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tv   American Artifacts  CSPAN  August 19, 2016 9:42pm-10:37pm EDT

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the suffragist about what this de deadline actually means so our members will understand. this is alander's way of saying this is not so simple. i think people are going to need a little help with this one. >> this was work product. this was something that necessity had to do every week to get their issue "the suffragist" out. this was her job. she worked very hard to make it happen quickly, efficiently, and get it to the editors so that they could add it to the issue.
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i'm going to talk a little bit about their cartoons that she did once they won the right to vote. started working towards the equal rights amendment. this particular piece is called protection, and one of the early issues that the national woman's party was working for and really publicizing a lot is protection of women so how the equal rights amendment would lend itself to increased protection of women who were trying to raise their children. independence for mothers who weren't necessarily married or widowed mothers. equal pay. this is one of those pieces that is demonstrating how the equal rights amendment will lend itself to increased protection for women. one of the big opposing arguments was that protective labor legislation would be
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negatively impacted if the e.r.a. were to be passed. this one would have also been published around 1923 or 1924. these women now have the right to vote, and they're presenting to susan b. anthony the bill of rights, and she is -- this image is not captioned here, but it would have been in the equal rights magazine and susan b. anthony is going down the list of rights that women still do not have. you all still have a lot of work to do. the national women's party firmly believed that. nina alander once said that political cartooning gave her a sense of power that nothing else did. i don't think she ever intended to become a political cartoonist. she was an artist. she was a painter. she always believed that was her path. over the course of more than ten years she ended up drawing more than 200 cartoons for the national women's party.
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images that resonated with women that created a new image for women as somebody they could look up to and relate to. her perspective became important to the overall success and strategy of the national woman's party. this, like so many other -- so much of the other work that they were doing was really dedicated to getting their message out in the press, positive or negative, for matter what, and showcasing the strategy that they were employing to bring this movement to a close. in 1920 when women won the right to vote, it makes sense that alander turned right around and continued to draw. her last work appeared, but alander continued to work for the national women's party ultimately becoming chairman of their world woman's party later on and chairman of their legal council. she really delved into other areas in her later life, and she
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passed away in 1957 at the age of 88. her work today continues to resonate with our visitors, and it is certainly a draw for a lot of people who come here. oddly enough, she continues to not be as well known as we would like. we invite people to come here and see her work and the work of others to experience this hall of portraits in this community of women and the stories that we're able to tell. nina alander, her work at one point was referred to like this. a woman speaking to women in the language of women about women. that remains true today. here in the hall of portraits we invite you to come in and experience our selfie station where you can become part of this hall and see yourself as a future leader. empower your sons and daughters to continue to fight for women's
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equality and be a part of women's empowerment and activity in politics. the house is actually open thursdays, fridays, and saturdays from 11:00 to 4:00, and we invite you to take a tour. >> you can watch this and other american artifacts programs by visiting our website at >> american history tv airs on c-span 3 every weekend telling the american story through events, interviews, and visits to historic locations. this month american history tv is in primetime to introduce you to programs you could see every weekend on c-span 3. our features include lectures in history, visits to college classrooms across the country, to hear lectures by top history
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professors. american artifacts takes a look at the treasures at u.s. historic sites, museums and archives. real americans revealing the 20th century through archival films and newsreels, the civil war. and the presidency focuses on u.s. presidents and first ladies to learn about their politics, policies, and legacies. all this month in primetime and every weekend on american history tv on c-span 3. coming up on american history tv on c-span 3. as the national park service prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary, we'll take a look at the development of california's national and state parks. saturday night at 10:00 eastern on real america, the 1935 u.s. interior department flm the land of the giants. it documents the efforts of the civilian conservation corps and the daily life in the work
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camps. >> clearing dense undergrowth from the big redwoods for fire prevention and freer growth provides lumber for any kind of construction job which may be desirable. the conservation core boys make everything from heavy bridge timbers to park signs. >> and sunday morning at 8:00 a panel of scholars examines the musical "hamilton" the historying that depicted in the musical, and the relationship between academic history and the history portrayed in popular culture. then at 10:00 on road to the white house rewind, incumbent president bill clinton and former kansas senator bob dole face off in their first debate of the 1996 presidential campaign. >> the bottom line is we are the strongest nation in the world. we provide the leadership, and we're going to have to continue to provide the leadership. let's do it on our terms when our interests are involved and not when somebody blows a whistle with the united nations. >> i believe the evidence is that our deployments have been successful in haiti, in bosnia.
