From Photo Of A Lawrence Girl 100 Years Ago, Discovering The Legacy Of Child Labor

Our essay on the “Lewis Hine Project—Stories of the Lawrence Children” exhibit at Andover’s Phillips Academy:

The question was: Whatever happened to that girl?

Her name was Eva Tanguay. And she was a “doffer in [the] spinning room of Ayer mill,” according to social reformer Lewis Hine, who photographed her when he visited Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1911 to document child laborers there. “A half hour car ride in a crowded, stuffy car to and from work. Leaves home at 6 A.M. and returns at 6:30 P.M.”

“When you look at that photo and you look at her face, she’s 14 but she’s already worked at the mill over a year,” says University of Massachusetts-Lowell history professor Robert Forrant. “Her eyes look 40.”

From 1908 to ’24, Hine vividly photographed the working and living conditions of American kids to help turn public opinion against child labor as part of the National Child Labor Committee’s campaign to end the practice.

Read the rest here.

“Lewis Hine Project—Stories of the Lawrence Children,” Oliver Wendell Holmes Library, Phillips Academy, Church Street at Main Street, Andover, Massachusetts, through March 15, 2013. Historian Joe Manning and University of Massachusetts-Lowell history professor Robert Forrant speak about the project in the school’s Kemper Auditorium at 8 p.m. Feb. 6.

Pictured above: Mill worker Eva Tanguay photographed by social reformer Lewis Hine in Lawrence in 1911. Below she appears second from left with her family that same year in another Hine photo. Both images are in the collection of the Library of Congress.

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