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The small rag picker leaning against a bollard in front of 21 Quai de Bourbon.
Charles Nègre (1820–1880), photographer
Photograph (reproduction)
Paris, France, before 1851
Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France

In the 19th century, sorting through rubbish to find valuable materials was a common way to make a living. Even children became so-called ‘ragpickers’, collecting textiles and other materials for sale. This was risky work, as the rag pickers would get in contact with dirty items that posed serious health risks.