Confronting Photographs From The 1900s Show The Struggles Of Working Children Before Child Labor Was Abolished


Photographer Lewis Hine was tasked with being the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee from 1908. Lewis traveled across the country, documenting child labor, and endured constant threats from factory owners as the existence of child labor was supposed to be kept away from the public’s eye. However, Hine persisted, adopting many different disguises (such as a fire inspector or a bible salesman) to take photos and interview the children working at factories or in the streets.

Hind used his camera as a tool for social commentary and reform, focusing on the dangerous and appalling conditions that the children had to work in. Risking his own safety, Hine snapped thousands of photographs with one goal – to end child labor. And of course, spreading the photographs, in the form of pamphlets, newspapers, and magazines paid off as the federal government eventually had to put out stricter labor laws.

Scroll down below to see a selection of Hine’s photographs and don’t forget to tell us what you think.

(h/t boredpanda)

  1. 1 7-Year Old Rosie. Regular Oyster Shucker. Her Second Year At It. Illiterate. Works All Day. Shucks Only A Few Pots A Day. Varn & Platt Canning Co. Location: Bluffton, South Carolina

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  2. 2 Some Of Newark's Small Newsboys. Afternoon. Location: Newark, New Jersey

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  3. 3 Rhodes Mfg. Co., Lincolnton, N.c. Spinner. A Moments Glimpse Of The Outer World Said She Was 10 Years Old. Been Working Over A Year. Location: Lincolnton, North Carolina

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  4. 4 Rose Biodo, 1216 Annan St., Philadelphia. 10 Years Old. Working 3 Summers. Minds Baby And Carries Berries, Two Pecks At A Time. Location: Browns Mills, New Jersey

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  5. 5 7 Year Old Ferris. Tiny Newsie Who Did Not Know Enough To Make Change For Investigator. There Are Still Too Many Of These Little Ones In The Larger Cities. Location: Mobile, Alabama

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  6. 6 Frank P......., Whose Legs Were Cut Off By A Motor Car In A Coal Mine In West Virginia When He Was 14 Years 10 Months Of Age. Location: Monongah, West Virginia

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  7. 7 Some Boys Were So Small They Had To Climb Up On The Spinning Frame To Mend The Broken Threads And Put Back The Empty Bobbins. Location: Macon, Georgia

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  8. 8 Callie Campbell, 11 Years Old, Picks 75 To 125 Pounds Of Cotton A Day, And Totes 50 Pounds Of It When Sack Gets Full. "No, I Don't Like It Very Much." Location: Potawotamie County, Oklahoma

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  9. 9 Four-Year-Old Mary, Who Shucks Two Pots Of Oysters A Day At Dunbar. Tends The Baby When Not Working. Location: Dunbar, Louisiana

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  10. 10 Newsboy Asleep On Stairs With Papers. Location: Jersey City, New Jersey

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