The Other Half: The Life of Jacob Riis and the World of Immigrant America

By Applegate, Edd | Journalism History, Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

The Other Half: The Life of Jacob Riis and the World of Immigrant America


Applegate, Edd, Journalism History


Buk-Swienty, Tom. The Other Half: The Life of Jacob Riis and the World of Immigrant America. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2008. 349 pp. $27.95.

The author of this book, like the subject about whom he so eloquently writes, is from Denmark; yet, as he mentions in the preface, he had never heard of Jacob Riis until he was a Danish exchange student at the University of California-Santa Barbara. "It was 1989, and I was taking an American history course on the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era. . . . The professor spoke at length about a Danish American journalist, one Jacob Riis, who had been one of the first muckrakers . . . and had written a groundbreaking book about the deplorable living conditions in New York City's tenements called How the Other Half Lives." Tom Buk-Swienty discovered that Riis was relatively unknown in his native country and, desiring to learn more about him, read his book and then saw his photographs in a museum. He purchased Jacob A. Riis: Photographer & Citizen, read the chapter on his life, and decided that he would write a complete biography of him.

This book presents the life of Riis, who was born in Ribe, Denmark, in 1849 and immigrated to the United States in 1870. Although he focuses primarily on his life in the United States, Buk-Swienty discusses Riis' life in Ribe, a small town next to the Ribe River. His father did not earn much of a living, and indeed, the family experienced hardship more than once. Several members died after birth, and several died from tuberculosis.

Riis was exposed to journalism when he helped his father publish a weekly newspaper. Later, he spent four years in Copenhagen apprenticing to a carpenter and hoped to make catpentry his career when he set sail for the United States. However, the United States was experiencing a weak economy, and he could not find employment as a carpenter and grew homesick. In order to survive, he took various jobs and slept in alleys, barns, and police stations, journeying from New York City to Philadelphia to Dexterville, New York, where he lived with a family from Denmark. After several miserable years, he found employment with the New York News Association. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Other Half: The Life of Jacob Riis and the World of Immigrant America
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.