When I first came across this vintage ad (or part of a cover?) for J.W. Sullivan’s 1895 book Tenement Tales of New York, I wasn’t sure if it was serious-minded fiction or pulpy stories filled with stereotypes and lurid drama.
Apparently it’s the former—a slim volume chronicling with sensitivity the lives of street kids, factory girls, and immigrant laborers.
James W. Sullivan was a journalist and union organizer active in the growing labor movement of the late 19th century.
His Tenement Tales, one of many books Sullivan wrote about the city’s slum dwellers, “constitute a landmark literary achievement,” stated a chapter in The Irish Voice in America, edited by Charles Fanning.
[Ad: NYPL Digital Collection]
Tags: James L. Sullivan labor leader, lurid stories about New York, poor in New York 19th century, slum dwellers New York, Tenement Tales of New York book, tenements of New York, vintage books about old New York