Lewis Wickes Hine

(Oshkosh, Wisconsin, 1874 - 1940, Dobbs Ferry, New York)

Gastonia, N. C.


Gelatin silver print

6 1/2 x 4 3/4 in. (16.5 x 12.2 cm)

Collection of the Akron Art Museum

Gift of John Coplans


More Information

Lewis Hine, considered by many to be the father of modern social documentary photography, spent more than a decade as the official photographer for the National Child Labor Committee. Between 1908 and 1921, Hine photographed rural and urban child laborers across the country. The resulting images were used in NCLC pamphlets, exhibits, and magazine advertisements, and helped to transform the nation’s attitudes and policies on child labor and welfare. Hine wrote captions for most of his photos, incorporating facts about the people and places depicted, and often with direct quotes from his subjects. These original captions, where available, are given, unedited, in quotation marks below. “Been in mill four years. 12 years old. Runs 6 sides. 60 cents a day. Soon will run 8=80 cents a day. Father said the wife of a neighbor made $7.40 last week—$1.40 more than her husband. Women and girls make more than the men. Child 8 years old helps sister.” A side, as mentioned above, was one of the long rows of spindles in the machine. Girls worked as spinners; they brushed lint from the machines and mended breaks in the threads. Constantly on their feet, they worked eleven or twelve hour days, six days a week.

Child laborers
United States
Gelatin Silver