10 April 2008
JACOB A. RIIS
How the Other Half Lives. New York: Charles Scribners's Sons, 1890.
Octavo (193 x 131 mm). 43 illustrations, 18 of these halftone black and white photographs. (Faint browning in the margins, and occasional light spotting.) Original blue cloth-backed illustrated boards, printed in red and blue, spine lettered in gilt (extremities rubbed, light soiling, some browning); in a cloth folding box together with the title below. Provenance: 'The Author' (inscription in black ink on front blank) -- ?H. Cooling (contemporary ownership signature).
FIRST EDITION. INSCRIBED, in Danish: "With the kindest regards of the author. New York. 10 August 1891". "ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PHOTOBOOKS EVER PUBLISHED. It represents the first extensive use of halftone photographic reproductions in a book" (The Photobook); and Riis is among the earliest photographers to use the image as a means to social reform. The Photobook, p.53 (showing a variant binding); cf. The Open Book, pp.46-7 (for a later edition dated 1902).
How the Other Half Lives. New York: Charles Scribners's Sons, 1890. Octavo (211 x 150 mm). 43 illustrations, 18 of these halftone black and white photographs. (Scattered spotting on the top edge.) Original blue cloth, front cover lettered in blue within an ornamental frame, spine lettered in gilt, brown coated endapers (some spotting mostly near the top edge); in a cloth folding box together with the title above. FIRST EDITION. A variant issue, this one printed on better paper with wider margins. Both issues vary from that illustrated in The Photobook; no precedence, if any, has been established. (2)
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