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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE NAVY NEEDS YOU IN THE WAVES

Bessie Hicks: 1911

Bessie Hicks: 1911

June 1911. "A Suggestion for Dependent Widows. Mrs. Bessie Hicks, a widow in the mill settlement at Matoaca, Virginia. She has no children large enough to work in the cotton mill, so she is starting a little store in her home." View full size. Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.

 

Bessie Hicks

This is Joe Manning, from the Lewis Hine Project. I talked to one of Bessie's granddaughters for nearly an hour last night. Bessie lived for 81 years. It appears that the "store" she was planning was an at-home sewing and dressmaking business, which turned out to be her lifelong profession. She was remembered fondly. Some of the information will eventually be posted on my Lewis Hine Project website at: www.morningsonmaplestreet.com/lewishine.html

Yes, Patty, they did. She's

Yes, Patty, they did. She's probably not much older than 25.

You must remember that these were the days of real natural medicine. No antibiotics, no antifungals, no immunizations other than smallpox, no cancer therapies, no antitoxins. Most people in the US didn't reach their 50th birthday and those that did were prematurely aged both inside and out. Imagine going through 10 or 15 life-threatening infections by the time you were 30. Imagine knowing that you had about a 5% chance of dying during or immediately after each pregnancy, no matter how wealthy you were or how clean your attendants were.

Now add to that the debilitating effects of hard physical labour (the idiot who first said "hard work never killed anyone" obviously never worked hard) and you can see how someone at 25 could look so old.

A little store...selling

A little store...selling children!

Young Mother?

Bessie Hicks certainly doesn't look like a current day young mother.

Then again....times were hard and people probably aged much earlier than now days.

 
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