A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Children who work

I think any parent of a modern adolescent finds those pictures of child laborers in the early 20th century intriguing horrifying.

Just horrifying.  

Henry, 14 years old

Henry, 14 years old

Yet, we marvel at what a 12-year-old could do if he had to. He could walk 8 blocks. He could stay off the couch most of the day. He could work a hoe in the garden. He could load the dishwasher just once.

In October, 1915, Lewis Wickes Hine, a sociologist turned photographer, came to Fort Collins to document child labor abuses in the beet industry.

Wickes Hine found the schools with more students absent than present, as children worked the harvest. Those who made it to school were often years behind…like Henry who was in 4th grade when this photo was taken.

The history of Fort Collins sugar beet industry here is well documented. So, I’ll just share two more photos:

This orderly scene is from the Fort Collins local history archives. Not sure the source, but similar in tone to most references to the factory: “Strolling down Vine Street by the Fort Collins, Colorado, Sugar Beet factory.”

And here is Lewis Hine’s take from the other side (factory in background). They called it the Jungle then, but I think this is the beginnings of Buckingham:

"The Jungle"

Called "the Jungle" in 1915. Worker housing behind factory.

About a dozen more of Hine’s Fort Collins photos are stashed at the Library of Congress. I can’t link directly to it, so go to the National Child Labor Committee page and search on Fort Collins.

Share them with the children.

6 comments to Children who work

  • i’m going to try to hotlink to a photo from the archives.

    do you know where this rockwood school was/is?

    when do beets get harvested? i’m surprised there’d only be 40 kids in school at the end of october. maybe they’re not harvested till november?

    love the braids on the pic of the 3 girls.

  • ok, so either hotlinking doesn’t work in wordpress blogs or you can’t hotlink from there, eh? oh well.

  • i just went back and looked at more pics over there. sorry about posting three replies in a row, but now i’m wondering where you find these things. is there a list of resources like this that you can look through? or did the FC historical folks put you on to it?

    i thought the comments on the german family were interesting. i’ll have to go look for that house the next time i’m up that way. it’s funny that whoever took the notes felt it important to point out that though they Called themselves german, they were Born in russia. (i’d be willing to bet they were born in ukraine, not russia. of course, ukraine was more of an idea than a place back then.)

  • […] the comments section of an earlier post, Barefoot Meg asks, “where was Rockwood […]

  • catfc

    Hey Meg, send me the link and I’ll make it work.

    Where do I find these things? The Lewis Wickes Hine article started with a search at the Library of Congress. But I often follow up with the archives. Sometimes I get ideas and I run the poor staff at the Fort Collins Archive ragged looking for obscure material for me. In fact, this post was kind of funny because a few weeks before one of them joked, “Why can’t you just do a nice story about sugar beets?”

    Anyway, the Museum Archives, online and in person, are a huge part of this blog. But I won’t write an article usually if I can’t add some value to it, otherwise one of our local history writers, like Arlene Ahlbrandt or Barbara Flemming, has probably already done a good job writing about it.

    That’s why a lot of times people will suggest something and I’ll really, really want to write about it, but I’m waiting for some little thing I can add to it…a rumor, a related current event, a discovery in the back room.

    So, now you have the basics. Ready to become a contributing blogger?

  • contributing blogger? lol! i’m content being a contributing question asker. 😉