Photographs of Working Children

Historical content: 
The Gilded Age
Historical skills: 
Contextualization, Corroboration, Sourcing



Use the photograph, source information, and background information to answer the questions below.

Background Information: Lewis Hine took this photograph for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) in 1908. The NCLC had hired Hine to photograph children working in mines, factories, textile mills, and farms. The NCLC used the photographs to raise awareness about the dangers of child labor. Hines’ work for the NCLC helped change public attitudes and reform child labor laws.


Title: “Young Driver in Mine: Had been driving one year. (7 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. Daily) Brown Mine.” 
Lewis Hine 
Brown, West Virginia

Question 1: Why might the background information above lead you to question the photograph’s reliability as evidence of the dangers of child labor at the time?

Question 2: What is one aspect of the photo that might lead you to question its reliability as evidence of the dangers of child labor at the time?

Question 3: What is one thing you would want to know about Lewis Hine or how he took this photo to better determine its reliability?

About the Assessment

Like the Lange assessment, this question asks students to engage in sourcing, contextualization, and corroboration.  Students are asked to consider how the contextual information affects the reliability of Lewis Hine's photography.  They then must consider how the content of the photograph could affect its reliability.   Finally, students must think of something else they would like to know about the photographer or the circumstances of the photograph to further evaluate the reliability of this photograph.