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Jacob A. Riis
Danish-born Jacob Riis (1849-1914) was a journalist, social reformer, and social documentary photographer. He is best known for his 1890 book How the Other Half Lives, which brought public attention to New York's squalid housing, sweatshops, bars, and alleys. The Museum holds the complete collection that Riis used in his writing and lecturing career, including images he made, commissioned, or acquired. These depict men, women, and children of all nationalities at home, work, and leisure. This collection contains vintage prints, glass-plate negatives, and lantern slides, as well as a set of recently produced prints from all of Riis's original negatives.
Org. Charity, Childrens Aid Society.

Org. Charity, Childrens Aid Society.


Organized Charity. A Dependent Widower.

Organized Charity. A Dependent Widower.


Prayer-time in the Nursery - Five Points House of Industry.

Prayer-time in the Nursery - Five Points House of Industry.


A carrying-in-boy in a Virginia glass factory. He works all night every other week.

A carrying-in-boy in a Virginia glass factory. He works all night every other week.


Bedroom in the New City Lodging House.

Bedroom in the New City Lodging House.

A long narrow sleeping room filled with beds.

Shelter Island; Our (Indian) Washer woman and her baby.

Shelter Island; Our (Indian) Washer woman and her baby.

The Riis family's washerwoman and her child.

[Peopled street and vacant lot.]

[Peopled street and vacant lot.]

Crowded streets flanking a vacant lot.

Shanty town.

Shanty town.

A wood-framed house, with encroaching railroad tracks and telegraph poles visible.

Ice-coated house (burned) in Crosby Street opposite Jersey Street, January 1896.

Ice-coated house (burned) in Crosby Street opposite Jersey Street, January 1896.

The frozen facade of a destroyed by fire on Crosby Street at Jersey Street.

Children's Playground on Ellis Island (roof garden). The Children of detained or waiting immigrants.

Children's Playground on Ellis Island (roof garden). The Children of detained or waiting immigrants.


A Tramp's nest in Ludlow Street.

A Tramp's nest in Ludlow Street.


The Survival of the Unfittest.

The Survival of the Unfittest.

The construction site for an addition to the Puck Building on Mulberry Street.

A "Scrub" and her Bed -- the Plank.

A "Scrub" and her Bed -- the Plank.

An old woman with the plank she sleeps on at the Eldridge Street Station women's lodging room.

Evening in one of the Courts in Mills House No. 1.

Evening in one of the Courts in Mills House No. 1.


National Consumers' League.

National Consumers' League.

Women doing needlework on large framed pieces.

The "Slide" that was the Children's only Playground once.

The "Slide" that was the Children's only Playground once.

Children and a woman sit on an inclined cellar door.

An old rear-tenement in Roosevelt Street.

An old rear-tenement in Roosevelt Street.


Mullen's Alley, Cherry Hill.

Mullen's Alley, Cherry Hill.


Children's Aid Society: Dormitory in the Tompkins Square Lodging House for Boys.

Children's Aid Society: Dormitory in the Tompkins Square Lodging House for Boys.


[Facade of Public School.]

[Facade of Public School.]


The Riverside Tenements in Brooklyn.

The Riverside Tenements in Brooklyn.


Waiting to be let into playground.

Waiting to be let into playground.


Police Station Lodger: Women's lodging room in W. 30th Street Station.

Police Station Lodger: Women's lodging room in W. 30th Street Station.

Women seated on plank beds.

Chinatown, Smoking opium in a joint.

Chinatown, Smoking opium in a joint.


The only Bath-tub in the Block: it hangs in the Air Shaft.

The only Bath-tub in the Block: it hangs in the Air Shaft.


Police Station Lodgers 17. Madison Street Lodgers, women lodgers.

Police Station Lodgers 17. Madison Street Lodgers, women lodgers.

Women seated or sleeping on plank beds.

New York Foundling Asylum, Sister Irene and her flock.

New York Foundling Asylum, Sister Irene and her flock.


Outlawed rear tenements from Astor Memorial School, destroyed in 1897 by Board of Health.

Outlawed rear tenements from Astor Memorial School, destroyed in 1897 by Board of Health.


The Old Gribbon sisters at 5 Van Dam Street photographed Dec. 1895 after I [Jacob A. Riis] had got them pensioned by Miss Emily Vanderbilt Sloane.

The Old Gribbon sisters at 5 Van Dam Street photographed Dec. 1895 after I [Jacob A. Riis] had got them pensioned by Miss Emily Vanderbilt Sloane.


