When They Were Young: A Photographic Retrospective of Childhood

If we would only let them be so, children are often ready to be our teachers. When we become thoughtful about things, we want to know about life's purpose. Waiting to show us what it means to keep going, what we need to do to stay on top of things, are our sons and daughters, or the kids next door or across the street or around the block. They are going from one step to another, trying to meet this business of living as best they can.

Robert Coles

Suzanne Szasz. The Newborn, 1954. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-130889 (1)

Edward J. Steichen. Mother and child--sunlight, 1906. Copyprint of photogravure. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-96561 (2)

Lewis Wickes Hine. A "little mother" and her charges, Tarente, Italy, 1918. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress LC-USZ62-90521 (3)

Marion Post Wolcott. Mother and child at Okeechobee migratory labor camp, Belle Glade, Florida, 1940. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF34-054160 (7)

Unidentified photographer. Unidentified girl holding daguerreotype case. Sixth-plate daguerreotype, 1847. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ6-1984 (8)

Frances Benjamin Johnston. Asian (?) baby holding spoon or ladle, ca. 1892. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-103125 (9)

Theodor Horydczak. Six children at swimming hole, ca. 1920-1950. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-H822-T01-1689-002 (13)

Theodor Jung. Kids, Jackson, Ohio, 1936. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF33-004120-M1 (5)

John Vachon. Ozark children getting mail from RFD box, Missouri, 1940. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF33-001862-M2 (6)

Unidentified photographer. Tad Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln. Copyprint. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-13677 (10)

Carl Werntz. Apache girl with basket, ca. 1902. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-104560 (11)

Marion Post Wolcott. On Saturday afternoons and Sundays boys from nearby farms go swimming, Lake Providence, Louisiana, 1940. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF34-054005-D (12)

F. Holland Day. Girl in dress with white collar, 1905. Copyprint of gum bichromate print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-83911 (4)

Jack Delano. Farm boy along the road, Corozal, Puerto Rico, 1941. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF33-021312-M5 (14)

Edwin Rosskam. Boy dressed up for the Easter parade, Chicago, Illinois, 1941. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF33-005146-M1 (15)

John Vachon and Mary Ellen Mark. Boy on school bus, from Look Magazine article "Operation Exodus," Boston, Massachusetts, 1968. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LOOK Job 68-3649 (16)

Carl Mydans. Boys playing cards near Union Station, Washington, D.C., 1935. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress LC-USZ62-115259 (17)

Marcus J. Clark. Children at play in narrow street, Paris, France, 1939. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-95978 (18)

Aaron Siskind. Boys playing with toy swords, Harlem, New York, ca. 1930-1940. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-102399 (19)

Unidentified photographer. Ballet school for baby ballerinas, 1955. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-130890 (42)

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They're on the lookout for something to do, someplace to be, something that will give the day some action. If you're doing something then by golly, you're alive! One achievement after another! Momentum matters--why not?

Robert Coles

Russell Lee. July 4th parade, n.d. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF-3301-13082-M4 (21)

Russell Lee. Three children at a table, 1930s. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF33-11318-M2 (22)

Lewis Wickes Hine. Turkish boy in Salonika, Greece, smiling and carrying food he obtained from the Red Cross, 1918. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-90527 (23)

Lewis Wickes Hine. Boy working in factory, Alexandria, Virginia, 1911. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (24)

Walter Scott Shinn. Theodore Roosevelt with Master Richard Derby and holding Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., ca. 1916. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-120232 (25)

Toni Frissell. Lady Churchill kissing granddaughter Emma, ca. 1950-1960. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-F9-02-5306-009-04 (26)

Morris Gallery of the Cumberland. Portrait of a boy soldier, Nashville, Tennessee, ca. 1860-1865. Copyprint of carte de visite. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-B8184-10573 (27)

Russell Lee. Watching the parade, Vale, Oregon, 1941. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF33-013103-M5 (28)

Alan Lomax. Young boy crying, ca.1934-1950. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ6-631 (29)

Toni Frissell. Boy with shadow, ca. 1950-1960. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (30)

Toni Frissell. Hong Kong-- Girl--Family---Boat, 1959. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-F9-04-5904-006-01a (31)

Alan Lomax. African American child singer for singing games, Eatonville, Florida, 1935. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division , Library of Congress. LOT 7414-c, no. N106a (32)

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It is not easy to turn away from children, near and far, no matter the other obligations that press upon us. We want a future for this world, and when we look at boys and girls going about their ways and days, we are reminded of all that our sons and daughters need to do in the course of their short but important (sometimes momentous) lives spent here among us adults--and so our eyes meet theirs in pictures that become beacons for our moral sensibility, not to mention, our hearts.

