|Posted by Cohen Bray House on August 23, 2016 at 1:15 AM|
Welcome to the Cohen Bray House’s new blog! I am Emma, a great, great, granddaughter of Emma and Alfred, the original inhabitants of 1440 29th Ave. Over the next several months I will be exploring all of the people that lived and worked in the homes of Emma and Alfred over their lifetimes, as well as the overall demographics of the neighborhood and how it fit into the broader history of Oakland.
While there is not a specific goal to this project, I think it will be an interesting way to explore some of the larger themes in the history of Oakland, the Bay Area and our country as a whole. Themes such as immigration, demographic shifts, gender roles, and changes in household dynamics. Here are some teasers from the household census data. In later posts I will be digger deeper into the individuals and history relevant to their experiences.
Household Size and Make Up:
The following data is for the combined Cohen and Bray households from the time of Emma and Alfred's birth. Over the years from 1860 to 1940, 60% of household members were staff.
The staff that worked and lived at the house was heavily male, while the family was evenly split between men and women. This is reflection of the pattern of immigration from countries such as China, where men often came over by themselves to try to earn a living. In fact, all of the Chinese staff recorded in the census were male and none were married.
The size of the households declined sharply over time. This plot is somewhat skewed because the early years have both the Bray and Cohen Family estates, but the later years do not include the households of the Cohen children or Emma and Alfred's siblings except for the ones that remained at home. However, for perspective, Emma started her life in a household of 13 people and by 1930 she lived in a household of two - just herself and her daughter Emilita.
The staff was heavily Chinese and Irish, but also had a wide diversity of other nationalities.
The family came primarily from the East Coast or was born in California.
That is all for now, folks. Stay tuned for a deep dive into the people behind these statistics and the history of the neighborhood where they lived and worked!