The Changing Face of Lefferts Manor 1893 – 1993

By Mary Miller

In 1993 the Lefferts Manor Association sponsored an exhibit at the Lefferts Homestead in Prospect Park. The exhibit was a celebration of the centennial of the founding of the Lefferts Manor development, which grew from the Lefferts’ farm originally deeded to Peter Lefferts by Peter Stuyvesant in 1661.

The exhibit, which was on display from October 9 to December 19, drew on research conducted by six graduate students in the New York University masters’ program in  Public History, who spent both semesters of the 1991-92 academic year researching aspects of the Lefferts family, nearby Prospect Park, and the Lefferts Manor neighborhood itself. They presented their theses in an afternoon of lectures at the Lefferts Homestead in 1992. The exhibit curator, Linda Eber, incorporated this research with information and images from the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Smithsonian, many area residents, and other sources to produce the exhibit. Talented residents contributed to the photography (Andrew Strawcutter), graphic design (Vincent Lisi) and installation plan (Bill Sheppard) of the exhibit, which was a great credit to this vibrant community.

The exhibit topics were as follows: Yesterday and Today, Rural Roots, The Impact of Transportation, The Emerging Middle Class, The Lefferts Farm Divided,  The Single Family Covenant, The Lefferts Manor Association, Architecture, Changing Faces 1893-1949, Changing Faces 1949-1993, Prospect Park, Ebbets Field, Community Life, Notable People, Portraits of Residents.

It was my privilege to oversee this project and act as liaison between the community and Ms. Eber. With the expansion of the Lefferts Manor Association web site, this project can live again. Working with Foster Henry, who made digital images of each exhibit component, and Dennis Kelley, who is organizing them on the web site, we will upload sections of the exhibit over the summer, so keep checking for updates!

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