In 1904, Edgar Gardner Murphy and other Progressive reformers founded the National Child Labor Committee, an organization whose goal was the abolition of child labor. It hired investigators to gather evidence of children working in harsh conditions. One of these investigaors was Lewis Hine. He traveled around the country photographing the working conditions of children.

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Child Labor Images Taken by Lewis Hine

Source for all images: Lewis Hine, National Archives,

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Hine's photos intensified demands for reform. In 1916, Congress passed the Keating-Owens Act, which limited child labor. Unfortunately, two years later, the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional. Effective action against child labor had to wait until the 1930s during the New Deal. Click on the link below to view a montage of Hine's photos.

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Source: Lewis Hine Collection, gouldie64, YouTube