Singer Sewing Machine

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Celia's sewing machine, now a desk
Celia's sewing machine, now a desk

Sylvia Frank shared this story with the Tenement Museum during an event at the Brooklyn Children's Museum.

Sylvia remembers vividly her experiences living and growing up in Crown Heights, and she shared many memories of her parents and sisters. Her parents, Celia Feldman and Samuel Resnick, immigrants from Russia, met on the Lower East Side and eventually settled in Brooklyn. Her father ran a grocery store on East New York Avenue, and her mother, Celia Feldman Resnick, 'finished' fur coats, using her needlework skills to sew the silk linings of the furs. Sylvia recalls that her mother, a talented and resourceful seamstress, made clothes for the family by recycling fabric from old garments. Celia would remove the collars from her father Benjamin's silk shirts and stitch them together into dresses for her daughters using her Singer sewing machine. The sewing machine remained with Celia her entire life; a son-in-law swapped out the original top for Formica when Celia electrified it, and it moved with her through many Brooklyn homes. Sylvia’s sister Ruth inherited the desk, and her brother-in-law Phil added drawers underneath to replace the old treadle. Sylvia recalled that when her sister moved to Florida, she asked “Do you want mama’s sewing machine?” She responded, “Yes, I wanted it a long time ago!” 

Year: 1930

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant