Sunday, April 8, 2007

Commerce & Industry: The Kibbe Candy Kids (1910)

In 1908, the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) hired photographer Lewis Wickes Hine (1874-1940) to document child labor practices in the United States. Hine spent several years capturing children on film engaging in a variety of tasks, including farm, factory and mill work. Hine even recorded images of child vaudeville performers. Hine spent time in Western Massachusetts while working on the project, taking photographs of barefoot children selling newspapers on the street in Northampton, youthful mill workers in the Berkshires, and candy factory workers in Springfield, as seen in the photographs below. Hine's photographs were instrumental in illuminating the widespread use of children in the workplace in the country in the early part of the 20th century, and helped lead to the adoption of national child labor laws.

Photograph captions are from the NCLC caption cards.


"Entrance to Kibbe's Factory. Location: Springfield, Massachusetts." (c. October 1910)


"Kibbe's Candy Factory. Joseph Giordano, Freddie Reed, Willard Leavenworth. Some of the smallest youngsters at Kibbe's. Location: Springfield, Massachusetts." (c. October 1910)


"Kibbe's Candy Factory. Joseph Giordano 14 years, Feeding Hills, Mass. Had just received his work certificate and left school. Tended a chocolate machine at $3.50. This was as small a boy as any at Kibbe's. Location: Springfield, Massachusetts." (c. October 1910)


"Kibbe's Candy Factory. Freddie Reed, 14 years, Hayden St., been working a few months. Left school this year as soon as he reached the legal work age. Is earning $ 4.00. Location: Springfield, Massachusetts." (c. October 1910)


"Kibbe's Candy Factory. Ryme Sylvester 15 years, 68 Clinton St. Runs chocolate spreader. Earns $ 4.00. Been at it one year. Location: Springfield, Massachusetts." (c. October 1910)


"Chocolate machine operator - Kibbe's Factory. Earl Roberts, 15 years. Has worked four months. Earns $ 4.00. Location: Springfield, Massachusetts." (c. October 1910)


"Kibbe's Candy Factory. Francis Clancey, 14 years, Walter St., Brightwood. Left school a few weeks ago to work at Kibbe's. Earns $3.50. Location: Springfield, Massachusetts." (c. October 1910)


"Kibbe's Candy Factory. Freddie Reed, Jos. Giordano, Willard Leavenworth, Francis Clancy. Location: Springfield, Massachusetts." (c. October 1910)


For more photographs by Lewis W. Hine of child laborers in Western Massachusetts, check out the EWM post: The Tired Faces of Children: Industrial-Strength Photographs by Lewis W. Hine

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.


Photographs from: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Records of National Child Labor Committee, Lewis Hine, photographer.
Photo 1: Digital ID: nclc 04608, Photo 2: Digital ID: nclc 04604, Photo 3: Digital ID: nclc 04603, Photo 4: Digital ID: nclc 04600, Photo 5: Digital ID: nclc 04609, Photo 6: Digital ID: nclc 04599, Photo 7: Digital ID: nclc 04602, Photo 8: Digital ID: nclc 04605

2 comments:

sojourner said...

I knew that Kibbe Candy had been a big employer of (legal) immigrants, but did not know that children were involved. Thanks for an enlightening post.

Mark T. Alamed said...

I'm glad you found it interesting, Barbara. There are quite a few more Hine photos of Western Mass. children at work at the Library of Congress website. I'll be doing some more with them in the future.

According to the Saint George Church History page, the first Greek immigrant in Springfield, Eleftherios Pilalas, went to work at the Kibbe Company shortly after his arrival around 1884. He was instrumental in getting other Greek immigrants into the company, after becoming a manager himself.
According to the Saint George Church website, within 20 years of Pilalas's arrival, 500 Greeks called Springfield home.

http://www.stgeorgecath.org/pages/stgeorge_church.html