New York Historical Society Acquires Annotated First Edition of Jacob Riis’ ‘How the Other Half Lives’

Posted on: January 23rd, 2014 at 11:20 am by
Annotated 'How the Other Half Lives, Photo: Rick Friedman, New York Times

Annotated ‘How the Other Half Lives, Photo: Rick Friedman, New York Times

The New York Historical Society recently acquired a photojournalistic gem; not only is it a first edition of Jacob Riis’ How The Other Half Lives, but it’s chock full of margin scribblings by the author. The notes are assumed to be musings for a possible 2nd edition; today, the annotations serve as unfiltered perceptions of how tenement life, slumlords, and culture clashes in New York City continued to impress upon Riis at the turn of the century.

Ted Gup recently wrote an op-ed for the New York Times on his love affair with, and acquisition of, this very first edition.

How the Other Half Lives continues to speak to us today and remains a primer on how to break through collective apathy and self-centeredness in pursuit of a common good… Its place is in New York City — in a museum or public library — where it might yet rouse others to take up the causes of conscience that stirred Riis and generations of muckrakers. It is a part of New York, the city of its conception.

Gup made good on his word; the next question is what’s in store for this prized possession, now that it has found its way into the care of the New York Historical Society? Surely an exhibit built around NYC muckrakers and progressivism in the late 1800s is not out of the question.

Street scene shot by Jacob Riis on the LES (1895), Photo: MCNY

Street scene shot by Jacob Riis on the LES (1895), Photo: MCNY

Recent Stories

Site of Mass Displacement: A Chinatown Gentrified by Galleries [Op-Ed]

The following was written by Liz Moy of the Chinatown Art Brigade. There is an ongoing perception that Manhattan’s Chinatown has stayed relatively the same throughout the years whilst other low-income neighborhoods of color have been overtaken by gentrification. Ask someone how Chinatown fares in an increasingly unaffordable city and they’ll likely say, at least […]

Matthew Silver, the 2014 Mr. Lower East Side
Off Cycle ‘Mr. Lower East Side Pageant’ Returns Tomorrow Night … in Ridgewood

Surprise! The Mr. Lower East Side Pageant returns tomorrow night, some four months earlier than usual. Unlike earlier this year, the iconic underground beauty contest won’t be anywhere near its namesake neighborhood. This time, for the 17.5th annual event, the shenanigans will go down at the Footlight Bar in Ridgewood, Queens. You’re probably wondering about the off-cycle nature […]

2nd Annual ‘Lower East Side Cider Fest’ is Happening on Sunday

The orchards are, in fact, coming back to Orchard Street … albeit temporarily. With apple picking season wrapping up, the 2nd annual Lower East Cider Fest is kicking off this weekend, as part of the larger “Cider Week NYC” celebration happening throughout the – wait for it – Big Apple. The event will showcase notable cider makers and apple growers […]

Clinton Street ‘Casita’ Tree Tunnel Uprooted for Good

The arboreal attraction (and known rat hangout) at the southeast corner of Clinton and Stanton Streets is officially kaput. That’s right, no more tree tunnel. A chainsaw crew arrived last week to chop and uproot the leaning line of trees comprising the overhang. This was a complete removal, unlike the trim of overgrowth that transpired […]

Delancey Street Gets its First LinkNYC Kiosk

Yesterday afternoon, the city unveiled the first LinkNYC pornhub kiosk for Delancey Street. It’s situated just east of the Bowery, where these things are multiplying faster than gizmo in a swimming pool. The 9-foot-6-inch unit is not yet active, though. LinkNYC stations have been criticized pretty much from the get-go. In league with the soulless […]