An existing mill is shown in this photo. Elsewhere in the album Harold shows cotton fields and bales of cotton. Remember Harold came from Pawtucket, a Rhode Island mill town. He knew a lot about mills, and indeed had published studies of child labor in the mills. He tells of visiting mills in China and seems to have found better working conditions than in Rhode Island.
This photo shows an excavation site near Shanghai college, which appears in the background. The Whangpoo River would be on the right. I count 47 workers in the picture. What are all these workers doing? How is the labor divided?
This gives us some indication. They are carrying mud in baskets on carry poles. The mud-carriers seem to me to be moving to the right, towards the river, which is visible in the background. The sail of a boat can be seen to the right of center. I think they are moving toward the right and will dump their mud on a levee. In the left background several men seem to be working with rakes or hoes, smoothing the dirt on the levee. Note the levee is lower toward the right, indicating the dirt is being dumped at the right, gradually raising the height of the levee. I could be wrong. What is your idea? Note also some interesting people in the foreground. At the left is a man digging, probably filling his baskets. Next is a man returning with empty baskets. Next is a person drinking water from a dipper, probably. Next is a man looking at the camera. Next is a person seated. It looks to me like a woman mending a garment. Next is a man standing looking at the camera. And there is a sixth person. Harold. Look at his shadow at the bottom of the picture.
Pyramids record amount of dirt removed by contractor. How tall are they? Five feet? That means men carrying two baskets of dirt at a time have removed five feet of soil from this vast area. I presume the water will be pumped out, piles driven into the mud, and a new factory built on this site. Note incidentally that in this photo there are piles of soil that are probably pyramids being built. My conclusion from thinking about these pictures if that an enormous amount of hand labor will be required to clear and drain all this land and build a new cotton mill. And no machines were used. Nowadays these pictures would be full of Kubotas and dump trucks and graders. Eighty years ago there were no machines whatsoever. Amazing.