NYCHS text section 1 of 13 from The Sun 1908 Hart Island story
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(Continued in Section 2)
NYCHS presents readable close-ups of images and text from a NY Sun story 100+ years ago about Hart Island and its top uniformed officer Fred Bartels. The last of the 13 Text Sections includes a link to access the Library of Congress source web page. NYCHS thanks Jeff Bartels. More details below in Webmaster's Note.
Webmaster Note:

The "City of the Pauper Dead" story extracted whole from the Library of Congress on-line archive image of Page 7 of the Sunday, July 13, 1908 issue of the N.Y. Sun, is too large to fit unreduced on a standard HTML web page. If reduced to fit, the text becomes too small to read (See upper left corner of photo montage above).

As a way to overcome the problem, we have split the text into 13 close-up sections. The four photos in the montage above are split among the next 12 close-up section pages, each photo accompanying three text sections. On the last close-up section page is a link for accessing the Library of Congress on-line archive image of Page 7 of the Sunday, July 13, 1908 issue of the N.Y. Sun.

A word of caution about the accuracy of details in the story:

Many journalist then, as often has been the case in our own period, produced their reports on the run, so to speak, lacking the time and/or means (and perhaps occasionally the inclination) to double check their own impressions of what they see and their own understanding of what they have been told.

The adage "Don't believe everything you read" should be applied to this 100-years+ newspaper story just as one would apply it to a story in this morning's newspaper.

A few examples from the "City of the Pauper Dead" story suffice to illustrate why this cautionary note is offered:

  • The Sun reporter stated in his 1908 story (Text Section 4) that Bartels' "residence, the workhouse, a workshop, icehouse and laundry are the only buildings on this deserted' island.

    But we know that the 1908 Hart Island also included the significant reformatory and reform school complex.

  • The Sun reporter stated (Text Section 4) the island "is oval in shape." Actually the shape is more like a dog's hind leg.

  • The Sun reporter stated (Text Section 8) that in addition to Civil War veterans buried in a small special graveyard within the larger cemetery, "there are buried here eight sailors (names unknown) who died on the schoolship Mercury about thirty-five years ago." That would place the timing of the deaths and the Hart Island burials of the eight Correction-run reform school ship sailors at approximately 1873. But research finds no other reference to such a major maritime disaster involving the deaths and City Cemetery burials of "eight unknown sailors" aboard the Mercury. If the identity of their ship was known, why would the agency that ran the ship based at Hart Island not know their names? Something Bartels told the reporter was misheard or misunderstood.

    Nevertheless, the story contains much information and does convey something of what Hart Island must have been like a little more than a century ago.