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Lewis Hine In Winchendon, Massachusetts

Winchendon/MamieLabarge4.jpg
Mamie Laberge, Winchendon, Massachusetts, September 1911. Photo by Lewis Hine.

Mamie La Barge at her machine. Under legal age. Location: Winchendon, Massachusetts, September 1911, Lewis Hine.

In September of 1911, Lewis Hine took at least 40 child labor photographs in Winchendon, Massachusetts, a town in northern Worcester County. Ninety-seven years later, in September of 2008, I made a presentation about my project at the Springfield (Mass) Museums. After the event, a woman in the audience showed me copies of a few of these photos, all of them picturing a girl identified by Hine as Mamie LaBarge. The woman said that she believed that Mamie was her great aunt, and asked me to check into it.

Despite browsing through the Library of Congress photos many times, I didn't remember seeing any in Winchendon, nor did I know where the town was located. I agreed to help and started right away when I got home. Quickly, I found the photos on the library's website, and then I discovered that Winchendon is only about 60 miles from my home. Excited about the prospect of doing research "on site" rather than on the Web, I printed all the photos and captions and put them in a binder. Several days later, I drove to Winchendon and poured through birth, marriage and death records at the town hall, town directories at the library, and took an eerie walk around one of the mills, now closed, windowless and empty.

Click on Stories Of The Winchendon Children to see all of the completed stories. Click Hine's Photos In Winchendon to see a thumbnail gallery of all 40 photos, and a link to the Library of Congress website. See Glenallan Mill Gallery for more than 20 of my recent photos of the historic mill where many of Hine's photos were taken.

Stories Of The Winchendon Children

Hine's Photos In Winchendon

History of White Brothers mills (Spring Village Mill and Glenallan Mill)

Interview with Eric White, member of first generation that did not own the White Brothers mills

Glenallan Mill Gallery

White's College Class of 1911 (group picture of the Winchendon child laborers)

Lewis Hine Project in Winchendon in March/April 2011 issue of Yankee Magazine!

 
 
 
DESCENDANTS OF CHILD LABORERS ATTEND EXHIBITION AT FORMER MURDOCK HIGH SCHOOL IN WINCHENDON
 
On June 11, 2011, a huge crowd, including dozens of descendants of Winchendon child laborers, attended an exhibition of the 40 photos that Lewis Hine took in this town 100 years ago. I gave a slideshow presentation about the stories of some of these children. The event took place at the Winchendon Senior Center, located in the historic building once occupied by Murdock High School, where some of the child laborers and many of their descendants attended school. The event was sponsored by the Winchendon Historical Society and the Winchendon Courrier.

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