The Children of the Poor

The Children of the Poor

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109 Pages
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Children of the Poor, by Jacob A. Riis This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: The Children of the Poor Author: Jacob A. Riis Release Date: May 30, 2010 [EBook #32609] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE CHILDREN OF THE POOR *** Produced by David Edwards and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive.) THE CHILDREN OF THE POOR THE CHILDREN OF THE POOR BY JACOB A. RIIS AUTHOR OF “HOW THE OTHER HALF LIVES” ILLUSTRATED NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS 1908 COPYRIGHT, 1892, BY CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS PREFACE To my little ones, who, as I lay down my pen, come rushing in from the autumn fields, their hands filled with flowers “for the poor children,” I inscribe this book. May the love that shines in their eager eyes never grow cold within them; then they shall yet grow up to give a helping hand in working out this problem which so plagues the world to-day. As to their father’s share, it has been a very small and simple one, and now it is done. Other hands may carry forward the work. My aim has been to gather the facts for them to build upon. I said it in “How the Other Half Lives,” and now, in sending this volume to the [Pg v] printer, I can add nothing. The two books are one. Each supplements the other. Ours is an age of facts. It wants facts, not theories, and facts I have endeavored to set down in these pages. The reader may differ with me as to the application of them. He may be right and I wrong. But we shall not quarrel as to the facts themselves, I think. A false prophet in our day could do less harm than a careless reporter. That name I hope I shall not deserve. To lay aside a work that has been so long a part of one’s life, is like losing a friend. But for the one lost I have gained many. They have been much to me. The friendship and counsel of Dr. Roger S. Tracy, of the Bureau of Vital Statistics, have lightened my labors as nothing else could save the presence and the sympathy of the best and dearest friend of all, my wife. To Major Willard Bullard, the most efficient chief of the Sanitary Police; Rabbi Adolph M. Radin; Mr. A. S. Solomons, of the Baron de Hirsch Relief Committee; Dr. Annie Sturges Daniel; Mr. L. W. Holste, of the Children’s Aid Society; Colonel George T. Balch, of the Board of Education; Mr. A. S. Fairchild, and to Dr. Max L. Margolis, my thanks are due and here given. Jew and Gentile, we have sought the truth together. Our reward must be in the consciousness that we have sought it faithfully and according to our light. J. A. R. RICHMOND HILL, LONG ISLAND, October 1, 1892. [Pg vi] CONTENTS P AGE [Pg vii] CHAPTER I. THE PROBLEM OF THE CHILDREN, CHAPTER II. THE ITALIAN SLUM CHILDREN, CHAPTER III. IN THE GREAT EAST SIDE TREADMILL, CHAPTER IV. TONY AND HIS TRIBE, CHAPTER V. THE STORY OF KID MCDUFF’S GIRL, CHAPTER VI. THE LITTLE TOILERS, CHAPTER VII. THE TRUANTS OF OUR STREETS, CHAPTER VIII. WHAT IT IS THAT MAKES BOYS BAD, CHAPTER IX. LITTLE MARY ELLEN’S LEGACY, CHAPTER X. THE STORY OF THE FRESH AIR FUND, CHAPTER XI. THE KINDERGARTENS AND NURSERIES, 1 10 35 58 87 92 118 129 [Pg viii] 142 153 174 CHAPTER XII. THE INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS, CHAPTER XIII. THE BOYS’ CLUBS, CHAPTER XIV. THE OUTCAST AND THE HOMELESS, CHAPTER XV. PUTTING A PREMIUM ON PAUPERISM, CHAPTER XVI. THE VERDICT OF THE POTTERS FIELD, REGISTER OF CHILDREN’S CHARITIES, 187 215 245 277 286 291 LISTS OF ILLUSTRATIONS Saluting the Flag, The Mott Street Barracks, An Italian Home under a Dump, A Child of the Dump, Pietro Learning to Make an Englis’ Letter, “Slept in the Cellar Four Years,” A Synagogue School in a Hester Street Tenement, The Backstairs to Learning, Class of Melammedim Learning English, “I Scrubs.”—Katie who Keeps House in West Forty-ninth Street, Present Tenants of John Ericsson’s Old House, now the Beach Street Industrial School, Their Playground a Truck, Shine, Sir? Little Susie at her Work, Minding the Baby, “Shooting Craps” in the Hall of the Newsboys’ Lodging House, Case No. 25,745 on the Society’s Blotter, Before and After, Club Used for Beating a Child, Summer Boarders from Mott Street, Making for the “Big Water,” Floating Hospital—St. John’s Guild, Playing at Housekeeping, Poverty Gappers Playing Coney Island, Poverty Gap Transformed—the Spot where Young Healey was murdered is now a Playground, The Late Charles Loring Brace, Founder of the Children’s Aid Society, The First Patriotic Election in the Beach Street Industrial School—Parlor in John Ericsson’s Old House, The Board of Election Inspectors in the Beach Street School, The Plumbing Shop in the New York Trade Schools, A Boys’ Club Reading room, The Carpenter Shop in the Avenue C Working Boys’ Club, [Pg ix] Frontispiece P AGE 16 25 28 32 41 46 48 50 61 73 86 100 110 114 122 146 152 158 167 169 177 183 185 188 201 207 212 222 226 [Pg x] Type-setting at the Avenue C Working Boys’ Club, A Bout with the Gloves in the Boys’ Club of Calvary Parish, Lining up for the Gymnasium, A Snug Corner on a Cold Night, 2 A.M. in the Delivery-room in the “Sun” Office, Buffalo, Night School in the West Side Lodging-house.—Edward, the Little Pedlar, Caught Napping, The “Soup-House Gang,” Class in History in the Duane Street Newsboy’s Lodginghouse, 231 235 240 246 261 264 265 269 [Pg xi] THE CHILDREN OF THE POOR CHAPTER I. THE PROBLEM OF THE CHILDREN [Pg 1] T HE problem of the children is the problem of the State. As we mould the children of the toiling masses in our cities, so we shape the destiny of the State which they will rule in their turn, taking the reins from our hands. In proportion as we neglect or pass them by, the blame for bad government to come rests upon us. The cities long since held the balance of power; their dominion will be absolute soon unless the near future finds some way of scattering the population which the era of steam-power and industrial development has crowded together in the great centres of that energy. At the beginning of the century the urban population of the United States was 3.97 per cent. of the whole, or not quite one in twenty-five.