SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Support Shorpy

Shorpy is funded by you. Help by purchasing a print or contributing. Learn more.

Social Shorpy


Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Pell City Doffers: 1910

Pell City Doffers: 1910

November 1910. Pell City, Alabama. "Doffers in Pell City Cotton Mill. Superintendent of mill is also Mayor of Pell City." Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine for the National Child Labor Committee. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5
To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Cotton mill doffer

That pic was probably taken at the old Avondale mill. They just now finished demolishing the last remnant, the old smoke stack, BTW. I worked, briefly, in a cotton mill in Talladega (Bemiston Mill), when I was young in the early 80's. The pic shown here was in the really rough days. Those older mills did not have any air conditioning and the spinning rooms (where the doffers worked) and were often so thick with cotton particulates that you could not see from one end of the room to the other. That is what you see on the boys clothing. Long term exposure to breathing cotton dust will give you "brown lung". It usually ends you life earlier than not.

Around his neck

Does anyone know what the boy on the left has around his neck?

Such a hard life

I feel so sorry for these poor lads; obviously they had to work to help their families survive. Just looking at the fluff on their hats; I can only wonder how much of that stuff they breathed in and what health issues they had in later life.

Their faces tell the whole story in one picture.

In My Life

The boy on the far right could easily pass for Beatle John Lennon. Could almost be the Meet the Beatles Cover


one who clears full bobbins, pirns or spindles holding spun fiber such as cotton or wool from a spinning frame and replaces them with empty ones.
A pirn is a rod onto which weft thread is wound for use in weaving.
There will be no more explanations, if you are a weaver you already know.

SHORPY OLD 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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.