Francis Perkins - Historie

Francis Perkins - Historie

Francis Perkins

1880- 1962

Arbejdsminister

Francis Perkins til højre

Frances Perkins blev født den 10. april 1880 i Boston Massachusetts. Hun blev uddannet socialrådgiver, huskes for at være det første kvindelige kabinetsmedlem.

Fra tidspunktet for hendes eksamen fra Mount Holyoke College i 1902 var Perkins involveret i progressive bevægelser. Hun var en del af den kommission, der undersøgte Triangle Shirt Company Fire, i et forsøg på at forhindre gentagelser af sådanne sweatshop-relaterede tragedier.

Da Franklin Roosevelt blev guvernør i New York, udnævnte han Perkins til stillingen som industrikommissær. Da han vandt formandskabet, blev Perkins udnævnt til stillingen som arbejdssekretær.

Perkins var en effektiv arbejdssekretær og tjente i 12 år. Hun var med til at udarbejde næsten hele New Deal -arbejdslovgivningen, herunder lov om social sikring fra 1935, der skabte social sikring.


Frances Perkins: The unsung creator of U.S. Social Security

Første gang forfatter Kirstin Downey hørte om Frances Perkins, var det inden for rammerne af en vittighed - en temmelig lam på det. & quotJeg arbejdede som reporter på The Washington Post i 20 år, og da jeg kom der, tog jeg en bustur i byen, & quot husker hun. Vi havde en guide, der lavede små vittigheder, og da vi passerede en stor bygning, sagde han: 'Hvilken amerikansk kvinde havde den værste fødselsoplevelse?' Det var stille et øjeblik, der var en pause. Så sagde han: 'Frances Perkins. Hun tilbragte 12 år i arbejdskraft. '& Quot

Det er her, du vil cue & quotba dum tss & quot lyden af ​​en osteagtig komedieklub rimshot. Bortset fra selv høfligt guffaw ved rejselederens vittighed kræver en vis grundlæggende forståelse for, hvem Frances Perkins var - og som Downey hurtigt fandt ud af, er dette stykke historie stort set udeladt fra bøgerne. "Jeg syntes, det var lidt en sjov, dum joke, selvom den feministiske del af mig blev virkelig irriteret," siger Downey, en prisvindende journalist og forfatter til "The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR's sekretær for Labour and His Moral Conscience. & Quot & quotMen jeg huskede, at fordi FDR [præsident Franklin Delano Roosevelt] blev valgt fire gange, var hun vores arbejdssekretær i 12 år. & Quot

Vittigheden er måske faldet fladt, men det fik Downey til at tænke. Og mens verden forbereder sig på de økonomiske eftervirkninger af den nuværende COVID-19-krise, tænker mange andre også på Perkins 'arbejde-selvom de ikke er klar over, at det er hende, der er ansvarlig for nogle af de vigtigste programmer, der i øjeblikket holder amerikanerne flyder. Hendes navn sad fast i mit hoved som en, der var interessant, og det generede mig, at hun bare var en joke, siger Downey og bemærkede, at hun i løbet af sin tid på Posten dækkede en bred vifte af forretningsnyheder, der alle syntes at føre tilbage til en enkelt person. Jeg fik til opgave at dække alle slags ting om social sikring og arbejdsløshed, og jeg bemærkede over en periode, at når jeg ville skrive et afsnit i hver nyhedshistorie om, hvordan nuværende sociale sikrings- og arbejdsløshedsforsikringsprogrammer startede, var Frances Perkins ansvarlig for alle de centrale dele af vores sociale sikkerhedsnet - men ingen havde nogensinde hørt om hende. & quot

Perkins, f. Fannie Coralie Perkins, blev født i Boston i 1880, men havde rødder i Maine. Men som Downey lærte, mens hun rapporterede sin bog i løbet af et årti, syntes selv beboere i Perkins 'hjemby Damariscotta, Maine, ikke bekendt med hendes arv. Efter eksamen fra Mount Holyoke College i 1902 forfulgte Perkins en karriere som socialrådgiver og fortsatte senere sin uddannelse på Wharton School of Finance and Commerce ved University of Pennsylvania og derefter ved Columbia University, hvor hun fik en MA i socialøkonomi i 1910. I de næste to år fungerede hun som eksekutivsekretær for Consumers 'League of New York, hvor hun med succes lobbyede for forbedrede lønninger og arbejdsvilkår, især for kvinder og børn.

