Link to eXplorations Menu Link to Photographs as History Menu Link to History of Photography Link to Timeline of Photography Link to Teacher Resources

Lewis Wickes Hine

The son of an Oshkosh, Wisconsin storekeeper, Lewis Wickes Hine was one of America’s most successfully socially-conscious reform-minded photographers. No one was more effective in arousing public passion over child labor than Lewis Wickes Hine. Hired by the National Child Labor Committee in 1908 to document child labor, he took over 5,000 photographs of children working in agriculture, canneries, coal mines, factories, mills, and sweatshops, mainly in the South. His photographs revealed the brutal conditions of child labor and the inadequacy of existing child labor laws. His photographs awoke the nation’s conscience in a way that statistics and reports had failed to accomplish.

How do his photographs of immigrants, urban life, and child laborers differ from the photographs of Jacob Riis?

Group of Italians at Ellis Island,
New York, ca 1905
Girl Worker in Carolina Cotton Mill, 1908
Playground in Mill Village, 1909

Street Child, c. 1910

Copyright Digital History 2019