The J. Paul Getty Museum

Sadie Pfeiffer, Spinner in Cotton Mill, North Carolina

Object Details


Sadie Pfeiffer, Spinner in Cotton Mill, North Carolina


Lewis W. Hine (American, 1874 - 1940)




North Carolina, United States (Place Created)


negative 1910; print about 1920s - 1930s


Gelatin silver print

Object Number:



Sheet: 28 × 35.7 cm (11 × 14 1/16 in.)

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Object Description

A young girl wearing a worn dress stands beside a cotton loom in the factory where she works. For this image, photographer Lewis Hine chose a vantage point that emphasizes the enormity of the child's environment. A series of tall windows on the right illuminate the large spinning machine that recedes into the distance and dominates the room, dwarfing the figure. Hine was known to enter factories and warehouses under false pretenses to make photographs of child laborers. He would hide a pad and pencil in his pockets to note the names and heights of his subjects. Sadie Pfeiffer, pictured here, was forty-eight inches tall when Hine captured this image. Introducing middle-class America to the ugly truth about children's working conditions, Hine's photographs, made while on assignment from the National Child Labor Committee, were instrumental in the passage of child labor laws in the United States.

Photographers of Genius (March 16 to July 25, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 16 to July 25, 2004