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

Det var i løbet af den tid, at Perkins var vidne til en livsforandrende begivenhed, der ville ændre forløbet i hendes eget professionelle liv, såvel som fremtiden for amerikanske arbejdsforhold. Den 25. marts 1911 fik Perkins te med en ven på Manhattan, da der opstod en tumult i nærheden. Det viste sig at være det, der nu er kendt som Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, en af ​​de dødeligste amerikanske arbejdspladskatastrofer nogensinde. Branden kostede 146 arbejdere livet, hvoraf mange var immigrantkvinder, der blev brændt levende eller hoppede ihjel.

Hun havde allerede undersøgt problemer på arbejdspladsen som ung socialrådgiver på Manhattan, men var i nabolaget og fik te med en ven, da branden brød ud, siger Downey. De løb over Washington Square Park og kom der, da de første mennesker begyndte at springe ud af vinduerne og ramte jorden. Hun tænkte allerede på overgreb på arbejdspladsen, og fordi hun var nøglepersonen, der administrerede New York State Factory Investigating Commission, førte det til oprettelsen af ​​alle vores brandkoder. Da hun var i begyndelsen af ​​30'erne, havde hun udformet lovgivning i New York, der førte til udgangsskilte, belægningsgrænser for værelser, sprinklere, brandtrapper og hvor brede døre skulle være for at undslippe sikkert. & Quot

Efter den forfærdelige brand voksede Perkins endnu mere beslutsom om at revolutionere landets dysfunktionelle arbejdssystem. Fra 1912 til 1917 fungerede hun som eksekutivsekretær for New York Committee on Safety og fra 1917 til 1919 arbejdede hun som administrerende direktør for New York Council of Organization for War Service. I 1919 udnævnte New York -guvernør Alfred E. Smith Perkins til New Yorks State Industrial Commission og fire år senere blev hun navngivet til State Industrial Board og blev formand i 1926.

Første kvindelige kabinetsmedlem - FDRs arbejdssekretær

Det var Smiths efterfølger, Franklin D. Roosevelt, der samarbejdede med Perkins for at presse på for varige ændringer i arbejdssystemet. I 1929 udnævnte han Perkins til industrikommissær i staten New York, og da aktiemarkedet styrtede ned det år, var det Perkins, der tilskyndede FDR til at tage hurtige og seriøse handlinger. Da FDR oprettede et udvalg om beskæftigelse, udnævnte han Perkins til at stå i spidsen for indsatsen. Så det gav perfekt mening, at da FDR blev valgt til præsident [i 1933], gik hun til at blive hans arbejdssekretær, & quot, siger Downey. Da han blev præsident, havde hun allerede kendt ham i 20 år. Hun var en nær, betroet ven af ​​FDR's. & Quot

På trods af Perkins imponerende præstationer i løbet af sin karriere til det tidspunkt var den amerikanske offentlighed dog mindre end velkommen, da hun ankom til Washington. "Da FDR valgte hende, var der en stor modreaktion," siger Downey. & quot Mange mennesker var rystede over, at han navngav en kvinde til sit kabinet. Husk, at kvinder ikke fik stemmeret før 1920, da Frances Perkins var 40 år gammel. Så hun havde en hel karriere til 40 år med at gøre alle disse vigtige ting og havde ikke engang stemmeret. Da FDR blev valgt til præsident, var det kun 12 år efter, at kvinder fik stemmeret, så du kan se, hvorfor folk var chokerede over det. & Quot

Ifølge Downey blev en bestemt gruppe især slukket af udsigten til, at Perkins skulle fungere som arbejdssekretær. & quotFagforeningerne modsatte sig, at FDR navngav hende, fordi mange fagforeninger ikke tillod kvindelige medlemmer, og blev særligt fornærmet, fordi de ønskede, at en 'god fagforeningsmand' skulle være arbejdssekretær, & quot siger hun. & quotFrances Perkins havde en baggrund som statsadministrator og socialrådgiver, og de var mistroiske. Men faktisk på grund af de ting, hun gjorde, var hun i stand til i det væsentlige at omforme arbejderbevægelsen, som var ved at dø, da hun blev arbejdssekretær. Da hun døde, udgjorde fagforenede medarbejdere en tredjedel af den amerikanske arbejdsstyrke. & Quot

