of children keeping their forced march on the factory-floors -- an army that out watches the sun by day and the stars by night ... a spectral army of pigmy people sucked in from the hills to dance beside the crazing wheels.“
Edwin Markham, "The Hoe-Man in the Making:
The Child at the Looms," Cosmopolitan, Vol. 61 (September 1906), pp. 480-87.
Women’s Journal (1916)
Children of the Cotton Industry: Photographs of Lewis W. Hine With original photo captions
Perhaps you are weary of child labor pictures. Well, so are the rest of us, but we propose to make you and the whole country so sick and tired of the whole business that when the time for action comes, child labor pictures will be records of the past. Lewis Hine
Millie, four years old and Nellie five years old. Cotton pickers on a farm near Houston. Millie picks eight pounds a day and Nellie thirty pounds. This is nearly every day. Home conditions bare and bad.
Millie. Four year old cotton picker on farm near Houston. Picks about eight pounds a day regularly.
Millie. Four year old cotton picker on farm near Houston. Picks about eight pounds a day, regularly. Near Houston, Texas. Oct 1913.
Edith, a five year old cotton picker on M.M. Leno’s farm, Bells, Tex. (near Dennison.) “ She’s a good steady picker. Works all day long,” her aunt said.
Four year old cotton picker. A regular worker on farm of B. H. Whiteside. Children come out here from town to pick cotton outside of school hours. Ages range from four to six years (ages of two youngest boys who pick regularly) up to fifteen or more. Two adults. Near Waxahachie, Tex. Oct 1913
“ Boy Wanted” sign. West 19 Street. L.W. Hine, New York, NY. Mar. 1916
Sign on 22[nd] St. factory entrance. Location: New York, New York (State) / L.W. Hine.
Boy & Girl Wanted. Printed permanent sign. Have reputation of employing mostly children. Location: Fall River, Massachusetts / Lewis W. Hine. .
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. 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.
Adolescent girls from Bibb Mfg. Co. in Macon, Georgia.
Jo Bodeon, a back-roper in the mule room at Chace Cotton Mill. Burlington, Vt.
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.
Willie, a Polish boy, taking his noon rest in a doffer box at the Quidwick Co. Mill. Anthony, R.I.
A general view of spinning room, Cornell Mill. Fall River, Mass.
A moments glimpse of the outer world. Said she was 11 years old. Been working over a year. Rhodes Mfg. Co. Lincolnton, N.C. Macon, Ga.
Some boys and girls were so small they had to climb up on to the spinning frame to mend broken threads and to put back the empty bobbins. Bibb Mill No. 1.
The overseer said apologetically, "She just happened in." She was working steadily. The mills seem full of youngsters who "just happened in" or "are helping sister." Newberry, S.C.
Henry Fourner, 261 Jefferson St. Castle Hill, has been sweeper and cleaner in #2 Spinning Room two months. Salem, Mass. Oct. 1911
Some of the young knitters in London Hosiery Mills. London, Tenn.
Wichendon, Mass Sept. 1911 : Group of sweepers and doffers in the filling/spinning room of Glenallen Mill. The boys were smuggled out of back window during hours by second hand. All work. Smallest boy is Francis Pagnette. Also Henry Smith, Maple Street.
Manuel Miranda, 229 Alden St. Very young boy, has been doffer in card room of Cornell Mill for 8 months, Said, “I’m goin’ on 16” (but did not say when he would reach it.) Cornell Mill, Fall River, Mass. Jan. 1912
Jo Benevidos, 3 Herion Street., curled up in a doffing box, eating his lunch. Fall River, Mass. Jan 1912
Boy Sweeper, Lincoln Cotton Mills, Evansville, Ind. Carding Machines: Floor Slippery. October 1908
Boy at warping machine, Catawba Cotton Mill, Newton, NC. Dec. 1908
Doffers in Cherryville Mfg. Co., N. C. Plenty of Others. Cherryville, N. C. Nov. 1908
Little spinner in Mollahan Cotton Mills, Newberry, S.C. Many others as small. Photo by Lewis W. Hine. Dec. 3/08. Witness Sara R. Hine
Lincoln Cotton Mills, Evansville, Ind. Girls at weaving machines; warpers. Evansville, Ind. Oct, 1908.
Lincoln Cotton Mill, Evansville, Ind. Young Girls at Spoolers. Evansville, Ind. Oct.1908.
This is the smallest I could find in the Newton, N. C. Cotton Mills. Overseer said “She just brings her sister’s dinner”, but as it was only 9:30 A.M., and as she worked faithfully as her sister all the time I was in the mill, I judged she was a regular “helper.” She looked to be 8 years old. Others there nearly as small. Newton, N.C. 1980
View of Warping Room, Lonsdale, R.I. Mills Nov. 1912.
Spinners and Doffers in Mollahan Mills, Newberry, S.C. Many others as small. Photo by Lewis W. Hine. Dec. 3/08. Sara R. Hine, Witness
View of spinning frames which were tended by some very young workers apparently eight to ten. The superintendent refused permission to photograph the workers. Kosciusko, Miss. Nov. 1913
Hattie Hunter, spinner in Lancaster Cotton Mills, S.C. 52 inches high, worked in mill for 3 years. Gets 50 cents a day. Dec. 1, 1908. Location: Lancaster, South Carolina. / L.W. Hine
A young raveler in London Hosiery Mills. Location: Loudon, Tennessee. Lewis Hine
Two of the “helpers” in the Tifton Cotton Mill, Tifton Georgia. They work regularly. Lewis Hine.
