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

Photo: Washington Square Park Blog
Report: 300 Pigeons Abducted from Washington Square Park for ‘Live Shoots’

If you’ve noticed a lack of pigeons in and around Washington Square Park, you’re eyes haven’t deceived you. This past Tuesday, a mass pigeon abduction reportedly took place, and in broad daylight (approximately 3pm). This kind of thing has happened on and off over the last ten years; the end game is usually that they’re sold in Pennsylvania […]

tiny-empire-lafayette
Tiny Empire Opening NYC Juice Bar on Lafayette Street August 10

Organic juice bars are spreading around the city unchecked like a plague, seizing that title from the frozen yogurt industry. The eastern border of SoHo will soon add another. Brooklyn-based juicery Tiny Empire is getting larger, expanding to 234 Lafayette Street (corner of Spring). It’s already carved out a chunk of the storefront previously occupied […]

moscow57-delancey
Barramundi Owner Joins Moscow 57 Team to Create Kapowski’s

Now that Barramundi (and 2nd Floor on Clinton) is swimming with the fishes, so to speak, proprietor Tony Powe is on the move. Literally three blocks south to the corner of Delancey Street, joining focres with two-year-old cabaret Moscow 57. Florence Fabricant filed a dispatch in the New York Times this week breaking the news. […]

orchard-tree-guard-1
New Tree Guards Installed Along the Length of Orchard Street

More beautification for Orchard Street this week. Flatbed trucks were spotted delivering iron tree guards to the sidewalks of Orchard Street this week. Installation began on the northern terminus and is slowly headed southward. The ornate guards now act as deterrent to tree-bound bike locks and dog droppings. The landscape revitalization goes hand-in-hand with overall […]

Gotham Court, Essex St. facade
8-Hour Rager Underscores Frat Scourge of Gotham Court in Hell Square

The inmates have taken control and the babysitter Nurse Ratched is nowhere to be found. The drunken frat compound that is Gotham Court certainly lived up to its reputation over the weekend. We’re hearing from folks in the vicinity that an apartment at 151 Essex Street held “one of the biggest deck parties of the […]