Memory Bank: Photographer exposes child labor abuses

New York-based schoolteacher and photographer Lewis Hine was so concerned about child exploitation in factories during the industrial revolution that he traveled the country making photographs to tell the story. Hine took these pictures in about 1908 at a glass factory in Indiana, although the Indiana Historical Society hasn’t documented the precise location. Child labor was common in Indiana, with an estimated 2,000 boys working in Indiana glass factories in 1896, according to the historical society. The National Archives says that Hines’ images “of working children stirred America’s conscience and helped change the nation’s labor laws. Through his exercise of free speech and freedom of the press, Lewis Hine made a difference in the lives of American workers and, most importantly, American children.”•

Sources: Indiana Historical Society, National Archives

Credit: The photo is courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society. More images are available at

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