100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Children Gambling In Rhode Island

Lewis Hine was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in September 1874. He studied sociology at the University of Chicago, Columbia University and New York University and became a teacher in New York City at the Ethical Culture School. He used photography in his classes and realized the camera could be an effective tool for social change. In 1908 Hine became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee documenting child labor in American industry. His photographs were instrumental in bringing about reforms to end child labor.

Selling newspapers was an important source of income for boys from low-income urban families. “Newsies” were the main distributors of newspapers to the general public from the mid-19th to the early 20th century in the United States. Many newsboys quit school and sold newspapers during the day. They were not employees of the newspapers but rather purchased the papers from the publishers and sold them as independent agents. Not allowed to return unsold papers, the newsboys typically earned around 30 cents a day and often worked until very late at night. Cries of “Extra, extra!” were often heard into the morning hours as newsboys attempted to hawk every last paper. Many of these boys were orphans who led a very hard life.

On November 23, 1912 Hine took a picture of newsboys gambling at midnight in Providence, Rhode Island.

“A midnight crap game in the street near the Post Office. One 12 years old, one 14. One had been shooting here a couple of hours.”
Photograph and caption by Lewis Hine
November 23, 1912

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