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$1.50 a Day: 1912

$1.50 a Day: 1912

May 1912. Rock Hill, South Carolina. "J.A. Leazer, a 19-year-old weaver at Highland Park Mill, and his family. Began working at 9 years old. Makes $1.50 a day now and says he probably can't get any more as a weaver. Many of them marry young." View full size. Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.


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James Leazer

Joe Manning again. The previous comment by Nicholas West is very insightful. I thought they might just be uncomfortable with the camera, and given their ages, not very sure about what to do with the baby. But given what happened to them, I guess Mr. West's observations are right on the money. Thanks, Nicholas.

Ain't No Happiness There

Well I must say, despite Joe Manning's description of this picture appearing to depict an earnest young couple, there's nothing in the body language or facial expressions above that denotes any kind of happiness or warmth. Much less love.

They're both looking down sullenly at that baby like "What the hell is this?" He's turned away from his wife, bothering to turn only his head in her direction, as if they were strangers and she just that moment sat down next to him and interrupted his train of thought. She looks tired and a bit tense and is leaning away from the baby, as if unsure how to proceed. Clearly a baby is still an alien object to her.

James Leazer

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. I have completed my research on this picture, and it is a sad and strange story. Despite the appearance of being an earnest young couple, the Leazers were headed for trouble when Hine encountered them. I interviewed one of their sons, and a niece. You can see the full story at:

J.A. Leazer, $1.50 a Day

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. I just talked to a niece and nephew of James Arthur Leazer. They were very surprised about the photo. I will be interviewing the niece soon. Thanks to the previous comment for starting the ball rolling on this.


Why did Ruby die at aged 9? Such a young age to go!

Highland Park Mill

I'd be interested in knowing where this image was obtained. Both of my great grandparents, and all their siblings worked at that Mill. I'd love to know if there was a possibility of more images that might include them.

[Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Online Catalog. There are six Highland Park Mill photos. - Dave]

James Arthur Leazer

Most probably James Arthur Leazer, son of David Leazer and Melinda Atkins, born 17 May 1893 and died 12 Apr 1973; widowed.

Pictured with his wife Mamie (Mary J.) Collins and daughter Ruby (1912 - 5 Sep 1921).

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