Why American Newspapers Gave Away the Future

An insider’s assessment of the precipitous decline of large city ...


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'Jewtown' in the New Land

Immigrant Jewish Life in New York City in the Late Nineteenth Century

by Jacob A. Riis

The great migrations of the later nineteenth century brought tens of millions of immigrants to American shores, most of them from southern and eastern Europe. Settling chiefly in burgeoning urban areas, they offered cheap labor to an expanding American economy but also created problems of housing, public health, and education for cities that were ill equipped to address them.  New York City in particular became a haven of sorts for Irish, Italian, and Jewish newcomers, many of them crowded into tenements on the Lower East Side, which soon was the most densely populated place on earth. In the 1890s the area became a subject of investigation by a new breed of American journalists, the muckrakers, prominent among them Lincoln Steffens, Hutchins Hapgood, and Jacob Riis. Riis’s How the Other Half Lives, published in 1890, sought to draw back the curtain on the lives of those who dwelled in the tenements of New York and to reveal ways of life that were unknown to or ignored by their fellow citizens. His study remains the most influential of the early muckraking books and a spur to the reform of the tenements.

'Jewtown' in the New Land details:

ISBN: 978-1-937853-67-9

Words: 8,695

Pages: 19

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Tags:  Jews - New York City - U.S. Immigration - immigrant life - sweatshops - Lower East Side