About the Creators of the Memorial

Jahongir “Jhon” Usmanov


Jhon first learned about the catastrophic Brooklyn Theater Fire while studying history at Brooklyn College. The tragic tale of each of the 182 victims has never been told fully—and he is determined to share the stories of their lives. An accomplished genealogist, he decided to use these sleuthing skills to create this online memorial of those individuals, most of whom were immigrants, who died while attending The Two Orphans on December 5, 1876. The BTF1876 will feature his discoveries of each victim, such as birth, death, and marriage certificates; census and military reports; photographs and other corresponding materials. Jhon, who immigrated from Tajikistan in 1997, lives in Bensonhurst with his wife, two children, and a pibble named Sir Flanny Quickster III.


Sara Durkacs


Sara Durkacs (rhymes with circus) moved to Brooklyn from Pittsburgh more than a decade ago. Since then, she’s embraced New York City’s history, architecture, and culture with both arms and all of her heart. A former blogger for The Wooden House Project, Sara makes books, collects vintage linen postcards, and writes about growing up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania. She lives in Park Slope with her husband.


Katie Alleman


Katie is a history lover and avid reader. She graduated from Elizabethtown College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 2011. Since moving to Brooklyn in 2013, she’s been researching, editing, and organizing her life—lessons learned while in pursuit of her master’s degree in Library and Information Science. This collaboration is a joyful distraction from hectic city life.


Deborah Sher

Web Developer

Deborah Sher is a Web Developer/Designer and Digital Archivist who specializes in creating searchable collections of historic images and information, particularly historic architecture.