Robert Coles

Unidentified photographer. Nursemaid with her charge. Sixth-plate ambrotype, hand-tinted, ca. 1855. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. (33) LC-USZC4-5251

Lewis Wickes Hine. African American boy holding a piece of fruit received through the Red Cross drought relief work, Mississippi, ca. 1930. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-117291 (34)

Jack Delano. Son of a farmer, Caguas, Puerto Rico, 1941. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF34-048775-D (35)

Theodor Horydczak. Copy photograph of a young girl, ca. 1920-1950. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-H824-T-1524 (36)

Edward S. Curtis. The daughter of Bad Horses (Cheyenne), ca. 1905. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-112272 (37)

Edward S. Curtis. Noatak child, three-quarter length portrait, ca. 1929. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-107281 (38)

Edward S. Curtis. Tlakluit child, ca. 1910. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-105382 (39)

Unidentified photographer. Eskimo child leaning on block of wood, 1905. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LOT 11453-3, no. 80 (40)

Alan Lomax. Mexican girls, San Antonio, Texas, 1934. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-71615 (41)

Lewis Wickes Hine. Drought victim from Kentucky, in school with bottle of milk he received in a Red Cross lunch program, ca. 1930. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-101923 (20)

Unidentified photographer. Youthful members of the "Balillas" (Junior Fascisti), Rome, Italy, n. d. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (43)

Russell Lee. Two boys leaning on fence watching parade, Donaldsonville, Louisiana, 1938. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF33-011787-M2 (44)

Florence Ward. Two African American girls playing with yarn and knitting needle at Harlem playground, ca. 1950-1970. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-122105 (45)

National Photo Company Collection. Two children seated on step, ca. 1909-1932. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-106966 (46)

Jack Delano. Children in slum, Utuado, Puerto Rico, 1942. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF34-048097-E (47)

Dorothea Lange. Pea picker's child, Nipomo, California, 1935. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-118706 (51)

Grey Villet. Soothing her kitten, a girl of Hickman Mills, Missouri, sits in the ruins of her home destroyed by a tornado, 1957. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-114377 (49)

Gordon Parks. Children, Frederick Douglass Housing Project, Anacostia, Washington, D.C., 1942. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF34-013369-C (50)

Jack Delano. Daughter of a farm laborer, Caguas, Puerto Rico (vicinity), 1941. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF34-048743-D (48)

Gordon Parks. Boy at the playground, Frederick Douglass Housing Project, Anacostia, Washington, D.C., 1942. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF34-013372-C (52)

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All those children these pictures shown parading, seeing, posing, even sometimes peering, all those children the world over trying their hardest to get through the riddles of life, its variousness, its spells of good or bad. One hopes and prays for every one of them, for what their lives ended up being. . . .

Robert Coles

Emily and Lillian Selby. Young girl, ca. 1894-1920. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-119389 (53)

W.E.B. Du Bois Collection. African American girl with braided hair, 1899 or 1900. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-121107 (54)

Clarence H. White. The ring toss, 1899. Copyprint of platinum print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-41661 (55)

Keystone View Company. Singhalese girls, Ceylon, ca. 1905. Copyprint of stereograph. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-103631 (56)

W.E.B. Du Bois Collection. Three African American boys, ca. 1900. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-69906 (57)

A. Aubrey Bodine. Five Amish children posed, standing, outdoors, ca. 1953. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-99492 (58)

Jack Delano. Children at the Peter's Rest Elementary School, Christiansted, Saint Croix Island, Virgin Islands (vicinity), 1941. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF34-047082-D (59)

Dorothea Lange. Child of a former tenant farmer, Ellis County, Texas, 1937. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USF34-017102-C (61)

Unidentified photographer. Unidentified boy seated in chair with child standing to left. Sixth-plate daguerreotype, ca. 1850-1860. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ6-1950 (62)

Russell Lee. Getting ready for the parade at the fiesta of the Holy Ghost, Santa Clara, California, 1942. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USW3-004576-D (63)

B. W. Kilburn. Jewish children in a street of Warsaw, Poland, ca. 1897. Copyprint of stereograph. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-98872 (64)

Black Star. Curiosity overrode fear in the faces of these English children taking shelter in a ditch during a German air raid, 1940. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-93161(65)

Toni Frissell. Girl raking leaves, ca. 1950-1960. Copyprint of gelatin silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-131238 (66)

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