A selected bibliography of materials in the Wirtz Labor Library Collection
Report on the
Condition of Woman and Child Wage-Earners in the United States, 61st
Congress, 2d session, 1910. (A Bureau of Labor Study published in 19 volumes.)
This is a comprehensive historical and socio-economic study compiled by the
Bureau. It is considered one of the classic resource documents on child and
women labor abuses.
Child Labor in the United States, Bulletin #69, 1907.
The Meaning of Child
Labor. Chicago, 1922.
Report of the
Secretary of the Treasury on the Subject of Manufacturers in the U.S.
Philadelphia, 1824. One of the founders of the Republic, Hamilton set forth his
ideas on how commerce/business should operate in the new nation. Hamilton's
pro-industry bent contrasted with Jefferson's ideas for a nation of farmers and
mechanics (workers). Hamilton's encouragement of the use of child labor is
extremely cogent to the development of our economic system.
Women in Industry: A
Study in American Economic History. New York, 1910. Abbott was a famous
labor reformer of the age of industrial capitalism. The chapter on 'Child Labor
before 1870" is especially pertinent to the understanding of the
Labor Law in the United States. Washington, 1967. A valuable resource on
the development, growth, and evolution of child labor legislation. It provides
enough basic information to allow researchers to expand on the findings
Labor Problems: A
Textbook. New York, 1905. An economic analysis on the employment of women
and children, arguing that it does not have to be a system of exploitation and
abuse. Contributing authors are Helen Sumner and Richard T. Ely, the latter the
first president of the American Economic Association.
Child Labor in City
Streets. New York, 1912. Clopper, an official of the National Child Labor
Committee, studies the newsboys, bootblacks, and other children working in the
Capitalism. New York, 1933. A socialist view of the evils of child labor
under our economic system. Considerable funding for International Publishers
came directly from the Comintern.
of Night Work of Young Persons. Washington, 1913. One of the many Bureau of
Labor Statistics Reports on child labor. Refer to the following BLS Bulletins
in this series:
#8 Conciliation and Arbitration in the Boot and Shoe Industry
#10 Work and Wages of Men, Women, and Children: Conditions of
Negroes in Various Cities (1897)
#13 The Italians in Chicago: The
Anthracite Mine Laborers (1897)
#15 The Trade Union Label
#37 A Social Study of the "Oyster Negro" (1901)
Child Labor in the U.S. (1904)
#56 The Influence of Trade Unions on
#72 Italian, Slavic, and Hungarian Unskilled
Immigrant Laborers in the U.S. (1907)
#96 Employment of Children in
#118 Ten-Hour Maximum Working-Day for Women and Young
#128 Wages and Hours of Labor in the Cotton, Woolen, and
Silk Industries, 1890-1912 (1913)
#217 Effect of Workmen's Compensation
in Diminishing the Necessity of Industrial Employment of Women and Children
Uniform Child Labor Laws.
Philadelphia, 1911. The transcript of the proceedings of the 7th Conference of
the National Child Labor Committee; it is a wealth of information on all the
state activities of the committees' locals. Felix Adler, Chairman of the NCLC
gave the keynote address entitled, "Child Labor a Menace to Civilization".
See also the NCLC Proceedings and Hearings (1904-1940).
The bulletins are the most intense and comprehensive studies to advocate
prohibition of child labor. Particularly valuable are the Lewis Hine photos
printed in each volume.
This contains many articles by some of the
leading child labor reformers of the period. For example, Mary Van Kleek,
"Child Labor in New York City Tenements," (January 18, 1908).
Paul Kellog of the Pittsburgh Survey expanded attention
to include social and economic inequality for all industrial areas. It was in
one of the early articles on the poor living and working conditions of
Pittsburgh that the city was described as "Hell with the lid taken off." In
October of 1938, Survey Graphic printed a biographical article on Lewis
W. Hine, the man who left indelible images of child and immigrant workers when
he captured their souls on the glass plates of a camera.
The periodical holdings of the Department of Labor Library
has many social, economic, and historical journals such as these that commonly
or occasionally have child-labor related articles.
The UMWA publication, especially in the period
1890-1920, was one of the most aggressive publications criticizing the use of
child labor in the coal fields. A particular target of their anger was the
plight of "breaker boys" in the Anthracite seems of Pennsylvania; with the
demise of the industry after World War I, the problem lessened. In the
Bituminous fields of Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky,
and West Virginia, the problem remained but not with the same intensity as
before the war. Alternate fuels (oil and gasoline) reduced market shares and
child labor lessened but did not disappear.
As in the coal industry,
child labor diminished as technology and the availability of cheap adult labor
via immigration increased after 1900. Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick
basically crushed this organization in 1919. There were "puddlers" and other
job classifications in the coke and steel industry before World War I, that did
hire young boys.
The house organ of the AFL, it contained many articles,
editorials, and letters to the editor condemning child labor.
Facts Concerning Child Labor, Special Report of the NAM #24. This
pamphlet contends that not all child labor is invidious and that better
employers either refrain from the use of children as workers or treat them
according to the state laws. The "cheap" manufacturer is the real culprit in
any abusive situation the article claims. NAM produced a series of articles and
studies refuting the worst charges of child labor reformers.
Journal of the Glass blowers Association of U.S. and Canada: name changed to
Glass Horizons in 1926, and after several other name changes is still
published as Horizons. Ironically, the glass workers were more concerned
about the use of young workers--they were referred to as apprentices--replacing
skilled adult glass workers than the actual practice of using child
and Glass Sand Industries of Pennsylvania. Harrisburg, 1918. Primarily a
technical industry oriented monograph, it discusses some child labor
Toledo, 1957. Strictly a "coffee-table"
type commemorative, most notable in its lack of discussion of the issue of
child labor in the industry.
The Proceedings of union conventions and trade union journals from the
period up to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The Department of Labor
Library has many such documents. For example, consider the following piece from
a clothing union publication:
of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America: 1916-1918. (One picture of
a young worker scabbing during a strike at the Sigmund Eisner Company in Red
Bank, New Jersey.) "The young toiler in knee pants, whose right place is on the
playground, (has responded) to a 'Boys Wanted' ad to work with machines that
maim and cripple, to scab it upon adult workers...."
Agricultural workers and some industry classifications were exempt from
the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. There are many
government documents and publications, as well as periodical articles,
monographs, and research studies in the library holdings on the plight of
migrant children workers with particular emphasis on African-American and
Hispanic groups. The focus of this bibliography has been pre-FLSA due to space
limitations. Here are several general resources pertaining to the
Uprooted Children: The
Early Life of Migrant Farm Workers. Pittsburgh, 1970.
Bitter Harvest, a
History of California Farmworkers. Cornell Press, 1981.
Migrant Farm Labor in Colorado (1951).
Migratory Labor in American Agriculture (1951).
Departmental Library contains many local union newspapers, Ph.D. dissertations,
and other research documents that pertain to child-labor issues. Here are just
a few items:
1880-1919 - fragmented collection.
1906-1930. (Accounts of 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike
conducted by Industrial Workers of the World. During the strike the radical
labor leader Mother Jones conducted a march of workers' children out of
Lawrence for their protection and in the process generating much publicity for
(Mobile, Alabama). In the years following FLSA, considerable child labor
continued in the canning industry (seafood) along the gulf coast.