Newsies at Skeeter Branch, St. Louis, Missouri, 11:00 a.m.

A work made of gelatin silver print.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.

Date:

May 9, 1910

Artist:

Lewis Wickes Hine
American, 1874–1940

About this artwork

Beginning in 1906, Lewis Hine was employed by the National Child Labor Committee to photograph and investigate scenes of child labor across the country. He produced some five thousand images of deplorable working and living conditions for children—some just four or five years old—in coal mines, cotton mills, canneries, and farms, sometimes posing as a fire inspector or postcard salesman to gain access. Hine composed his images to elicit sympathy from viewers, adding captions noting his subjects’ ages, heights, or work histories. Interested in art as a means to enhance persuasion and critical thinking rather than to create things of rarefied beauty, Hine distributed his photographs in reformist or popular magazines; they were also made into graphic posters and employed as lantern slides in lectures. It was relatively hard to inspire compassion for those in the “street trades,” especially newspaper delivery boys (newsies), whom contemporary literature both valorized and sentimentalized. The committee, however, demonstrated that in no other occupation were children so unsupervised and that the harsh city environment exposed them to physical danger and adult vices. The young boys seen here, smoking like their elders, seem prematurely hardened to life on the street.

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Photography

Artist

Lewis Wickes Hine

Title

Newsies at Skeeter Branch, St. Louis, Missouri, 11:00 a.m.

Origin

United States

Date

1910

Medium

Gelatin silver print

Inscriptions

Unmarked recto; inscribed verso, upper left, in graphite: "1384"; verso, center, in graphite: "Newsboys [sic]"; verso, center, upside-down, in graphite: "2 [?] Col [?] / The [?] Call [?]"; verso, lower right, in graphite: "2 [encircled]"

Dimensions

8.9 × 11.5 cm (image); 12.6 × 17.8 cm (paper)

Credit Line

Restricted gift of Charles and Ruth Levy Foundation

Reference Number

1974.216

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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