Digital Repository

Children picking cotton, 1913

In 1904, during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency, the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) was organized to promote the rights of children. Beginning in 1908, Lewis Hine traveled between Maine and Texas photographing for the NCLC. They wanted photographs that would move people to action and provide documentation of child labor in order to initiate protective legislation. Under adverse and often threatening conditions, Hine produced photographs that spotlight the ultimate cost of industrialization. Although his detailed images did prove their purpose, it was not until the 1930s that serious political campaigns for legislation preventing child labor began.

Children picking cotton, September 1913. Gelatin silver print by Lewis Wickes Hine. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Allan M. Disman, New York, New York. P1978.111.2, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas.