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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Richard Pierce: 1910

Richard Pierce: 1910

May 1910. Wilmington, Delaware. Richard Pierce, 723 Walnut Street. Fourteen years of age. Western Union Telegraph Messenger No. 2. Nine months in service. Works from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Smokes. Visits houses of prostitution. Investigator, Edward F. Brown. View full size. Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.

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Pointless information

On the off chance anyone's interested, Richard's address is now a parking garage.

I'm assuming, of course, that the original address was NORTH Walnut; South Walnut didn't really have anything on it in 1910, I think; even now it's a field across from a car dealership.


I was about to say, Looks like a 47 year old child. Life was tough on the young ones. I was reared on a dairy and row crop farm, so I can relate to the hard work. Never been to a house of prostitution, though. I did, however, smoke at an early age; about 13.

Smokes and Visits

Maybe that adds to his looking older than his years, but you don´t really think working 11 hours a day makes someone look young and fresh, or do you?

Richard Pierce

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. Samuel Richard Pierce was born about 1896. He married a girl named Agnes. They had five children listed in the 1930 census, and Richard's occupation was given as a plumber. On his WWII draft registration, he is still married to Agnes, still living in Delaware, and still a plumber. He died in 1970.

Oh, man.

I want to hug him.


His eyes look so sad. And those wrinkles--at 14. I too wonder how his life turned out. This photo speaks volumes.

The meaning of "visits"

Does that mean he visits, as in delivers messages there, or visits, as in "visits"?

[Delivers messages. - Dave]

14 going on 40.

14 going on 40. I wonder how his life turned out. I'm almost afraid to speculate. Poor kid.

That Exhausted Look

It can't be the 11 hour days, it has to be the "smokes" and visits to the "houses of prostitution."

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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