30 Shocking Photos Of Child Labor Between 1908 And 1916

The impact of these images, by photographer Lewis Hine, were instrumental in changing the child labor laws in the U.S.

1.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: June 1910

Location: Seaford, Delaware.

The photo shows Daisy Langford, an 8-year-old who works at Ross’ canneries. She helps at the capping machine, but is not able to “keep up.” So she places caps on the cans at the rate of about 40 per minute working full time. That was her first season at the cannery.

2.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: August 1908

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Young workers at the Indianapolis Furniture Factory.

3.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: September 1908

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Lawrence J. Hill, 17 years old, had four fingers mashed off by stamping machine in a lamp factory.

4.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: October 1908

Location: West Virginia

Two boys working at Lehr glass works.

5.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: August 1908

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Noon time at a cotton mill.

6.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: November 1910

Location: Fayetteville, Tennessee.

Group of spinners at Elk Cotton Mills. According to Lewis, the youngest girl hardly knew her name.

7.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: November 1908

Location: Location: Lincolnton, North Carolina.

A young girl, worked as a spinner in Daniels Mfg. Co.

8.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: May 1911

Location: Tupelo, Mississippi

Inez Johnson (9 years old) and Lily, her cousin (7 years old), both regularly worked as spoolers.

9.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: November 1908

Location: Gastonia, North Carolina.

Workers on their way home from Loray Mill. The smallest boy on the right end, John Moore, 13 years old, had already been working at the mill for 6 years as sweeper, doffer and spinner.

10.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

October 1913

Location: San Antonio, Texas.

Three brothers: Boyce (10 years old), Lawrence (7 years old), and the unidentified youngest brother (5 years old), worked as newsboys to support themselves, because their father was sick.

All three would start work at 6:00 A.M. and would sell papers until about 9:00 or 10:00 P.M

11.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: May 1910

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Newsboys taking a smoke break.

12.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: August 1908

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

13 Indianapolis Newsboys waiting for the Base Ball edition, in a Newspaper office.

13.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: July 1908

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Francis Lance, 5 years old, selling papers on Grand Avenue.

14.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: August 1916

Location: Warren County—Albaton, Kentucky

Amos (6 years old) and Horace (4 years old), worked every day from “sun-up to sun-down,” worming and suckering tobacco plants on their father’s farm.

15.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Location: Comanche County, Oklahoma

Date: October 1916

Jewel (6 years old) and Harold Walker (5 years old), both picked between 20 to 25 pounds of cotton a day.

16.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: October 1913

Location: Houston [vicinity], Texas

Millie, a 4-year-old cotton picker, on farm near Houston. She picked about eight pounds of cotton a day.

17.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: February 1913

Location: Bluffton, South Carolina

Rosie (7 years old) was a regular oyster shucker. It was her second year working a the Varn & Platt Canning Co.

18.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: January 1911

Location: Pittston, Pennsylvania

Breaker boys (their job was to separate impurities from coal by hand) at the Hughestown Borough Pennsylvania Coal Company.

19.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: January 1911

Location: Pittston, Pennsylvania

Breakers boys at work at the Pennsylvania Coal Co. A kind of slave-driver sometimes stood over the boys, prodding or kicking them into obedience.

20.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: June 1911

Location: Richmond, Virginia

Two Newsboys’ Richard Green (with hat), 5 years old, and Richmond, who was “8”.

21.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: March 1911

Location: Dunbar, Louisiana

Rosy, an 8-year-old oyster shucker, worked all day from about 3:00 A.M. to about 5 P.M. at the Dunbar Cannery.

According to Lewis, the baby in photo would learn to shuck as soon as she could handle the knife.

22.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: March 1911

Location: Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Maud Daly (5 years old) and her sister, Grade Daly (3 years old), each picked about one pot of shrimp a day for the Peerless Oyster Co.

23.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: November 1910

Location: Pell City, Alabama

Doffers at the Pell City Cotton Mill.

24.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: November 1910

Location: Birmingham, Alabama.

Donnie Cole worked as a doffer (someone who clears full bobbins, pirns or spindles from a spinning frame). When asked Lewis asked his age, he hesitated, then said, “I’m 12.”

25.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: April 1913

Location: Columbus, Georgia

Phoenix Mill was a “dinner-toters,” delivering up to 10 meals a day to workers.

26.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: January 1909

Location: Augusta, Georgia

A little spinner at the Globe Cotton Mill. Augusta, Ga. The overseer admitted that she was regularly employed.

27.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: December 1908

Location: Loudon, Tennessee

Like many young workers, this little girl was so small she has to stand on a box to reach the machine.

28.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: February 1911

Location: Port Royal, South Carolina

Josie (6 years old), Bertha (6 years old), Sophie (10 years old), were all shuckers at the Maggioni Canning Co.

29.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: January 1909

Location: Tampa, Florida

Young boys working as cigar makers at the Englahardt & Co.,

30.
Library of Congress / National Child Labor Committee Collection

Date: July 1909

Location: Baltimore, Maryland.

Young workers stringing beans in the J. S. Farrand Packing Co. Those too small to work are held on laps of workers.

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