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when we move to kuwait to repell the threat in kuwait, when i sent the fleet into the straits. i believe the united states is at peace tonight in part because of the discipline, careful, effective deployment of our military resources. at 6:00 p.m. eastern, on "american artifacts," we'll take a tour of a house built by george washington's step grandson. it was the home of robert e. lee who married into the family. >> he declared this house a federalist house. this was to represent all the beliefs and ideals of george washington, and that included once again the idea that this nation would exist forever and that no state had a right to leave it. how ironic is it that that man's
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daughter would marry robert e. lee who became the great confederate general and perhaps the man who came closest than any other man in history to destroying the nation that was created in the american revolution? >> for our complete american history tv schedule, go to you're looking at a time-lapsed video recorded by the library of congress showing the process of constructing the exhibition "jacob riis: revealing how the other half lives." next on american history tv's "american artifacts," we visit the exhibit in the library's thomas jefferson building to learn about the life of the danish-born journalist, social reformer, and photographer. this program is just under an hour. >> i'm cheryl regan, exhibit director in the interpreter's
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office to the library of congress. >> i'm barbara baier, curator, and historian in the manuscript division of the library of congress. >> this exhibition, "jacob riis: revealing how the other half lives," is a co-presentation with the museum of the city of new york. it is the first time that the collections of the library of congress, "the jacob riis papers," have been married with the photographs that are stellar collection at the museum of the city of new york. and we pick the word "co-presentation" very carefully because the exhibition here actually follows an exhibit that was at the museum of the city of new york, and really that exhibit which was called "jacob riis: revealing new york's other half," was slightly different. it looks at riis in a slightly different way and sort of concentrating more on his biography, more on his photography. here we're looking at riis as the journalist because that's
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the strength of our collection. the papers here which number 3,000 in the manuscript division are really featured well in this exhibition and sort of come to the forefront. >> we also really wanted to emphasize the combination of the photographs and manuscripts in terms of jacob riis' career. often people think of him either as a writer or as a photographer. we are really emphasizing the combination of those two things. and his role as a communicator. we have organized the exhibit by the different ways that -- and the different mediums that riis used as a police reporter, as a writer, as a photographer. as a reformer and as an ally with other people who are active in social change movements to get the word out and educate the pub lik about urban poverty,
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about immigration, and the density of housing in lower manhattan and to provide solutions to those kinds of issues. and he's really a creature of the guilded age. he comes into real celebrity in the 1890s and the early 1900s, so he's kind of on that cusp between older models of poverty from the guilded age and the late victorian period and then the new progressive era, more governmental kinds of policies and solutions. so, he had a foot in both worlds and that's another one of our major points in the exhibit. jacob riis was born in 1849 in reba, denmark, and he was the son of a schoolteacher and was basically raised in this very beautiful small town in denmark. he was a rebellious youth and even though he was the son of a
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teacher, he was not a good student. although he loved to read and he played hooky a lot. and later when he was in new york, he had a lot of sympathy for truant young boys, and some of his articles are about truancy and how we can address that issue and how to get kids in school. and he spoke from personal experience and a lot of what he wrote about he did have personal experience because he was an immigrant to the united states. when he was 21 years old, in 1870, he came to the united states by himself and he had a very hard time initially here finding work. he did all kinds of odd jobs. worked as a laborer, as a door-to-door salesman, sometimes door salesman, sometimes homeless, sometimes sleeping at night in homeless shelters and the police lodging houses and all of this experience he brought into his articles later when he was more established as
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a police reporter and had a salaried job in the lower part of manhattan. >> my name's bonnie yochelson. i wrote the complete collection catalog of riis's photographs that was published on the occasion of this exhibition. and my engagement with the collection started in the 1980s when i was curator of princeton photographs at the museum of city of new york which owns riis' new york photographs. there's a great paradox to riis' photographs which is that he was a journalist and he was a celebrity and he saved all of the documentation of his career. he wanted to be remembered for posterity. he created scrapbooks. he saved his manuscripts, every scrap of paper, and he abandoned his photographs because he didn't think they were of any value apart from his words, apart from his arguments and his articles and his publications.
