What The Camera Captured - Indoors
Cobblestone American History Magazine for Kids|July/August 2017

The photographs on the following pages are part of the collection of the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) and are attributed to Lewis W. Hine.

Barbara Orbach Natanson

They show children working indoors in a variety of jobs. Another set of photographs on pages 26–29 captures children working outdoors. Do any of the jobs look like something you would enjoy doing? Which of them looks the least appealing?

Vance, 15 years old, a trapper boy, West Virginia coal mine. He has trapped for several years. He is paid 75 cents a day for 10 hours of work. All he does is open and shut this door. Most of the time he sits here idle, waiting for the cars to come. On account of the intense darkness in the mine, the [writing] on the door was not visible until the plate was developed. September 1908.

Boy taking boards away from “double cut-off” machine (a suggestive name!), Indiana Manufacturing Co., Peru, Indiana. October 1908.

Spinner, Whitnel Cotton Manufacturing Co., Whitnel, North Carolina. She was 51 inches high. Had been in mill one year. Some work at night. Runs 4 sides [rows of the machines], 48 cents a day. When asked how old she was, she hesitated, then said, “I don't remember.” Then she confidentially added, “I’m not old enough to work, but I do just the same.” Out of 50 employees, 10 children were about her size. December 1908.

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