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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Big & Tall: 1908

Big & Tall: 1908

December 1908. "Catawba Cotton Mills. Newton, N.C. It seems a pity that some of the spinning frames are so large that the children cannot operate them." Glass negative (and sardonic caption) by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

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My mom was from the mill hill and we were all required to work at least one summer in the cotton mill before college to reinforce the value of education. It was super-effective! All of us got graduate degrees, a Ph.D. in my case. The lint all over this guy's pants is very familiar.


It's nice seeing a touch of humor from Lewis Hine. His notes seem so dour - and who can blame him given his subject matter.

Never changed much.

I started working at a cotton mill at the age of 16 in Georgia. The machinery in this photo looks very much like it still did by 1981. Working the machine wasn't the hard part, it was the dust and the lint. If you didn't wear a mask, you were at risk for all kinds of pulmonary problems later in life.

Shiny shoes

Impressed with this guy's grooming. He may be covered in lint, but look at those shoes.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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