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and the way they were discovered is really a fascinating story. there was a photographer, riis died in 1914. in 1940s, a photographer named alexander land noticed in riis' book "how the other half lives" that on the title page it says with illustrations after photographs by the author. so he said to himself, well, where are these photographs? and after several years of searching, he tracked down riis' son and with much coercing got riis' son to try to find the pictures which turned out to be in the attic of the family's home in queens, new york, that was about to be torn down. so his son discovered a box filled with 400-odd negatives, 300-odd lantern slides, and almost 200 paper prints and
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delivered them to alexander land, the photographer, who again, taking a couple of years, created an exhibition of -- from the negatives making beautiful, modern prints from the negatives and working with a curator at the museum of the city of new york to put on an exhibition called "battle with islam" named for one of riis' books in which these beautiful, enlarged pictures along with excerpts of riis' writings established riis as an important photograph and that's how he entered the history of photography. so, my problem at the museum of the city of new york as a curator in the 1980s was, we don't have prints to show because those almost 200 image prints about half of which were not by riis at all and the rest of which were in very poor -- most were in poor condition and not exhibitable at all. so working with the museum staff, we applied for -- i applied for a grant from the
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national endowment for the humanities, and we made a set of what they call vintage material prints from the negatives. the purpose being to make prints that would look like those that riis would recognize, not to at -- aethetisize him, not to turn himself into an artist. he himself never worked in the dark room. he took his negatives to a commercial -- several commercial studios and said i need prints, lantern slides. he himself used the camera but was not in any way an expert technician so we wanted the expert technicians not to do what alexander land did in the 1940s but to simply make contact prints from the negatives and that is what is on exhibition here to represent riis' photographs. >> at the beginning of the
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exhibit, we have chosen three very famous photographs from the lexicon of jacob riis, and to the left is perhaps his most famous photograph called "bandits' roost." and it was in the middle of an area called mulberry bend which was a section of mulberry street which became baxter street, which became particular cause e cause celebre for riis in terms of urban reform. and he eventually would succeed in working with municipal authorities to demolish mulberry bend and replace it with a park and another story we tell deeper in the exhibit with original items. again, the paradox about riis is that he himself said that he was a photographer after a fashion. in other words, that he wasn't a real photographer.
