Rachel Higgins shaking Al Smith's hand in front of the Minerva statue

Envisioning Brooklyn: Family, Philanthropy and the Growth of an American City

This book, co-written with public historian Steven Jaffe, was commissioned by the Brooklyn Historical Society. It traces four generations of one philanthropic family in Brooklyn, starting in the mid-nineteenth century and taking us all the way to the present. Readers learn about Father Giuseppe Fransioli, who founded a variety of institutions that still exist in some form in Brooklyn, including the Brooklyn Bureau of Charities; Charles M. Higgins, civically engaged inventor and founder of Higgins Ink; Peggy Everson, a major leader in social work; and Charles and Irene Hamm, who have helped found and finance dozens of Brooklyn’s essential cultural and social institutions.

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