Posts Tagged ‘Fulton Street Brooklyn’

The human hair dealers of Fulton Street

February 13, 2014

Brooklyn’s Fulton Street has a long history as one of the borough’s busiest shopping mecca.

And in the late 19th century, it was a posh, premier commercial strip—lined with fashionable boutiques, stationery stores, fine furniture dealers, and confectioneries.

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And human hair dealers too, as these cards make clear. These sellers catered to the upper-class ladies of the then-independent city.

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Faded hair switches—I wonder what they sold for? These cards are part of the fantastic, digitized Fulton Street trade card collection at the Brooklyn Public Library.

Where Brooklyn residents bought Christmas cards

November 28, 2013

Bought your holiday cards yet? This vintage Brooklyn business card is your reminder.

Sending Christmas greeting cards was apparently enough of a tradition in Brooklyn by the turn of the last century that stationery stores put them at the top of their list of amenities on business cards.

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I wonder what “fringed” cards looked like. Too bad the S.H. Palmer & Company stationery store can’t tell us, because they’ve long closed up shop. The last address at 481 Fulton was a cell phone store.

This card is part of the wonderful Fulton Street Trade Card Collection at the Brooklyn Public Library.

Christmas ads for long-gone Brooklyn businesses

November 28, 2011

There was no such day as Black Friday in late 19th century Brooklyn, of course.

But the commercialization of the Christmas holidays was certainly in full swing, with businesses on Fulton Street—the city’s premier shopping drag at the time—coming up with homey images of Santa Claus and Christmas trees to sell their wares.

This card, from a grocery and tea dealer at 493 Fulton, shows as heartfelt a holiday scene as any ad you’ll see today: a well-dressed mother, a candlelit tree, a little girl watching from behind a curtain.


S. A. Byers Fine Boots and Shoes, at 527 Fulton, was trying to sell “elegant slippers for the holidays” by giving us a jolly Santa, crackling fire, stockings filled with gifts, and holly leaves.

These ads come from the Fulton Street Trade Card Collection, a database of old business cards made available by the Brooklyn Public Library.

A beach scene on an old Brooklyn business card

July 4, 2011

Could those be the grand old seaside hotels of late  19th century Brighton Beach, Coney Island, or Bath Beach in this vintage business card?

It’s part of the Brooklyn Public Library’s Fulton Street Trade Card Collection, a fascinating digital archive of Brooklyn business ephemera and proof that the advertising biz more than 100 years ago was just as cloying as it is today.

Defunct department store: Russeks

January 5, 2009

Brooklyn’s Fulton Street used to be a department store mecca, home to one-time big-name retailers such as Abraham & Strauss, Loeser’s, and Russeks. The latter disappeared decades ago. Yet a ghostly reminder still exists on the side of a Fulton Street building.

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Russeks started out specializing in furs, but the Brooklyn branch and its Fifth Avenue counterpart soon became known for their women’s collections. These ads appeared in The New York Times pre-World War II.

 russeksad1 Russeks has a celebrity connection: The founders were the grandparents of photographer Diane Arbus and her brother, poet Howard Nemerov.

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