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. 


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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

#1 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

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

Hine, Lewis Wickes Report

Nightsong Ceawlin 1 month ago

He already looks middle-aged, and his eyes are so haunted. He's been through far more than any child his age should have to live through. So sad.

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#2 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

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

Hine, Lewis Wickes Report

Sei Ichirou 1 month ago

To imagine she started working at the age of 5. At first glance I thought she was around 12 years old...

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#3 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

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

Hine, Lewis Wickes Report

Agnes Jekyll 1 month ago

Shoeless. That poor kid.

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#4 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

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

Hine, Lewis Wickes Report

Nightsong Ceawlin 1 month ago

A full sack of cotton probably weighs almost as much as she does, poor thing.

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#5 Newsboy Asleep On Stairs With Papers. Location: Jersey City, New Jersey

Newsboy Asleep On Stairs With Papers. Location: Jersey City, New Jersey

Hine, Lewis Wickes Report

Agnes Jekyll 1 month ago

I can only think how easy it was to prey on these children

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#6 Four-Year-Old Mary, Who Shucks Two Pots Of Oysters A Day At Dunbar. Tends The Baby When Not Working. Location: Dunbar, Louisiana

Four-Year-Old Mary, Who Shucks Two Pots Of Oysters A Day At Dunbar. Tends The Baby When Not Working. Location: Dunbar, Louisiana

Hine, Lewis Wickes Report

BusLady 1 month ago

Oysters being a luxury food for rich people. I'm sure they had no thought for the people who did this kind of work.

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#7 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

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

Hine, Lewis Wickes Report

Amanda Sherland 1 month ago

I've seen this picture before, and I remember that these boys worked in total darkness too.

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#8 Breaker Boys In #9 Breaker, Hughestown Borough, Pa. Coal Co. Smallest Boy Is Angelo Ross. Location: Pittston, Pennsylvania

Breaker Boys In #9 Breaker, Hughestown Borough, Pa. Coal Co. Smallest Boy Is Angelo Ross. Location: Pittston, Pennsylvania

Hine, Lewis Wickes Report

Mylah Rose 1 month ago

Their eyes... they look like ghosts

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#9 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

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

Hine, Lewis Wickes Report

Mister Man 1 month ago

Cynthia, ignore joe. He is an ignorant jackass

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#10 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

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

Hine, Lewis Wickes Report

Hello please don't judge 1 month ago

People say nowadays children grow up to quickly, to be honest, I think these children and the old days grew up way too quickly! At 9 I was just going to school in grade 3 or something learning about how to count back in 3s and playing with my toys not this which is heart breaking this boy should be out playing with his toys, going out with friends it is very sad

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