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Past Exhibition

  • Lewis W. Hine, Easthampton, Mass., December 1936. International Center of Photography, Gift of the National Archives.
  • Lewis W. Hine, [Bedroom and living-room in company-owned home of workers at Highland Cotton Mills, High Point, North Carolina], January 1937. © International Center of Photography. Gift of the National Archives, Washington, DC, 1975.
  • Lewis W. Hine, [Inspector using high precision toolmaker's microscope, accurate to .0001 of an inch, to examine watches, Hamilton Watch Factory, Lancaster, Pennsylvania], January 1937. © International Center of Photography. Gift of the National Archives, Washington, DC, 1975.
  • Lewis W. Hine, [Two workers stamping glass jars with new device for lettering painted bottles, T. C. Wheaton Company, Millville, New Jersey], March 1937. © International Center of Photography. Gift of the National Archives, Washington, DC, 1975.
  • Lewis W. Hine, [Worker pressing rubber bodies, Paragon Rubber Company and American Character Doll, Easthampton, Massachusetts], December 1936. © International Center of Photography. Gift of the National Archives, Washington, DC, 1975.
  • Lewis W. Hine, [Workers pressing glass door knobs, T.C. Wheaton Co., Millville, New Jersey], March 1937. © International Center of Photography. Gift of the National Archives, Washington, DC, 1975.
  • Lewis W. Hine, [Semi-skilled worker putting in balance screws in rim of balance wheel, Hamilton Watch Factory, Lancaster, Pennsylvania], January 1937. © International Center of Photography. Gift of the National Archives, Washington, DC, 1975.
  • Lewis W. Hine, [Machinist shaping section of driving-rod for largest locomotive, Baldwin Locomotive Works, Eddystone, Pennsylvania], April 1937. © International Center of Photography. Gift of the National Archives, Washington, DC, 1975.

The Future of America: Lewis Hine's New Deal Photographs

OCTOBER 4–JANUARY 19, 2014

"His pictures often are aesthetically compelling, and his portraits of individuals are especially vivid both visually and emotionally."
The New York Times

Among the least known but most prescient photographs taken by social documentary photographer Lewis Hine (1874–1940) were those he made as chief photographer for the National Research Project (NRP), a division of the federal government's Works Project Administration (WPA) founded in late 1935. The goal of the NRP was to investigate recent changes in industrial technologies and to assess their effects on future employment. In over 700 photographs, taken in industrial towns throughout the Northeast in 1936 and 1937, Hine revealed not only working conditions in aging industrial factories, but also in new industries and productive workplaces. The NRP published hundreds of reports illustrated with Hine's photographs on a broad variety of agricultural, manufacturing, and mining activities. His works captured the look of labor and industry in transition, while the entire NRP story provides provocative parallels to today’s economic challenges. The Future of America, organized by Hine scholar Judith Mara Gutman, draws on ICP’s archive of more than 300 of Hine’s prints from the NRP series and the master holdings at the National Archives.

The Future of America: Lewis Hine’s New Deal Photographs is made possible with support from Deborah Jerome and Peter Guggenheimer, and with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.