Item: Extremes Meet

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Record Number: 12137
Box/Case: 5
Folder: 1
Artist: Wales, James Albert, 1852-1886
Lithographer: Meyer, Merkel, & Ottman
Publisher: Keppler & Schwarzmann
Repository: Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Date of Original: August 10 1881
Original Format: Clippings, Political cartoons, Prints › Lithographs › Chromolithographs
Dimensions: Dimensions of image, 32 by 24 cm
Image description: The political cartoon is divided into two parts. The left side of the image, labeled "crowded by choice," shows "Hotel Elite." Upper class men and women, presumably on
vacation, crowd the balconies. One man takes a nap in a hammock. The right side of the image, labeled "packed by necessity" shows the poor living conditions of a crowded tenement building. Despite the crowded conditions, there is a sign indicating that there are more rooms for rent. There are also signs for a factory, laundry, and dress maker. Children play on the fire escapes and women hang laundry.
19th-century tenements were extremely unsanitary and filthy. The poor ventilation, crowded living spaces, and outdoor communal bathrooms meant that diseases easily spread amongst the tenants. Public outcry over the tenements led to the passage of the 1901 New York State Tenement House Act which mandated safer and more sanitary living conditions.