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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Bibb Mill Girls: 1909

Bibb Mill Girls: 1909

January 19, 1909. Macon, Georgia. "Some adolescents in Bibb Mill No. 1." Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


A big reason the girl in the middle looks "angry" or "not all there" is her posture: forward head and shoulders, maybe mild torticolis, one shoulder higher than the other. The kid probably had scoliosis and or congenital torticolis, neither condition which would have been helped by leaning over mill machinery all day.

Bibb Mill

I thought the Bibb mill was in Columbus, Ga. Was there more than one? The bits extant in Columbus are lovely.

[Bibb Manufacturing, one of the largest employers in the South in the first half of the 20th century, got its start in Macon. Eventually it had over a dozen mills. - Dave]

Bibb Mill Girls

Wow, the turn of the century child worker photos always get me, but this one in particular breaks my heart. They look so weary, so old before their time. I hope they found some rest and happiness later on in life.

Tired and unhappy

Tired and unhappy is easy enough to understand given the photo was likely taken to document unpleasant work conditions, but the girl in the middle not only looks 'not all there', but as if she were about ready to punch Hine and her friend wants to calm her down or hold her back with that hand on the shoulder. Wonder if she was a bit 'odd' and prone to fits of temper, or just PMSing and didn't want her photo taken after a long, sweaty day's work.

Why tired and unhappy?

I would surmise it was long long hours that would not even be allowed for adults, let alone children, in this day.

Angry girl

They all look tired and unhappy. It would be interesting to know what was happening right before the picture was taken.


She does have that "Full Metal Jacket" sort of look in her eye, doesn't she?

That Girl

Is it my imagination or does the angry looking one in the center look "not all there"?

Macon, Georgia

I live in Macon and if I am not mistaken this building still remains today, and is a great antique store. Boy don't we know how to raise those Southern belles here?

Brown Lung

All the mill workers we've seen have an alarming amount of lint and fiber on their clothes, in their hair--you know they must have inhaled so much.
I wonder what they would look like if they had the lives of the DC basketball girls, below.

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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