NO. R-219. JOINT RESOLUTION COMMEMORATING THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE'S ISSUANCE OF THE ADDIE LAIRD CHILD LABOR POSTAGE STAMP.
Offered by: Representative Palmer of Pownal.
Whereas, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, thousands of children toiled horrendously long hours in the manufacturing plants and mills of New England, and
Whereas, in Vermont, while the first limitations on child labor were enacted in 1867, it was not until 1917 that the General Assembly enacted Act No. 177, declaring that "A child under fourteen years of age shall not be employed, permitted or suffered to work in or about any mill, cannery, workshop, factory or manufacturing establishment," and
Whereas, the rural southern Vermont village of North Pownal, Vermont was home to a substantial French-Canadian immigrant population that was drawn by the presence of a large cotton mill that offered employment opportunities, and
Whereas, this mill, as was typical of its regional counterparts, employed many youngsters, particularly girls, who worked for long hours, in dangerous conditions and for extremely low wages, and
Whereas, the photos of Lewis Hine, who devised ingenious methods to enter the North Pownal mill and other manufacturing facilities, graphically document the wretched conditions that these children were forced to endure, and
Whereas, in 1910, Lewis Hine photographed a young girl named Addie Laird who spun cotton at the North Pownal mill for merely pennies a day, and
Whereas, this haunting pictorial portrait of an American child doomed to the misery of the cotton mill vividly portrays a tragic aspect of our state's proud industrial history that unfortunately has contemporary relevancy, and
Whereas, Pownal resident Stanley Bratcher discovered this photograph while on a research trip to Washington, D.C. and returned home with a copy that Pownal Town Clerk, Karen Burrington has displayed in the town hall for the last five years, and
Whereas, the United States Postal Service recently issued the Lewis Hine photo of Addie Laird as a postage stamp in memory of the thousands of American children whose youthful joy was destroyed at the mills and manufacturing plants of New England, and
Whereas, the Addie Laird stamp serves as an important contemporary reminder that American companies continue to produce and sell products that are manufactured by children around the world under conditions that are often far worse than those that poor Addie Laird ever encountered, now therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:
That the General Assembly joins with the United States Postal Service, and the citizens of Pownal, in commemorating the issuance of the Addie Laird child labor postage stamp, and be it further
Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send copies of this resolution to the United States Postmaster, Stephen M. Banks in North Pownal, Pownal Town Clerk, Karen Burrington and to Stanley Bratcher.