Brooklyn Boro

Kaufman’s Brooklyn: Six photos of ‘Public service organizations: special focus’

September 2, 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 display activities of service organizations that focused on specific constituencies and their unique needs. The organizations were privately funded and run, with minimal government support.

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Again, I’m highlighting four organizations. The first is the Industrial Home for the Blind (IHB), an independent (later incorporated) organization that provided a full range of services to people who were blind or deaf-blind.

Working with the IHB, for a time in the mid- and late 1930s, was the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor (AICP). The AICP supported the work of other charitable organizations in a variety of ways. Their work with the Home for the Blind in this period included help selling products and adding to the products available in special fundraising activities.

The joint efforts of these two groups were quite extensive. I’ll be featuring them for the first three days this week. On Thursday and Friday I’ll add a few images from two other groups: the Menorah Home for the Aged and the Brooklyn Hebrew Society of the Deaf. Rather than a different organization each day, I’ll show a different topic each day: products, skills, sales, activities and support.

Today’s photos:

Today’s photos show the sales processes that are the ultimate point of everyone’s efforts. Like all selling, this involves attracting buyers, offering products either made in-house or provided by others and, where possible, handling the actual selling itself.

St. George yet again: Posters advertising the Week for the Blind, 1936 and 1938 (?)

The St. George hosted many civic and charitable events – all the while being one of the most exclusive and expensive hotels in the city. Just one of the many reasons to admire it.

My question mark next to the dates is because with the events two years apart (“20th and 22nd annual”), that means the starting dates (23rd and 27th of the month) could not have been on the same day of the week. So maybe the event changed its days-of-the-week system. By far, most of the IHB pictures are labeled 1936, so I’ll go with the 1936 and ’38 guesses.


I’ll find what you want and make correct change: Blind counter clerk, spring 1936

The job — like so many others — can be done without sight.


Sold in a convenience store near you: Mops, brooms, stuffed toys readily available, spring 1936


Saleswomen for women’s attire: St. George boutique, spring 1936

In an independent shop, or maybe in the St. George during the Week for the Blind, these women are selling garments produced or contributed by the AICP.

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 18: Photos of ‘Public service organizations: special focus’

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