Lost Youth: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor

Newsboy, “Don’t Smoke, Visits Saloons,” 1910

Young Girl Working in a Textile Mill, Newberry, South Carolina

Boys Working the Midnight Shift, a Glass Factory

A Young Coupling-Boy (12-14 years old) at Indian Mine, Jellico, Tennessee

Children Working at Bibb Mill No. 1., Macon, Georgia

Lost Youth: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor

Lewis Wickes Hine (1874-1940) attended the University of Chicago and later moved to New York City in 1901, where he accepted a position as an assistant teacher at the Ethical Culture School. At that time, Hine started using the camera as an educational tool and also began to attend the School of Education at New York University.

By 1905, Hine had received his degree from New York University. He continued to photograph for the ECS and while leading its Photography Club, he met Paul Strand. By 1906 Hine was considering a career in Sociological-Photography and began to pursue freelance work with the National Child Labor Committee. In 1908, the NCLC assigned Hine to photograph child labor practices. For the next several years, Hine traveled extensively, photographing children in mines, factories, canneries, textile mills, street trades and agricultural settings.

Hine’s photographs alerted the public to the fact that child labor deprived children of childhood, health, education and a chance of a decent future. His work on this project was the driving force behind changing the public’s attitude about children and work, and it was instrumental in the legislative battles that resulted in the passage of stricter child labor laws.

Lewis Hine: U.S. Child Labor, 1908-1920

Slide Show: Lost Youth/Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor

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