This posting is a continuation of 54c-Serrapede Family in America-Emily Leatrice’s Studio Portrait 1935 (Part 1) where we shared a studio portrait of Emily taken in 1935. The name of the studio on the picture frame prompted us to learn more about the photographer, Joseph Weise. We followed the growth of his business from 1930 to 1940. We now continue with our review of the findings which showed that Mr. Weise had studios in two different neighbhorhoods where the mix of immigrants and American citizens created the opportunities for expanding his client base.
Joseph Weise Photography Studios in Bensonhurst and Borough Park
The Weise Studio located at 4723 13th Avenue was situated in the part of Brooklyn formerly known as Blythebourne in the late 19th century. In the early 20th centuries Jewish immigrants settled in the area becoming the majority population. Italian and Irish immigrants also lived in this neighborhood. By the 1930s a shift began to take place as Hasidic Jews moved in. Today, the Hasidim dominate the community outnumbering the Orthodox Jews who were the dominant Jewish group at the time Joseph Weise opened his studio on 13th Avenue sometime after 1933 and before 1935.
The studios at 6408 18th Avenue (in 1933) and 6411 18th Avenue (in 1935) were situated in Bensonhurst. Up until the end of WWII, Bensonhurst had almost equal percentages of Jewish and Italian immigrants living in the community. With the development of middle class housing in the suburbs after WWII many of the Jewish residents moved out leaving the Italian-American community as the dominant ethnic group in the area. Today Bensonhurst is home to a much smaller Italian-American population. The up-and-coming immigrant groups are Chinese and Russian.