Shocking Pictures Of Child labour In America Less Than 100 Years Ago

LOC child labour mine

Photo: Library of Congress, National Child labour Committee Collection

The media recently picked up on how Apple products are made in part, by Chinese kids working 16 hour days for 70 cents an hour.But let’s not forget that until the Fair labour Standards Act of 1938 American children were also put to work in sweatshops, mills and fields. During the Great Depression families relied on the extra income that children could provide. 

Photographer Lewis Hine documented working and living conditions of American children from 1908 to 1924. These photos come courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Cigar Factory, Indianapolis, Ind. Boys in foreground.

Published: 1908 August

Doffers in Trenton Mills, Gastonia, North Carolina. Others as small and some smaller. Little girls too.

Published: 1908 November

1:00 A.M. Pin boys working in Subway Bowling Alleys, 65 South St., Brooklyn, N.Y. every night. 3 smaller boys were kept out of the photo by Boss.

Published: 1910 April

A group sorting peas at the table in Ross's Cannery, Seaford, Delaware. The little fellow in the photo is a full fledged sorter. He is 5 years of age. Many such children work steadily in the Cannery, and some of them work at the machines.

Published: 1910 June

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.

Published: 1908 November

Tiny, seven year old oyster shucker does not go to school. Works steady. Been at it one year. Maggioni Canning Co. in Port Royal, South Carolina.

7-year old Rosie. Regular oyster shucker. Her second year at it. Illiterate. Works all day. Shucks only a few pots a day. (Showing process) Varn & Platt Canning in Bluffton, South Carolina.

Published: 1913 February

Rose Biodo, 1216 Annan St., Philadelphia. 10 years old. Working 3 summers. Minds baby and carries berries, two pecks at a time. Whites Bog, Brown Mills, New Jersey This is the fourth week of school and the people here expect to remain two weeks more.

Published: 1910 September 28

Millie Cornaro, Philadelphia, 10 years old. Been picking cranberries for 6 years. White's Bog, Browns Mills, New Jersey. This is the fourth week of school and the people here expect to remain here two weeks more.

Published: 1910 September 28

Girls at weaving machine; warpers. At Lincoln Cotton Mills, Evansville, Indiana.

Published: 1908 October

Girl at Slubber. At Lincoln Cotton Mill, Evansville, Indiana.

Published: 1908 October

Boy at warping machine. Been there 2 years. At the Newton Cotton Mill, Newton N.C.

Published: 1908 December

One of the small boys in J. S. Farrand Packing Co. and a heavy load. In Baltimore, Maryland.

Published: 1909 July

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

Published: 1910 May

Two little pickers. Manuel Alvez - 12 years, Marion Alvez, 8 years. She picks 19 measures. He picks 10 measures. Live - 320 Water St., New Bedford. Taken in Falmouth - Baker Bog, Massachusetts.

Published: 1911 September

Artificial flower making at 8 cents a gross. Youngest child working is 5 years old. New York, New York.

Published: 1908 January

Bank Boss (on right) Brake Boy (in centre) Laura Mine, Red Star, West Virginia.

Published: 1908 September

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

Published: 1908 October

Tipple Boy, Turkey Knob Mine in Macdonald, West Virginia.

Published: 1908 August

A. D. T. Messenger Boy, Indianapolis, 10 P.M.

Published: 1908 August

Fruit Venders, Indianapolis Market.

Published: 1908 August

Noon Hour in a Furniture Factory, Indianapolis, Ind.

Published: 1908 August

Girls running warping machines in Loray mill, Gastonia, N.C.

Published: 1908 November

Lunch Time, Economy Glass Works, Morgantown, West Virginia.

Published: 1908 October

Published: 1908 August

Game of Craps in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Published: 1908 August

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