This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for May 3, 2017: Polar Bear in the Central Park Zoo

May 3, 2017: birthday: Jacob Riis

Today is the birthday of the photojournalist Jacob Riis (books by this author), born in Ribe, Denmark (1849). He moved to New York in 1870. He got a job as a police reporter, working the night shift among the crowded tenements of poor immigrants, and he set out to improve their conditions. When flash photography was invented in 1887, he took photographs of the slums of New York and wrote companion essays to form a book, How the Other Half Lives (1890), and it helped bring about housing reforms.