Indian Orchard Mill Workers (2)

Another scene showing young mill workers in Indian Orchard, Springfield, Massachusetts, in September 1911. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Child Labor Committee Collection.

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The same building in 2014:

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Like the photo in the previous post, the 1911 photo was taken by Lewis Wickes Hine of the National Child Labor Committee to document working conditions of children in the United States and bring about social reform.  Hine’s caption on this photo reads:

Group in front of Indian Orchard Mfg. Co. Everyone in public was working, (see previous lists of names). Location: Indian Orchard, Massachusetts.

I’m not sure which “previous list” he is referring to, but it is probably the one from this photo from the Library of Congress, with a caption that reads:

“Group of workers from Indian Orchard Mfg. Co. including following names and others: Mose Fournier, 297 Worcester St.; in Mr. Karnes’ room. Wilfred Croteau lives on Worcester St., in front of Police Station. Doffer in Mr. Baker’s twisting room. Paul Phaneuf, 189 Franklin St., in Mr. Karnes’ spinning room. Leo La Francis, 12 Quebec St. In beaming room.] Location: Indian Orchard, Massachusetts.”

Indian Orchard Mill Workers (1)

Workers in front of the Indian Orchard Manufacturing Company in Springfield, Massachusetts, in September 1911. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Child Labor Committee Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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The 1911 photo was taken by Lewis Wickes Hine as part of his effort to document child labor conditions around the country.  Here, a group of young boys are posing outside their place of employment at the textile mills of the Indian Orchard Manufacturing Company.  The caption from Hine reads:

Group in front of Indian Orchard Mfg. Co. Everyone in photo was working. Boy not photographed. Hector Dubois, 24 Water St. Doffer in Indian Orchard; crushed finger in pump. Location: Indian Orchard, Massachusetts.”

Although many of them are likely not even teenagers at this point, they were likely finished with school, and were working full time in the factory.  Notice how many are smoking either a pipe or cigarettes, including the boy in the front row just to the left of center, proudly displaying his pack of cigarettes to the camera.

The location hasn’t changed much in the past 103 years; the building still looks much the same as it did in 1911, and even the railroad tracks are still there.  The company is long gone, though, and it is highly unlikely that any of the workers are still alive.  However, photos such as these helped to bring about calls for social reform that would eventually lead to laws against child labor practices in the United States

Dwight Manufacturing Company, Chicopee Mass (6)

Tony Soccha, employee at Dwight Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Mass, in November 1911. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Child Labor Committee Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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This young man was identified by photographer Lewis Hine as Tony Soccha, and he gave the following information about him in the caption:

Tony Soccha, 65 Exchange St., a bobbin boy in Room #7. Been there at work one year. Location: Chicopee, Massachusetts.

Dwight Manufacturing Company, Chicopee Mass (5)

Joseph Maslak, employee at Dwight Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Mass, in November 1911. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Child Labor Committee Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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Taken at the same spot as Joseph Polchlopek, this photo shows a boy named Joseph Maslak, with the following information provided by photographer Lewis Hine:

Joseph Maslak (alone), 3 Depot St., or 34 Front St., (see 2637). Location: Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Like Polchlopek, he was the son of Polish immigrants, and if the Ancestry.com information is correct, he was born in 1897, making him about 14 when the photo was taken.

Dwight Manufacturing Company, Chicopee Mass (4)

Joseph Polchlopek, employee at Dwight Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Mass, in November 1911. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Child Labor Committee Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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Lewis Hine provides the following information about this young man, working at the Dwight Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Mass:

Joseph Polchlopek (alone), 37 W. Front St. Says, “Been working here two years and a half.” (See #2638). Location: Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Interestingly, I was able to use Ancestry.com to find out more about Joseph Polchlopek; he was born in 1896 to Polish immigrants (if the last name didn’t give it away), making him 15 when the photo was taken, which would mean that he started working there when he was 12.  According to the 1940 census, the highest grade that he completed was 8th grade, which is impressive if he had been working since he was 12.  In 1939, he worked as a laborer, making $1,100 per year.  He died in New Bedford in 1976, shortly before his 80th birthday.

Dwight Manufacturing Company, Chicopee Mass (3)

Employees of the Dwight Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Mass, in November 1911. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Child Labor Committee Collection.

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In 2014:

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Another photo from Lewis Hine’s documentation of child labor issues in the early 1900s, this one shows a group of young workers at Dwight Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Mass.  Hine writes this in his caption:

Group of workers in Dwight Mfg. Co. Stanley Twarog (one of the smallest boys), 81 Park St. Works in spinning room. Tony Sccha [i.e., Soccha], (Shortest boy in front, overalls. Very young. 65 Exchange St. A bobbin Boy in Room 7; has been there a year. Location: Chicopee, Massachusetts.
 
Today, all of the boys are (presumably) long-dead, but I’m sure many of their ancestors still live in Chicopee and the surrounding towns, probably unaware of their grandfather or great-grandfather’s role in changing child labor laws in the United States.  The buildings do remain, although the picket fence has been replaced by a far less picturesque chain link fence topped with barbed wire, and the railroad tracks in the foreground aren’t covered in the snow – they are long gone as well.