Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day for children

Monday, September 5, 2011
Loretta reports:

Today being the "working man's holiday,"  Labor Day, in the U.S., those of the history nerd persuasion might be interested in reading an actual child labor law from the early 20th century.  It will give some insight into the illustration.
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§ 77. Hours of labor of minors and women.—No minor under the age of sixteen years shall be, employed, permitted or suffered to work in any factory in this state before six o'clock in the morning, or after nine o'clock in the evening of any day, or for more than nine hours in any one day. No minor under the age of eighteen years, and no female, shall be employed, [at labor] permitted or suffered to work in any factory in this state before six o'clock in the morning, or after nine o'clock in the evening of any day; or for more than ten hours In any one day [or sixty hours in any one week] except to make a shorter work day on the last day of the week; or for more than sixty hours in any one week, or more hours in any one week than will make an average of ten hours per day for the whole number of days so worked. A printed notice, in a form which shall be prescribed and furnished by the commissioner of labor, stating the number of hours per day for each day of the week required of such persons, and the time when such work shall begin and end, shall be kept posted in a conspicuous place in each room where they are employed. But such persons may begin their work after the time for beginning and stop before the time for ending such work, mentioned in such notice, but they shall not otherwise be employed, permitted or suffered to work [be required to perform any labor] in such factory except as stated therein. The terms of such notice shall not be changed after the beginning of labor on the first day of the week without the consent of the commissioner of labor [factory inspector]. The presence of such persons at work in the factory at any other hours than those stated in the printed notice shall constitute prima facie evidence of a violation of this section of the law.
—Annual report of the Commissioner of Labor, Volume 1, New York (State), 1904

Illustration:  Labor Day Parade, children in Child Labor demonstration, New York.  Courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. 

7 comments:

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Good grief. This just amazed me. It's so easy to be unaware of earlier labor conditions.

Anonymous said...

Excellent reminder for Labor Day, and for modern spoiled American teens too. Not much time for video games and texting when you've put in a nine-hour day at a factory or textile mill, is there?

Di said...

So in reading this, I'm wondering if you are familiar with the Movie 'Newsies' which was about the 1899 News Boys Strike in NYC. And it's now going to the Stage at The PaperMill Playhouse in Millburn NJ from mid Sept thru mid Oct. We've got tickets cause it's my neices favorite movie.

MrsC said...

It started so well, until it got to the before 6 and after 9 thing!!

I love Newsies too and good to hear it's being staged. Such great music!

Susan Holloway Scott said...

Via Twitter, we heard from the National Library of Ireland (@NLIreland) that life for working class children in Ireland in the early 20th c. could be equally hard. They enclosed this photo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yournlireland/6096114654/in/photostream/

The rest of their early photographs of life in Ireland in the photostream are worth checking out, too.

Susan Holloway Scott said...

Oops, forgot to add the link! Here it is now, to the Commons stream of photos from the National Library of Ireland:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/

looloolooweez said...

Wow, I didn't know all of that. Yikes... it's so hard to imagine putting kids to work like that, in those conditions.

 
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