Can't believe how young some of these child workers are! And the amazing way the construction crews worked so high up with no safety precautions at all…
Part of a group of itinerant cotton pickers leaving a farm at which they had finished picking a bale and a half a day. They live in these wagons. Note how many children - all pick except the baby in arms. The four year old picks fifteen pounds a day regularly. Seven year old boy picks fifty pounds a day. Farm near McKinney, Texas. 1913
November 1910. Birmingham, Alabama. "Donnie Cole. 'Our baby doffer,' they called him. This is one of the machines he has been working at for some months at the Avondale Mills. Said, after hesitation, 'I'm 12,' and another small boy added, 'He can't work unless he's twelve.' Child labor regulations conspicuously posted in the mill." Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine
June 1916. Fall River, Mass. "Rhea Quintin, 14 years old. Drawing in on Webb frame. Been at it about three months. Requires great deal of mental application and accuracy and good oversight. Takes over a year to learn. Seemed very young in certificate office. Miss Smith thought she was a little schoolgirl coming for some other purpose." Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.
January 1909. Two of the "helpers" in the Tifton Cotton Mill at Tifton, Georgia. They work regularly. Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. I can only hope that these two precious little girls aren't barefooted, but fear they are. And, I can only pray that their later years in life continued to reflect their adorable smiles from the attention of the photographer.
November 1908. Cotton mill workers at Daniel Manufacturing Co. in Lincolnton, North Carolina. Four doffers. Boy on left end (knee pants) said he had worked in the mills for seven years and some nights. At nights they work 12 hours, without any hour off for lunch. Eat when they can. Some of them "eat a-workin'."