Exploring Ethnicity and Religion in a Map of Jamaica, Queens – 4th Ward in 1907

Authored by Malcolm Harris

Map of the roads, buildings, and major landmarks of downtown Jamaica, Queens. Created with a black color printing on a tan sheet. Includes a red-lettered advertisement by Meynen, Booth, and Eno Long Island Real Estate

Surveyed and Designed in 1907 by D. J. Evans and Co. and published by Meynen, Booth, and Eno Long Island Real Estate

 

This map of Jamaica, Queens created in 1907 by the surveyor firm D. J. Evans and Co. is a representation of the urban development that occurred following a surge in new residents to the city. From the beginning of 1900 – with the population of Jamaica, Queens being estimated at almost 153,000 – there is steady growth that occurs leading to the city being the home for just over 248,000 people by 1910.[1] This map is created for the local real estate company of Meynen, Booth, and Eno[2], who like other small relators in the area looked to capitalize on the recent redevelopments of the LIRR, which was electrified for faster service by rail by 1908 as well as the opening of the Queensboro bridge to direct vehicle travel from Manhattan to the outer parts of Long Island.[3] [4]

 

 

 

The preservation of this map provides a semi-detailed view of the city of Jamaica as a growing community soon after the larger incorporation of the Queens Borough overall into New York City proper. With this map being created from surveyor records, the preserving of this map by the New York Public Library is determined to be essential in understanding detailed places in the city that might not be recorded in other sources of the time period. With the connection of Manhattan to Queens, the local development of housing in Jamaica began to mimic what is seen in different sections of Manhattan, Harlem, and the Bronx. “Row housing” [5] began to be used as a method to place more newcomers into the city, with this type of housing being shown possibly on the real estate map as sections of the city with orderly, thin, narrow plots of land in the north, east and south parts of Jamaica.[6]

This map is also religiously specific in its identification of local Jamaica landmarks as well as culturally detailed. At the time of the map being published, the white population was still 98% of the total racial demographic in Queens, with the only notable racial minority consisting of black residents, being limited to only about 3,000 people in the entire borough by 1910.[7] This then leaves the culture and religious divide to occur between the different white nationalities, directly between American ‘natives’ and the recent German/Irish immigrants. With the explosion of new European immigrants to America around 1900 with over 100,000 Irish immigrants and over 1.5 million German immigrants since 1890,[8] a backlash by American ‘nativist’ groups with Protestant and Catholic religious’ affiliation provided discrimination against these immigrant groups, with religious denomination being a contributing issue. German immigrants that were either Lutheran or Anabaptists were discriminated against along with catholic Irish immigrants in this period because of their beliefs.[9] Even though we do not know the specific nationality figures for Jamaica residents in 1907 from this map, the development of this map could speak to the prejudice that these two immigrant groups would of possibly endured when it comes to getting housing and business space in a community looking to maintain a certain ‘standard’ of community life and a singular shared cultural and civic heritage.

[1]           “Total and Foreign-born Population New York Metropolitan Region by Sub-region and County, 1900-2000.” Chart.
[2]          “Realty Notes.” New-York Tribune, January 23, 1907, Vol. 66 No. 21,983.
[3]          Hartman, David, and Barry Lewis. “History – Growth and Urbanization.” A Walk Through Queens |Thirteen/WNET. 2004.
[4]          Seyfried, Vincent F., and Jon A. Peters. “Historical Essay: A Thumbnail View.” In CULTURAL AFFAIRS: History – Official History Page of the Queens Borough President’s Office, New York City Local Government. 2007.
[5]          Gardner, Deborah S. ” New York Housing (Vacant Lots Essay).” The Architectural League of New York | New York Housing. January 14, 2013.
[6]          Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library. “Map of Jamaica, in the 4th Ward, Borough of Queens, New York City.” New York Public Library Digital Collections.
[7]          “Table 33. New York – Race and Hispanic Origin for Selected Large Cities and Other Places: Earliest Census to 1990.” Chart.
[8]          “German Immigration.” In U.S. Immigration and Migration Reference Library, edited by Lawrence W. Baker, Sonia Benson, James L. Outman, Rebecca Valentine, and Roger Matuz, 221-246. Vol. 1, Vol. 1: Almanac. Detroit: UXL, 2004.; Molnar, Alexandra. “History of Italian Immigration.” From Europe to America: Immigration Through Family Tales. December 15, 2010.
[9]          “German Immigration.” In U.S. Immigration and Migration Reference Library, edited by Lawrence W. Baker, Sonia Benson, James L. Outman, Rebecca Valentine, and Roger Matuz, 221-246. Vol. 1, Vol. 1: Almanac. Detroit: UXL, 2004.; Molnar, Alexandra. “History of Italian Immigration.” From Europe to America: Immigration Through Family Tales. December 15, 2010.

References

Gardner, Deborah S. ” New York Housing (Vacant Lots Essay).” The Architectural League of New York | New York Housing. January 14, 2013. Accessed March 11, 2017.           http://archleague.org/2013/01/new-york-housing/

“German Immigration.” In U.S. Immigration and Migration Reference Library, edited by Lawrence W. Baker, Sonia Benson, James L. Outman, Rebecca Valentine, and Roger Matuz, 221-246. Vol. 1, Vol. 1: Almanac. Detroit: UXL, 2004. (accessed March 14, 2017). http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3436800018/UHIC?u=gray02935&xid=efaf4636.

Hartman, David, and Barry Lewis. “History – Growth and Urbanization.” A Walk Through Queens|Thirteen/WNET. 2004. Accessed March 11, 2017.                                                                                           http://www.thirteen.org/queens/history3.html.

Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library. “Map of Jamaica, in the 4th Ward, Borough of Queens, New York City.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 14, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/f19f7f40-0dbb-0131-a949-58d385a7b928

Molnar, Alexandra. “History of Italian Immigration.” From Europe to America: Immigration Through Family Tales. December 15, 2010. Accessed March 11, 2017. https://www.mtholyoke.edu/~molna22a/classweb/politics/Italianhistory.html.

“Realty Notes.” New-York Tribune, January 23, 1907, Vol. 66 No. 21,983. Accessed March 11, 2017. https://www.newspapers.com/image/186229727/.

“Table 33. New York – Race and Hispanic Origin for Selected Large Cities and Other Places: Earliest Census to 1990.” Chart. Census.gov. 1991. Accessed March 11, 2017. https://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0076/NYtab.pdf.

“Total and Foreign-born Population New York Metropolitan Region by Sub-region and County, 1900 – 2000.” Chart. Accessed March 11, 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20110628223103/http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/census/nny_table_5_3.pdf.

Seyfried, Vincent F., and Jon A. Peters. “Historical Essay: A Thumbnail View.” In CULTURAL AFFAIRS: History – Official History Page of the Queens Borough President’s Office, New York City Local Government. 2007. Accessed March 11, 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20071218014547/http://www.queensbp.org/content_web/tourism/tourism_history.shtml.

 

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