Ludlow Street cellar habitation, Dec. 1895.

Ludlow Street cellar habitation, Dec. 1895.


Roof playground on a Public School.

Roof playground on a Public School.

Boys playing ball on the rooftop playground of an unidentified public school.

Organized Charity. "A home nurse."

Organized Charity. "A home nurse."

A barefoot young boy stands next to a woman in bed.

The Interior Dark Bedroom Is Where Tuberculosis Breeds.

The Interior Dark Bedroom Is Where Tuberculosis Breeds.

A panel from a series of images for teaching about tuberculosis, "Miniature Tuberculosis Exhibition."...

Children's Aid Society Farm at Kensico. The Old Farm House, October 1894.

Children's Aid Society Farm at Kensico. The Old Farm House, October 1894.


Ribe. The Domkirke as restored after twenty one years of labor. The Marie tower rebuilt, had been down a couple of hundred years (the small tower to the right).

Ribe. The Domkirke as restored after twenty one years of labor. The Marie tower rebuilt, had been down a couple of hundred years (the small tower to the right).


Organized Charity. Children's Aid Society boys as farmers.

Organized Charity. Children's Aid Society boys as farmers.


Third Prize Plan Charity Organization Society Competition, 1900, Joseph Wolf.

Third Prize Plan Charity Organization Society Competition, 1900, Joseph Wolf.


"Getting Books" at 48 Henry Street.

"Getting Books" at 48 Henry Street.


Public School, Hester and Ludlow Streets.

Public School, Hester and Ludlow Streets.

Rendering of a new Public School on Hester Street between Orchard and Ludlow Streets.

"A Snug Corner on a Cold Night."

"A Snug Corner on a Cold Night."

Two boys asleep at 2 AM in the press room of the "Sun" newspaper.

A Typical East Side Block.

A Typical East Side Block.


Rear Tenements in Mott Street, in which an Italian Shot his wife dead and escaped, 1894.

Rear Tenements in Mott Street, in which an Italian Shot his wife dead and escaped, 1894.


A Kitchen in Mr. White's Riverside Tenements.

A Kitchen in Mr. White's Riverside Tenements.


What a Search of the Lodgers brought forth.

What a Search of the Lodgers brought forth.

A cabinet filled with weapons, wallets, combs, photographs, brass knuckles, and other personal objects...

It costs a Dallar a Month to sleep in the Sheds.

It costs a Dallar a Month to sleep in the Sheds.

A woman holding a child, and men sitting in a rear yard of a Jersey Street tenement.

Shelter Island; Our (Indian) Washer woman and her dog.

Shelter Island; Our (Indian) Washer woman and her dog.

The Riis family's washerwoman and her dog at Shelter Island.

In a Ludlow Street tenement lodging cellar.

In a Ludlow Street tenement lodging cellar.

Sleeping lodgers on cots in a tenement room.

The Mott Street Barracks.

The Mott Street Barracks.


[Aaron Burr's old tank in building on Centre Street and Duane Street.]

[Aaron Burr's old tank in building on Centre Street and Duane Street.]


Tenement House Yard.

Tenement House Yard.


A Flat in the Pauper Barracks, West Thirty-eighth Street, with all its Furniture.

A Flat in the Pauper Barracks, West Thirty-eighth Street, with all its Furniture.

A room in a Hell's Kitchen tenement flat.

Giving the boy a show. West Side Playground.

Giving the boy a show. West Side Playground.

A boy giving his brother a piggy-back ride in the West Side Playground at 68th Street.

Street Arabs -- night boys in sleeping quarters.

Street Arabs -- night boys in sleeping quarters.

Three boys curled around a barrel, asleep at the bottom of stairs.

Rivington Street Dump, woman working there.

Rivington Street Dump, woman working there.


In a Sweat Shop.

In a Sweat Shop.

"12 year old boy at work pulling threads. Had sworn certificate he was 16 -- owned under cross-examination...

Public School 105 from Manhattam in the vacation playground in Bronx-Park. August 19th 1902.

Public School 105 from Manhattam in the vacation playground in Bronx-Park. August 19th 1902.

Group portrait of boys from Public School 105 at the vacation playground at Bronx-Park.

Showing their trick, Hell's Kitchen boys.

Showing their trick, Hell's Kitchen boys.

Boys in Hell's Kitchen demonstrating how they rob people who have passed-out.

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