Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Backround* (for Background*)

Today's typo is the kind caused by a "silent letter"—in this case, the letter G. We found 34 cases of Backround* in the OhioLINK database, making it a "high probability" typo on the Ballard list. Lewis Hine (1874–1940) was a sociologist and teacher at the Ethical Culture School in New York City. He taught his students how to employ the medium of photography to document social issues, taking them to Ellis Island to photograph the arriving immigrants. In 1907, he became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee, where his pictures proved instrumental in ending the practice of child labor. He eventually came to regard photojournalism as his true vocation and his work was widely displayed. His talent was also put to use by the Red Cross, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Works Progress Administration. The Library of Congress currently holds 5,000 of his photographs; nearly 15,000 more are held by the George Eastman House and the University of Maryland. Sadly, Hine faded into the background toward the end of his life and died in abject poverty and near anonymity. However, if a picture is worth a thousand words, Lewis Hine will never be silent.

("Power house mechanic working on steam pump," 1920, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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