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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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Lacy and Savannah: 1908

Lacy and Savannah: 1908

November 1908: Gastonia, North Carolina. Lacy, 12 years old, and Savannah, 11. Have worked two years. Father said "The little one is a crackerjack on spinnin', at least so the boss says. She ain't satisfied unless in the mill. The oldest one isn't so good at it. Not as quick." (Note the tense, serious looks on the younger. Older one more like a real girl.) View full size. Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.

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Lacy and Savannah: 1908

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. I have completed my story of Lacy and Savannah. Their last name was Ballard. These girls seemed to have lived a happy and normal life, and are fondly remembered by their children and grandchildren. I interviewed several descendants and obtained some good photos of the girls as adults. You can see the story at:

Lacy and Savannah: 1908

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. I identified these girls and interviewed descendants. The story will be posted soon.

They might have been tougher...

but how long did they live?

Re: Spinner's elbow

Lacy's arm was the first thing I noticed! Maybe set wrong after a break?

(My 2 cents: Thank God the little girls of Gastonia have labor laws in place today! America has a 99% literacy rate for women over the age of 15, a statistic many, MANY countries can't claim...)

Tougher, or just used harder?

Considering how many people died before their 40th birthday of things we'd expect to deal with only in our 70s, I'm not sure if they were tougher.

My dad worked like that when he was a kid: by the time he was 45 he was crippled with arthritis from overwork.

Spinner's elbow?

The left arms of both girls appear to be at an odd angle from their right, especially Lacy's. Could that be one of the occupational hazards?


Look at the wrinkles already in that child's forehead. They were tougher back then than the kids are now.

SHORPY HISTORICAL 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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