Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Matthew K. Gold

Subject Categories



The Jacob A. Riis-Theodore Roosevelt Digital Archive is a digital archive focused on the Progressive Era in US history, which lasted from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. During the Progressive Era, reformers from the American middle class made significant strides in addressing social issues in urban areas and among the working and lower classes. These social issues included tenement housing, prostitution, and other forms of corruption. Some well-known reformers include Jacob Riis, the photographer and author of How The Other Half Lives, Upton Sinclair, author of The Jungle, and Jane Addams, founder of Hull House. The digital archive is specifically focused on Riis and former US president Theodore Roosevelt, the latter of whom was the founding member of the Progressive Party. This approach presents two different ways that Progressive Reform was brought about in late 19th century America: the reformer (Riis) directly worked with people afflicted by societal issues on a daily basis and knew exactly what they were going through, whereas the politician (Roosevelt) used political power and influence to encourage his colleagues and the masses to realize America's social injustices and to help quell them.

The scope of the digital archive focuses solely on the New York City area, which was one of the prime locations that experienced Progressive Reform in the United States. As such, the contents of the archive were derived from the New York Public Library and other academic digital collections. The Jacob A. Riis-Theodore Roosevelt Digital Archive will make contributions to the discipline of history by making learning about a certain period of the past more interactive and resourceful for the average, tech-savvy 21st century student. In addition, visitors to the Digital Archive will get a better sense of how a digital archive operates by exploring its layout, which includes a section for collections and a section for exhibits.

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