How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York – Jacob A. Riis
Download How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York ebook. How the Other Half Lives: Studies among the Tenements of New York (1890) is an early publication of photojournalism by Jacob Riis, documenting squalid living conditions in New York City slums in the 1880s. It served as a basis for future “muckraking” journalism by exposing the slums to New York City’s upper and middle classes. This work inspired many reforms of working-class housing, both immediately after publication as well as making a lasting impact in today’s society.
2015 Reprint of 1957 Edition. Full facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition Software. Originally published in 1890, this is the classic indictment of slum life, written by one of the most famous reformers of the nineteenth century. “How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York” explained not only the living conditions in New York slums, but also in the sweatshops in some tenements which paid workers only a few cents a day. The book explains the plight of working children; they would work in factories and at other jobs. Some children became garment workers and newsies (newsboys). The effect was the tearing down of New York’s worst tenements, sweatshops, and the reform of the city’s schools. The book led to a decade of improvements in Lower East Side conditions, with sewers, garbage collection, and indoor plumbing all following soon after, thanks to public reaction. Our edition reprints the 1957 edition, without the photo illustrations done mostly by Riis himself.
Jacob Riis’ first and most influential book, How the Other Half Lives details the lives of the impoverished of New York City’s slums at the end of the 19th century. His expose was highly influential and brought about a number of reforms within the City, yet the tome is filled with almost comical stereotypes and prejudices about the various races and cultures found within the domain of the tenements, sidestreets and alleyways that the poor called, for lack of a better word, home. Despite this massive shortcoming (a sign of the times Riis lived in), Other Half is an engaging read and showcases the severe plight too many endured during this period in history, moreso than the most depressingly dour of Dickensian prose.
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Jacob August Riis (May 3, 1849 – May 26, 1914) was a Danish-American social reformer, “muckraking” journalist and social documentary photographer. He is known for using his photographic and journalistic talents to help the impoverished in New York City; those impoverished New Yorkers were the subject of most of his prolific writings and photography. He endorsed the implementation of “model tenements” in New York with the help of humanitarian Lawrence Veiller. Additionally, as one of the most famous proponents of the newly practicable casual photography, he is considered one of the fathers of photography due to his very early adoption of flash in photography.
While living in New York, Riis experienced poverty and became a police reporter writing about the quality of life in the slums. He attempted to alleviate the bad living conditions of poor people by exposing their living conditions to the middle and upper classes.
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