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Cotton-Mill Worker, North Carolina
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Lewis Wickes Hine
American, North Carolina, 1908
Gelatin silver print

4 5/8 x 6 9/16 in.
84.XM.967.5

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A young girl of no more than twelve or thirteen years of age stands poised between a window and a cotton loom that seems to extend infinitely into the distance behind her. Almost metaphorically, her hair appears to be cropped short on the side that faces the loom, while a long braided ponytail faces the window as if its growth has been nourished by the sunlight. Her own cotton dress is wrinkled and shabby, the soft, faded stripes of her garment contrasting with the tautly pulled threads running through the machine at which she labors.

Lewis Hine's photographs of poor children in deplorable working conditions, made while on assignment from the National Child Labor Committee, were instrumental in the passage of child labor laws in the United States.