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Children Who Labor (1912)

 -  Drama | Short  -  23 February 1912 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 79 users  
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The father of a working class family is having trouble finding a job, because the local textile mill is hiring only inexpensive child labor. Reluctantly, he allows his oldest daughter to ... See full summary »




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Title: Children Who Labor (1912)

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Cast overview:
Robert Conness ...
William Hanscomb - the Mill Owner
Miriam Nesbitt ...
Louise Hanscomb
Mabel Hanscomb (as Leonie Flugrath)
John Sturgeon ...
The Immigrant Father
Mary Fuller ...
The Immigrant Mother
The Immigrant's Older Daughter
Edna May Weick ...
The Immigrant's Young Daughter
Bigelow Cooper ...
An Owner of a Mill
Robert Brower ...
A Friend of Mr. Hanscomb
Barry O'Moore ...
An Unskilled Laborer
Charles Ogle ...
The Warden of the Prison
William West ...
The Officer of the Child Labor Organization (uncredited)


The father of a working class family is having trouble finding a job, because the local textile mill is hiring only inexpensive child labor. Reluctantly, he allows his oldest daughter to work in the mill. Meanwhile, in New York, the wealthy businessman Hanscomb is being urged to speak out against child labor, but he declines to do so. Then, while Mrs. Hanscomb and her daughter are traveling, the young girl accidentally wanders away, gets lost, and is taken in by the working class family. To help them, she takes a job in the mill. While this is taking place, Hanscomb has initiated a search for the daughter even as he goes about building up his financial empire. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Short


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Release Date:

23 February 1912 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


(2004 National Film Preservation Foundation print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of the 50 films in the 3-disk boxed DVD set called "More Treasures from American Film Archives, 1894-1931" (2004), compiled by the National Film Preservation Foundation from 5 American film archives. This film has a running time of 13 minutes, an added piano music score, and is preserved by the Museum of Modern Art. See more »

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User Reviews

Save the Children
12 March 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The horrors of child labor are examined in this melodrama that cleverly exposes the rank hypocrisy of captains of industry.

In the textile company's greedy attempt to maximize profit it turns to cheap child labor instead of hiring able bodied men. Faced with starving an impoverished father wrestles with allowing his children to be exploited in the mills. Civic minded citizens plead with the mill owner to rescind the practice but he refuses. In an ironic twist the owner's small daughter gets separated from family and is found and taken in by the poor family who eventually reunites her with father curing him of his "family egotism" and allowing him to see the light and everyone else to live happily ever after. If it had only happened that way.

Until child labor laws were enacted later in the century children were exploited in huge numbers. Children who Labor is to be commended for its socially conscious attempt to expose this abominable practice to a larger audience in a work of fiction.

To see it in more graphic and realistic terms I would recommend the documentary photographs of Lewis Hine on children and living conditions of the city's lower classes during this period. They had a great effect on the public and brought changes in the law. Children of Labor I would venture made many in its audience rethink their position on the subject as well.

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