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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Break Time: 1909

Break Time: 1909

January 1909. Augusta, Georgia. "Noon Hour. Workers in Enterprise Cotton Mill. The wheels are kept running through noon hour (which is only 40 minutes) so employees may be tempted to put in part of this time at machine if they wish." Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

 

Family Tree

I'm from the section of Augusta that is called Harrisburg. It was mainly a mill town. Many of my ancestors, Great Grandfather, Grandfather and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins were working the Augusta mills at that time. My Great Grandfather started at 11 years old. Now we don't even have an active mill in Augusta.

Ironic

I'm from Augusta and now Enterprise Mills is upscale loft-style apartments.

The real lesson here

The hardest thing for today's young people to "get" about these photos might be that, as Lewis Hine frequently noted, these kids chose work over a free education.

I take lunch breaks every day!

>> It's politically incorrect to take a lunch break when there is work to be done

How is that? I don't think it has anything to do with PC but more with having to tackle more work because of layoffs of co-workers. As with PC? If my co-worker doesn't like me enjoying my lunch break, too bad for him or her. I could not care less what anyone thinks. If someone feels it is PC, then I would suggest a therapist to overcome the sense of feeling inadequate as a pushover at work. It's all how you see life.

Lunch time?

Ha! Very interesting, since in 2009 it is now politically incorrect to take a lunch break when there is work to be done. Even now, my lunch is at my elbow and my fingers are on the keyboard. I was tempted!

Kids these days

If I had kids today, I'd be decorating the walls with pictures like this. When the kids whined about chores I'd tap the pictures and remind them how lucky they are.

Noon Hour

The Enterprise Cotton Mill must employ some sort of evil sorcery to make the noon hour equal only 40 minutes. Now if they could ADD on 20 extra minutes, I might be more likely to submit a resume.

Temptation

"In this hardscrabble life I live, I only get 40 minutes in a long hard day to relax and eat my lunch, but the wheels are running! I can't get enough of that wheel! I must man the wheel!" I don't get it. I am impressed by the sheer size of the bouffant the girl on the right is sporting. Her hair, when out of its holster, must have been very long and luxurious.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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