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he used the camera for a few years, less than ten years, and he only took about 300 pictures, about 1/3 of which were like family snapshots, and, you know, other things that are not what we -- not of historical importance. the most famous picture today is "bandits' roost" which shows a couple of tufts, italian tufts, with bowler hats. in fact, that picture was copied by martin scoresesi in "gangs of
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new york," so it's kind of an iconic image. when he first had the idea to use photographs to illustrate the slums and that was in 1887, he reached out to a friend who was a photographer and he found two photographers who wanted to -- who were interested in flash. they were interested in the technology. and among their photographs was "bandi "bandits' roost" which was taken from a stereoscopic camera, which has two lenses. but the flash photographs, what i think is the most important of the flash photographs is one called "5 cents a spot." >> what it's demonstrating is people who paid 5 cents or 7
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cents a night to have temporary lodging inside at tenant house. >> there was a law in new york that you had to provide a bed of some kind, an independent bed for someone, and the lowest price you could charge was 7 cents, so the title indicates to the viewer that this was illegal shelter. and riis took the picture that was taken by him, the other amateurs. he took the picture with a number of the sanitary police, who were circumstantially raiding the place and saying, you know, get up and out, this is illegal. so entering this room, which only had the slightest bit of light from a coal stove that was providing heat for the room,
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riis entered with the police, set up his camera, essentially set off an explosion, which sounded like a gun, you know, a boom with smoke and fire, and what's captured in the picture is the faces -- some people are still sleeping and other people have been aroused and look sort of stricken for good reason by the circumstance. the picture in his description of the scene in his book, he says there were 13 people in that room, tiny little room, including an infant, a screaming infant. so it's a horrific scene. and he used that picture to try to enforce, to try to rouse authorities, to enforce the laws about these lodging houses. and he describes that in his book, so that is a fantastic example of one of riis' flash photographs creating a very
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powerful portrait of inhumane conditions. pictures like that have been criticized as victimizing his subjects. that he came in, that there was no consent, that he scared these people to death, and that is a criticism, a modern criticism, today of these flash photographs. it was not his intention, but it is from a contemporary point a view a problem. >> the middle photograph is the signature photograph for our exhibit, and this is "little katy." and it represents another phase in riis' approach in subject matter to photography. originally, he worked with
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amateur photographers to take the photographs. then he started taking them himself. and the first, "the bandits' roost" photograph and the "5 cent lodging" was in "how the other half lives," his first book. and katie was in this his second book called "children of the poor," and he was like a social worker, caseworker. he actually had discussions with his subject matters where here the lodgers were just surprised by men bursting into the room and taking a photograph. katie -- he talked to katie. he learned 4er nam eed her namer story. she -- her mother died. she was living with her siblings in a 49th street tenement and took this picture at the 52nd street industrial school and
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when he said, katie, what do you do? she said, i scrubs. her older siblings were working in a hammock factory in the day and katie stayed home. she is 9 years old and she scrubbed and cooked for the family and also went to cool when she could.scool when she could.hool when she could. new york in 1879. bird's eye views were popular until really the turn -- slightly after the turn of the century. and they put buildings in sort of gave an idea of the density of space and put buildings in perspective. so you see the lower east side here where riis was primarily working. and it is astounding sort of how many people are sort of crammed and how many structures are crammed into this space. the u.s. census bureau at the time said that this was the most densely crowded city in the united states, 1.5 million people lived primarily in lower manhattan. riis claimed it was the largest population, the most densely populated city on earth, which may or may not have been the case, but that's what he claimed in "how the other half lives."
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and i think if you look at this map, it really sort of speaks to that density, that crowdedness, the issues that he was addressing. >> so we had been talking about the importance of -- that jacob riis had lived many of the issues he wrote about later as a police reporter and how he came to the united states as an immigrant from denmark in 1870. he was 21 years old. and in our first case in the exhibit, we emphasize his life story or biography. and one of the things that we decided to do in making the exhibit is to use notes that we have in his manuscript collection at the library of congress from "the making of an american," which was his autobiography, which he published in 1901, but he also gave this as a lantern slide
