Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 200
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 200
 
out, with hardly a score of factory inspectors to keep tab on them. Roosevelt, as governor, set the pace, going himself among the tenements to see how the law was enforced, and how it could be mended. Now we have a registry system copied from Massachusetts, where they do these things right and most others besides. An index is so arranged by streets that when the printed sheet comes every morning from the Bureau of Contagious Diseases, with name and house number of every case of small-pox, scarlet fever, diphtheria, etc. reported during the twenty-four hours, a clerk can check one off from the other in half an hour, and before noon have every infected flat quarantined. Word is sent to the manufacturer to stop sending any more supplies there, and the garments in the house are tagged till after disinfection. And by the same means all the cards are laid on the table. If a merchant in California or in Florida brags that he buys only factory-made goods, the customer can find out through the Consumers’ League if it is true. If the register shows that the manufacturer has filed lists of the tenements where his goods are made up, it is not true. All of which helps.
  But Massachusetts is Massachusetts, and New York is New York. A tenement-house population of more than two millions of souls makes its own problems, and there is no other like it. After all,

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