Jacob A. Riis | East Side Public Schools 1. A class in the condemned Essex Market School, Gas burning by day, ca. 1890 | Image and data from the Museum of the City of New York

The Artstor Digital Library and the Museum of the City of New York have collaborated to release nearly 4,000 images of New York City by legendary photographers Berenice Abbot and Jacob Riis. This is the first installment of a projected 55,000 images from the Museum’s Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Collection, which documents the built environment of New York City and its changing cultural, political, and social landscape from its earliest days to the present.

The images by Berenice Abbott (1898-1991) consist primarily of her landmark series Changing New York, created for the Museum under the auspices of the Federal Art Project between 1935 and 1938. The release includes hundreds of negatives created for the series, along with multiple versions of 307 images printed by the photographer for the finished project. The release also includes hundreds of images by journalist, social reformer, and social documentary photographer Jacob Riis (1849-1914), best known for his 1890 book How the Other Half Lives, which brought public attention to New York’s squalid housing, sweatshops, bars, and alleys. Riis’s photographs depict men, women, and children of all nationalities at home, work, and leisure. The collection contains images from vintage prints, glass-plate negatives, and lantern slides, as well as a set of recently produced prints from all of Riis’s original negatives.

The Museum of the City of New York presents and interprets the past, present, and future of New York City and celebrates its heritage of diversity, opportunity, and perpetual transformation. Founded in 1923 as a private, non-profit corporation, the Museum serves the people of New York and visitors from across the country and around the world through exhibitions, collections, publications, and school and public programs.

For more detailed information about this collection, visit the Museum of the City of New York collection page.

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