Imagine your child of 10-12 working in a factory like this – [photographs from 1900s]

During the early 1900’s, child labor was a major problem across the United States. Instead of attending school, many underage children worked to supplement family income. Even though child labor had been condemned in America since the early 1800’s, it wasn’t until 1892 that the Democratic Party adopted a plank in their platform recommending a ban on factory employment for children under the age of fifteen.

However, child labor still continued as these photographers documented when they traveled the United States photographing underage children working in factories and unsafe conditions in order to document the problem. The photographs below by Lewis Wickes Hine were taken in May and June 1911 in Virginia. His comments are included in the captions.

As the whistle blew at the Tidewater Knitting Mill, Portsmouth, Va. I went through the mill several times while they were working and saw a number of boys and girls working and saw a number of boys and girls surely under fourteen. Many of the girls, especially the youngest  refused to be  in the photographs Location: Portsmouth, Virginia. Photographer Lewis Wickes Hine June 1911.As the whistle blew at the Tidewater Knitting Mill, Portsmouth, Va. I went through the mill several times while they were working and .lewis wicke hine

Tidewater2 lewis wickes hine Jun 1911Group at Tidewater Knitting Mills, Portsmouth, Va. I went through the mill s

Group at Tidewater Knitting Mills, Portsmouth, Va. I went through the mill s4

 

Tidewater mills June 1911 hine

Photographer Lewis Wicke Hine also visited Roanoke Cotton Mill at Roanoke, Virginia in May 1911 and took the following photographs.

A young spooler in Roanoke (Va.) Cotton Mills. Location: Roanoke, Virginia. May 1911A young spooler in Roanoke Va. Cotton Mills. Location Roanoke, Virginia. hine June 1911

Young spinner in Roanoke (Va.) Cotton Mills. Said fourteen years old, but it is doubtful. Location: Roanoke, VirginiaYoung spinner in Roanoke Va.Cotton Mills. Said fourteen years old, but it is doubtful. See exterior photos and age comparisons in 2161 to 2163.

Group of doffers and spinners working in Roanoke Cotton Mills (Va.) I counted seven apparently under fourteen and three under twelve years old. Location: Roanoke, Virginia. May 1911 – Photographer Lewis Wicke Hine

Group of doffers and spinners working in Roanoke Cotton Mills I counted seven apparently under fourteen and three under twelve years old. . May 1911

Ronald Webb, twelve year old doffer boy and Frank Robinson, seven year old who helps sweep and doff. Father is cardroom boss, Roanoke Va. Cotton Mills. Location Roanoke, Virginia. Photographer Lewis Wicke Hine – May 1911Ronald Webb, twelve year old doffer boy and Frank Robinson, seven year old who helps sweep and doff. Father is cardroom boss, Roanoke Va. Cotton Mills. Location Roanoke, Virginia. May 1911

Mamie Witt. Runs one side in Roanoke Cotton Mills, Roanoke, Va. She is twelve years old and helps support an able-bodied, dependent father. May 1911Mamie Witt. Runs one side in Roanoke Cotton Mills, Roanoke, Va. She is twelve years old and helps support an able-bodied, dependent father. May 1911

All are workers in Roanoke Cotton Mills (Va.) Smallest boy in the middle helps

All are workers in Roanoke Cotton Mills Smallest boy in the middle helps

Dependent Parents –  R.L. Witt. He is apparently working on the railroad, but his three oldest children, here work in the Roanoke (Va.) Cotton Mills. Mamie  (photo above) is only 12 years old and earns very little. Home is very poorly kept. Mother would not be in the photoDependent Parents (S R.L. Witt. He is apparently working on the railroad, but his 3 oldest children, here work in the Roanoke Cotton Mills. Mamie is only 12 years old Home is very poorly kept. Mother would not be

Comparison of Ages. Some  of the youngest workers in Roanoke Cotton Mills. On right-hand end is seven year old Frank, a helper. Next to him is twelve year old Ronald, a doffer. On his right is Mamie Witt, twelve year old spinner. Girl on her right said fourteen years old, but doubtful. On her right, with curl on shoulder is Inex, (i.e., Inez) Kennedy, just fourteen. The second girl on her right is probably under fourteen. This is a small mill, running a small force. Location: Roanoke, Virginia.  Comparison of Ages. Some of the youngest workers in Roanoke Cotton Mills. On right-hand end is seven year old Frank, a helper. Next to him is twelve year old Ronald, a doffer.

comparison of ages2 roanoke2

Housing conditions at Roanoke (Va.) Cotton Mills are not very good. Houses run down and not well kept. Location: Roanoke, Virginia

housing conditions at roanoke may 1911

Group of workers at the Suffolk Va. Knitting Mills. Location: Suffolk, Virginia June 1911

Group of workers at the Suffolk Va. Knitting Mills. Location Suffolk, Virginia June 1911

These were all of the small boys I found working at the Suffolk (Va.) Knitting Mills, the day I was there. One of the smallest boys had been working there for two years. Not many under fourteen

These were all of the small boys I found working at the Suffolk Va. Knitting Mills, the day I was there. One of the smallest boys had been working there for two years. Not many under fourteen

 

Adolescent spinners in the Suffolk Va. Knitting Mills. One of these, fourteen years old, said she had been working here, off and on, for four years, and earns about one dollar a day now

Adolescent spinners in the Suffolk Va. Knitting Mills. One of these, fourteen years old, said she had been working here, off and on, for four years, and earns about one dollar a day now.

VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past

Vinegar of the Four Thieves was a recipe that was known for its antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic and antifungal properties for years. It was even used to cure the Bubonic Plague.

VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past


By (author): Donna R Causey

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me

All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

She has authored numerous genealogy books.
RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE)
is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2)
is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series)
Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1)
is the continuation of the story. .

For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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