Populating a Building in 1920s Harlem: 116 West 144th Street

Aggregated census data have been important in establishing the character of Harlem as a black neighbourhood.  Census schedules individualize that data, and perhaps more importantly for Digital Harlem, locate individuals at an address, in a specific place. So while I use census schedules to identify and trace individuals, I just as often use them to… Continue reading Populating a Building in 1920s Harlem: 116 West 144th Street

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“Disorderly Houses” in the Journal of the History of Sexuality

Our article "Disorderly Houses: Residences, Privacy and the Surveillance of Sexuality in 1920s Harlem" has been accepted for publication in the Journal of the History of Sexuality. It will appear in 2012/2013. The article argues that despite overcrowding, Harlem's residences  provided privacy, due to the regular, extended absence of residents at work, the willingness of… Continue reading “Disorderly Houses” in the Journal of the History of Sexuality

The Death Penalty comes to Harlem, 1925: William Hoyer murders his wife and daughter

The shots with which twenty-five-year-old William Hoyer killed his wife Jennie and five-year-old daughter Sylvia were fired at 430 St Nicholas Avenue, but the events leading up to those murders wove through the spaces of Harlem.  Rich evidence of this case survives because Hoyer was ultimately executed for the crime, one of ten black residents… Continue reading The Death Penalty comes to Harlem, 1925: William Hoyer murders his wife and daughter

Ice Dealers in Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s

Ice dealers were prominent among the white deliverymen, salesmen and bill collectors who ventured into the residential blocks occupied by blacks. In an era before widespread electrification, Harlem’s residents and businesses relied on ice to store food as well as to cool drinks. For much of the 1920s, Italians enjoyed what the New York Age… Continue reading Ice Dealers in Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s

Perry Brown: A Lodge member’s life in Harlem

Perry Brown* was a forty-five-year-old born in Pennsylvania, who was placed on probation after stealing coats from the building of which he was superintendent in 1930.  (*This name is a pseudonym, used at the request of the Municipal Archives).That crime came in response to his wife Pauline's long illness, and was a marked departure from… Continue reading Perry Brown: A Lodge member’s life in Harlem

Roger Walker – A Lodger’s Life in 1920s Harlem

Roger Walker* was a nineteen-year old native of North Carolina and restaurant worker placed on probation after being convicted of trying to burgle a drug store in 1930, when he was unemployed and without money for food (*This name is a pseudonym, used at the request of the Municipal Archives). The map of Walker's life… Continue reading Roger Walker – A Lodger’s Life in 1920s Harlem

Morgan Thompson – a West Indian Laborer’s Life in Harlem

A West Indian, born in 1888, who arrived in Harlem in 1917, Morgan Thompson* was convicted of assault in 1928 after he lost his temper and stabbed a man who had confronted his seventeen year old son  on West 144th Street. (* This name is a pseudonym, used at the request of the Municipal Archives)… Continue reading Morgan Thompson – a West Indian Laborer’s Life in Harlem