Back to school in the 1890s

City public schools re-opened this week, reason enough to look back at classroom conditions at the turn of the last century.

This photo, by Jacob Riis—the antipoverty crusader and journalist who drew attention to horrific conditions in New York’s slums—shows studious-looking boys at a Lower East Side elementary school packed into crowded rows, the room equipped with a coal stove.

That teacher looks strict, doesn’t she? I bet no one messed with her.

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3 Responses to “Back to school in the 1890s”

  1. Koozie Says:

    Can you tell me the source for this photo? I used it in a lecture I gave and now I’d like to include it in an article I’m writing.
    Thank you!

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    It was taken by Jacob Riis and is part of the Jacob Riis Collection at the Museum of the City of New York.

  3. Roosevelt Island Historical Society » Monday, January 17, 2022 – LOOK AROUND AND ADMIRE THOSE GRAND SCHOOL BUILDINGS Says:

    […] Back to school in the 1890s […]

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