Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.
Vintage photos of:
June 22, 1916. Fall River, Mass. Oscar Revinsky [Radnisky]. Born Jan. 11, 1900. 16 years old. Lives at 99 Oak Grove Ave. A scavenger on Pine Street Dump. Case known to S.P.C.C. (record No. 4322) since 1910. In 1913 parents refused to let child be committed to Wrentham, Mass. In 1916 father came to office asking that boy be committed as he spent all his time on the dumps. Deficient mentality. Neck covered with scars and boils. "No work, no school" since 1912. Never cleans up. Doesn't go home to meals. Eats from dump and steals from dinner pails. Was in baby grade at Ruggles School and was expelled. "Is father alive?" "No, he's a milkman." View full size. Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.
April 1913. Columbus, Georgia. "Eagle and Phoenix Mill. A 'dinner-toter' waiting for the gate to open. This is carried on more in Columbus than in any other city I know, and by smaller children. Many of them are paid by the week for doing it, and carry sometimes 10 or more meals a day. They go around in the mill, often help tend to the machines, which often run at noon, and so learn the work. A teacher told me the mothers expect the children to learn this way, long before they are of proper age." View full size. Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.
"The Works Progress Administration in Ohio presents the Federal Theatre for youth in 'A Christmas Carol.'" This poster for the Federal Theatre Project presentation of "A Christmas Carol" was created between 1936 and 1941.
View full size | Vintage Christmas Photos
January 1912, New York City. View full size. To the untrained observer this might be a pleasant domestic scene; to the eye (and lens) of social reformer Lewis Hine, however, it is a diorama of decadence and moral decay, with peril lurking in every detail. The object of his ire here is the use of child labor in tenement home work, specifically the assembly of artificial flowers: "Julin, a 6-year-old child, making pansies for her neighbors on top floor (Gatto), 106 Thompson St. They said she does this every day, 'but not all day.' A growler and dirty beer glasses in the window, unwashed dishes on the stove, clothes everywhere, and flowers likewise." Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. (NB: Growler = beer pitcher.)