Newsies at Skeeters Branch, St. Louis, Missouri
Not on view
Gelatin silver print
Sheet (Irregular): 3 1/2 × 4 1/2in. (8.9 × 11.4 cm) Image (Irregular): 3 5/16 × 4 5/16in. (8.4 × 11 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Barbara Schwartz in memory of Eugene Schwartz
Rights and reproductions
© artist or artist’s estate
Newsies at Skeeter Branch, St. Louis, Missouri is from an influential series of photographs that Lewis Hine made while on staff at the National Child Labor Committee from 1908 to 1918. During this period, he took more than 5,000 photographs of children on the street or at work in factories, mills, mines, and canneries. Published in newspapers and pamphlets, these images became powerful weapons in the battle for stricter child labor laws. Here, in a frontal composition typical of Hine’s work, three newspaper boys pose cockily for the camera with cigarettes in their mouths, showing a street savvy unsuited to their young years. As a group in Hine’s Child Labor series, the newspaper boy pictures drew attention to the hazards of the work—the children move in city traffic, work late hours, or sell newspapers in pubs or brothels. Yet, in this photograph, there is also a celebratory tone, as Hine captures the boys’ pride and vitality of spirit.