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Fun Between Times: 1909

Fun Between Times: 1909

January 1909. Macon, Georgia. "Doffer boys have lots of fun between times. (But get habits of irregular work.) This is the middle of the morning. Willingham Cotton Mills." Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.


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Fun between times

I think the seven boys in the picture came away with seven different lessons. I wonder how many had all ten fingers. Child labor was a horrible practice. I was a doffer on a 3-11 shift while in college in the sixties. I swapped jobs to be a doffer when I learned that the guy I replaced as a machine tender had lost his arm. It was hard work and I was full grown. Some aspects of the old days were great but a lot of the jobs were not.

- Waumbec Mills, Manchester N.H.

Working Kids

You never come back.

I say good-by when I see you going in the doors,
The hopeless open doors that call and wait
And take you then for -- how many cents a day?
How many cents for the sleepy eyes and fingers?

I say good-by because I know they tap your wrists,
In the dark, in the silence, day by day,
And all the blood of you drop by drop,
And you are old before you are young.
You never come back.

-- Carl Sandburg, "The Chicago Poems"

Kids working

The old days depended on alot of child labor. I think it taught them the value of a hard earned dollar early in life. And the clothes in all these pictures don't seem to be about making any fashion statements. Two things that are very different from today.

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