Children’s Bureau, Department of Commerce and Labor. Lewis W. Hine,
|This picture shows
a group of boys working in Lancaster Cotton
Mills. The smallest boy in the middle said he has been in the mill off
and on for five years.
|Many young children
worked in mills, as there were no child labor laws. A federal child labor law
was passed in 1916, setting a minimum age of 14 for employment, but this was
challenged by southern mill owners and ruled unconstitutional in 1918. It was
in 1938 that the Fair Labor Standards Act
established regulations for employment of young workers – age 15 is
the minimum age, with minimum wages and rules regulating work activities,
except for farm labor.