Giles Edmund Newsom’s Tragic Fate Uncovered By Historian, 11-Year-Old Boy Was Face Of Child Labor
The image is heartbreaking: An 11-year-old boy, his right arm in a sling and a look of surprised sadness on his face.
The 1912 photograph of a boy who injured his hand working in a textile factory by social reformer Lewis Hine made the boy, Giles Edmund Newsom, the face of child labor in the U.S. Sympathy for his circumstances spurred efforts to safeguard children from such work.
But what happened to Newsom later in life has remained a mystery until now, reportsthe Daily Mail.
Through his research into child labor, historian Joe Manning uncovered the boy’s tragic fate - he died of Spanish Flu in 1918 at the age of 18. Newsom is buried at Hollywood Cemetery in Gastonia, N.C., perhaps in an unmarked grave near his parents, Manning tells the Gaston Gazette.
At the time of his death, Giles was working at Modena Cotton Mills, despite his missing fingers, writes Manning.
“I just think that this is an important history,” Manning told the Gazette. “It exemplifies a lot of North Carolina and American history in the story of this boy. It’s negative in a sense but it’s not really negative a 100 years later. This boy represented child labor.”