Lewis W. Hine (American, 18741940)
Gelatin silver print; 3 9/16 x 4 11/16 in. (9.1 x 11.9 cm)
Gift of Phyllis D. Massar, 1970 (1970.727.1)
In 1908, Lewis Hine accepted a position as chief investigator and photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), a private organization founded in 1904 to promote legislation to protect children from exploitation by American industry. Children as young as four years old labored in a variety of trades for up to twelve hours a day. During the sixteen years that Hine worked for the NCLC (often posing as an insurance inspector to gain access to the worksite), he made some 5,000 photographs of children at work in mines, farms, canneries, sweatshops, and the street. Less troubling than many of Hine's pictures of child labor, this casual portrait of a trio of newspaper sellers, or newsies, shows the young boys awkwardly assuming the roles and mannerisms of manhood.