Educator Guide with Common Core standards can be found here.
Please click here for a link to a wonderfully fascinating resource, the 1925 Missouri Farm Women’s Cookbook.
Would a 13 year old boy really have to go to work?
My father went to work at age 13 as a kitchen boy, a generation later than the boy in Whistle in the Dark. He had to be the first one up to start the fires. It was really hard work! One of the people I spoke to about mining had two uncles who went to work in the mines when they were 13 and 16.
What about child labor laws?
Child labor was a huge issue in the US in the 1920s. The first federal child labor law was passed in 1916, but was declared unconstitutional two years later. In 1924, an amendment to the law was put forth, and rejected by many states, including Missouri. Many people resented the encroachment on parental rights to raise their children. Religious leaders didn’t like the law because they thought it contributed to idleness in children. The Missouri Children’s Code (1919) prohibited children from working long hours and from working underground, but the law was largely ignored. Some counties elected a welfare superintended to oversee the law — most counties did not, because they didn’t want one. Child labor continued to be an issue long after the time of the book. As late as 1938,a study by the National Child Labor Committee found children working the mines of Missouri.