April 22, 2015

"A baseball team composed mostly of child laborers from an Indiana glassmaking factory..."

"... as photographed by Lewis Hine in August 1908," is "Today's featured picture" at Wikipedia:



"Hine (1874–1940) was an American sociologist who promoted the use of photography as an educational medium and means for social change. Beginning in 1908, he spent ten years photographing child labor for the National Child Labor Committee. The project was a dangerous one, and Hine had to disguise himself – at times as a fire inspector, postcard vendor, Bible salesman, or industrial photographer – to avoid the factory police and foremen."

64 comments:

gspencer said...

Child-laborers? Put a smoking pipe between your lips and you've aged at least 10 years.

buwaya puti said...

Everything considered, having raised children, volunteered for children, followed educational research for decades, been raised mainly in the Far East and lived in different societies, and etc., I now think that banning child labor was a mistake.
Children should have hard responsibilities and learn to work early. This matures them faster.

Rob said...

My favorite Louis Hine: the magnificent (posed) image of a powerhouse mechanic.

lemondog said...

Great photo.

Surly looking bunch... bats, rifles and pipes.

What is today's equivalent?

Fawncy uniforms, headgear, iPad's....

robother said...

Learning a trade in a glassmaking factory, when they could be sitting in rows in a school until 24 or 25, incurring massive amounts of undischargable debt!
What a benighted economic and social order that was.

Curious George said...

Indiana, eh? I wonder if they would make the glass for a gay wedding?

Rick M said...

Reminds me of "Shorpy Higginbotham" of Shorpy.com fame.

buwaya puti said...

The modern powerhouse mechanics, who actually operate and fix power generation systems, are an interesting bunch.
In a way its telling that very few take an interest in them, given that they have more actual power (in the most literal sense) in our society than anyone else. Its their fingers on the actual, physical switches of civilization.
Its one of those social classes who have power but aren't collectively conscious of it.

Gahrie said...

I teach at a high school that is 85% Hispanic. I am a soon to be 50 year old White man.

In ten years I am still the only one in my classroom who has every spent time in a field picking fruits and vegetables.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Curious George said...

Indiana, eh? I wonder if they would make the glass for a gay wedding?

I don't know. Maybe if it's the wedding for the two on the left?

Fernandinande said...

<A HREF="http://www.shorpy.com/search/node/hine:>Shorpy has plenty of Hine's pics</A>.

Wilbur said...

We do not have a sense today of just how pervasive and popular baseball was around the time of this picture. Every town and hamlet had its own team, many companies had their own team, politicians sponsored teams, and so on.

And children were still free-ranging.

BarrySanders20 said...

I wonder if these kids were allowed to walk to the park, alone without parental supervision.

chuck said...

Kids smoking and holding guns. Those were the good old days.

madAsHell said...

Hats!!

Most of these kids are wearing hats! I'll guess that the hats were for safety, and shade.

I never wore a hat as a kid. Now, I rarely go out without one.

Anonymous said...

I'm still mad that they took the shotgun out of baseball. It was the most effective way to deal with base-stealers.

Larry J said...

buwaya puti said...
Everything considered, having raised children, volunteered for children, followed educational research for decades, been raised mainly in the Far East and lived in different societies, and etc., I now think that banning child labor was a mistake.
Children should have hard responsibilities and learn to work early. This matures them faster.


That explains why farm kids - who laugh at the notion of child labor laws - tend to be much more mature than non-farm kids. They may not have "street smarts" but farm kids know how to work and aren't afraid to get their hands dirty.

I Callahan said...

American sociologist who promoted the use of photography as an educational medium and means for social change

Sociologist. Social change. Not much has changed in that line of work...

LarsPorsena said...

Do you think every kid in the photo got a trophy?

LCB said...

Most of these kids are wearing hats! I'll guess that the hats were for safety, and shade.

I think hats were in vogue from way back when until the 1950's. What surprises me is that more men don't wear hats now in bad weather. With a hat on I don't need an umbrella! Bring back the Fedora, I say!!!

Todd said...

LCB said... [hush]​[hide comment]
Most of these kids are wearing hats! I'll guess that the hats were for safety, and shade.

I think hats were in vogue from way back when until the 1950's. What surprises me is that more men don't wear hats now in bad weather. With a hat on I don't need an umbrella! Bring back the Fedora, I say!!!

4/22/15, 11:42 AM


Some don't look good in hats. I have difficulty finding hats that fit and look good on my head. I can't wear "caps", fedoras are generally not a good match either. I can pull of a panama though and do often wear one in the summer.

Anonymous said...

You couldn't find a better example of complete and utter white male privilege!

Roughcoat said...

For the past several weeks my siblings and I have been cleaning out my mom's house in the aftermath of her recent passing. Came across my dad's tax records. Discovered that, in 1965, when my dad was struggling to put the first of four children through college, his annual income was $14,000.

Just think. Of course the cost of living was much lower back then. But still.

