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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • ABOUT PARIS, 1895

Many of These There: 1908

Many of These There: 1908

November 1908. Lincolnton, North Carolina. "Daniel Mfg. Co. Girl beginning to spin. Many of these there." Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

 

A similar picture

Also in 1908, Hines photographed child workers in a different mill in Lincolnton. He took one that is similar to this one. Unfortunately, I can't find it on Shorpy. But yesterday the Raleigh News & Observer ran a story that the girl in that photo has been identified. It's a pretty cool story.

[Joe Manning also frequently contributes his findings in comments to Shorpy photos. -tterrace]

No sitting

Those window sills don't encourage sitting down on the job, even if the kids had a quick chance for a moment's respite.

Beauty in toil

This might be one of the best pieces of art published on Shorpy. Breathtaking contrasts. And her fate, and that of many other mill people of the time, was likely to a hard life with few rewards. Like everyone else of the era and area, but different.

Spinning Maiden

This picture makes me feel somewhat melancholy. The young lady could easily be a relative of mine, as my family hails from the Gaston-Lincoln County area (where this photo was made) and was heavily involved in textiles. Her visage suggests a child that has experienced things far beyond her years. She should be involved in the activities preferred by girls of her age, but undoubtedly, her wages were necessary for her family to make ends meets.

I often look at the pictures on Shorpy and wonder what it would have been like to grow up in the life of privilege that seems to have been enjoyed by many featured in photographs, as well as some who post their own photos and commentary on this site. I was the son of textile employees with limited income, so college seemed to truly be only a dream. But to my surprise, my father’s company covered a large portion of the costs for my first degree, which then opened the door to my earning a master’s. The cycle of the cotton mill was broken and my children didn’t have to live the life I had lived in cadence with previous generations.

"Lint heads" are often seen as a sub-cast caste, and yes, many lack in formal education. And yet, in the heat of the textile plant, among the din of the machinery, one can easily find good, hardworking people with dreams, hopes, and aspirations – at least for their children, if not for themselves.

She's Lucky

Unlike most others we've seen in the mills, she has what appears to be a good pair of boots.

Progress

These days this girl would be at home watching Jersey Shore and other televised dreck instead of working. I don't know what's worse.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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