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Kaufman’s Brooklyn: May 13: Two photos of ‘People, one at a time’

May 13, 2020 Phil Kaufman
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My father, Irving Kaufman (1910 – 1982), was a professional photographer who started in Brooklyn in the mid 1930s working for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. He captured thousands of images of Brooklyn through the 1950s. I have recently digitized a great many of them. My father’s profile can be found here.

This week’s theme:

This week’s photos are of “People, one at a time.” Evocative, provocative, attractive, odd, sad, intense. It’s extraordinary how revealing and distinct each individual’s story can be when captured in an interesting context and with the skill of a gifted photographer. Collectively, there’s a lot to be felt and learned in the process.

Today’s photos:

Here are two people who each have challenges that they seem to be tackling. One is facing the risk of losing a social support organization that means a lot in his life, and he’s participating in an effort to save it. The other is using the services of a social support organization to learn and practice a skill that will likely make a great difference in his life.

A sign of the times, 1936

The much beloved and busy Flatbush Boys Club (2245 Bedford Ave.), like many other service organizations during the Depression, faced financial shortfalls. The boys joined the grownups in public campaigns for support, with this boy working on the sign that he would later carry in a demonstration nearby. Apparently, the campaign succeeded, because the Club continued to provide recreation, swimming, crafts, music, theater and many other activities. The FBC has morphed and expanded, but is going strong in its new incarnation, the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club.


Feeling my way, March 20, 1936

Working at the Industrial Home for the Blind (520 Gates Ave.), this man is repairing the cane seat of a chair. With the practical skills they learned, the residents also manufactured mops, crates, mattresses and rubber mats from old tires, among other things. Income from these products was sufficient to support training, room and board, medical services and, starting in 1941, a weekly income for each resident craftsperson of between $30 and $50. Under the name Helen Keller Services, the institution has expanded and continues to operate.

An index of Kaufman’s Brooklyn posts may be found here.

Irving Kaufman’s profile may be found here.

I invite you to submit comments, memories, images of Brooklyn, and especially any additional background information you can supply about the photos posted here to [email protected]. I’d also be glad to supply information about buying prints of any of the images seen here. Many of my father’s images are also available for viewing and purchase at All prints purchased will be the product of professional scanning and editing.

Weekly collection 2: Photos of ‘People, one at a time’

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