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Child Labor. As Seen Through the Photographs of Louis Wikes Hine. Faces of Lost Youth.

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Child labor l.jpg

Child Labor

As Seen Through the Photographs of Louis Wikes Hine



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Adolescent girls from Bibb Mfg. Co. in Macon, Georgia. A,B,C's. Said, "Yes I want to learn but can't when I work all the time." Been in the mills 4 years, 3 years in the Olympia Mill. Columbia, South Carolina.


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Doffer boys, Macon, Georgia. A,B,C's. Said, "Yes I want to learn but can't when I work all the time." Been in the mills 4 years, 3 years in the Olympia Mill. Columbia, South Carolina.


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The Mill A,B,C's. Said, "Yes I want to learn but can't when I work all the time." Been in the mills 4 years, 3 years in the Olympia Mill. Columbia, South Carolina.



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A moments glimpse of the outer world. Said she was 11 years old. Been working over a year. Rhodes Mfg. Co. Lincolnton, North Carolina.


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Small boys and girls climbed up onto the spinning frame to mend brokenthreads and to put back the empty bobbins. Bibb Mill No. 1. Macon, Georgia.


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  • One of the spinners in Whitnel Cotton Mill. She was 51 inches high. Has been in the mill one year. Sometimes works at night. Runs 4 sides - 48 cents a day. When asked how old she was, she hesitated, then said, "I don't remember," then added confidentially, "I'm not old enough to work, but do just the same." Out of 50 employees, there were ten children about her size. Whitnel, N.C.


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The overseer said apologetically, "She just happened in." The mills seem full of youngsters who "just happened in" or "are helping sister." Newberry, S.C.


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Jo Bodeon, The mills seem full of a back-roper in the mule room at Chace Cotton Mill. Burlington, VT.


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Newsies The mills seem full of



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A group of newsies on Capitol steps. Tony, age 8, Dan, 9, Mo. Joseph, 10, and John, age 11. Washington, D.C.


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Francis Lance, 5 years old. 41 inches high. He jumps on and off moving trolley cars at the risk of his life. St. Louis, Mo.


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Miners off


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Breaker boys, Hughestown Borough Pa. Coal Co. One of these is James Leonard, another is Stanley Rasmus. Pittston, Pa.


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More breaker boys, smallest is Angelo Ross. Pittston, Penn. Works 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Brown West Virginia.


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The Factory Works 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Brown West Virginia.





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Young cigar makers in Engelhardt & Co. who look under 14. Labor leaders said in busy times many small boys and girls were employed. Youngsters all smoke. Tampa, Fla.



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Willie, a Polish boy, taking his noon rest in a doffer Evansville, Ind. box at the Quidwick Co. Mill. Anthony, R.I.


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Day scene. Wheaton Glass Works. Boy is Howard Lee, 15 years old. Has been in glass works two years and some nights. Millville, N.J.




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Seafood Workers Alexandria, Va.


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Oyster shuckers working in Dunbar, LA, canning factory from 3:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. All but the very smallest work, including girl in center. Her mother said she is "a real help to me."



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Johnnie, a 9 year old oyster shucker. The man behind him is a padrone who has brought these people from Baltimore for 4 years. He is their boss. Dunbar, LA.


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Manuel the young shrimp picker, age 5, with a mountain of child labor oyster shells behind him. He worked last year. Understands not a word of English. Biloxi, Miss.


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Cutting fish in a sardine cannery. Large sharp knives are used with a cutting and chopping motion. Slippery floors & benches & careless bumping increase the possibility of accidents. "The salt water gits into the cuts and they ache," said one boy. Eastport, ME.


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Hiram Pulk, age 9, working in a canning company. "I ain't very fast only about 5 boxes a day. They pay about 5 cents a box," he said. Eastport, ME.


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Fruit Pickers very fast only about


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A berry field on Rock Creek. Whites and blacks, old and young, work here from4:30 a.m. to sunset some days. A long hot day. Rock Creek, Md.


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Camille Carmo, age 7, and Justine, age 9. The older girl young, work here frompicks about 4 pails a day. Rochester, Mass.



