Home  »  Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen  »  Page 217

Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.

Page 217

the factory inspector of the district, and he would come down and see for himself.
  “I think,” he wrote, “that perhaps, if I looked through the sweat-shops myself with the inspectors, as well as looked over their work, we might be in a condition to put things on a new basis, just as they were put on a new basis in the police department after you and I began our midnight tours.”
  I shall not soon forget that trip we took together. It was on one of the hottest days of early summer, and it wore me completely out, though I was used to it. Him it only gave a better appetite for dinner. I had picked twenty five-story tenements, and we went through them from cellar to roof, examining every room and the people we found there. They were on purpose the worst tenements of the East Side, and they showed us the hardest phases of the factory inspector’s work, and where he fell short. The rules under which a tenement could be licensed for home work required: absolute cleanliness, that there should be no bed in the room where the work was done, no outsider employed, no contagious disease, and only one family living in the rooms.