Now I truly understand why he encouraged me to find the first of many jobs, delivering newspapers, when I was 12.

madAsHell said...

Bring back the Fedora, I say!!!

I think it was the bare headed Kennedy inauguration that killed hats.

Roughcoat said...

Re hats:

They were in vogue through the 1950s and into the 60s. My dad wore fedoras until roughly the mid-60s. Then the fashion changed and he, along with everyone else, stopped wearing hats.

For giggles, watch the crowd scenes in any old movie filmed up through the end of the 50s. Crowd scenes, street scenes: everyboyd is weaing hats. Men, women: EVERYONE. You see this especially in film noir pics. They show the PLANET WHERE EVERYONE WEARS HATS!

virgil xenophon said...

@Roughcoat/

I was a Jr in college in 1965. Cost of a beer in a local bar was 25 cents, $2.75/case! Out of state tuition at LSU was $50.00/semester! above in-state.

virgil xenophon said...

@Roughcoat/

My memory was in error. The $50/semester figure was fall of 62. By fall of '65 it had shot up to the grand amt of $150.00 per semester..

LYNNDH said...

Hats went out of style when JFK didn't wear one. Overnight the hat sales dropped like a rock. I like hats, have a great many that I wear. Have some very nice ones that I wore to work but don't now.

mccullough said...

Shoeless Joe Jackson got his start in baseball at age 13 playing for the textile mill team where he worked in Soutb Carolina.

Lyle said...

Just a photo of some racists (Jim Crow era folks playing segregated ball). The photo should be destroyed.

Just joshing!

Richard Dolan said...

Wonderful photos of a bye-gone era, and thank God it's gone. The country has come a long way in 100 years.

"I now think that banning child labor was a mistake.
Children should have hard responsibilities and learn to work early." Sounds good in a comment thread, but that's about as far as it goes. The return of child labor of the sort captured in this picture is nothing to wish for its return. Kids will learn the hardness of life soon enough -- no need to force it on them so young.

lemondog said...

re: $14,000,
Inflation Calculator

Todd said...

lemondog said...
re: $14,000,
Inflation Calculator

4/22/15, 1:39 PM


Yeh but you can't support an army of administrators on that kind of money...

buwaya said...

Not just in a comment thread.
I have seen children laboring (I am from Asia after all), even where there were, officially, laws against this.
I think there are widespread problems with children in this society, and others, because work is not learned and not required. Immature, unreliable, and useless adults are all over the place.

Meade said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...
Curious George said...

Indiana, eh? I wonder if they would make the glass for a gay wedding?

I don't know. Maybe if it's the wedding for the two on the left?


Heh. In 1908, in Indiana, we were all gay. Every last one of us. We were out, we were proud, and just as gay as you please.

Those were good old days.

Roughcoat said...

Todd & Virgil:

Points taken re cost of things and value of money in 1965. I put myself through college in the early-mid 1970s by bartending; in-state tuition was c. $350 per semester and I could make that in about two weeks in tips (which was undeclared cash income).

However: 14k = 104k in 1965??? Well, okay, if they say so. But it sure didn't feel like 104k feels like now. We were a family of 6, very firmly middle-middle class, and we were struggling to make ends meet. Frugallity was our watchword and my dad, a stubborn Midwest German, was extremely frugal. E.g., no vacations, no restaurant nights out, etc. He praised his Lutheran God because he had three boys among his four children which meant that he only had to pay for one wedding! And, as mentioned, I paid my own way through college, which made him proud of me.

Roughcoat said...

It now occurs to me that by the mid 1970s I might have been taking home more cash as a bartender than my dad was making in salary as schoolteacher. Being a bartender in the 1970s at a popular bar was hugely profitable.

Todd said...

In the 70s, I was working at various after school jobs. I worked cleaning dog kennels, worked assembling electronic boards, installing lighting and sound systems in clubs, worked at a "teen" disco, for a vendor selling hotdogs, and when I was of age - at a liquor store before entering the Army in the early 80s.

Larry J said...

t-man said...
You couldn't find a better example of complete and utter white male privilege!


It appears they're all wearing shoes! You can't get much more privileged than that. So what if they probably had to drop out of school and go to work in a factory as kids? They're white males so of course they're privileged. /sarc

BudBrown said...

Yale increased its tuition by $150 and its room and board by $50. The total yearly charge at Yale will now be $3000. Princeton raised its tuition by $180 and its room and board by $20; its total cost will be $3020. Harvard's total charge is $2950."

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1965/11/18/yale-princeton-increase-tuition-pyale-and/

Rocketeer said...

From the time I was 6 years old and bright enough to know how to pull the tobacco plants from the plant bed without damaging them, until I was 24 and big enough to pull up the drying sticks from below and pass them on to the men above in the drying barn, I worked late spring to early winter at my grandfather's tobacco farm - for the true minimum wage of $0. That's a lot of years of hard child labor I can tell you. I earned some good lessons and some pretty useful muscles, though.

