Gruesome Pictures From The 1900s Showing The Struggles Of Working Children Before Child Labor Was Abolished

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In 1908 Lewis Hine picked up his camera and became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee. It was a start of a long decade, as Lewis traveled across the country, documenting child labor, getting constant threats from factory owners as the immorality 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 snap pictures and interview the children working at factories or in the streets.

Lewis Hine 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.

More info: National Child Labor Committee Collection

A child miner from Castle Gate, c. 1910

Image credits: Utah State Historical Society

Young Driver in Mine: Had been driving one year. (7 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. Daily) Brown Mine, Brown , W. Va. Location: Brown, West Virginia

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

The “Carrying-in Boys,” Midnight At an Indiana Glass Works. Location: Indiana

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Tipple Boy, Turkey Knob Mine, Macdonald, W. Va. Witness E.N. Clopper. Location: MacDonald, West Virginia

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Drivers in a Coal Mine Co. Plenty boys driving and on tipple. No trappers used, as mine is ventilated by another system. Location: West Virginia

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

One of the small boys in J. S. Farrand P[ac]king Co. and a heavy load. J. W. Magruder, witness. Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

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

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

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

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Newsboy asleep on stairs with papers. Location: Jersey City, New Jersey

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Noon hour in the Ewen Breaker, Pennsylvania Coal Co. Location: South Pittston, Pennsylvania

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Arnao family, whole family works. Jo is 3 years old. Boy is 6 years old, Girl is 9 years old. May 28th 1910, before school closed. Location: Browns Mills, New Jersey

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Noon Hour in an Indianapolis Furniture Factory. Aug., 1908. Wit., E. N. Clopper. Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Ethel Shumate. Has been rolling cigarettes in Danville (Va.) Factory for six months. Said she was thirteen years old, but it is doubtful. Location: Danville, Virginia

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Vance, a Trapper Boy, 15 years old. Has trapped for several years in a West Va. Coal mine. $.75 a day for 10 hours work. All he does is to open and shut this door. Location: West Virginia

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

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

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Accident to young mill worker. Giles Edmund Newsom. While working in Sanders Spinning Mille, a piece of the machine fell on to his foot mashing his toe. This caused him to fall on to a spinning machine and his hand went into unprotected gearing, crushing and tearing out two fingers. He told the Attorney he was 11 years old when it happened. Location: Bessemer City, North Carolina

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Some of Newark’s small newsboys. Afternoon. Location: Newark, New Jersey

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Two of the tiny workers, a raveler and a looper in Loudon Hosiery Mills. Location: Loudon, Tennessee

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Young doffers in Mollahan Mills, Newberry, S.C. Dec. 3/08. Witness, Sara R. Hine. Location: Newberry, South Carolina

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Photo of boys working in Arcade Bowling Alley, Trenton, N.J. Photo taken late at night. The boys work until midnight and later. Location: Trenton, New Jersey

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Messenger boy working for Mackay Telegraph Company. Said fifteen years old. Exposed to Red Light dangers. Location: Waco, Texas

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

A greaser in a Coal Mine. See 1835. Location: Bessie Mine, Alabama

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

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

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

One of the young spinners in the Quidwick Co. Mill. Anthony, R. I. (A Polish boy Willie) who was taking his noon rest in a doffer-box. Location: Anthony, Rhode Island

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Newberry Mills (S.C.) Noon hour. All are working here. Witness, Sara R. Hine. Location: Newberry, South Carolina

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

A few of the messengers Western Union, Hartford, Conn. They are on duty, alternate nights, until 10 P.M. Location: Hartford, Connecticut

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

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

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

6 yr. old Earle Holt (or Hope), 712 H St., S.W., Washington, D.C., sells papers for a neighbor boy. When I met him, within an hour he had forgotten that I had photographed him, but he didn’t forget to shortchange me when I bought the paper. Location: Washington (D.C.)

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Maud Daly, five years old. Grade Daly, three years old. Each picks about one pot of shrimp a day for the Peerless Oyster Co. Location: Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

5-year old Harold Walker. Location: Comanche County–[Geronimo], Oklahoma

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

In the Alexandria glass factories, negroes work side by side with the white workers. Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

10 yr. old picker on Gildersleeve Tobacco Farm. Location: Gildersleeve, Connecticut

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

One of the spinners in Whitnel Cotton Mfg. Co. N.C. She was 51 inches high. Had been in mill 1 year. Some at night. Runs 4 sides, 48 cents a day. When asked how old, she hesitated, then said “I don’t remember.” Then confidentially, “I’m not old enough to work, but I do just the same.” Location: Whitnel, North Carolina

