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About the Photos

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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Ketchin-Up-Boy: 1908

Ketchin-Up-Boy: 1908

October 1908. Fairmont, W.Va. Monongah Glass Co. Jo Before, a glassworks boy going home, 5 p.m. He says he is 12 years old, and has been at it one year. Is a "ketchin-up-boy" for 70 cents a day; says glass business is all right. Asked if he was going to be a glassblower when he grows up, he said, "Sure!" Goes to school; asked if he had to, he answered "Don't unless I want to"; asked why he went then, said, "Want to learns something." Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Joe Beafore: 1908

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. I have completed my story of this boy. He was 10 years old when he was photographed. His only living child was unable to talk to me. I contacted a grandson, who knew only a few facts, but did send me nice photo of Joe and his wife Mamie. The story is brief but very interesting, I think. See it at:

Jo Before

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. I talked to this boy's grandson tonight. Jo's correct name is Joe Beafore. He had 13 children. Joe's father worked in the coal mines, and that's what young Joe did when he grew up. He died of a heart attack while working. His wife lived to be 85. The grandson knew him well, and is willing to be interviewed. More later.

I'm 13

I'm 13 and I don't know a single kid this age that looks like that. Oh my. He does seem to have a lot of personality and be a very good person.

Cole Kaulfelt, Richmond


Just about the oldest 12 year old I've ever seen. And I love this name, "Jo Before." You can tell by his face that he has a lot of personality.

Jo Before after?

I'd love to know what happened to Jo Before, from this point in his life. Very rare in these pages to have one of these child laborers express a desire to go to school! Thanks for this great site,


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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