Sadie Pfeifer, a Cotton Mill Spinner, Lancaster, South Carolina

A work made of gelatin silver print.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.

Date:

1908

Artist:

Lewis Wickes Hine
American, 1874–1940

About this artwork

In 1906 the National Child Labor committee hired Lewis Hine, already known for his photographs of immigrant families arriving on Ellis Island and steelworkers in Pittsburgh, to document scenes of child labor. In a South Carolina cotton mill, Hine discovered 48-inch-tall Sadie Pfeifer and photographed her directly next to the dangerous machinery that she faced each day. Though she is bathed in light, her small form is nearly overwhelmed by the rows of spools in front of her, their repeating forms evoking the monotonous, mechanical nature of factory work. Hine’s images originally appeared in periodicals, posters, and booths at anti-child labor conventions. In 1914, 35 states ruled to prohibit the employment of children under the age of 14 and to require an 8-hour workday for individuals under 16. These photographs, therefore, represent one of the first instances of photography helping to enact social change.

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Photography

Artist

Lewis Wickes Hine

Title

Sadie Pfeifer, a Cotton Mill Spinner, Lancaster, South Carolina

Origin

United States

Date

1908

Medium

Gelatin silver print

Dimensions

20.2 x 25.2 cm

Credit Line

Gift of David Vestal

Reference Number

1965.345

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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