The Prospect Park Archives was established by the Prospect Park Alliance in 1996 to support the restoration of the Park by making accessible an accurate record of its history. Since then, the Archives has amassed close to 20,000 images, including historical and contemporary photographs, a growing digital image collection and primary and secondary materials that chart the history of Prospect Park, from its original plan in 1859 through its current restoration.
Click to visit our online exhibits of historical photographs:
• A Glimpse of Prospect Park
• Vanished Prospect Park
Mission and Vision
It is the mission of the Archives to serve the Alliance in advancing the restoration and maintenance of Prospect Park. Its goal is to collect, preserve, and make available materials that document the history and design of this landmark Park and foster an understanding of ongoing restoration efforts. The Archives functions both as an in-house resource for those who work in the Park and as a reference center that is available to the public free of charge.
The Archives’ vision is to become the leading resource for anyone conducting research on Prospect Park and its role in Brooklyn history and the public parks movement in the United States.
Collections and Resources
Photographic & Graphic Collections: The Prospect Park Archives is comprised of both historical and contemporary photograph collections (c.1870s - present). These include photographic prints and reference copies of historical images from public and private collections of such institutions as the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Brooklyn Public Library, the New York Historical Society and the New York City Parks Photo Archive. The Archives also holds a growing collection of contemporary images, which document present-day restoration efforts, Alliance events and public activities. The Archives offers access to historical postcards, lantern slides, and over 1,600 architectural drawings and sketches that document the work of the Alliance’s award-winning restoration projects.
Institutional Records & Other Collections: The Archives houses the institutional records of the Prospect Park Alliance. These document the Alliance’s activities, from its inception in 1987 to the present. Recently, the Archives began collecting the private papers of individuals who have worked to preserve the Park. In addition to these collections, the Archives contains a modest research library, copies of Annual Reports of the Brooklyn Park Commission (1861-1918), ephemera, clippings, and reference files with materials on a wide range of topics related to Prospect Park.
Bibliography: If you’d like to learn more about Prospect Park, its designers, and its history, please explore the texts listed here.
Thanks to grants provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Archives, the Prospect Park Archives has collaborated with other cultural organizations on digital projects. Partnerships with the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Brooklyn Collection of the Brooklyn Public Library and the City of New York/Parks & Recreation have added more than 2,000 reference images to the Archives. In addition, a project with the Parks Department and the New York City Municipal Archives allowed for the digitization of a portion of Brooklyn Parks Department records (1939-1966). These records document Prospect Park during the years that Robert Moses served as Parks Commissioner.
To further the mission of the Prospect Park Archives, we are looking for photographs, postcards, stereographs, objects, and personal papers related to the Park. Images dating from before 1960 are of particular interest. If you have any items you think may be of interest, please contact the Archivist.
For inquiries, please call (718) 965-7721.
The digitizing of photographic holdings from the Prospect Park Archives, the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Collection, the Brooklyn Historical Society and private collections has been made possible by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Prospect Park Archives has received major support from the LuEsther T. Mertz Trust and Alan Goldberg. The Archives is a program of the Prospect Park Alliance in collaboration with the City of New York/Parks & Recreation.