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.
Vintage photos of:
January 1908. New York. "Mrs. Finkelstein, 127 Monroe Street. Bessie (age 13), Sophie (age 7). Girls attend school. Making garters for Liberty Garter works, 413 Broadway. Mother, a widow, earns 75 cents a day by working all day until 12 at night. Bessie works until 10 p.m., Sophie until 9. They expected to work until 10 p.m. to finish the job, although they did not know when more work would come in. Witness Mrs. Hosford." Glass negative by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.
January 1912. "Tenement homework, New York, 309 W. 146th Street. Mrs. De Levo [?] and her 7-year-old daughter, Lorenza, embroidering ladies' waists in their dirty kitchen-living room. Lorenza makes the stems of the flowers. Her mother said, 'See how smart she is. I show her how and right away she makes them. She is so little because she's been sick so much.' She works after school. Father is out of a job. 'They pay too cheap for lace.' Said they make about $2 a week." Glass negative by Lewis Wickes Hine for the National Child Labor Committee. View full size.
June 1913. "Child Labor Scholarship. Boy securing his weekly allowance from the New York Child Labor Committee, that permits his presence in school." Is it hard to concentrate with the Internet staring at you? Glass negative by Lewis Wickes Hine for the National Child Labor Committee. View full size.
November 1908. High Shoals, North Carolina. "St. Johns Mission School. 'Not supported by the Mill company, but we are always on good terms with them,' said the Sister in charge. Supported by the Episcopal Church. Average attendance 15." Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.
On Shorpy.com's seventh birthday, a look back at our namesake, the teenage mine greaser Shorpy Higginbotham, shown here in 1910 at age 14. His life was cut short by a mine accident in 1928, when he was crushed by a rock.
December 1910. Jefferson County, Alabama. "Shorpy Higginbotham, a 'greaser' on the tipple at Bessie Mine, of the Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Co. Said he was 14 years old, but it is doubtful. Carries two heavy pails of grease, and is often in danger of being run over by the coal cars." Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine for the National Child Labor Committee. View full size.