Lewis Wickes Hine Child Labour Pictures

American photographer and sociologist Lewis Wickes Hine (1874 -1940) used his camera as a tool for social reform. His child labour pictures educated the public on the use of children as laborers, leading to changes in child labour laws in the United States.

Working as an investigative photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), Lewis Hine documented working and living conditions of children in the United States between 1908 and 1924. The NCLC child labour pictures are useful for the study of labor, reform movements, child exploitation, working class families, education, public health, urban and rural housing conditions, industrial and agricultural sites, and other aspects of urban and rural life in America in the early twentieth century.

Breaker Boys photo by Lewis Wickes Hine

The NCLC collection consists of more than 5,100 photographic prints and 355 glass negatives, given to the Library of Congress, along with the NCLC records, in 1954 by Mrs. Gertrude Folks Zimand, acting for the NCLC in her capacity as chief executive.

These child labour pictures had a significant impact on the way Americans view child labor. We present the photographs here in a format that allows for additional information to be added. If you know anything about the location or people in the photos that might be interesting to our users, please add a comment. You can comment anonymously or sign up and have a user account with a distinctive User ID.

Most of the child labour pictures are in the raw, uncropped format as retrieved from the Library of Congress. We have cropped and adjusted the contrast, etc. of some of the more compelling photos to make them available for printing. A 'Buy This Print' link is provided below those photographs. Only a few are done at this point, but we will be doing more over time.

Click here to browse the child labour pictures. Since there are over 5000 photographs in the collection and they are being displayed at six photos per page, that makes 853 pages to browse and enjoy!

Or if you prefer, you can search using key words or phrases such as 'breaker boys' (some of Mr. Hine's most famous photographs).