In 1908 photographer Lewis Hine was hired by the American Child Protection Council to report on the poignant working conditions of children. He traveled to Eastport, the origin of the American sardine trade, where a lot of children were still working in the sardine business. The result is a lurid series of pictures.
Eastport is a small town in the state of Maine, consisting of a small group of islands. Numerous children used to work there in the sardine factories as a cheap workforce. One day of sardine filleting would earn them $1,50. Heavy and relatively dangerous work, definitely unsuited for children.
Hine’s images provided an accurate depiction of the heavy conditions for the children, with their sad, blank faces and wounded hands. Ultimately, the American Child Protection council used these images as evidence to successfully forge a new law prohibiting children to work in factories.