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lecture. and we have in his collection his notes from a lantern slide collection based on "making of an american" and the book "battle of the slum." and we have featured pages from that in almost all the cases. and here, for biography, we have used the very first one where he talks about his naivety coming to new york and back in denmark, he had loved to read american literature and fluent in english when he came to the united states, but one of his favorite authors was james fenmore cooper. and he had an image, as many scandinavians did, that america was the wild west. and he said, we didn't know the difference east and west and
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here he is. he gets out at castle garden and in this metropolis of new york and there are no buffalos but the very first thing he did was he bought a revolver so this is -- he is making fun of himself. often he was telling jokes in the lectures. this is a funny story about this green kid getting off the boat and buying a revolver which he strapped to the outside of his coat and strutting down broadway and a policeman stops him and says, son, maybe you'll want to get rid of the gun. so, it's a funny story. and it actually was a very, very hard time for jacob riis when he first came. he had a lot of difficulty making a living, finding work. he was unable to find steady work. he worked a lot of odd jobs. and he got very depressed. and one of the other things we're showing from the new york public library is a wonderful early diary of his that's written partly in danish and then he switches to english. but in the diary, it's really about his loneliness when he first came here and his pining for his love, elizabeth, which was at that point unrequited. she was back in denmark. and his really -- his suicidal
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feelings, so it was very difficult in the beginning. and there's a great love story with riis and his wife elizabeth. eventually, she does succumb to his courtship and they marry in 1876 in denmark and come back and then settle first in brooklyn and then in richmond hill up in queens, new york, and then have a family. so a lot of jacob riis' motivation in life is that everyone should have a healthy, safe, and happy family like he does. and he writes a lot about families and the welfare of children in particular. and he often would tell his audiences there's no difference between these children or yours and mine. that's the wife elizabeth in the middle and the five children. there were some other children that died young. >> so next we are going to talk about what looks like a strange
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assemblage of equipment, things we're not used to seeing these days, but this is photographic equipment very similar to what riis would have used on his reading parties that barbara described earlier. then what we have here is actually a camera which is a detective camera, so this was sort of a stealth camera. it could be used without a tripod. i could be held by the strap on the side, so it gave the photographer some mobility. and the other thing that was an innovation and sort of allowed for a lot of mobility at that time was the invention, introduction of dry plate negatives. previous to this time, you had to coat a plate with colodian. it was a very laborious process. you had to expose your negative
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right away. this enabled you to buy these plates already prepared. this was the size of the plate. this is a holder here. that we see. and you could carry a few with you. and you could make a number of exposures in a particular outing. and what we have in the back here is a flash pan. so riis learns about the german invention of magnesium flash powder in 1887 and he's very interested in it. he understands that he could be using this to great effect for his work. and the first, has -- as barbara had said earlier, the first application of the flash powder was put into pistols and you would go in and sort of set it off, a big boom, a big flash of light. of course, it would scare the people that were being photographed to no end. this flash powder holder was not
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that much better and very, very dangerous, but you would put the magnesium flash powder in the pan, probably take a fuse, light the fuse, and again it would go off in a book whomph, and then you would have a big burst of light and that would enable the photographs that riis took in these dark spaces that these spaces would be illuminated so that you would get some image on the dry plate. >> so there's also the question of, how did riis use his photographs? he made these initial photographs between 1887 and 1892. that was the peak period of his photography. and he really saw himself not as a photographer. he thought he was using photography as a tool for his journalism. so we have to remember at the same time he was doing the lectures and showing them as
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lantern slides he was also still a police reporter. and his intent was he would use these images as illustrations of his articles. and in this case, which is about him as a police reporter, we wanted to demonstrate how it would look when you had an actual print of a photograph and how it would show as a line drawing in the periodical press. so what would happen is an illustrator would be hired. they would make a line drawing and then an engraving and that would be printed in the newspaper. and the reason for that is the technology was not there yet to do half tones in the newspapers. they did make rather flat half tones that were in magazines and monthly journals for which riis also wrote as a freelance journalist. but it wasn't really until the 1890s that the quality was good enough that they had good reproduction photographs.
