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Brooklyn-Long Island Tercentennial

DATES May 01, 1936 through June 30, 1936
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  • May 1, 1936 In celebration of the Long Island Tercentenary, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is placing on exhibit a treasured relic of Brooklyn History. It is a cut steel watch fob worn by Marquis de Lafayette at a grand function given in his honor in Manhattan, probably when he was a guest of the nation in 1824–1825 though possibly when he was here in 1784. Among the guests was a lifelong friend of Lafayette’s M. Eugene Penn, a Frenchman living in the then fashionable section on Division Street. M. Penn admired the elegant, new style fob, and afterward, while calling upon the General, spoke of its beauty and asked to see it that he might examine it closely. Thereupon, Lafayette took it from its case, snapped the catch on his fob pocket and advantagr on toward M. Perin, saying that it was not seen to advantage on the brown suit which he was wearing, but needed the lustrous black satin evening suit for background. Then he put it into M. Perin’s hands and bent over his shoulder while the latter observed it closely and commented on the fine quality of workmanship displayed. Lafayette said: “You do admire it, Eugene. Let me present it to you, mon ami, as a small token of my very large regard." As politeness required, M. Penn demurred, and Lafayette urged: “Ah! But, take it! It is nothing to what you have done for me!”

    M. Penn willed the fob to the late Mr. and Mrs. George Child because of their “affectionate admiration for my dear Lafayette.” It was presented to the Museum by the late Miss Agnes E. Bowen who was a grand—niece of Mrs Child.

    The fob is 10" long made of cut steel in three varieties of beads and two of ornaments, and in design is a combination of double chain depending from the catch to a flat ornament in conventionalized rose type to which is attached a finish of four tassels, the center two very nearly double the size of the outer two.

    Lafayette is known to have been twice in Brooklyn. On Wednesday, August 10, 1824, he examined the war steamer “Fulton,” lying at Williamsburg wharf, then went to the Navy Yard, and “on the deck of the Washington ‘74, he was introduced to the board of Trustees and a large number, of the citizens; of Brooklyn, including a numerous concourse of ladies.” On July 4, 1825, he laid the cornerstone of a building at Henry and Cranberry Streets. Children's Museum folk have a right to a special interest in this occurrence, for the building was created to house the collection of “The Apprentices’ Library Association of the Village of Brooklyn.” It contained also a lecture hall and accommodated the meetings of the village trustees and the post office. “The Apprentices’ Library Association" became “The Brooklyn Institute and Youths’ Free Library,” and eventually the present “Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences,” of which this Museum is a part while its Library is the descendent of the “Youths’ Free Library”. In his “History of Brooklyn;" Stiles records the corner stone ceremony and tells how Lafayette himself helped the children to find place to sit on a nearby pile of building stone. He quotes from a description written by one of these children when he was "grown up,” that was published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 3, 1856. The writer was Walt Whitman, “the good, gray poet.”

    "The greater part of the show consisted of the Sunday and other schools. The day was a remarkably beautiful one. The boys and girls of Brooklyn were marshalled at the old ferry, in two lines, facing inwards, with a wide space between. Lafayette came over in a carriage from New York, and passed slowly through the lines. The whole thing was old fashioned, quiet, natural, and without cost, or at the expense of a few dollars only. After Lafayette bad passed through the lines, the people, who had congregated in large numbers (women and girls as numerous as men), proceeded in groups to the site of the new building. The children and some of the citizens, formed a procession, and marched from the ferry to the same spot. Arriving there, we recollect there was some delay in placing the children where they could see and hear the performances. Heaps of building materials, stone, etc., obstructed the place. Several gentlemen helped in handing the children down to stand on convenient spots in the lately excavated basement; among the rest Lafayette himself assisted. The writer well recollects the pride he felt in being one of those who happened to be taken into Lafayette’s arms, and passed down.” Prizes donated by Mr. William Good and Mr. Thomas Kirk, and awarded by lot, were then presented to six boys who were regular readers in the library.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1931 - 1936. 04-06_1936, 070-1.
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  • May 26, 1936 The Brooklyn Museum held a pre-view yesterday afternoon, May 25, of the Long Island Tercentary Exhibition. The exhibition will be open to the public today, May 26, and will remain on view through June 14. A Colonial Reception and Tea arrange by the Tercentary Committee of the Long Island Federation of Women's Clubs in cooperation with the Long Island Tercentary Committee made the pre-view a colorful social event. Mrs. Charles Wallace Mulford is president of the Federation, Mrs. Charles A. Soper, Chairman of the Tercentary Committee. Members of the the committee are Mrs. Theodore S. Cornell, Mrs. Michael Lucey, Mrs. Fordyce C. Dietz and Mrs. Joseph Townsend.

