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February 27, 1909


JAMA. 1909;LII(9):706-707. doi:10.1001/jama.1909.02540350032006

The serious student of social conditions will undoubtedly find for many moral economic and physical ills a common cause—the vicious method of housing the multitudes in our great cities. Self-respect decays where facilities for cleanliness are denied and where a decent privacy is impossible; the instinct of thrift is nipped in the bud by surroundings in which self-improvement seems impossible; and morals, finances and health suffer together in disease-breeding dwellings. Such conclusions have been forced on students in Washington— a city with few manufacturing or commercial interests and with few streets which suggest extreme poverty by their exterior. There was a time when Connecticut Avenue, ignorant of the existence of Willow-tree alley, used to boast that Washington had no slums. As a matter of fact, many blocks in respectable and even well-to-do neighborhoods of Washington are honeycombed by alleys swarming with an obscure population. The conditions revealed by the Washington