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Immigrant Children and Child Labor. The Immigrant Experience in the Early 1900s. Why do people move? Why did people leave their homes? What was life like for immigrant children?. Babies on The Mill by Dixon.

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The immigrant experience in the early 1900s
The Immigrant Experience in the Early 1900s

  • Why do people move? Why did people leave their homes?

  • What was life like for immigrant children?

Babies on the mill by dixon
Babies on The Mill by Dixon

  • (Pictures of child laborers and song of era)

  • (Immigrants describing how difficult it is to not speak English)

Immigrant children and child labor

The man had gone away from our village a poor boy. Now he returned with unlimited wealth, which he had obtained in the country of the American wizards. After many amazing adventures he had become a merchant in a city called Mott Street, so it was said…

The wealth of this man filled my mind with the idea that I, too, would like to go to the country of the wizards and gain some of their wealth, and after a long time my father consented, and gave me his blessing, and my mother took leave of me with tears…

My father gave me $100, and I went to Hong Kong with five other boys from our place and we got steerage passage on a steamer, paying $50 each. ….

When I went to work for that American family I could not speak a word of English, and I did not know anything about housework. The family consisted of husband, wife and two children. They were very good to me and paid me $3.50 a week, of which I could save $3.

I did not know how to do anything, and I did not understand what the lady said to me, but she showed me how to cook, wash, iron, sweep, dust, make beds, wash dishes, clean windows, paint and brass, polish the knives and forks, etc., by doing the things herself and then overseeing my efforts to imitate her. She would take my hands and show them how to do things. She and her husband and children laughed at me a great deal, but it was all good natured. I was not confined to the house in the way servants are confined here, but when my work was done in the morning I was allowed to go out till lunch time. People in California are more generous than they are here. Immigration and Exclusion ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS.doc

Statistic from bureau of the labor of the state of washington 1901 1918
Statistic from Bureau of the Labor of the State of Washington, 1901-1918

HistoryLink File #1086

Newsboys in Seattle form union on November 24, 1892.

On November 24, 1892, Seattle newspaper sellers organize the Seattle Newsboys' Union.

By 1902, 80 newsboys were members. They were paid per newspaper sold, some earning $2.50 per day. By 1918 there were 402 members including two females.


[Washington State] Bureau of Labor, Third Biennial Report of the Bureau of Labor of the State of Washington 1901-1902 (Seattle: Metropolitan Press, Inc., public printer, 1903), 97; [Washington State] Bureau of Labor, Bureau of Labor Eleventh Biennial Report 1917-1918 (Olympia: Frank M. Lamborn, Public Printer, 1918), 86. By Greg Lange, May 09, 1999

Immigrant children and child labor Washington, 1901-1918 Orphan train documentary 2 min.

Background info on the connection between orphan trains and immigration

Lesson plan on orphan train from LOC and

Immigrant children and child labor

Brown Hall, Washington Children's Home Society, NE 65th Street at 33rd Avenue NE, Seattle, 1909Photo by Asahel Curtis, Courtesy UW Special Collections (Neg. 482)

Immigrant children and child labor

Washington Children's Home Society opens Brown Hall in Seattle in November Essay 3464 : Printer-Friendly FormatIn November 1908, the Washington Children's Home Society opens Brown Hall in the Bryant neighborhood of Seattle. Named after founders Reverend Harrison D. Brown and his wife Libbie Beach Brown, the building replaces a home at Green Lake destroyed by fire. The society will become the largest, private, non-for-profit child welfare organization in the state. The National Children's Home Society was formed in Illinois in 1883 on the new idea of placing orphaned children for adoption in family foster homes rather than in orphanages. In 1895, Reverend Brown and his wife were assigned to supervise the society's work in Oregon. In 1896, they began their work in Seattle, finding families for orphaned children. In 1899, the society built a small receiving home at Dow's Landing on Green Lake. Loina (Mrs. J.N.) Irvine received $1.50 per child per week to care for children until they could be placed. On December 29, 1907, a fire destroyed the Green Lake home killing two infants. The society constructed Brown Hall on property donated by M. F. Jones in Ravenna Heights. The site on NE 65th Street at 33rd Avenue NE has been the headquarters of the society since then. Brown Hall was demolished in the early 1970s to make room for more modern facilities. In 2001, the Children's Home Society of Washington served children and families at 38 locations in the state. Sources:A Century Of Turning Hope Into Reality (Seattle: Children's Home Society of Washington, 1996); "Childrens' Home Society of Washington," Website ( By David Wilma, July 29, 2001(Related materials: Rodzina,)

RESOURCES Seattle in November 1908.