Brooklyn College: A Rich and Storied History
The majority of our holdings document the history of Brooklyn College. This includes official reports and publications, student newspapers, departmental records, yearbooks, artifacts and photographs.
The papers of noted faculty and alumni including Procope Costas (Classics), Alfred McClung Lee (Sociology), Sam Levenson, and William Alfred are housed in the Archives as well.
Brooklyniana: Brooklyn History and Politics
As part of our effort to document the borough of Brooklyn, the Archives has amassed photographic collections, community and county histories, a sizeable map collection, and the papers of noted Brooklyn legislators and civic leaders.
Collections include the Papers of Reverend William Augustus Jones, civil rights leader and pastor of Bethany Baptist Church; the Papers of Peter McGuiness, a Greenpoint politician; and the Records of the Brooklyn YWCA. The YWCA opened its doors in 1888, and for over 125 years it has provided the women and young girls of Brooklyn opportunities for learning and recreation. The collection was processed and opened to the public through a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The Historic Manuscript Collection contains the papers and memorabilia of individuals of national and social importance including the papers of child psychologist Dr. Lauretta Bender, mountaineer Annie Peck Smith, and Civil War soldier Captain James M. Pettit.
Brooklyn College has also amassed many boxing related manuscript collections including the Hank Kaplan Boxing Archive.
There are about two thousand volumes of rare books housed in the Archives. This collection includes titles of significant literary, historical, geographical, and scientific value.
The Robert L. Hess Collection on Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa
Robert L. Hess, a noted scholar of Ethiopian History, served as Brooklyn College President from 1979-1992. This collection of over 5,000 rare and out of print books and journals includes the memoirs of Italian colonial officials and soldiers, linguistic texts, travel accounts and histories. For more information, please visit the Hess Collection page.
The Stuart Schaar Collection on the Middle East and North Africa
Upon retiring from Brooklyn College, Professor Schaar of the History Department donated his book collection and personal papers to the Library. His collection consists of approximately 4,000 books and periodicals and 77 boxes of manuscript material. The collection also includes a large number of diverse and eclectic works of art from the region.
Primary Sources on the Web
Visit our CUNY Academic Works page to view digitized photographs and documents depicting Brooklyn College’s early history, student activities, Country Fair, famous alum William Alfred, and the Farm Labor Project.
Brooklyn College's NYC Heritage Digital Collections page contains Brooklyn Democratic Party Scrapbooks and BC Student Handbills. These digitization projects were supported in part by funds from the Metropolitan Library Council (METRO) through the New York State Regional Bibliographic Databases Program.
Welcome to the Brooklyn College Journal of the Plague Year! We invite members of our Brooklyn College community—current students, staff, and faculty; alumni; and members of our larger borough and city—to share stories and experiences about Covid-19. You can contribute anything you like to this digital archive: personal narratives and family stories; interviews, whether as audio files or transcripts; artwork, music, and photographs; poems and other reflections; fictional accounts, graphic novels, and zines; images, videos, tweets, and other digital objects; Facebook and other social media posts, and Instagram and Snapchat memes; PDFs, screenshots of news reporting; etc. We welcome anything that helps to capture the pandemic and other issues related to this historic moment.
This archive took its title and inspiration from Daniel Defoe's novel of the same name. First published in March 1722 the novel, A Journal of the Plague Year tells the story of one man's experiences of the year 1665, in which the bubonic plague shook London.
As members of one of the most diverse campuses in the world, students and alumni know struggle better than most, and have important stories to share, about this moment and for the education of future generations. Once you enter your submission to https://covid-19archive.org/s/brooklyncollege/page/share, whether individually, through a course assignment, via a club project, etc., a group of faculty and staff will evaluate your submission and assign key words to it. You will also have the opportunity to sign your name or keep your contribution confidential.
Information for Donors
The Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections documents the history of Brooklyn College and the borough of Brooklyn. Donations of materials within the scope of our collection policy are welcome. If you are considering donating items to the archives please contact Colleen Bradley-Sanders, the College Archivist.
Make a secure one-time donation to the Brooklyn College Foundation to support the preservation of Brooklyn College and Brooklyn history by visiting Support the Brooklyn College Foundation. Within Fund Designation, please specify #31205594. For Additional Comments or Questions Relating to This Donation, please specify how you would like your funds to be used in Special Collections (i.e. preserving a specific collection, restoring books our Rare Books, or to help process the collections from Brooklyn College departments, faculty, or alumni).
You can also mail a check or money order payable to: THE BROOKLYN COLLEGE FOUNDATION, 2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11210-2889.
Please specify Fund #31205594 in the memo line of the check.