Tuesday, February 11, 2014

1912: Families working at home for Dennison Manufacturing

Dennison Manufacturing Company expanded from Boston and opened its Framingham factory in 1897. Known as the "Tag Makers," the company sold Handy Boxes "containing a collection of articles which are in constant use in the home," such as shipping tags, key tags, marking tags, rubber bands, paper clips, and gummed labels, at a cost per box of $2. Dennison's in Framingham followed its Boston factory practice of sending out work to homes close by the factory. Dennison was the largest employer in Framingham. The following pictures were taken in 1912. They show entire families on Coburn Street assembling tags for Dennison's. Photographs and captions by Lewis Wickes Hine who, beginning 1908, became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC).

November 1912. South Framingham, Massachusetts. "Home of Rufine Morini, 6 Coburn Street. Two mothers, three children 10, 8 and 6 years old, working on tags for Dennison. Children anemic. Make $10 (more or less) a month. Witness, F.A. Smith." Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. (Library of Congress archive)
Home of Desiderio Cella, 11 Coburn Street, So. Framingham, Mass. Children - 13, 12, 10, 8, 7 years old working on tags in dirty room with macaroni all spread out on table being cut. Tag tying going on at same table. Washing also in dirty kitchen. South Framingham, Massachusetts, November 1912. Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine (Library of Congress archive)
Family of David H. Goodman, cor. Coburn and Mellen Streets, South Framingham, Mass. Mother and two children, 14 yrs. and 10 yrs. old, working on tags for Dennison factory. One boy, 12 yrs. old, sick abed in next room. Father, umbrella mender. This family has made $50 a month, average $25 to $35. House not well kept. Witness F.A. Smith. Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. (Library of Congress archive)

About the photographer

In 1904, Lewis Wickes Hine photographed immigrants on Ellis Island, as well as at the tenements and sweatshops where they lived and worked. In 1911, he was hired by the National Child Labor Committee to record child labor conditions, and he produced appalling pictures of exploited children. During World War I, Hines worked as a photographer with the Red Cross and later photographed the construction of the Empire State Building. He died on November 3, 1940, in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

For more information about Lewis Hine

Additional Hine photographs (click on photo)
Child Labor in America 1908-1912 through the lens of Lewis Hine