“A public place”

The Strawfoot

This 1862 photograph shows the construction of Central Park. Note how the soil has been raked and the boulders placed in preparation for the landscaping that would come later. This 1862 photograph shows the construction of Central Park. Note how the soil has been raked, the boulders placed, and the stone walls laid in preparation for the landscaping that would come later.

This week, in between hacking from the cough I seemingly cannot shake, I have been making progress on the Theodore Roosevelt Senior book. I have been focusing my energies at the moment on the 1850s, when the sectional crisis was intensifying. Many New Yorker had strong Southern sympathies and were ambivalent at best about slavery one way or the other. New York was also a notoriously cramped and squalid place, with its own concerns and provinciality. Ultimately all politics is local and New Yorkers were most concerned about their own increasingly dangerous and crowded streets. Charles Loring Brace founded the Children’s Aid Society in 1853 to combat at least some of the city’s social ills. He and…

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