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Early 20th Century Child Laborers

Between 1908 and 1924, Lewis Wickes Hine photographed children for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), a reform-minded organization which sought to document children's work environments. Ultimately, Hine's photographs helped bring about stricter labor laws. Here are 25 images from this project.

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2. 13 year old embroiderer in New Jersey

Via loc.gov

Photographed by Lewis Wickes Hine in 1923. Hine noted that she had been working since 4pm and expected to stop at 10:30pm. She would earn 90 cents when she completed the dress.

5. 13 and 14 year old berry carriers in Delaware

loc.gov

Photographed by Lewis Wickes Hine on May 28, 1910. When the photographer asked one of the girls her age, she initially responded that she was 12 years old before her mother told her to say she was 14.

6. Young children stringing tobacco in Connecticut

loc.gov

Photographed by Lewis Wickes Hine on August 3, 1917. The photographer reported that there were approximately 41 children ranging from 10-15 years old working for the South Windsor company.

8. Boy holding a door open in a mine

loc.gov

Photographed by Lewis Wickes Hine in January 1911. He noted that the boy had to wait alone in the dark and the dampness of the mine was making him cough.

10. Boys working on a tobacco farm in Kentucky

loc.gov

Photographed by Lewis Wickes Hine on August 21, 1916. The mother of the five year old boy pictured in the foreground commented: "He worms and he suckers. Quite a worker but he aint old enough to go to school yet."

11. Miner boy on his way home from work

loc.gov

Photographed by Lewis Wickes Hine in October 1906. The boy had been working in the mine for three years. He had been hospitalized once after his leg was crushed by a coal car.

13. Young farm workers in the Arnao family

loc.gov

Photographed by Lewis Wickes Hine on May 28, 1910. School was in session and the mother expected the children to work for 15-20 more days before returning. The youngest boy was 3, the elder 6, and the girl 9.

15. Boys cutting sardines in Maine

loc.gov

Photographed by Lewis Wickes Hine in August 1911. The slippery conditions made injuries inevitable. One of the boys commented: "The salt gits in the cuts an' they ache."

17. Sweeper with broken wrist

loc.gov

Photographed by Lewis Wicke Hines on June 20, 1916. Manuel Costa Maiata was sent to the Union Hospital in Fall River, Massachusetts after slipping on a banana peel.

18. 8 year old girl running home with injury

loc.gov

Photographed by Lewis Wickes Hine in August 1911. Phoebe Thomas had just cut the tip of her thumb off while cutting sardines in a factory.

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