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at that time, riis stopped taking photographs and he just purchased photographs that were taken by other people, but his original idea is to appeal visually and combine the image and the word in order to persuade people. riis was hired to work as a -- on the beat basically. reporting crimes and anything that happened through the police department. and for six years, he was on night work where his newspaper office where he worked for the "new york tribune" -- and we have a photograph from the library of congress collections of riis in the tribune office which was at 301 mulberry street, right across the street from the police headquarters. and he's there with his friend and fellow reporter, amos enson,
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and they're -- riis is in the corner and enson is at the desk. and he would basically follow the police where they -- when they would get a call, a murder happened or a crime. and he would write about the stories. but he got a lot of human interest stories from this, from -- this is partly how he got access to the inside of tenement buildings and so on. he was a recognized face. many people in the neighborhood actually thought he was a doctor because he came so often with the department of health or sanitation division when they were doing investigations of the tenements and he would be with th them. so he was a trusted and known face on the street. and so he reported for the newspapers but he also started doing human interest stories that focused on the conditions faced by the poor. and they're the kinds of issues that we're showing in the exhibit on the side walls, including housing and public health, public space, labor, immigration.
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and he wanted to expose how difficult the circumstances were under which the poor were living, especially the immigrant poor. and to encourage people to either give money to charities. there were over 138 charities active at the time that were dealing with indigent and poor in one way or another or to encourage philanthropists to give a lot of money, to endow things like lodging houses, and to also work with the government to bring about municipal reforms. when riis went on the road, he started off doing his lantern slide lectures in new york city, but eventually he had tours all over the country and appeared in many different cities and he would just travel just with the lantern slides in a box and every inventory -- venue would have to supply the lantern
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projector. >> and the operator to operate the lantern slide. he would be paid about $150 to -- for his services and he traveled across the country. it was astounding. we do have his appointment books that show he would be in a different city every night practically. and so, this is a very deluxe model but, again, he could have been using this. it's a stereo opticon to allow for one slide to fade in and one slide to fade out. and there are other models that just have one lens. >> and we have this in the exhibit at the courtesy of the american magic lantern theater who loaned this artifact just for this exhibit. it was also in the exhibit at the museum of the city of new york. and here in the exhibit we have a video running that is based on the one transcript that we have
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of riis' lecture. >> out of the alleys comes the problem of the children. this one came out of the alley just as she is here on the left. her hair was matted with blood and her whole body was covered with sores. the future of this child. can you read it in her face? i can. and after she had been in the care of the society for the prevention of cruelty to children, this is the way she looked on the right. and the last 16 years that society has thrown its arms around between 50,000 and 60,000 children. what a record of work. and this is the foundling asylum known all over the world as sister irene's asylum.
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that good sister gathered many thousands into her fold. catholic or protestant, no difference. when one day the pearly gates swing wide to let in that dear woman, i tell you, such a flapping of little wings will be heard come to greet her as has not been heard since the moving stars sang together. now you have seen the boys and girls. and you have seen their homes. here is the father of some such so drunk that when we fired the photographic flash he never woke up. >> this case is about his check -- lecturing and the postcards show -- the postcards he wrote from all over the country and also from europe home to usually his daughter katie and also to his wife,
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elizabeth, who he often called sweet lamb of mine or lamby. the notebooks showed the itineraries where he was traveling and riis the newspaperman became a subject man for other newspaper men and we are showing reviews he got of other journalists he kept in his scrapbook. >> the creation we have done is based on the actual transcript here and lines are taken from it. the original lecture was -- ran two hours so we have condensed it down now to 6:51. >> and one of the historians who has written a lot about riis wrote that it was almost a vaudeville-like environment, that we think he's showing these ve
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very, in some cases, gruesome images, including people being buried at potter's field, children abused, serious subject matter and lightened it up by telling a lot of jokes and some are not so funny to us anymore because they're ethnic jokes but they're also the kind of humor that would have been very common at that time in vaudeville. >> one of my visits i came upon this tramp. i told him that if he'd sit still for a minute so i could take his picture, i'd give him ten cents. that was probably the first and only ten cents that man earned by honest labor in the course of his entire life and it was sitting down at which he was an acknowledged expert. >> we were talking about the ways that jacob riis used his innovative photographs and that he gave lantern slide lectures and used images from the photographs in his journalism. but one day when he was giving a lantern side lecture on the -- which he called how the other half lives and dies, there were two editors in the audience and they approached riis and asked him to write an article which came out in december of 1889 in
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the christmas issue and included many of the images, and from that article he was asked to write a book. and we do feature the first edition of that book in our case about him as a writer. so the result of that wonderful meeting with scribners was that jacob riis received a contract to write "how the other half lives." he was still a police reporter at the time. and he wrote in the evening hours at home. and we have a wonderful first edition that which owned by richard wattson guilder, a close friend of scribner's editor and also the head of what was known as the guilder committee which was the tenement house committee that was a government committee assigned to investigate the conditions of the poor, particularly the issues of sanitation and crowding in the tenement houses.
