Three National Child Labor Committee Exhibition Panels
Lewis Hine (American, 1874–1940)
Gelatin silver print
8.9 x 15.0 cm (3 1/2 x 5 15/16 in.)
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1993
Not on view
Trained as a sociologist at Columbia University, Lewis Hine gave up his New York City teaching job in 1908 to become a full-time photographer for the National Child Labor Committee. Created four years earlier, the reform agency's success was largely dependent on its ability to sway public opinion. Influenced by Jacob Riis's pictures of slum conditions on New York's Lower East Side, Hine obsessively documented the working conditions of children in mills, factories, and fields across the country. The results--over 5,000 photographs in all--would then be used in field reports, as well as for exhibitions, pamphlets, and slide lectures. His decidedly unromantic, understated pictures served as a potent weapon of persuasion. The camera's ability to amplify the idiosyncratic, telling detail also gave each of Hine's subjects the simple, irreducible integrity of the single human life.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on print verso UC: "3759."
(sold Christie's, New York, October 13, 1992, no. 78)
Signs in the photograph read: "WHAT IT COSTS THE CHILD"; "WHAT IT COSTS INDUSTRY"; and "WHAT IT COSTS SOCIETY".