Days Gone By - stories from the past

Some cotton mill children went to school, if you can call them schools [old photographs]

The first two photographs are labeled morning attendance at a Mill school in Huntsville taken by Lewis Wickes Hine in December 1913. It may be at Merrimack Mills since several other photographs were taken there at that time.

school 1- Huntsville, Alabama Dec. 1913 - hineschool 2- huntsville, ala dec. 1913 - hine

 

 The next picture includes comments by Hine. He states the following for the first picture: “Outside view of the Mill School at the Merrimack Mills, tucked away upstairs over the store. Equipped with antique, dilapidated benches and chairs. The lessons begin at 6 [?] A.M. and last for six hours, and these children who attend in the morning go into the mill in the afternoon and vice versa for the required eight weeks, which the law specifies. Taking everything into consideration it shows what a travesty vocational guidance may become, and is in itself the best example of Dotheboys Hall I have ever seen, except that it is not half so practical as was Squeer’s school.”

school. outside-building - Merrimack mills - hine - dec. 1913

On the photograph of the inside of the school, Hine states the following: “Dotheboys Hall in session tucked away upstairs over the store. Equipped with antique, dilapidated benches and chairs. The lessons begin at 6 A.M. and last for six hours, and these children who attend in the morning go into the mill in the afternoon and vice versa for the required eight weeks, which the law specifies. Taking everything into consideration it shows what travesty vocational guidance may become, and is in itself the best example of Dotheboys Hall I have ever seen, except that it is not half so practical as was Squeer’s school.”

school -under stairs - Merrimack mills - hine dec. 1913

school - under stairs2 hine dec. 1913Look at the cotton bales that were used as desks for the girls. Very crude attempt at a school, but I guess they made an attempt.

 

 

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8 comments

  1. […] were required to work in factories to help support their families rather than attend school. Some Textile Mills tried to solve the problem by setting up schools next to the factories so children could attend […]

    1. I would bet they learned more there than the kids do today.

  2. Debbie Hubbert Thomas

    My mom went to a mill school in Fayette Alabama

  3. Kathy Foster Phillips

    My older siblings attended the Avondale Mill school in Pell City, Alabama.

  4. Randy Lewis

    I’m glad someone had a little foresight, I want to believe any kind of school is better than no school at all.

  5. Patricia Pollard

    There was a Mill School in Opp AL. Not sure when it was founded.

  6. Mary Lee Gaffin

    Thank you for featuring a bit of Merrimack Mill Village history!

  7. Rhonda Johnson Carden

    Lincoln School in Huntsville was apparently a good school.

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