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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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Topper in the Beets: 1915

Topper in the Beets: 1915

Oct. 30, 1915. "12-year-old Lahnert boy, near Fort Collins, Colorado, topping beets. The father, mother and two boys (9 and 12) expect to make $700 in two months' time in the beet work. 'The boys can keep up with me all right, and all day long,' the father said. Begin at 6 a.m. and work until 6 p.m. with hour off at noon. Several smaller children do not work. See Hine Report for studies of work done by these and other children." Glass negative by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

The bad old days

Thank heavens this awful, muddy, hard work is mechanized now. The order is changed a little, though, the beets are now topped before they are plucked from the ground. Still it's an all hands, 24 hour as long as the weather is cool, job that happens every year.

How it's done today, at least in Minnesota:

Beet Farm

Schrute Farms has nothing on this place.

How to Top a Beet

Montana State College wanted you to know how, in English, Spanish, and German.

Topper In The Beets

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. My research indicates that this boy was Alexander Lahnert. He was born in Missouri in 1903, and died in Colorado in 1985. In 1916, Lewis Hine took many photos of families that were working on beet farms in and around Fort Collins and Greeley, Colorado. Most of these families did not own the farms they were working on, and lived in temporary housing for the harvest season, and then lived in rented housing in Greeley and Fort Collins the rest of the year. The Lahnerts were natives of Missouri. It is interesting that many of the beet farm workers at that time were native Germans that had been living in Russia. I wrote a story about the Rommel family, of Fort Collins, also photographed by Hine in 1916. They were German natives from Russia also. The story includes considerable information about the history of Germans from Russia who settled in the US.

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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