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Kaufman’s Brooklyn: Eight photos of ‘Public service organizations: children’

August 26, 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 theme is “Public service organizations: children.” It’s similar to last week’s focus, “Public service organizations: healthcare.” These photos of children often involve healthcare services, but also include general child welfare programs. Also, as was the case last week, these organizations were privately funded and organized, with minimal government support.

More by coincidence than design, this week also highlights four organizations; my father happened to do a lot of work for these four. Two were specifically Jewish — partly, I’m sure, because my father was familiar with them and may have had connections to them, but also because of the large and active Jewish community in Brooklyn at the time. The four organizations are the Brooklyn Hebrew Orphanage Asylum (BHOA), the Brooklyn Home for Children (BHC), the Flatbush Boys Club (FBC) and the Jewish Hospital and Sanitarium for Chronic Diseases (JHCD).

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Today’s photos:

Today’s photos are from a specialty Jewish Organization that has, like many others, morphed and grown through generations, and still exists. In the years of my father’s photographs it was named the Jewish Hospital and Sanitarium for Chronic Diseases. (Back on August 5, I displayed a couple of pictures, under “Construction scenes,” of the new building as it went up in 1939-40.)  Unlike the organizations featured earlier this week, the Jewish Hospital (JH) was not exclusively for children, and was established in the 1920s, not way back in the mid-1800s.

The hospital was conceived in 1925 when members of the Daughters of Israel, who had been visiting hospitalized Jewish patients throughout Brooklyn, recognized that many with incurable or chronic conditions had special needs that could not be met at home or even in a general service hospital. The organization spearheaded a project to create a facility to provide the needed care, which resulted in the construction of a 300-bed hospital in East Flatbush that opened in April, 1929.

As with so many other similar facilities, the needs only grew from there. Despite the Depression, the directors were able to find the money for a second building, which opened in 1933, providing another 300 beds and many special services rooms. A third building, referred to above, came along in 1940.  The entire facility was, and still is, located at Rutland Road and East 49th Street.

The Hospital continued to grow, expand and change names. It has evolved into the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, “a comprehensive acute care hospital” focused on “rehabilitation, comprehensive behavioral health, orthopedics, and neurosurgery.”

The photos here include several of children, and some of adults as well. The hospital’s patients varied in age and condition, but all needed specialized care and support — including the babies — but with as much normal activity as possible. I’ve included a final image at the hospital’s construction site, mainly as a way to show, as I often do, some of the sponsors and volunteers who are responsible for these impressive public service institutions. The scenes are from 1939 and 1940, before the new building opened in fall, 1940.

Patients in their daily lives, Jewish Hospital and Sanitarium for Chronic Diseases, 1939-40


Board members visit their third building in 10 years, Jewish Hospital and Sanitarium for Chronic Diseases, 1939

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 17: Photos of ‘Public service organizations: children’

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