No doubt that when these photos were made the working conditions, equipment, and so on were at least “standard” issue–nothing too fancy, nothing too crowded, nothing too dirty, nothing too rough, nothing too grubby.
The overall sense of the series of images though is definitely Grub Street.
The photos were made for the pamphlet The Party Press, 1900-1904 which celebrated the first and at the time only Socialist daily newspaper the “Daily People”, and showed the guts and glory of the Beast.
It all seems rather tatty, and soiled, and threadbare, and cramped, and probably very oily–all of this was either offset or enhanced by the fact that the newspaper was located in several floors of “a” but not “the” Flat Iron Building.
“The devotion the sacrifices the work in behalf of the maintenance of the Daily People will forever remain the brightest day in the life of the party.
On the day of its birth after a march through the streets several hundred comrades waited until four o clock in the morning to receive the first copy of the paper the first and in fact the only Socialist daily ever published in the English language.
The building situated at 2 6 New Reade Street, New York, the birthplace of the Daily People was torn down several years ago.
The party members named it the Daily People Flatiron Building and it saw many of the struggles that followed the ones of 1899.
All party institutions were housed in this building. The basement was used by the mechanical department the ground floor by the Labor News Company the party’s literature agency while the third floor was occupied by the editorial rooms.
On the top floor were the offices of the national secretary also of Section New York and the national office of the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance.”--from Daniel DeLeon, a Symposium, published by the Socialist Labor Party, New York, 1919