Durward Nickerson

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Photograph by Lewis Hine

Durward Nickerson (born 1896) became, at the age of 16, a messenger for Western Union. He was residing in Bessemer after a 25-state "hobo trip" when photographer Lewis Hine met him in Birmingham in September 1914, while documenting child labor in Alabama.

Nickerson took Hine on a tour through Birmingham's red light district on Avenue A on Saturday September 26, relating tales of the "inmates he has known there," which Hines took as evidence of the "shady side of messenger work" that could be avoided in a more "profitable" profession.


  • Durward Nickerson photograph with caption (Lot 7480, v. 3, no. 3791) at the Library of Congress, found via shorpy.com