Jacob A. Riis, Ribe

Jacob A. Riis

Journalist, social reformer, photographer and journalist. Jacob A. Riis was born in Skolegade in 1849. Young and hopelessly in love, he left Ribe in 1870 for the United States of America and the dream of a new life of riches. As a journalist, he was the first to draw attention to the plight of the poor in New York by means of his photographs.

Working closely with Theodore Roosevelt, later President of the United States, he managed to draw public attention to the police-run poorhouses and was instrumental in getting them closed down. He remains one of the most respected Americans to this day. On his death in 1914, he was known as “the most useful citizen of New York”, a name coined by Roosevelt.

Jacob A. Riis Committee
A Jacob A. Riis Committee was founded in 2002 for the purpose of bringing this famous Dane to the attention of his countrymen. 2005 saw the publication of “The Ideal American” by Tom Buk-Swienty - the first complete biography of Jacob Augustus Riis. A bust of Jacob A. Riis was erected in Badstuegade, by the River Ribe Å, in 2006. The bust is the work of Gudrun Steen-Andersen.

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In Badstuegade by the River Ribe Å stands a bust of Jacob A. Riis.

Memorial plaque
There is a memorial plaque to
Jacob A.

Ribe Byferie has a small exhibition of his stunning photographs from the slums of New York.

Jacob A. Riis

Read the article A Ribe son in New York.

In connection with Ribe's 1300 year anniversary in 2010 a trailer was recorded for a possible documentary about Ribe's famous son, photographer and journalist Jacob A. Riis. Watch the trailer for the project here.

In 2010 the film company, Citizen Dane, whose director Marcus Mandal was behind the television series about the Royal Family and Karen Blixen - “Out of This World”, started a project that will lead to an international documentary about Ribe's famous son, photographer and journalist Jacob A. Riis.

In the autumn of 2009 Marcus Mandal was in Ribe to record a trailer for the documentary. The trailer is supposed to arouse interest among investors and foundations, so that it hopefully will be possible to produce the documentary.