“A ‘reader’ in a cigar factory”

By Lewis Hine, unknown location, 1909

Spanish speaking cigar makers in Florida and eastern European cigar makers in New York City sometimes pooled their wages to hire another worker to read newspapers or political tracts aloud while they worked. While this tradition was unique to cigar-making, workers in other trades also found ways to make the time pass more quickly by singing, playing practical jokes, and talking.

National Archives, General Records of the Department of Labor (174-G-22-5)