|LIVES THAT MATTER: AN ESSAY ABOUT THE LEWIS HINE PROJECT
Watch story about Lewis Hine Project on CBS Evening News, Sept 25, 2012
Story about Lewis Hine Project in Yankee Magazine (March/April 2011 issue)
Interview about Lewis Hine Project on "Here and Now," a public radio broadcast (May 2011)
Interview about Lewis Hine Project on Vermont Public Radio (November 2007)
Story about Lewis Hine Project on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" (February 2007)
Interview about the Lewis Hine Project (55 minutes) on Fieldstone Common, an internet radio program
My exhibit for the Lawrence (Mass) History Center, which ran from April to September 2012
"The Mill Children" exhibit, inspired by Lewis Hine's visit to North Adams, Mass. in 1911
Links and resources about Lewis Hine and child labor
Information about my presentations at schools and museums, and updates on new events
Comments from readers, and from descendants of the child laborers
"You know those websites where you enter them thinking, I'll just have a look to see what this is, and then
when you look up from reading it, more than an hour has passed? This is one of those websites, but the story is fantastic
and well worth the time.
First some background.
Lewis Hine was a teacher and a photographer. He was critical of the lack of labor laws protecting children, and in 1908, the
National Child Labor Committee employed Hine to investigate and photograph children working in factories.
Nearly 100 years after Lewis Hine visited a cotton mill in Tifton, Georgia, a
picture of two young girls who worked in the mill caught, and kept, the attention of Joe Manning. Hine had taken five pictures
while visiting the Tifton Mill, and in each of the pictures was the little dark-haired girl from the first picture.
He then started on what was to be a long journey in identifying the dark-haired
girl, as well as the rest of her family. The story is a heartbreaking account of the decisions and lifestyles many in that
era were forced into, as well as an amazing example of what kind of research can be done with enough drive and a bit of luck.
Ultimately, Manning is able to go from a single picture of two unnamed children, to finding the descendants of one family
and learning the history of that family through speaking with those descendants.
Take a look at how two men, working 100 years apart, were able to highlight the life of
an otherwise anonymous family, and show what life was like for the factory and mill workers of the early 20th century."
-Lisa Quinn, Instructional Librarian, LaVerne & Dorothy Brown Library, University of St. Francis,
"I've just spent a ton of
hours reading every word of your extraordinary research about the Catherine Young family in the Lewis Hine photograph. It
was a riveting experience, so much more than the sum of its parts--more profound and moving than many literary novels, as
powerful as a Ken Burns documentary. As someone who has done my own share of genealogical research, and as a writer and editor,
I salute your meticulous technique, unflagging energy, and restrained presentation; as an elder care-giver for an aunt who
surmounted Southern poverty not unlike that of the Youngs, I salute you for having perceived and then magnified and restored
this family's human dignity. The collection of stories, photos and interviews forms an unforgettable portrait of life (and
lives) across an American century and is a testament to human resilience and tenderness as well as callousness. -Brenda
"You cannot imagine what it means to us, after all these years, to learn of this previously unknown and
very important part of our father's story as a young boy. Not only has it brought his memory to the foreground but also that
of our Aunt Julia and has reunited us as a family. We cannot thank you enough for this." -Madeline Strasser,
daughter of Winchendon child laborer Elias Joseph
"I have just finished reading
your story of my grandmother, and I have tears in my eyes....not sure if they are for her, my grandfather and my father, as
much as they are for all of the children of that time. Thank you for your interest in these children, and for making the rest
of us aware of their lives." -Lynne Hatt, granddaughter of sardine cannery worker Minnie Thomas
"Thank you for the fantastic
story about Uncle Ray. You unearthed things about him that even our family didn't know. And now I know things about my mother's
childhood that she has never shared with me. It brought tears to my eyes. I can't thank you enough." -Mary
Beth Rosebrough, great-niece of newsboy Raymond Klose
"My Uncle Lon was not a
man who made a great impact. He was just an ordinary man. I find it really exciting that, in a way, because of your story
about him, he has made an impact." -Dorothy Cheatham, niece of child laborer Lonnie Cole
"I am the granddaughter
of Robert Ellis Kidd, the boy in the picture at the glass factory. I came across your story about him while doing
a random search on my family. It is remarkable, and I personally can't thank you enough for your research and for finding
this family treasure." -Amanda Kidd Vanzant
"The faces of these children and the stories of their
lives touch me deeply. You have given them a voice and have honored who they are. You have let us know that they mattered."
-Deborah Irwin, Research/Tours Director, AncestralAttic.com
"Just wanted to say thank
you. My father's family is from Coal Township, Pennsylvania. My grandmother dropped out of school in 1929 when she was 12
years old to work in the factories and mills to help put food on the table. In the 1950s, at the age of 14, my father moved
to a farm. He attended school and worked on the farm full time and during school breaks, and remembers working up to 18 hours
a day. His money was sent home to my grandmother to help put food on the table. Pictures say a thousand words and Lewis Hine's
photographs helped make a difference in the early 1900s. His photographs are haunting, very emotional and wrenching, but your
going back and finding the stories behind the faces of these young children and their families answers the questions everyone
asks when they see Hine's pictures. You capture the heart and soul of these children and how they were human and grew up and
did what they had to do. Hine and Dorothea Lange are two of my favorite photographers, and all of their pictures that captured
the soul of our country during that era always remind me of what I have and how blessed I am. They also leave me wondering
how these people fared and where they ended up. You've taken the time and gone back and found the answers on some of these,
and for that I thank you." -Tracy Donnelly
"I have spent several hours
each of the last few days, lost in the history you've brought to life. I'm afraid I cannot adequately express my admiration
for the time and dedication you have devoted to this project. I hope you continue to rescue the lost and give them the importance
they never had in life." -Laura O'Hara
spent a good part of today reading your work, and I must say that what you have done is amazing. I have seen Mr. Hine's work
in the past, and have often wondered about the children in the photos. Giving them a life beyond the day the photos were taken
is a wonderful tribute to both Mr. Hine and to each of the children you were able to trace." -Cathy Elsbernd
|Lewis Wickes Hine, courtesy of George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film.
|Ouleout Valley Cemetery, Franklin, NY. Photo by Joe Manning, 2012. CLICK TO ENLARGE.
|Published Nov 4, 1940, in the Oshkosh Northwestern, his hometown newspaper. Found on Ancestry.com.
I have made dozens of presentations
about my Lewis Hine Project to schools, colleges, libraries, museums, and other audiences. I show many of the Hine photos,
some of the family photos that the descendants have provided to me, tell the stories of the children, and talk about the search
process. If you are interested in hearing and seeing my work in person, I am available. I live in Florence, Massachusetts,
which is a village in Northampton. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.