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25 Heartbreaking Photos of Child Labor in The United States between 1908-1924

Neil Patrick
Manuel, the young shrimp-picker,

Nowadays, children of the west are well secured and protected with law of child labor, and is almost a fiction that an American child under 8 years can work at a factory.

However, many forms of Child labor, including child slavery  existed throughout American History. However, the child labor peeked to extreme levels during the Industrial Revolution in the beginning of the 20th century.

As a result of industrialization, the workers were moved from farms and home workshops and moved to urban areas to focus on factory work. Children were the most preferably employees by the factory owners, because they were considered to be the most manageable and worked for a minimum wage.

 

[Street gang - cor[ner] Margaret & Water Streets

[Street gang – corner] Margaret & Water Streets

1910 December

1910 December

This little girl like many others in this state, is so small that she has to stand on a box to reach the machine. She was regularly employed as a knitter and had said that she did not know how long she had worked there.

A 9 year old boy, Jo Cafarella, 39 Warren Street, Somerville, Mass

A 9 year old boy, Jo Cafarella, 39 Warren Street, Somerville, Mass

A 9 year old boy, Jo Cafarella, 39 Warren Street, Somerville, Mass. His sister Lena, 10 years, and Mary Lazzaro, 13 years old, his cousin, lives on 17 South Street. This is typical of their work. Very few boys worked on crochet, but he has worked for 2 years.

A Little  Shaver, Indianapolis Newsboy, 41 inches high. Said he was 6 years old. Aug., 1908. Wit., E. N. Clopper. Location  Indianapolis, Indiana

A Little Shaver, Indianapolis Newsboy, 41 inches high. Said he was 6 years old. Aug., 1908. Wit., E. N. Clopper. Location Indianapolis, Indiana

Amos is 6 and Horace 4 years old.

Amos is 6 and Horace 4 years old.

it was estimated that in  the 1990, 18% of all American Workers were under 16 year old. Children had worked mostly in factories in terrible conditions for a  minimal wage.

Boys picking over garbage on the Dumps. Boston, Massachusetts.

Boys picking over garbage on the Dumps. Boston, Massachusetts.

Exhibit panel

Exhibit panel

Four-year-old Mary, who shucks two pots of oysters a day at Dunbar.

Four-year-old Mary, who shucks two pots of oysters a day at Dunbar.

Four-year-old Mary, who shucks two pots of oysters a day at Dunbar. Tends the baby when not working.The boss said that next year Mary will work steady as the rest of them. The mother is the fastest shucker in the place. Earns $1.50 a day. Works part of the time with her sick baby in her arms. Father works on the dock

Freddie Kafer, a very immature little newsie selling Saturday Evening Posts and newspapers at the entrance to the State Capitol

Freddie Kafer, a very immature little newsie selling Saturday Evening Posts and newspapers at the entrance to the State Capitol

Fruit Venders, Indianapolis Market, aug., 1908

Fruit Venders, Indianapolis Market, aug., 1908

Glass works. Midnight. Location  Indiana.

Glass works. Midnight. Location Indiana.

Group of Breaker Boys

Group of Breaker Boys

Interior of tobacco shed, Hawthorn Farm

Interior of tobacco shed, Hawthorn Farm

Girls in foreground are 8, 9, and 10 years old. The 10 yr. old makes 50 cents a day. 12 workers on this farm are 8 to 14 years old, and about 15 are over 15 yrs.

Jewel and Harold Walker, 6 and 5 years old, pick 20 to 25 pounds of cotton a day

Jewel and Harold Walker, 6 and 5 years old, pick 20 to 25 pounds of cotton a day

Jewel and Harold Walker, 6 and 5 years old, pick 20 to 25 pounds of cotton a day. Their  father  hadsaid: “I promised em a little wagon if they’d pick steady, and now they have half a bagful in just a little while.”

Little Fannie, 7 years old, 48 inches high, helps sister in Elk Mills.

Little Fannie, 7 years old, 48 inches high, helps sister in Elk Mills.

Her sister (in photo) said, “Yes, she he’ps me right smart. Not all day but all she can. Yes, she started with me at six this mornin’.” These two belong to a family of 19 children

Lunch Time, Economy Glass Works, Morgantown, W. Va. Plenty more like this, inside. Location Morgantown, West Virginia

Lunch Time, Economy Glass Works, Morgantown, W. Va. Plenty more like this, inside. Location Morgantown, West Virginia

Manuel, the young shrimp-picker,

Manuel, the young shrimp-picker,

Manuel, the young shrimp-picker, five years old behind a mountain of child-labor oyster shells,  had worked for 2 years. Manuel didn’t  understand a word of English.

Marie Costa, Basket Seller, 605 Elm St., Sixth St. Market, Cincinnati. 9 P.M. Had been there since 10 A.M. Sister and friend help her. Location Cincinnati, Ohio.

Marie Costa, Basket Seller, 605 Elm St., Sixth St. Market, Cincinnati. 9 P.M. Had been there since 10 A.M. Sister and friend help her. Location Cincinnati, Ohio.

Messenger boy working for Mackay Telegraph Company. Said fifteen years old. Exposed to Red Light dangers. Location Waco, Texas.

Messenger boy working for Mackay Telegraph Company. Said fifteen years old. Exposed to Red Light dangers. Location Waco, Texas.

Nan de Gallant, 4 Clark St., Eastport, Maine, 9 year old cartoner

Nan de Gallant, 4 Clark St., Eastport, Maine, 9 year old cartoner

 

Part of a group of itinerant cotton pickers leaving a farm at which they had finished picking a bale and a half a da

Part of a group of itinerant cotton pickers leaving a farm at which they had finished picking a bale and a half a da

Tenjeta Calone, Philadelphia, 10 years old. Been picking cranberries 4 years

Tenjeta Calone, Philadelphia, 10 years old. Been picking cranberries 4 years

The  Manly art of self-defense  Newsboys' Protective Association. Location Cincinnati, Ohio. 1910

The Manly art of self-defense Newsboys’ Protective Association. Location Cincinnati, Ohio. 1910

Vance, a Trapper Boy, 15 years old

Vance, a Trapper Boy, 15 years old

Vance  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: most of the time he sits here idle, waiting for the cars to come. On account of the intense darkness in the mine, the hieroglyphics on the door were not visible until plate was developed.

Young Cigarmakers in Englahardt & Co., Tampa, Fla

Young Cigarmakers in Englahardt & Co., Tampa, Fla

These boys are all under 14. Back than all of the  youngsters who worked smoke cigars.

 

Neil Patrick

Neil Patrick is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News