cemetery (including DAR), city directories, microfilmed newspapers, censuses, passenger lists, and periodicals.
  • New York State Archives, Albany, has manuscripts, vital record indexes, land grants, maps, military, court, alien depositions, prisoners, Erie Canal passenger lists, wills, estates, and state censuses.
  • New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, New York City has censuses, city directories, church, cemetery, Bible, land, probates, genealogy, local history, and manuscripts.
  • New York Historical Society manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, histories, directories, maps, photos.
  • Vital Records Section of the New York State Dept. of Health, Menands, NY, for outside New York City births and deaths (1881-present), and marriage licenses (1880-present). Also, all divorces since 1963.
  • Municipal Archives has New York City birth, death, and marriage records; the 1890 police census; city directories; voter registrations; almshouse records; and municipal government records.
  • Courts: city, state, and federal.
  • Columbia University Libraries, history, biography, ethnic studies, newspapers, government documents.
  • Holland Society 7,000 New Netherland family and local history books, Dutch Reformed Church records.
  • Huguenot Historical Society open by appointment: history, settlement, genealogy, biography, theology.
  • YIVO Institute for Jewish Research East European Jewish immigrant studies, gazetteers, yizkor books (Holocaust town memorial books), biographical directories, Landsmanshaft records.
  • Leo Baeck Insitiute preserves family and community histories about Jews in German speaking countries.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Contact the Brooklyn Historical Society at Brooklyn Historical Society] (accessed 3 April 2012).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hours at Brooklyn Historical Society] (accessed 17 September 2012).
  3. Directions at Brooklyn Historical Society] (accessed 17 September 2012).
  4. Collection Description at Brooklyn Historical Society (accessed 10 September 2012).
  5. Aids at Brooklyn Historical Society] (accessed 17 September 2012).