New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1890. First Edition. First Printing. Octavo (22cm); in the less common variant binding of full blue-gray cloth, with titling and decorations stamped in gilt and navy blue on spine and front cover; xvi,304pp, with frontispiece and 42 illustrations. Armorial bookplate to front pastedown, with partial loss to lower right corner; thin cracks to hinges, bookseller's rubber stamp to front pastedown, with gentle sunning to spine, some light dust-soil and a few stains to front cover, modest wear and softening to spine ends and corners; contents are fresh; Very Good.
Illustrated throughout with halftone reproductions of photographs of life in Manhattan's underworld, most taken by Riis in his capacity as a New York City police photographer. One of the earliest uses of halftone illustrations in a commercially-printed book, and an acknowledged landmark in both the history of social reform and of photographic book illustration. This issue is slightly larger in format and on thicker paper than the more commonly seen issue in quarter-cloth and illustrated boards. To our knowledge, no priority has been established between the two issues, nor have we succeeded in finding any reference to variant issues in trade publications of the period, including Publisher's Weekly and Scribner's catalogues. PARR-BADGER 153; HASSELBLAD 46.