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Breaker boys in #9 Breaker, Hughestown Borough, Pa. Coal Co. Smallest boy is Angelo Ross. Location: Pittston, Pennsylvania

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

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

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

A little spinner in Globe Cotton Mill. Augusta, Ga. The overseer admitted she was regularly employed. Location: Augusta, Georgia

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Oldest girl, Minnie Carpenter. Makes fifty cents a day of 10 hours. Works four sides. Younger girl works irregularly. Location: Gastonia, North Carolina

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

“Fire- Fire – I Want to Make the Fire.” An Italian Boy on Salem Street Saturday Morning, offering to make fires for Jewish People. Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

A typical Birmingham messenger. Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Lillian Dambrinio, an eleven-year-old shrimp picker in Peerless Oyster Co. She is an American and lives here. Says picking makes her hands sore. Location: Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Louis Birch, newsboy, 12 years of age. Just started selling. Made 10 cents one day. Father dead. While not under any compulsion to sell papers, Louis, of his own accord, took it up in order to help support his widowed mother. Location: Wilmington, Delaware

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

An Indianapolis Newsie: (Rather young) Witness E. N. Clopper. Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

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

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Two of the boys on night shift in the More-Jonas Glass Co., Bridgeton, N.J. Location: Bridgeton, New Jersey

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Widow & boy rolling papers for cigarettes in a dirty N.Y. tenement. Location: New York, New York

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Girls running warping machines in Loray mill, Gastonia, N.C. Many boys and girls much younger. Location: Gastonia, North Carolina

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

“Basket ! Five Cents Each!” Antoinette Siminger, 12 years old, 4219 Glenway Ave., Price Hill, Sixth St., Market, Cincinnati. 10 P.M. Had been selling since morning. Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

“Radishes! Penny a bunch!” Sixth St. Market, Cincinnati. 10 P.M. Saturday. Boys and girls sell all day, and until 11 P.M. Aug.22, 1908. Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Greel’s Shoe-shining Parlor, Indianapolis, Ind. Said he was 15 years old. Works some nights until 11. Taken at 10 P.M. Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Noon Hour in a Furniture Factory, Indianapolis, Aug., 1908. Wit., E. N. Clopper. Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Glass works, night scene. Location: Indiana

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Fruit Vendors, Indianapolis Market, aug., 1908. Wit., E. N. Clopper. Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Boys Working in a Cannery, Indianapolis, Unloading freight cars full of new tomato cans. Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

A Little “Shaver,” Indianapolis Newsboy, 41 inches high. Said he was 6 years old. Aug., 1908. Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Postal Telegraph Messengers, Indianapolis, (Indiana has no age limit for mes’grs.) Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

A. D. T. Messenger Boy, Indianapolis, 10 P.M. Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Lunch Time, Economy Glass Works, Morgantown, W. Va. Plenty more like this, inside. Location: Morgantown, West Virginia

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Carrying-in Boy at the Lehr, (15 years old) Glass Works, Grafton, W. Va. Has worked for several years. Works nine hours. Day shift one week, night shift next week. Gets $1.25 per day. Location: Grafton, West Virginia

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

“Teaching the young idea.” The Boss (who began at 10 years of age, and has been at it for 30 years) showing a beginner (who is apparently 9 or 10) See 169. Location: Morgantown, West Virginia

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Boy making Melon Baskets, A Basket Factory, Evansville, Ind. Location: Evansville, Indiana

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Boys at Lehr, Economy Glass Works. Location: Morgantown, West Virginia

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

In front of shacks at noon, Florence colony, Whites Bog, Browns Mills, N.J. This is the fourth week of school and the people expect to remain two weeks more. Location: Browns Mills, New Jersey

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Tenjeta Calone, Philadelphia, 10 years old. Been picking cranberries 4 years. Location: Browns Mills, New Jersey

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Boys going to work, Merrimac Mills, noon-hour. Location: Huntsville, Alabama

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Hyman Lapcoff, 1526 Fourteenth St., N.W., Washington, D.C., a ten year old newsie from a good family, carrying a heavy load of newspapers quite a distance. This is a common occurrence and is bad for the little fellows. Location: Washington (D.C.)

