Riis, Jacob

Riis, Jacob (August)

(1849–1914) photographer, social reformer; born in Ribe, Denmark. Son of a journalist, he emigrated to New York City in 1870, where he worked as a laborer before joining the New York Tribune in 1873. As the Evening Sun Crime reporter in 1888, he took stunning pictures of night life in the slums using a magnesium flash. Riis's How the Other Half Lives (1890) moved Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt to help the tenement reform movement.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.