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"The Census of Massachusetts: 1875, Vol. II"

Volume 2 - Title page
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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What is striking in this excerpt from the Massachusetts Census of 1875 is the number of children under 15 years old still employed in various industries in the state. More than 13,000 children - about 50% of the children aged 10 to 15 - officially worked in some sort of industry. And the statistics treat children over 15 as adults, something that today would be considered unacceptable. Reforms in child labor happened gradually in the decades after around 1870, culminating in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which generally prohibited employment of children under 16.


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