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Joseph Hart's engaging and comprehensive essay complements Hirschoff's photographs by detailing the district's social and economic evolution and the political decision making that led to its destruction. Hart presents a popular history of Minneapolis's skid row and the people who lived there, migrant workers who learned that changes in the local economy could quickly degrade their status from valued laborer to societal menace (vagrant, tramp, or bum). By capturing the texture of life on skid row, Hart reveals the lost American culture of a bygone community.
A creative photographer, entrepreneur, and inventor, Edwin C. Hirschoff had a successful career in public relations before founding Art-o-graph, a Minneapolis business that has prospered for more than half a century. Born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1905, he lived in Minneapolis for almost ninety years.
Joseph Hart is a writer, editor, and teacher living in Minneapolis. A former staff writer at City Pages, he is a freelance journalist who writes for local and national publications.