8. The Hidden Ladies’ Parlor

Ladies Parlor at Center for Brooklyn History
Romolo A. Yanes, [Ladies’ Parlor], 1979, Gelatin silver print, V1974.031.240. Long Island Historical Society photographs, V1974.031. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.

When the Long Island Historical Society was originally founded it was a private club. You needed to be a member to access its resources. Unlike in many social clubs of the time, women were allowed to become members, albeit wealthy women. Not only that, there were many female donors and speakers at the society as well. A feature of the private club days can be found behind the walls of one of the current galleries.

When you walk into the gallery, on your left-hand side the protruding wall covers up a fireplace. Opposite that on the right side there is a blocked doorway, and straight in front of you on the back wall there would have been a window. The men’s parlor was located across the hallway.