Occupations Open to Girls 14 to 16 Years of Age (1912)

Above: Teenage girls working in a factory making artificial flowers, 1917

The photo collage above was composed from photos taken by Lewis Wickes Hine (1874-1940), and are from the “National Child Labor Committee Collection” at the U.S. Library of Congress. On the left a photo from 1917 of Mary Diamond, 15 years old, making artificial roses.  At upper right, Margaret Reddington, 14 years old, “powdering roses with a blow pipe;” and at lower center Corrinne Le May, 15 years old “bunching sweet peas.” All the girls worked at the Boston Floral Supply Co. in Boston.

I read a selection from the Survey of Occupations Open to the Girl of Fourteen to Sixteen Years, published in 1912 by the Girls Trade Education League, Boston Massachusetts, for the LibriVox 16th Anniversary Collection.

“Range of choice for the untrained fourteen to sixteen year old girl lies almost absolutely between the factory and the department store…  She shifts from one place to another looking vainly for something more satisfactory, and her sensitiveness gives way to dull resignation, and small .flames of initiative and ambition easily die out.”

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