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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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River-Boy: 1913

River-Boy: 1913

November 1913. Beaumont, Texas. "Hard work and dangerous. River-boy Lyman Frugia poles the heavy logs into the incline that takes them up to the mill. It is not only hard work, but he is exposed to all kinds of weather and is dangerous too. Said he is 14 years old, has worked here several months, gets one dollar a day. Miller & Vidor Lumber Company." View full size. Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine.


River-Boy: 1913

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. I interviewed Lyman's son. Among other things, he told me: "My father grew up doing hard work and did it all of his life. That was the way of the times. He was just trying to survive." See my story of this boy at:


I grew up in Beaumont in the 50s and 60s, and spent as much time on the muddy Neches River as possible in a homemade 11-foot boat with an old 10-hp Johnson. Lots of history on that river.

Dollar a day

According to one of the inflation calculators, a dollar in 1913 is equivalent to $21 and a bit more today.

River-Boy: 1913

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. Lyman Frugia died in Beaumont, Texas, on June 29, 1980. I talked to his 83-year-old son today. I emailed him the photo, and he had never seen it before. He said his father told him lots of stories about working as a boy. I will be interviewing him soon.


Somehow, that is one job I never expected to see kids doing. You expect river drivers to be big burly men like lumberjacks, not scrawny kids. On the other hand, a dollar a day in 1913 probably was a lot a money for a 14 year old.

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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