Title Martha Gayle collection, 1902-2001 (bulk 1960-1980).
Author Gayle, Martha, 1902-2000.
Production 1902-2001.
Description 6 document boxes (2.62 Linear feet)
Organized into eight series Arranged by type of material.
Call # BCMS0050
Note Martha Adina Gayle, daughter of Olivia and Richard Gayle, was born in the parish of St. Elizabeth in the district of Cambridge on the island of Jamaica in 1902. In 1924 Martha traveled from Port Antonio, Jamaica to Brooklyn, New York on board the S.S. Alegria. Records listed Martha's occupation as a domestic worker and that she was not married. Once Martha was established in the Brooklyn she helped members of her family in Jamaica including her niece Daisy May Parnell, who lived with Martha for decades. Martha became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America in 1947. For the next few decades, she lived in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn where she eventually bought three apartment buildings at 164 MacDonough Street, 51 MacDonough Street and 285 Macon Street. Property ownership allowed Martha to leave domestic service to become a landlord. Martha was an active and longstanding member of the Siloam Presbyterian church as well as a women's missionary group. She was ill in her later years, and died in 2000 at approximately 98 years old.
Summary The materials in this collection are largely textual and contain records such as correspondence, medical documents, and identification papers. There are also records relating to her niece Daisy Parnell, as well as Arnold Austin who was also a relative of Martha Gayle. A large part of the collection consists of financial records that speak to her activities as a landlord such as banking, legal, insurance, and utilities records. The collection also includes photographs and ephemera. The richest section of this collection is the extensive correspondence between Martha Gayle, Daisy Parnell, and their friends and family back home. While many of their correspondents' full names are unknown, their communications nonetheless provide an understanding of the relationship that Martha and Daisy both had with their families and friends. Correspondents include Martha's sister Edith Gayle, her onetime employer Addie Place, and many others.
Note All requests subject to limitations noted in divisional policies on reproduction.
Cite As: Martha Gayle Collection, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection.
Access Collection is open to the public, may only be used in the library and is not available through interlibrary loan. Library policy on photocopying will apply. Advance notice may be required.
Finding Aids Finding aid available online
Note Donation; Camarda, George; January 2016.
Consult finding aid for related materials.
Subject Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
New York (State) -- New York -- Bedford-Stuyvesant. (OCoLC)fst01319398
New York (State) -- New York -- Brooklyn. (OCoLC)fst01312516
Genre correspondence.
financial records.
tax records.
notes (documents)

Location CALL # Status Message
 Central 2nd Fl - BKLYN Coll Storage  BCMS0050  Box 1    LIB USE ONLY  (LIB USE ONLY)
 Central 2nd Fl - BKLYN Coll Storage  BCMS0050  Box 2    LIB USE ONLY  (LIB USE ONLY)
 Central 2nd Fl - BKLYN Coll Storage  BCMS0050  Box 3    LIB USE ONLY  (LIB USE ONLY)
 Central 2nd Fl - BKLYN Coll Storage  BCMS0050  Box 4    LIB USE ONLY  (LIB USE ONLY)
 Central 2nd Fl - BKLYN Coll Storage  BCMS0050  Box 5    LIB USE ONLY  (LIB USE ONLY)
 Central 2nd Fl - BKLYN Coll Storage  BCMS0050  Box 6    LIB USE ONLY  (LIB USE ONLY)