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Kaufman’s Brooklyn: Two photos of ‘People in pairs’

June 18, 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:

A few weeks ago I displayed a selection of pictures called “People, one at a time.” It featured shots of individuals in various settings and circumstances. (Click the link at the end of this or any other Kaufman’s Brooklyn post for the index if you want to go back and take a look through previously posted images.) I knew I’d follow that at some point with pictures of two people together, and this is that point: “People in pairs.”

I’ve tried to provide a variety of settings and circumstances, like I did with the individuals. But as you’ll see, there are a number of photos of people in entertainment. For some reason, in the ’40s and into the early ’50s, my father did a lot of business with agencies that handled entertainers — particularly jazz and big band artists. I have photos of most of the big names from that post-war era, either in rehearsals, performances, studio sessions or business settings. They’re not always in pairs, of course, but many are and I’ll show a few of them this week.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Today’s photos:

Today’s pictures provide a break from the famous people and lengthy accompanying mini-bios or mini-history lessons. These are just simple but interesting shots of everyday people doing somewhat unusual things in two different long-time Brooklyn institutions.

You’ve got him, undated

My father did a lot of work for the Red Cross in Brooklyn. One of the things the Red Cross did was provide instruction and certification for lifeguards. As part of the test, apparently, the student had to demonstrate different techniques for getting a struggling swimmer to safety. This shot captures a woman named Helen Hall taking her test in the Steeplechase pool. Of the several methods shown in my father’s shots that day, this is the most interesting and unusual – and possibly the most effective, if the swimmer has long enough hair and the rescuer has a strong enough grip.


The play’s the thing, undated

My father also did a lot of work for a very local Brooklyn establishment, the Packer Collegiate Institute. I say “very” local because my father’s Brooklyn studio was directly across Joralemon Street from the school. For a full decade he captured images of any number of school activities, from choral groups to Christmas parties, from the senior prom to “hockey” (i.e. field hockey) in Prospect Park, and many others. (I displayed a picture on May 18 showing a few Packer kindergarten children “Having Fun” painting their home-made, life-size play-house.) School plays were frequent events for the students and subjects for my father. This rehearsal picture shows a scene perhaps from a Shakespeare play. If you think both performers are female, you’re right; the school was not fully co-ed until 1972.

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 7: Photos of ‘People in pairs’

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