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

RIP TAYlOR SWIFT by CHICO LES
Chico & La Petite Mort Say ‘RIP Taylor Swift’ with New Mural on Orchard Street

Chico spent his last night in town painting a gate on Orchard Street, before heading south for the winter. And it’s timely. The new mural – sprayed onto the exterior of La Petite Mort – skewers Taylor Swift and her role as “Global Welcome Ambassador” for New York City. “RIP Taylor Swift,” reads the artwork, […]

grinch-roast-beast
Katz’s Deli Teams Up With The Grinch To Serve a ‘Roast Beast’ Sandwich This Holiday Season

Katz’s Deli is ringing in the holidays by joining forces with one of the season’s most nefarious, misunderstood characters – the Grinch. Owner Jake Dell is crafting a limited edition sandwich for their holiday menu – that of the “Roast Beast” variety. No word yet on if they’ve locked down the cartoon or Jim Carey for the […]

finebb
Fineline Tattoo Has an ‘All Hallow’s Eve Tattoo Party’ with $31 Tatts Today

For the year’s on the turn, and it’s All Souls’ night, When the dead can yearn and the dead can smite. -Edith Wharton What frightens you on All Hallow’s Eve night? Clowns? Ghosts? Zombies? How about needles? Good, today is your chance to be scared at Fineline Tattoo (21 1st Avenue). Samhain, All Souls’ Night, All Hallow’s […]

jarmulowsky-response
Jarmulowsky Bank Hotel Conversion Issued Full Stop-Work Order After ‘Concrete Incident’

Conversion of the landmark Jarmulowsky Bank Building to shi-shi hotel hit a major roadblock this week. As we first reported, scaffolding came loose from 54 Canal Street early Monday morning. Apparently pressure from recently-poured concrete atop the 1912 Beaux Arts-style structure caused the ironwork to dislodge, endangering everyone in the immediate vicinity. An estimate five yards of […]

134bowerysite
Sale of Five Bowery Properties for $45M Threatens Its Rich Cultural History

Yesterday afternoon, we broke the blockbuster news that five historically significant buildings on the Bowery were sold as a package deal for $45 million. While still unconfirmed, it’s rumored that the buyer is John Young of Emmut Properties. Luxury living is allegedly planned for the 75,000 square-feet of buildable real estate, whether through rentals or […]