A few weeks ago, I came across this intriguing photo. It was taken in the early 1900s, by American sociologist and photographer Lewis Hines. He used his camera to spur social reform, and his collection of images of children at work were instrumental in changing the child labor laws of the United States. With each photo, he recorded information about his subject. The boy above is Wilbur H. Woodward, Western Union messenger 236. He was fifteen years old when this photo was taken in 1912.
Lewis Hine’s photo collection is now housed by the Center for Legislative Archives in the United States, and many of them are available online. Take a look. They’re a haunting commemoration of what childhood used to be on this continent, and still is in many places.