    Many of the the clubwomen and their guests appeared in colonial costume. Tea was served on the balcony adjoining the exhibition gallery, and the tea table was given and attractive setting of garden flowers.

    A case of very fine examples of Dutch colonial silver; two cases of Long Island pottery, implements, beaver skins, wampum, arrow heads and so forth and a case containing an old Dutch Bible and some of the most valuable early church records of Brooklyn, lent by the Dutch Reform Church of Flatbush, were important features of the exhibition. A large illustrated mural map prepared by the Federal Arts Project is place in the cente rof the gallery and serves as a guide to the visitor who wishes to visit old Long Island in his imagination. The map was designed and executed by David Weisman, assisted by Sidney Hamburg, Agnes Karlin and Jack Bochner. The exhibition includes many old pictorial maps, prints, drawings and other view of early Long Island scenes. Lenders to the exhibition are: The City Museum, The Mabel Brady Garven Institute, Yale University, Museum of the American Indian Heye Foundation, Mr. Robert Fridenburg, The Old Print Shop, Mr. R. T. H. Halsey, Mrs. John Hill Morgan, Mr. William G. Kelso, Jr. Mr. Herbert V. Smith and others.

    Among these present at the pre-view were:
    Mrs. Robert Franklin Ives
    Mrs. J. Duke Harrison
    Mrs. Oliver Goldsmith Carter
    Mrs. Harry C. Palmer
    Mrs. August Dreyer
    Mrs. Frank H. Parcella
    Mrs. Thos. H. McClintock
    Mrs. Sidney M. Girard
    Mrs. Lestor Davis
    Mrs. Halbert A. Bolt
    Mrs. Harry D. Howie
    Mrs. Edmond Gale Jewett
    Mrs. Jos. Wingebach
    Mrs. Reuben L. Haskell
    Mrs. Marshall Elliot Stewart
    Miss Anna B. Gallup
    Mrs. William W. Payne
    Mrs. Otto Heinigke
    Mrs. Theodore C. Cornell
    Mrs. Chas. A. Soper
    Mrs. Theodore M. Hardy
    Mrs. Clarence C. Bowden
    Mrs. Willis P. Miner
    Mrs. Mary W. Banker
    Dr. Sophie Harned
    Mrs. Millard Johnson
    Mrs. John K. Sengstaken
    Mrs. FOrdyce Dietz
    Mrs. William Weeks
    Mrs. R. Edson Doolittle
    Mrs. Edward L. Denton
    Mrs. Frederick Starr Pendleton
    Mrs. Edward C. Blum
    Miss Mary Dillon
    Mrs. Philip N. Youtz
    Mrs. Charles A. Ditmas
    Miss Josephine Mast
    Mrs. Charles A Decker
    Mrs. Henry Hotchkisa
    Mrs. Henry C. Schroeder

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1931 - 1936. 04-06_1936, 072.
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  • May 1, 1936 Old church records of Brooklyn, among the most interesting extant and valuable to the historian, are included in the Long Island Tercentennial Exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. The records comprise a volume of "Original Records of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of the Town of Flatbush, Kings County, including the Consistory Minutes from 1678 to 1685, a record of Marriages, a record of Baptisms, lists of members of the congregation with additions from time to time, and lists of the Elders and Deacons elected; a second volume containing a transcript and translation of these records; and a large Dutch Bible used as the pulpit Bible in this church from 1656 to 1792.

    The first entry in the Consistory Minutes deals with the trouble that the Four Towns were having in getting enough preaching to satisfy them, the pastor’s "half-turns" giving some of them only one service on important holy days when they wanted two services. It also records a problem of international exchange and inflation which had depreciated the value of Indian shell-money (sewon) in which the pastor was paid. The entry reads as follows: (Translation from the Dutch by Frank L. Van Cleef): “In February, 1678, in a Consistory of the Four Towns a difficulty was brought up regarding the half turns occurring on the second day of Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide, also on New Years and Ascension Day, on account of their dissimilarity with other towns, especially when the Holy Supper was celebrated. When at that time the half preaching turn occurred at the town that had, the turn of the Holy Supper, it would have no Thanksgiving in the afternoon to listen to.

    “Thereupon it was unanimously decided that it should be taken as it come and be content therewith, without making a change. Those that had the half turn and also the Holy Supper must be satisfied there with for the time.

    “Then the matter was also brought up by the Minister that, as to the sewan promised him, four gulden did not equal one Holland Gulden, but rather five gulden sewan. He requested that this be noted and he he paid accordingly.

    “The answer was that this would be taken into consideration and laid before the congregations at the four towns.”

    The "Acta in Synedric,” as this section of the records is titled, is in the handwriting of this minister Dr. Casparus Van Turen, as one many of the other records. They were transcribed and translated by Dr. Van Cleef under the direction of Millard P. Schenck and Henry M. Wells, Committee of the Consistory in the year 1912. Dr. Van Cleef (Ph.D., Bonn), came from Holland to this country for that purpose.

    The first marriage recorded took place October 14, 1677, and was that of Theodorus Poihemius, “a young man from Brasika, on the Island Tamiricis, residing at Lidwoudt, with Aartije Anthonis Boogaart, “a young lady, born and residing within the jurisdiction of Breukelen." They were formally betrothed September 29th of that year. The marriage records cover two periods, 1677-1694, and 1706- 1720.

    The first baptism is that of Wilhelmyntje, the daughter of Gysbert Thysam and Jaunetje Adriaans. It was performed “when the first preaching was held at Midwood.” Several other children were baptized at the same service. The baptismal records cover four periods: 1677-1690, 1709—1710, 1724-1725, and 1750-1754.

    The volume also includes Church Membership for the period 1677-1702/3; observations of the Lord’s Supper for 1677-1686, and the Election of Elders and Deacons for the periods 1677-1684, and 1706/7. Many familiar as well as unfamiliar family names appear in the records, which give some additional data besides the names them selves and their connection with the church.

    The Pulpit Bible is a large folio volume bound in leather-covered boards, the pages enriched with block-printed initials, miniatures, and various other typographical ornaments. It was presented in 1656 by Classis of Amsterdam to the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Flatbush and used as the pulpit bible from 1660 to 1792. It was exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893. The Church has occupied three buildings on the present site, the first dedicated in 1655, the second in 1701 and the third, the present structure, in 1797. This Bible was used in the first two. In 1792 the English language partly replaced the Dutch in the Church service and the Bible was removed from the pulpit.

    About 1886 the then Consistory of the Church presented this Bible to Mrs Barbara Ann Aligro, granddaughter of the Reverend Vincentius Antonides, who preached as assistant pastor from 1705 to 1744. The Bible come into the possession of Peter J. Neefus about 1870 and was by him given back to the Church on February 1st 1904. The book is in good condition except that the title page is missing from the Old Testament and a part of the back cover has been destroyed.

    This Bible is the Dutch translation authorized by the States General of the United Netherlands and prepared under the direction of the National Synod at Dordrecht, 1618-1619. On the reverse of the title page of the new testament the letter of privilege is dated December 11, 1632 and the Act of Authorization is dated June 10, 1637. It was printed at Leyden by Paulus Aertsz van Ravesteyn.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1931 - 1936. 04-06_1936, 080-1.
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