Frances Perkins


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Perkins, Frances,

1882–1965, U.S. Secretary of Labor (1933–45), b. Boston. She worked at Hull House, was executive secretary of the New York Consumers' League (1910–12) and of the New York Committee on Safety (1912–17), and directed (1912–13) investigations for the New York state factory commission. She became an authority on industrial hazards and hygiene and began lobbying in Albany for more comprehensive factory laws and for maximum-hour laws for women. Gov. Alfred E. Smith appointed (1923) her to the New York State Industrial Board, and later she served (1926–29) as its chairman. Gov. Franklin Delano Roosevelt named her (1929) industrial commissioner of New York state to direct the enforcement of factory and labor laws. As President, Roosevelt appointed her U.S. Secretary of Labor—the first appointment of a woman to the U.S. cabinet. Her appointment was bitterly criticized by business, labor, and political leaders. As Secretary of Labor, she promoted adoption of the Social Security Act, advocated higher wages, urged legislation to alleviate industrial strife, and helped standardize state industrial legislation. After she resigned, she served (1946–52) as a member of the U.S. Civil Service Commission. Besides books on labor problems, she wrote The Roosevelt I Knew (1946).

Perkins, Frances (b. Fannie Coiralie Perkins)

(1880–1965) cabinet member; born in Boston, Mass. Graduating from Mount Holyoke College (1902), she taught, worked in settlement houses, and came to favor a greater role for the federal government in aiding the poor. Soon after earning a graduate degree in political science from Columbia University, she witnessed the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire (1911) that killed 146 factory workers; the event further inspired her crusade for safe working conditions and other labor reforms. She won passage of landmark labor legislation as New York State industrial commissioner (1926–32). As longtime U.S. labor secretary and the first woman member of a federal cabinet (1932–45), she helped develop major New Deal reforms, including Social Security (1935) and a federal Fair Labor Standards Act that imposed a minimum wage (1938). She later served on the Civil Service Commission (1946–53) and taught at Cornell (from 1957).
References in periodicals archive ?
Harry Hopkins continued to favor inclusion of medical assistance, but Frances Perkins advised against it, fearing that the whole Social Security bill would go down.
With the exception of Frances Perkins, who had been the chief executive of the largest labor department at the state level, every woman secretary had had some national government experience.
ITEM: On March 24, a press release was issued by the Frances Perkins Center in Newcastle, Maine.
Frances Perkins, the first woman appointed to a federal cabinet post, is also a part of this story.
The July/August NFPA Journal published a letter by Leonard Williams about Frances Perkins .
When Frances Perkins was appointed Secretary of Labor in 1933 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 25 percent of the American labor force was out of work.
The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR's Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience.
Johnson, Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, President Franklin Roosevelt, and Secretary of Agriculture (and late Vice President) Henry A.
Cohen's new history of the first 100 days of Roosevelt's administration, serendipitously released just in time for the inauguration of Barack Obama, puts some flesh on the skeleton of this fable, chronicling FDR's early presidency through the eyes, words, and deeds of five of his closest advisers: Frances Perkins, the Socialist turned Democrat who served as secretary of labor; Henry Wallace, the middle-class Iowa farm boy who became secretary of agriculture; Harry Hopkins, the social worker turned technocrat who oversaw many of the New Deal's biggest plans; Ray Moley, the Columbia professor of government who would later play the Judas role; and Lewis Douglas, a voice for fiscal prudence whose defeat allowed the New Deal to proceed.
July 21 in the auditorium on the plaza level of the Frances Perkins Building, U.
Mother Jones, Alice Hamilton and Delores Heurta worked to protect workers' rights and their health; and Frances Perkins, the first female cabinet member worked within the government to create legal protections for workers.
Department of Labor, Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20210; phone: <866-633-7365>.