Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Hine, Lewis Wickes from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US sociologist and photographer. His dramatic photographs of child labour conditions in US factories at the beginning of the 20th century led to changes in state and local labour laws.


Summary Article: Hine, Lewis (Lewis Wickes Hine)
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

1874–1940, American photographer, b. Oshkosh, Wis. Hine dedicated much of his photographic career, which began shortly after he bought his first camera in 1903, to exposing in sharp, painful images the social evils of the industrial revolution in the United States. He photographed the poverty of newly arrived immigrants and the street and factory life of working children. Many of these were published in such early collections as Charities and the Commons (1908) and Day Laborers before Their Time (1909). Hine's visual emphasis on their plight helped to bring about the passage of child-protection legislation in 1916. Hines also detailed the effects of war on the land and people of Europe, the complex relationship of man and machine, the construction of the Empire State Building (Men at Work, 1932), the effects of drought in the South, and the influence of a Tennessee Valley Authority dam program on the life of a rural community. Hine's work reflects concern, compassion, and a crusading idealism. The power of his images placed him at the forefront of 20th-century documentary photographers.

  • See International Museum of Photography, Lewis Wicke Hine's Interpretive Photography: The Six Early Projects (1978).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

Related Articles


Full text Article Lewis Hine (1874–1940)
The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame

Credit: Lewis W. Hine/Courtesy of George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film The sky had not yet begun to brighten on a

Full text Article Hine, Lewis Wickes
Chambers Biographical Dictionary

1874-1940 US photographer Born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, he studied sociology in Chicago and New York (1900-07), making a photographic study of Ellis Is

See more from Credo