"Drawing-in" -15 years. Berkshire Cotton Mills. Location: Adams, Massachusetts Lewis W. Hine.
Little Fannie, 7 years old, 48 inches high, helps sister in Elk Mills. Her sister (in photo) said, "Yes, she he'ps me right smart. Not all day but all she can. Yes, she started with me at six this mornin'." These two belong to a family of 19 children. Location: Fayetteville, Tennessee.
All these are workers in the Cherokee Hosiery Mill, Rome, Ga. Noon, Apr. 10, 1913. The youngest are turners and loopers. Other Hosiery Mills around here employ children of 8 and 9 years. Some of these appear to be as young.
Dangerous Noon-hour Recreation. Doffer boys and others from Pacific Mill, Lawrence, Mass. Nov.1910
A few of the young workers in the Beaumont Mill. Spartenburg, S.C.
Wampum Manufacturing Co., Lincolnton, N.C. Superintendent refused to let me take photos inside. Nov. 1908.
The whole work force of workers in the cotton mills of Stevenson, Ala. Several of them are apparently under twelve, but I could not get the ages. Photo posed by the general manager. Dec. 1913
The whole force, Tifton Cotton Mill, Tifton, Ga. All these were working and helping regularly in the mill. Location: Tifton, Georgia.
Shaw Cotton Mills. Overseer grouped all workers, and several of them are surely under 13, and several began work under 13 last year. Weldon, N.C. Nov. 1914
These all work in Cleveland Hosiery Mills. The very youngest one (with curls) said, "I ravels and pick up." Small boy in another mill said "Over in Cleveland, they work em so little, they have to stand em on boxes to reach." Children here and in the hosiery mills generally seemed better dressed and in better condition than in spinning mills. (See report.) Location: Cleveland, Tennessee. Lewis Hine.
The wagon that delivers Home Work to Somerville Mass. The owner of the wagon (who is not the driver) is O. Brown, 27 Main Street, Reading, Mass. These wagons (about 4 in all) are worked on commission, not owned by factory. Somerville, Mass. Aug. 1912
Mrs. Battaglia with Tessie, age 12, and Tony, age 7. Mrs. Battaglia works in a garment shop except on Saturdays, when the children sew with her at home. Get 2 or 3 cents a pair finishing men's pants. Said they earn $1 to $1.50 on Saturday. Father disabled and can earn very little. New York City.
A Jewish family and neighbors working until late at night sewing garters. This happens several nights a week when there is plenty of work. The youngest work until 9 p.m. The others until 11 p.m. or later. On the left is Mary, age 7, and 10 year old Sam, and next to the mother is a 12 year old boy. On the right are Sarah, age 7, next is her 11 year old sister, 13 year old brother. Father is out of work and also helps make garters. New York City.
Picking nuts in dirty basement. The dirtiest imaginable children were pawing over the nuts eating lunch 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. New York City.
Housing Conditions, Rear of Republican Street Providence, Nov. 23, 1912 .
Philip Deacon, 34 Charter Street, About 10 years old. Didn’t know age (nor name very well) Boston, Mass. Aug. 1912.
Typical group of Home Workers crocheting on steps, 16 Fourth Street, Somerville, Mass. Somerville, Mass. Aug. 1912 .
A typical view of children tying tags out in the hot sun in rear of 292 Highland Street, Roxbury, Mass. Aug. 1912.
Family of Mrs. Donovan, 293 ½ Highland Street, Roxbury, Mass. Tying tags for Dennison Co. This is the family that has worked on tags for 7 years and makes an average from that work $30 a month. One month they made $42. Mrs. D. said, “Will we ever be able to do it again? All the children aged 13, 9, 11, 7 and the twins 4 ½ years, help the mother. They often have to work late at night to get done. Roxbury, Mass August 1912.
A typical sight. Family and neighbors working on tags on door steps of Mrs. McCarthy, 68 Marcella Street, Roxbury, Mass. Aug. 1912.
Photographs in this photo essay are part of the National Child Labor Committee Collection, one of the Prints and Photographs Division of the digital collections of the Library of Congress. The National Child Labor Committee Collection contains about 5,100 photographs taken between 1908 and 1924. The photographs, taken primarily by Lewis Hine, focus on children, showing workers, working and living conditions, and educational settings. For more information about Arrangements and Access to the NCLCC, please visit http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/nclchtml/nclcarrange.html
From the Library of Congress website http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/res/097_hine.html National Child Labor Committee (Lewis Hine Photographs) Rights and Restrictions Information Prints and Photographs Division , Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 20540-4730 In 1954 the Library received the records of the National Child Labor Committee, including approximately 5,000 photographs and 350 negatives by Lewis Hine. In giving the collection to the Library, the NCLC stipulated that "There will be no restrictions of any kind on your use of the Hine photographic material.“ Access: Permitted; subject to P&P policy on serving originals. Reproduction (photocopying, hand-held camera copying, photo duplication and other forms of copying allowed by "fair use"): Permitted; subject to P&P policy on copying. This policy prohibits photocopying of the original photographs in this collection. Publication and other forms of distribution: In 1954 the Library received the records of the National Child Labor Committee, including approximately 5,000 photographs and 350 negatives by Lewis Hine. In giving the collection to the Library, the NCLC stipulated that "There will be no restrictions of any kind on your use of the Hine photographic material." Credit Line: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, National Child Labor Committee Collection, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USZ62-108765] For more information, please read: Copyright and Other Restrictions: ... Sources for Information Prepared by: Prints and Photographs Division staff. Last revised: January 7, 2004