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Little Salesmen Baltimore.


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  • After 9 p.m., 7 year old Tommie Nooman demonstrating the advantages of the Ideal Necktie Form in a store window on Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C. His father said, "He is the youngest demonstrator in America. Has been doing it for several years from San Francisco, to New York. We stay a month or six weeks in a place. He works at it off and on." Remarks from the by-standers were not having the best effect on Tommie.


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A Variety of Jobs years. Out after midnight on May 21, 1910. Ordinarily works 6 hours per day. Works of his own volition. All earnings go to his father. Wilmington, Delaware.


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  • A Bowery bootblack in New York. years. Out after midnight on May 21, 1910. Ordinarily works 6 hours per day. Works of his own volition. All earnings go to his father. Wilmington, Delaware.



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George Christopher, Postal Telegraph, age 14. Been at it over 3 years. Does not work nights. Nashville, Tenn.





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Struggling Families Worth & Denver train car.


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Mrs. Battaglia (pictured with Tessie, 12, and Tony, 7) works in a garment shop except on Saturdays, when the children sew with her at home for 2 or 3 cents a pair finishing men's pants. They earn $1-1.50 on Saturday. Father disabled and can earn very little. NY City.


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Jewish family & neighbors working until late at night sewing garters. The youngest work until 9 p.m., the others until 11 p.m. or later. Out of work father helps make garters. NY City.


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Picking nuts in dirty basement. The dirtiest imaginable children were pawing over the nuts on the table. Mother had a cold and blew her nose frequently (without washing her hands) and the dirty handkerchiefs reposed comfortably on table close to the nuts and nut meats. The father picks now. NY City.


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Pastimes and Vices children were pawing over the nuts on the table. Mother had a cold and blew her nose frequently (without washing her hands) and the dirty handkerchiefs reposed comfortably on table close to the nuts and nut meats. The father picks now. NY City.



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Messengers absorbed in their usual game of poker in the "Den of the terrible nine" (the waiting room for Western Union Messengers, Hartford, Conn.). They play for money. Some lose a whole month's wages in a day and then are afraid to go home.


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A.D.T. messenger boys. They all smoke. Birmingham, Alabama. of the terrible nine" (the waiting room for Western Union Messengers, Hartford, Conn.). They play for money. Some lose a whole month's wages in a day and then are afraid to go home.




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Group Portraits messenger. Nine months in service, works from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Smokes and visits houses of prostitution. Wilmington, Del.


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Getting working papers in New York City. messenger. Nine months in service, works from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Smokes and visits houses of prostitution. Wilmington, Del.


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Two of the smaller girls with three other sisters work on the night shift and support a big, lazy father who complains he is not well enough to work. He loafs around the country store. The oldest three of these sisters have been in the mill for 7 years, and the two youngest, two years. The latter earns 84 cents a night. Whitnel, N.C.

  • Children on the night shift going to work at 6 p.m. on a cold, dark December day. They do not come out again until 6 a.m. When they went home the next morning they were all drenched by a heavy, cold rain and had few or no wraps.



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At 5 p.m., boys going home from Monougal Glass Works. Md. One boy remarked, "De place is lousey wid kids." Fairmont, W. Va.



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Fish cutters at a Canning Co in Maine. Ages range from 7 to 12. They live near the factory. The 7 year old boy in front, Byron Hamilton, has a badly cut finger but helps his brother regularly. Behind him is his brother George, age 11, who cut his finger half off while working. Ralph, on the left, displays his knife and also a badly cut finger. They and many youngsters said they were always cutting themselves.

George earns a $1 some days usually 75 cents. Some of the others say they earn a $1 when they work all day. At times they start at 7 a.m. and work all day until midnight.


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Bibliography 12. They live near the factory. The 7 year old boy in front, Byron Hamilton, has a badly cut finger but helps his brother regularly. Behind him is his brother George, age 11, who cut his finger half off while working. Ralph, on the left, displays his knife and also a badly cut finger. They and many youngsters said they were always cutting themselves.

Adapted from:

  • The History Place http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/childlabor/index.html


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