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much to riis' surprise, how the other half lives was a huge best seller, and it came out in the time where there was a certain kind of almost period interest in the slums among the middle class and the slum tour was very popular. other people had written books that described conditions of the poor, but riis had a very special storytelling style and also an almost sociological kind of approach to describing the different kind of ethnic communities that were on the lower east side. and one of the things he did was use statistics. >> he used statistics. and in fact, i had never read "how the other half lives," and i listened to it as an audio book and it was astounding, really, to hear a voice sort of illuminate his words. and you realize, especially listening to it, how he was
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really evangelizing for reform, for describing these dark places that he was bringing light to with his photography. and he's most effective, i think, when he uses statistics, when he talks about population ten density, when he talks about deaths on a particular block of children. that's when the power of his words really comes through. i also think that the power of the scribner's article was also attributed to the professional artist that got to engrave his photographs in the magazine. so, kenyan cox, for instance, is the artist that's translating riis' photographs here. you see chinese opium den on the bottom and that "5 cent spot" photo we started with and
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enlarged on the front wall is on the left-hand page. >> you know, one of the things that he was very concerned about were the very huge infant mortality rates that the guilder committee i had mentioned, they referred to the rear tenements as slaughter houses for infants. 1 out of 5 babies born in the tenements, especially in these rear tenements, died in early childhood. and when we talk about rear tenements, it's not only that the tenement buildings themselves were overcrowded, that many people couldn't even afford to live in the buildings, so where else did they live? they lived in dumps. they lived on the street. and they lived in these rear tenements that were basically wood shack structures that were build onto the back -- into the back of alleyways of often wood
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or brick tenement buildings. so, high mortality rate's also -- and also the issues of public health, of cholera, diphtheria, titus. contagious disease and disease food borne or based on polluted water. and one of the points of the statistics is how closely riis worked with roger tracy and other individuals in the board of health so it was a governmental connection for him in the municipal government to work with the sanitation engineers, the scientists -- and it worked both ways. he got information in terms of statistics and he gave them evidence to use in the statistics. >> here in the exhibit, we basically have two major ways to see the material. when you come in the front, you see the originals in the cases. and when you get to the back and turn around, you have a big surprise because we're showing some of the famous photographs in very large graphic size. and one reason we wanted to do
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that is to show people how people in the audiences at the lantern slide lectures would have seen those images. and they wouldn't have been the very small things based on the actual size of the magic lantern or if print -- the prints in the newspaper or basically kind of crude illustrations that appeared in his articles. but they would have been these very large, detailed images that people would have been projected on the wall from the magic lantern projector and people could really study and they're life sized, so it helps people to really identify with these other human beings that are the same as us. it helped with the empathy. jacob riis was not alone as a social reformer. and he himself said i was one 1/1000ths of the solution and i just was the one that yelled the loudest.
