daily life a hundred years ago

Was pointed to a photo blog by theMezz (a very comprehensive link-a-rama) today that I found fascinating. I’m not sure of the “who” behind it, but it’s a collection of photos, well, here is what the “About” for Shorpy.com says:

“Shorpy.com is a photo blog about what life a hundred years ago was like: How people looked and what they did for a living, back when not having a job usually meant not eating. We’re starting with a collection of photographs taken in the early 1900s by Lewis Wickes Hine as part of a decade-long field survey for the National Child Labor Committee. One of his subjects, a young coal miner named Shorpy Higginbotham, is the site’s namesake.”

It’s fascinating what people do for a living, I think, and even more so what kids did before child labor laws were passed. On this site there is a photo of one teenager who worked 17 hours a day every day and yet was hauled before a judge for being incorrigible at home which, his parents suspected, was due to his cocaine habit (this was in 1913). Here is one compelling photo from the site, that of a trapper boy:

trapper boy from shorpy.com

The caption reads: Vance, a Trapper Boy, 15 years old. Has trapped for several years in a West Virginia coal mine at 75 cents a day for 10 hours work. All he does is to open and shut this door: most of the time he sits here idle, waiting for the cars to come. On account of the intense darkness in the mine, the hieroglyphics on the door were not visible until plate was developed. September 1908. Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine. Shorpy.com is a website by the Juniper Gallery of Fairfax, Virginia, which provides vintage prints and the prints are struck by David Hall of Plan59—a purveyor of mid-century illustration which I am going to poke around in next (there goes another hour of my life ... ) And then I need to figure out why a PHP page isn’t rendering ... oh wait, it’s Saturday!

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