Friday, July 27, 2012

Giles Newsom

I "met" the boy in the photograph on-line yesterday. Here's how:

In the news there was a photo of workers at the top of 1 World Trade Center that was being compared to a photo from 1932 during construction of a skyscraper at Rockefeller Center. I had featured that earlier photo - known as "Lunch atop a skyscraper" - in a June 2009 post about Lewis Hine. Remembering that, I googled "Lewis Hine" and also had a look at that earlier blogpost.

When I reread the comments, I was reminded that the lead photo was not in fact taken by Hines, but by his contemporary, Charles C. Ebbets. The attribution was confirmed in 2003 by a private investigator working for the Bettman Archive. The anonymous comment had been written by the niece or nephew of the 8th man on the beam. Each of the other comments in the Cabinet named a worker as her father, so I decided to see if all the members of the crew were identified, and they have been (and their countries of origin indicated):
  1. Martin "Matty" O’Shaughnessy, Irish immigrant (Co. Galway)
  2. James Joy, Irish
  3. Austin Lawton, Canadian (Newfoundland)
  4. John Charles Cook / Akwesasne, Native American (Mowhawk)
  5. Claude Stagg, Canadian (Newfoundland)
  6. John Patrick Madden, Irish descent (b. 1905 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania)
  7. "Stretch" Donahue, Irish
  8. Francis Michael Rafferty
  9. Thomas Enright, Irish
  10. Thomas "Norton" Naughton, Irish
  11. Patrick "Sonny" Glynn, Irish immigrant (Co. Galway)
During my research of this question, I discovered that Ireland just celebrated the photo earlier this month.

When I returned to my search results for Lewis Hine, who was known for documenting child labor, I learned that the fate of one of the subjects of his photos, said Master Newsom (above, additional photos here), - was uncovered by Massachusetts historian Joe Manning - also earlier this month:
On August 21st, 1912, 11-year-old Giles Edmund Newsom had been working for several months at Sanders Spinning Co. in Bessemer City, North Carolina,with his younger brother. That particular morning, a piece of machinery dropped onto his foot and caused him to fall into a spinning machine. The unprotected gears mangled his hand, crushing and tearing out 2 of his fingers. The hand was bandaged in the photos taken by Hines when he photographed mill workers in the state in October. A settlement with the mill of approximately $360.00 was apparently never disbursed. At the age of 18, Newsom indicated on his draft registration card that he was doing the same work at another textile mill, but he no longer appeared in the census and was not mentioned as a survivor in the obituaries of his mother (d. 1927), father (d. 1949), brother (d. 1965), or sister (d. 1981). Death records and a newspaper obituary indicate that Newsom, whose name had been misspelled, died in the "Spanish Flu" pandemic of 1918. 
The boy who was photographed by Hine and became the image of child labor was buried in an unmarked grave.

1 comment:

  1. nice information keep it up best of luk! nice working i love your work stay happy:)
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