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Art Exhibits

Historic Photographs of Chicopee Exhibit

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 - 4:00pm to Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 4:00pm

Chicopee Public Library History Room presents Photographs by Lewis Hine and Russell Gilbert:

Lewis Wickes Hine 

(September 26, 1874 – November 3, 1940) was an American sociologist and photographer. Hine used his camera as a tool for social reform. His photographs were instrumental in changing child labor laws in the United States.

In 1908 Hine became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee. Over the next decade, Hine documented child labor to aid the NCLC's lobbying efforts to end the practice. Hine's work for the NCLC was often dangerous. As a photographer, he was frequently threatened with violence or even death by factory police and foremen.  At the time, the immorality of child labor was meant to be hidden from the public. Photography was not only prohibited but also posed a serious threat to the industry. To gain entry to the mills, mines and factories, Hine was forced to assume many guises. At times he was a fire inspector, postcard vendor, bible salesman, or even an industrial photographer making a record of factory machinery.

Hine spent the month of November, 1911 photographing the children who worked at Dwight Manufacturing Company in Chicopee. Images displayed at the Chicopee Public Library are selected from thirty-six  images Hine took at the Dwight Mill. The full set of photographs is viewable at the Library of Congress and are part of the National Child Labor Committee Collection.

Russell Gilbert

covered the City if Chicopee for the Springfield Newspapers one hundred  years ago, from 1917 through 1922, and in that time, he documented the city  extensively. He photographed the building of the new High School building in  the 1920s, the City Hospital, the Bee Keepers club and life downtown as it grew  during and after World War I.

The collection of Gilbert’s photographs is part of the Chicopee Public Library  and the Chicopee Room Archive. The Chicopee Room is a collection of historical material from the City of Chicopee.  The images by Gilbert on display are a small sample of the more than 500 2 ½ x 4 ½ inch images. The collection is in the process of being fully digitized and will be available to view on Chicopee Archives Online by the end of  the year. 


Contact Person: 
Chuck Abel
594-1800 x3
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Emily L. Partyka
Central Library
449 Front St
Chicopee, MA
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