Media: Slideshow

Lewis Hines's Photographs of Cotton Mill Workers in Danville

Dinner-toters at the Riverside and Dan River Cotton Mills

Two girls carrying dinner baskets to mill workers at the Riverside and Dan River Cotton Mills in Danville pose beneath an umbrella for a photographic portrait by Lewis Hine. One of the girls, donning a straw hat, walks barefoot along the dirt pathway. According to Hine, "the Sup[erintendent] of Schools and teachers in Danville said that many children toted dinners and did nothing else, not even attending school." Hine, a photographer working for the National Child Labor Committee in the 1910s, visited the mills in June 1911, as part of his photographic investigation into child labor in United States industry.

Original Author: Lewis Hine

Created: June 1911

Medium: Photographic print

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Noon-hour at the Riverside Cotton Mills

A group of young spinners and doffers gathers for a portrait by photographer Lewis Hine at the Riverside Cotton Mills in Danville in June 1911. Spinners were girls who tended to the whirling spools of thread, mending any breaks in them. Doffers were boys—often barefoot, like the ones shown here—who ran in and out of the mill removing full bobbins and replacing them with empty ones. This could be a dangerous task. At one factory the photographer reported that "A twelve-year-old doffer boy fell into a spinning machine and the unprotected gearing tore out two of his fingers …" In the 1910s, Hines traveled across the United States for the National Child Labor Committee, photographing child laborers in the industrial workplace. His photographs became a powerful tool in the movement to reform child labor laws.

Original Author: Lewis Hine

Created: June 1911

Medium: Photographic print

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

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  • Dinner-toters at the Riverside and Dan River Cotton Mills

    Two girls carrying dinner baskets to mill workers at the Riverside and Dan River Cotton Mills in Danville pose beneath an umbrella for a photographic portrait by Lewis Hine. One of the girls, donning a straw hat, walks barefoot along the dirt pathway. According to Hine, "the Sup[erintendent] of Schools and teachers in Danville said that many children toted dinners and did nothing else, not even attending school." Hine, a photographer working for the National Child Labor Committee in the 1910s, visited the mills in June 1911, as part of his photographic investigation into child labor in United States industry.

    Original Author: Lewis Hine

    Created: June 1911

    Medium: Photographic print

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

  • Noon-hour at the Riverside Cotton Mills

    A group of young spinners and doffers gathers for a portrait by photographer Lewis Hine at the Riverside Cotton Mills in Danville in June 1911. Spinners were girls who tended to the whirling spools of thread, mending any breaks in them. Doffers were boys—often barefoot, like the ones shown here—who ran in and out of the mill removing full bobbins and replacing them with empty ones. This could be a dangerous task. At one factory the photographer reported that "A twelve-year-old doffer boy fell into a spinning machine and the unprotected gearing tore out two of his fingers …" In the 1910s, Hines traveled across the United States for the National Child Labor Committee, photographing child laborers in the industrial workplace. His photographs became a powerful tool in the movement to reform child labor laws.

    Original Author: Lewis Hine

    Created: June 1911

    Medium: Photographic print

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division