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Refuse in a City Alley, 1913

Household Arts. Refuse in City Alley
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_1651
Document Description
A pile of garbage in a city alley, May 1913.
What do you see in this picture?
Do your streets look like this today?  Why or why not?
Why do you think these conditions existed?
How do you think these conditions affected the people who lived in these communities?
What were the living conditions for people in this city?
How did the conditions shown in this picture contribute to the quality of health of the citizens?
How could upper-class citizens be affected by the unsanitary conditions of the poor?
Historical Challenges
Research the Industrial Revolution and the impact it had on the cholera epidemic.
How was immigration affected by this global epidemic?
How did New York City's Ellis Island handle the cholera epidemic?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Science: Research the discovery of antibiotics and the impact it has had on life expectancy rates.
English Language Arts: Write a journal entry from the perspective of a child living in a community in which a number of people have died from this disease. What are other people doing to protect themselves? What conditions exist that contribute to the spread of the disease? What social class do people belong to, and how does this affect the spread of the disease?
Rosenberg, Charles. Cholera Years in the United States in 1832. University of Chicago Press, November 1990. ISBN: 0226726770
Cefrey, Holly, et al. Epidemics: Deadly Diseases Throughout History: The Plague, AIDS, Tuberculosis, Cholera, Small Pox, Polio, Influenza, Malaria. Rosen Publishing Group, Incorporated, January 2002. ISBN: 0823997189
Katz, Bobbie. We the People: Poems. HarperCollins Publishers, August 2000. ISBN: 0688165311
Lamond, Margrete. Plague and Pestilence: Deadly Diseases that Changed the World. Allen & Unwin Pty., Limited, October 1997. ISBN: 186448456X
Anderson, Laurie Halse. Fever 1793. Simon & Schuster Children's, February 2002. ISBN: 0689848919
Cushman, Karen. Matilda Bone. Random House Children's Books, March 2002. ISBN: 0440418224

Historical Context
Poor or absent sanitation facilities throughout cities and rural areas created many health problems for communities.  One fast-spreading epidemic was cholera. Many parts of New York State experienced this scary disease.  Cholera was  caused by drinking and eating food and water which were contaminated by someone else who already had cholera.
Essential Question
How do human settlement patterns impact individual health and well being?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain the impact of these conditions on the individuals living in this community.