I told a city-born-and-bred friend this a few months ago, and he allowed as he was was surprised to learn I'd "grown up in 1850s Connecticut."

richard mcenroe said...

That baseball player on the left is holding a shotgun.

Roughcoat said...



So if that inflation calculator is reliable, $3000 for Yale yearly tuition/costs in 1965 would be equivalent to c. in $22,354 in 2015 dollars. But I believe yearly tuition at Yale is vastly more than 22k. I think it's more like 63k for tuition, room/board, and etc.

So, something has gone horribly wrong with the cost of higher education. Or so it would seem.

Roughcoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roughcoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roughcoat said...

But then, I guess the reasoning is, if you can't afford 63k per year for Yale or any of the other Ivies, then you don't belong at Yale, la-dee-dah.

Or, as Joel Goodson said: "Looks like University of Illinois!"

Todd said...

richard mcenroe said...

That baseball player on the left is holding a shotgun.

4/22/15, 2:59 PM


Is that a shotgun? I assumed a .22 as it looked a little small to be a shotgun.

bbkingfish said...

Back then, 40 percent of those kids wouldn't live to see the age of 50.

It was a great time to be a Republican.

buwaya said...

"Back then, 40 percent of those kids wouldn't live to see the age of 50"

Most of the differential in mortality rates between 1908 and today is because of the reduction in infant mortality. The remainder is extended survival in old age due to reduction in smoking, dealing with causes of heart disease, etc. Those boys were nearly as likely to get to 50 as boys today.

LCB said...

The Kennedy hat thing is a myth. From Snopes: Kennedy wasn't hatless at his inauguration, and we have to wonder whether all the journalists who attended the ceremony and now claim he was bare-headed were paying attention. Kennedy wore the traditional silk topper all throughout his inaugural day, and the evidence that he did so isn't hard to find.

lemondog said...

Kennedy wasn't hatless at his inauguration
JFK's Famous Inaugural Address Passage

Jan. 20, 1961: Kennedy's Swearing-In

lemondog said...

Longer footage shows JFK repeatedly removing his hat.

Historic Footage: JFK Inauguration, 1961

n.n said...

bbkingfish:

Today, around 20% will be aborted before their birth. It's a great time to be a Democrat promoting wicked solutions to "wicked" problems.

Anonymous said...

Blame Free Agency for killing the game...or Reginald's penchant for carrying the bat while base running

Anonymous said...

Laugh at them calling themselves "Knickerbockers" at your own risk

Anonymous said...

The farm system develops gritty players, but nowhere near the gravel-in-the-gut level the glazier system produces

richard mcenroe said...

Todd I took it to be a single-shot break top shotgun.

richard mcenroe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven Davis said...

buwaya said...
"Back then, 40 percent of those kids wouldn't live to see the age of 50"

Most of the differential in mortality rates between 1908 and today is because of the reduction in infant mortality. The remainder is extended survival in old age due to reduction in smoking, dealing with causes of heart disease, etc. Those boys were nearly as likely to get to 50 as boys today.

I'd say more likely, they seem to be in good shape, and there's not a video game system, a bong, or a bag of Doritoes in sight.

Steven Davis said...

n.n said...
bbkingfish:

Today, around 20% will be aborted before their birth. It's a great time to be a Democrat promoting wicked solutions to "wicked" problems.
---------------------------

I'm still tossing this in my mind and looking for a way to say it well... Aren't we better off not doing everything we can to extend the life of those that are into their 80s and 90s, and using the saved resources to ensure that everyone is born?

Abortion is an act of cost and convenience. I've seen 85 year olds receive double hip and knee replacements. Just thinking here...

Katrina said...

Richard mcenroe said...

That baseball player on the left is holding a shotgun.

That was to keep the umps honest.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Steven Davis. We are better as a society when we are kind to each other. If we need more health care providers let's increase the supply. And require the new doctors and nurses to pay income taxes.

Rusty said...

Richard Dolan said...
Wonderful photos of a bye-gone era, and thank God it's gone. The country has come a long way in 100 years.

"I now think that banning child labor was a mistake.
Children should have hard responsibilities and learn to work early." Sounds good in a comment thread, but that's about as far as it goes. The return of child labor of the sort captured in this picture is nothing to wish for its return. Kids will learn the hardness of life soon enough -- no need to force it on them so young.

Actually we only have the photographers word that they are children that work in a glass factory. Just looking at the picture they look like a bunch of tough kids that were on they're way to play a game of ball and maybe shoot somebody.

Kirby Olson said...

Lewis Hine lived about fifteen miles from Delhi, NY in a small town called Franklin, NY. He died there, and is buried in the Franklin cemetery. A local historian named Tim Duerden wrote an academic book about his work which I think may have been published by now by a small university press. He was responsible for helping to get labor laws passed. I read an early manuscript of Tim's book.