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Most Likely For the Final Time, a Lewis Hine Photo -- And An Amazing Connection Made

What you see above is the first Lewis Wickes Hine photo I ever saw, and one of the few we've yet to run on Unfair Park. It appeared in December 2008 on Shorpy; and it's what initially directed my attention to the Library of Congress's photo archives. The two boys in it are Odell McDuffy and Sam Stillman, both 6-year-old newsies -- among the many Hine met in Dallas in 1913, when he came here to document kid-worker abuses on behalf of the National Child Labor Commission.

I mention it this morning because of an e-mail I received from Joe Manning, the Massachusetts historian who noticed my interest in these photos a few weeks ago and set off to track down the relatives of these children. His latest find is extraordinary. I'll let him explain:

May 4, 2010 (12:30 pm): I received Sam Stillman's obituary yesterday from the Dallas Public Library. Among his survivors were a son and grandson, both of whom I located right away. I called and talked to the son about 9:30 this morning. He hadn't seen the picture before. He is a college professor and once taught a course in American photographic history, including the work of Lewis Hine, but he never knew, until now, that Hine photographed his father. I will be interviewing him. At 11:30, I interviewed Beatrice Earl, the daughter of Rosa Mae Phillips. We talked for a good hour.

See? Extraordinary -- so wild it veers toward fiction. There's a documentary in there somewhere. Or, at the very least, a cover story.

And while on the subject of Hine, I also received a note from Kate Sampsell-Willmann, author of Lewis Hine as Social Critic, published last year. She is working on a sequel: "a book examining Hine as an advocate for the end of child labor, including Texas."

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