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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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Brazos Mill Boys: 1913

Brazos Mill Boys: 1913

November 1913. West, Texas. "Some of the younger boys working in Brazos Valley Cotton Mills at West. One, Charlie Lott, was 13 years old according to Family Record. Another, Norman Vaughn, apparently 12 years old, was under legal age according to one of the boys there, Calvin Caughlin, who did not appear to be 15 years old himself. These and two girls that I proved to be under legal age were all working in this small mill. It was an exceptional case, but it is likely that as the children become tired of school later in the year, there will be many more at work." Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

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Sorry, no Czechs

It's interesting to note that none of the boys named here have Czech surnames. West is a town where Czech immigrants began arriving in the 1880s; there were many Czech-owned businesses by the 1890s. The town is most recently famous for the ammonium nitrate fertilizer storage facility explosion on April 17, 2013, but it's mainly known to travelers along Interstate 35 for kolaches, and places that sell them, like the "Czech Stop".


I spent a little time working in a cotton mill in my youth, earning money for college. I remember the horrible lint that got all over you in certain parts of the mill. You can tell from this photo why mill workers were nicknamed "lintheads".

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.

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