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Flowers and Thugs: The Slum Photos of Jacob Riis

Flowers and Thugs: The Slum Photos of Jacob Riis Flowers and Thugs The Slum Photos of Jacob Riis Kristine Somerville Jacob Riis, Organized Charity. Children’s Aid Society, ca. 189, Ja 0 cob A. Riis Collection, MCNY, 9. 0 31.4.40 During the winter of 1888, New York police reporter Jacob Riis’s chil- dren had scarlet fever, and from Christmas until Easter they seemed to waste away in their sickbeds. On an early spring day, Riis saw a small green shoot pushing through the snow in his yard. He replanted it in a o fl wer pot and placed it on the windowsill of the children’s room, and weeks later it bloomed into a bright yellow dandelion. Delighted, they roused from their torpor and tended the weed. “It beat all the doctor’s medicine,” Riis recalled. His children thought that the slum kids he oe ft n talked of needed flowers too. The Riis family gathered blooms from the meadow near their house in genteel Richmond Hill, and he brought the bouquets to his Mulberry Street oc ffi e on Newspaper Row amid New York City’s rickety frame tenements. Children, barefoot and dirt-covered, more used to “dodging a help- ful hand thinking that it was a blow,” approached Riis suspiciously, but http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Missouri Review University of Missouri

Flowers and Thugs: The Slum Photos of Jacob Riis

The Missouri Review , Volume 38 (2) – Jun 24, 2015

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Publisher
University of Missouri
Copyright
Copyright © The Curators of the University of Missouri.
ISSN
1548-9930

Abstract

Flowers and Thugs The Slum Photos of Jacob Riis Kristine Somerville Jacob Riis, Organized Charity. Children’s Aid Society, ca. 189, Ja 0 cob A. Riis Collection, MCNY, 9. 0 31.4.40 During the winter of 1888, New York police reporter Jacob Riis’s chil- dren had scarlet fever, and from Christmas until Easter they seemed to waste away in their sickbeds. On an early spring day, Riis saw a small green shoot pushing through the snow in his yard. He replanted it in a o fl wer pot and placed it on the windowsill of the children’s room, and weeks later it bloomed into a bright yellow dandelion. Delighted, they roused from their torpor and tended the weed. “It beat all the doctor’s medicine,” Riis recalled. His children thought that the slum kids he oe ft n talked of needed flowers too. The Riis family gathered blooms from the meadow near their house in genteel Richmond Hill, and he brought the bouquets to his Mulberry Street oc ffi e on Newspaper Row amid New York City’s rickety frame tenements. Children, barefoot and dirt-covered, more used to “dodging a help- ful hand thinking that it was a blow,” approached Riis suspiciously, but

Journal

The Missouri ReviewUniversity of Missouri

Published: Jun 24, 2015

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