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

S.D. Ison and family. Father works some. Both boys on right of photo have been in Washington Cotton Mills, Fries, Va., for four years. When I asked the smallest worker how old he was, he said, “Don’t know,” and looked at his father, who said, “Going’ on 14.” Location: Fries, Virginia

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

San Antonio newsboys need supervision. Here are three brothers. They all start out at 6:00 A.M. and sell until 9:00 and 10:00 P.M. nearly every day except Sunday. I found them selling after ten P.M. Boyce said “We don’t go to school; got to sell papers. Father is sick.” Location: San Antonio, Texas

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Children thrashing corn during school hours on a farm near Dublin. Many such light occupations fall to the lot of the Georgia child. Location: Dublin, Georgia

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Sonny and Pete newsboys. One is six years old. They began at 6:00 A.M. Location: San Antonio, Texas

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Two little pickers. Manuel Alvez – 12 years, Marion Alvez, 8 years. She picks 19 measures. He picks 10 measures. Location: Falmouth – Baker Bog, Massachusetts

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Working Girls Learning Dressmaking in the Free Evening School. Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Eight-year-old, Jennie Camillo, lives in West Maniyunk, Pa. For this summer she has picked cranberries. Location: Pemberton, New Jersey

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Francis Lance 5 years old, 41 inches high. Sells regularly on Grand Avenue. Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Mary Christmas, nearly 4 years old. Picks cranberries sometimes. She is now picking up berries spilled at the barrels by Grandfather. Location: Falmouth – Week’s Bog, Massachusetts

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

11:00 A. M . Monday, May 9th, 1910. Newsies at Skeeter’s Branch, Jefferson near Franklin. They were all smoking. Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Maple Mills, Dillon, S.C. Soarbar Seris, has worked off and on in the mill for 5 years. Winds. Gets 70 cents and up. “Recon I’m about 14.” Didn’t look it. Has worked more nights than day time. Location: Dillon, South Carolina

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Salvin Nocito, 5 years old, carries 2 pecks of cranberries for long distance to the “bushel-man.” Location: Browns Mills, New Jersey

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Katie Kuritzko, 7-year-old oyster shucker. Has mumps now. Her 8-year-old brother also shucks. Location: Dunbar, Louisiana

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Four-year-old Mary, who shucks two pots of oysters a day at Dunbar. Tends the baby when not working. Location: Dunbar, Louisiana

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Helper on a dairy wagon. See report. Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

A young doffer working in Central Mills. Location: Sylacauga, Alabama

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Dave, a young “pusher” at Bessie Mine, Alabama. Location: Bessie Mine, Alabama

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Elsie Shaw, a 6 year old cartoner during the summer. [Her father] asked me to take some photos of her, as he has her do a singing act in vaudeville in the winter, “and she’s old enough now to go through the audience and sell her own photos.” Location: Eastport, Maine

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

John Tidwell, a Cotton Mill Product. Doffer in Avondale Mills. Many of these youngsters smoke. Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Little Fannie, 7 years old, 48 inches high, helps sister in Elk Mills. Location: Fayetteville, Tennessee

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Young boy on warping machine Elk Cotton Mills. Location: Fayetteville, Tennessee

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Girls working on ice wagon. Location: New York, New York

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

10:30 P.M. At Center Market. 11 yr. old Celery Vendor Gus Strateges, 212 Jackson Hall Alley. He sold until 11 P.M. and was out again Sunday morning selling papers. Location: Washington (D.C.)

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Israel April, 9 yr. old newsboy with no badge. Been selling for several years. I found him selling after midnight April 17th and 18th. Quite a pugnacious little chap. He and his brother are said to have a large clientele among ambassadors and senators. Location: Washington (D.C.)

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Fruit Peddlers. Boston 1915 Exhibit. Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Picking over ash barrels. Boston, Mass., Oct. 1909. L.W. Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

At the “Glory Hole.” A midnight scene in a N.J. Glass Works. His name in Edwin Cope, 18, Mt. Vernon[?]. His mother read me the date of his birth from the family record–Mar. 26, 1996 [i.e., 1896]. This proves him to be 13 years old. Location: Bridgeton, New Jersey

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Small boys work at and around these machines some of which are dangerous. Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Vendor in Boston Market. Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Spinners in Melville Mfg. Co., Cherryville, N.C. Location: Cherryville, North Carolina

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Bertha, one of the six-year old shuckers. Began work at 4 A.M. Maggioni Canning Co. Location: Port Royal, South Carolina

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

8 P.M. Harry Laudeman, 13 years old. Has sold papers for 7 years. Brother, Morris, 7 years old 46 inches high. Location: Hartford, Connecticut

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Daisy Langford, 8 yrs. old works in Ross’ canneries. She helps at the capping machine, but is not able to “keep up.” She places caps on the cans at the rate of about 40 per minute working full time. Location: Seaford, Delaware

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

A Typical Fisher Boy at “T” Wharf. Boston. Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Scene in canning factory showing a 7-year old girl who shucks 3 pots of oysters a day, and works regularly, and her 6-year old brother who helps some. Mostly negro workers. The boss said “We keep only enough whites so we can control the negroes and keep them agoing.” Location: Bluffton, South Carolina

Image credits: Hine, Lewis Wickes

Source: boredpanda.com

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