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Jacob Riis
Bandits Roost
1887 / printed 1994
Gelatin silver print

Jacob A. Riis, Richard Hoe Lawrence, and Henry G. Piffard. [Jacob A. Riis Collection, 1990.13.4.117.]

Museum of the City of New York

The Museum of City of New York holds the Jacob A. Riis collection, photographs and other material collected by Riis for use in his publications and lectures and donated to the Museum by his son.

The Jacob A. Riis Collection - Museum of the City of New York, Collections Portal


A Danish immigrant, Jacob Riis became a police reporter in 1874. His work led him to the city’s tenements and the slums where he worked with photographers who pioneered the use of flash photography to document what they saw. Riis’s images and words were published in newspapers and magazines leading up to the famous "How the Other Half Lives" published in 1890. Many claim it was Riis’s work that led to significant change in tenement laws and conditions.


Jacob A. Riis, American, b. Denmark
b. May 3, 1849, Ribe, Denmark
d. 1914

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