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so we don't want to portray the idea that he was singly the only person pointing out these kinds of problems in urban decay and the way that immigrants were having to live when they arrived in the united states. many, many people had been addressing the issues from earlier in the 19th century and what was special about him is he was a very good publicist and the lantern slide lectures really did help with that, with bringing the message all the way across the country, and with the publication of "how the other half lives." he raised awareness and the consciousness of the people on issues of poverty. he also had some very important allies in high places. and there were many of them, but we only chose three. and they are theodore roosevelt, booker t. washington and lewis
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and elloise carnegie and andrew carnegie. and we're highlighting here an image that comes from our prints and photographs division and it is a political cartoon from puck and it is portraying what we would call theodore roosevelt's kitchen cabinet so it is not the actual members of the cabinet but friends of his and people close to him, political allies, and people that he had relied on for advice. and you can see jacob riis is in the picture so he's in that inner circle and he is the small figure in colonial uniform, that's the second from the left. holding the hanky to his face. and you can see booker t. washington is also in the doorway so it's sort of a metaphor of the civil rights status at that time and of him being welcomed at the white house by theodore roosevelt. and roosevelt himself is the only person in the picture that's not crying.
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so how did riis meet theodore roosevelt? that's the story of his activism in new york city. and we have here in our case on allies the basic story of the bromance between theodore roosevelt and jacob riis. they first met in 1894 when a new administration was elected in new york city that was a reform administration under mayor william strong. and it's often described as the good government movement. and in that one brief administration, a lot of the social reforms that riis had been recommending as well as the other people in his network of reform were manifested including better sanitation. one of the things that strong was famous for was appointing a sanitary engineer who created the white wings, who were sanitary workers that wore pristine white uniforms and at
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one point paraded down fifth avenue as a kind of army of sanitation. but the issue that theodore roosevelt and riis worked on primarily was the closing of police lodging houses. and the way they met was that mayor strong appointed theodore roosevelt has police commissioner during his administration, and the police headquarters was right across the street from jacob riis' journalism office. and theodore roosevelt was aware of riis. he had read his work, his articles and his book. so they met, and jacob riis s s says, i loved him the moment i saw him. so they immediately formed a bond and they went about it at night on the night raids so that riis could familiarize roosevelt with the neighborhood and what was going on there in terms of criminality and police work at night. he showed them bandit's alley some of the things that were happening in the tenements and
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they checked up on what the police were doing. but one of the cause celebres for riis is police lodging houses as shelters. riis had a very personal reason for a grudge about police lodging houses. as a new immigrant new to the country and homeless sometimes stayed overnight in the shelters and tells the story in the autobiography "making of an american" of the -- a night when he was in particular despair where he had considered throwing himself into the east river and he was befriended by a stray dog and the dog was his little buddy, his only friend in america. and that night he went to stay at the lodging house. they wouldn't let the dog in. the dog was waiting for him outside. and in the night as he slept, a very precious golden locket that he had brought with him to america that had a picture and a lock of hair of his beloved elizabeth was stolen from him
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while he was sleeping. and when he went to report this to the policeman on duty, the policeman didn't believe him. he thought why would this tramp boy have a golden locket, yeah, sure. he was very rough in throwing riis out of the police lodging house. the dog waiting outside sees the friend being roughed up by police and snarls and the policeman beat the dog to death. so, it's a very tragic story. and riis never forgot it and when he wrote about the closing of the police lodging houses, which he successfully did with theodore roosevelt's help, he title the chapter in his autobiography "my dog is avenged." and he was concerned about the lodging houses because of the crowdedness and also because the criminality, a lot of younger people in particular, were exposed to hardened criminals or were recruited to be pick
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pockets and so on. it wasn't a wholesome environment for the young. and but also there was a spread of disease because of the crowdedness so this particular article that we're highlighting police lodging houses, are they heatbeds for typhus fever? a story of a man shown here lying on the floor. he's very ill. he's at the elger street police station and he did have typhus, so riis uses this as an example of the danger of contagious disease to the people that are staying there who then spread it when they left, but also to the policemen themselves. the police were concerned about this issue. so they do succeed in closing down the lodging houses and the idea that the police -- policing authority should have the major role in supplying homeless shelters, and riis believed that private charities should take over that role in partnership with the municipality.


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