Primary Sources & Lesson Plans
By the 1820s, New Yorks Lower East Side was home to the citys poorest residents. For the next several decades, its tenements and crowded streets were the first stop for successive waves of new arrivals to the city. During the early years of the twentieth century, middle-class American-born Progressives established settlement houses in the worst areas to help these immigrants adjust to the hardships of urban life.
1. Describe the foreground and background of each drawing. Are there common elements in these drawings?
2. What message is Wald trying to convey through these pictures?
3. Describe the children in the sketches. What do these images have in common? How do the images of the children in these sketches differ from one another?
4. Settlement houses served many purposes in the urban environment. Which of these purposes are evident in the drawings?
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