04 May, 2011 | Posted by: st

1849 May 3rd – The birthday of journalist and reformer Jacob Riis, born in Ribe, Denmark. He emigrated to America in 1870, and barely got by in a series of jobs – ironworker, farmer, coal miner, peddler –and learned about life on the brink of poverty. He became a police reporter for The New York Tribune. In 1888 he bought a camera, which allowed him to combine his articles on poverty with pictures of dark tenement rooms and hallways. His efforts culminated with the book, How the Other Half Lives (1890), illustrated with line drawings based on his photographs.


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