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DSLH: Interior: Riis

When Riis' How the Other Half Lives was first published in 1890, printing technology was not yet advanced enough to print his photographs. When the book came out, only engravings based on the photographs were printed, not the photos themselves. The following three images are his original photos, linked to the Library of Congress.

Interestingly, close examination of the photos show they were all taken in the wash-room. I guess it was easier to set up the camera in one spot that day.

"Washing up" in the newsboys' lodging house.

Below the faucets are a long trough, and the boys use small basins to catch the water. The long hanging towels are looped around railings high up on the wall. The sign lettered on the back wall says "FOOT BATHS." On the door to the extreme left, at the top few inches of it are the words "BATH [illegible]."

Shooting craps in the hall of the Newsboys' Lodging House.

Note that shooting craps in the DSLH in 1899 (and probably other times as well) could get a boy kicked out. The faucets/trough are in the background, despite the caption saying that this is in the hall. There are two pipes, one just atop the other, running horizontally above the trough. At intervals there are pairs of faucets, the left faucet coming from the lower pipe and the right faucet from the upper one. It seems reasonable to assume, since Campbell states they had hot/cold water in the wash-rooms, that one carried cold water and the other hot.

Newsboy in the Duane Street Lodging House.

Boy, the washroom is popular today. There are the faucets/trough again. The boy who was on the left in the "craps" photo is the one featured here. He appears to be handing his paper to a bearded man, though it is doubtful a boy would really sell papers in the wash-room. A small mirror is hanging on the wall behind him.

History class in the DSLH.

Illustration from Riis' article "The Children of the Poor" in Scribners Magazine, May 1892. The caption identifies the boys as the "Soup-house Gang," but this name goes unexplained.

Note the boy third from left with his hand over his face: shy, in hiding, tired, or just plain bored? We may never know. It appears to indicate, however, that this illustration was probably based on a photo.

DSLH: Interior: Campbell

All illustrations from Darkness and Daylight, 1891.

The school room and general reception room.

This is the main room on the third floor, used for classes, meetings, and special presentations. For the holiday banquets, boys were required to gather here and line up prior to heading to the dining room one floor below.

For an explanation of the area surrounded by a railing in the center of the illustration, see the next entry. The light-colored, squarish units to either side of it are some of the lockers.

The signs on the wall read, from left to right:

"All Underclothing washed on Thursdays Free of Charge"
"The EYES of the Lord are in every place"
"Boys who swear or chew Tobacco cannot sleep here"
"Speak the Truth"
"Boys having Homes Not Received Here"

Applying to the Superintendent.

The area surrounded by the railing seen in the previous image. It contains a desk, chair, and board with keys on it. This is where boys, upon entering the LH and proceeding to the third floor, would register for the night's lodging with the Superintendent or night-clerk.

Each key had a number, and was used for the lockers.

The wash-room.

Another view of the wash-room with its long troughs and hanging towels. The boy on the right has leaned his crutch against the wall.

In one of the dormitories.

The dormitories with their neat bunkbeds and large windows. The sign hanging from the ceiling on the left says "Section 3"; the one on the right says "Section 4."

The gymnasium.

A view of the gumnasium, showing what appears to be climbing apparatus and the trapeze.

An evening game of dominoes.

One of the more reputable forms of recreation. You can see the numbered lockers in the background; this is presumably taking place on the third floor. The dog seems quite at home here.

Old women waiting at the dining-room door...

...for scraps from the newsboys' table. I don't know if this was a daily occurrence or only at the larger dinners. Behind the women rises the staircase leading up to the main reception room on the third floor.

Images from newspaper and magazine articles, Peter J. Eckel Newsboy Collection

With permission from the Rare Book Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collection, Princeton University Library. Please do not copy any of the following images.

Dinner at the DSLH.

Illustration from the "Dinner at the Newsboys' Lodging House," Acton Davies, Harper's Young People vol. XIII, published Sept. 13, 1892. The artist is Jessie Curtis Sheperd.

Note the long, crowded tables with their bench seating, the adults serving the food, and the dog (which appears very different from the one in the 1891 illustration in Campbell's book above).

The newsboys' Thanksgiving dinner--in line for the dining room.

From The Commercial Advertiser, Dec. 3, 1898.

The image is very dark (it's a very old clipping), but you can make out individual faces and some background details.

At the big holiday dinners, the boys would line up in the big school-room on the third floor. Because there were hundreds of them, they could not fit in the dining-room all at once, so they would be allowed downstairs to eat in shifts. Afterwards, a boy was allowed to come back upstairs and line up again for another helping if he wished, and repeat until he was full.

On the wall can be seen the sign "Boys desiring homes in the Country may apply to the Superintendent."

This photo is from a set of three showing the dinner, but the other two images (which show the dinner in progress, including the pie course) are in even less clear shape than this one.

"At the Brace Memorial Lodging House."

Yet another Thanksgiving dinner, this time an illustration. The date and newspaper source are unknown, but given the dates of the other articles on the scrapbook page on which this clipping was found, it is likely from the 1890s.

The school room.

From The Journal, February 16, 1896.

Another view of the third-floor school room. Unfortunately, only the top half of this illustration is intact, but many details can still be made out. The man who appears to be the Superintendent (who would have been Heig in 1896) is all the way to the left. In the center is the regristration desk, with the top of the small surrounding railing just visible; the board of keys is behind the desk. On the wall above the desk are two signs reading "Boys who swear or use tobacco cannot stay here" and "Boys having HOMES not received here." To the right are the numbered lockers. You can even spot a boy with an eyepatch

The dude room.

A small illustration of one of the private ten-cent beds which were located in what was known to the boys as the "dude" room. There isn't much to see here, but you can get an idea of how the beds were curtained off. The date and newspaper source are unknown, but given the dates of the other articles on the scrapbook page on which this clipping was found, it is likely from the 1890s.

Other sources

Dining room.

Photo from Arthur Bartlett Maurice's New York in Fiction, 1899 or 1900.

A rare view of the dining room when it is not crowded by hungry boys.

The caption refers to Townsend's "Chimmie Fadden" stories.