Lov om social sikring

Perkins havde meget på sin dagsorden, da hun flyttede til DC, men en af ​​hendes største ideer har vist sig at have en varig indvirkning på amerikanerne den dag i dag - især i dag. Hun gik til Washington med et sæt planer i hovedet og ting, hun ville have vedtaget, siger Downey. & quot Blandt dem var social sikring og arbejdsløshedsforsikring, og inden for to år efter at jeg kom til Washington, blev lov om social sikring vedtaget. Lov om social sikring, der blev vedtaget i 1935, skabte et system med overførselsbetalinger, der er afhængig af yngre, arbejdende mennesker, der støtter ældre, pensionister. Siden det vedtog under FDR's administration, har loven været ansvarlig for at yde bistand til arbejdsløse borgere gennem arbejdsløshedsforsikring, forsørgede mødre og børn, ofre for arbejdsrelaterede ulykker, blinde og fysisk handicappede med mere. Loven var en del af FDR's Second New Deal -initiativer til at hjælpe amerikanerne med at klare sociale og økonomiske ændringer i kølvandet på den store depression.

"Perkins havde en særlig tilgang til public service og var ikke politiker og havde aldrig et offentligt valg," siger Michael Chaney, administrerende direktør for Frances Perkins Center, dedikeret til at bevare Perkins Family Homestead i Newcastle, Maine, via e -mail. Hun var en politikekspert inden for arbejdstageres sikkerhed, bare kompensation og sikkerhedsnettet, når hun var skadet eller ikke længere var i stand til at arbejde på grund af alder - hendes varige arv, social sikring. & quot

& quot Hun er det eneste menneske - og alle involveret i lovgivningen, og selv de mennesker, der administrerer det, siger det - mest ansvarlige for, at socialsikringsloven vedtages, & quot Downey siger. & quotFDR løb ikke og sagde, at han ville gøre det, og det var ikke noget, han virkelig bekymrede sig enormt meget om, da han havde en masse ting på tallerkenen. Uden Frances Perkins ville social sikring aldrig være sket, og det betyder både traditionel pension og arbejdsløshedsforsikring. Grundlæggende skabte Frances Perkins den livline, vi bruger i dag.

Arbejdsløshedsforsikring, fair arbejdskraft, minimumsløn og børnearbejdslove

"Arbejdsforsikring er et nationalt netværk af statsledighedssystemer og er den mekanisme, vi bruger til at skaffe penge til mennesker i hele Amerika, der har mistet deres job [uden] deres egen skyld," siger Downey. & quotVi har 50 stater og nogle territorier, der bruger den samme grundlæggende mekanisme. Selvom den føderale regering godkender ekstra penge, var den første forsvarslinje dette statsledighedsforsikringssystem, der blev organiseret i en føderal konføderation på grund af lovgivning, som Frances Perkins blev vedtaget. Så næsten alle de eksisterende sociale sikkerhedsnetværk har sit aftryk. Hun oprettede alle disse programmer, der sprang ud i andre afdelinger, men var [der] på grund af hendes håndarbejde. & Quot

Perkins hjalp også med at udarbejde Fair Labor Standards Act, som kongressen vedtog i 1938, en lov om en minimumsløn og maksimale arbejdstider og forbud mod børnearbejde. Da FDR døde i 1945, var Perkins den længst fungerende arbejdssekretær og en af ​​kun to kabinetsekretærer, der tjente hele Roosevelt-formandskabets længde. Frances Perkins skrev i 1945: 'Disse sociale og økonomiske reformer i de sidste 12 år vil i fremtiden blive betragtet som et vendepunkt i vores nationale liv - en drejning fra skødesløs forsømmelse af menneskelige værdier og mod en orden - af gensidig og praktisk velvilje inden for en fri konkurrencedygtig industriel økonomi, '& quot Chaney siger.

Det næste år udgav Perkins en bestseller -biografi om FDR med titlen & quot; Roosevelt jeg vidste & quot; og tjente som chef for den amerikanske delegation til International Labor Organization i Paris. Præsident Harry Truman udnævnte hende derefter til United States Civil Service Commission, en stilling, hun havde indtil 1953. Ifølge Frances Perkins Center opnåede Perkins og quothad på dette tidspunkt alle undtagen et af de punkter på dagsordenen, hun havde præsenteret for den nyligt stillede. valgt til præsident i februar 1933: universel adgang til sundhedspleje. & quot

Efter at have forladt regeringstjenesten var Perkins aktiv som lærer og foredragsholder ved New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations ved Cornell University indtil hendes død i 1965 i en alder af 85 år.

The Resurgent Legacy af Frances Perkins

Så hvis Perkins er ansvarlig for en så væsentlig, varig forandring, hvorfor har så få af os nogensinde hørt om hende? "Mange mænd skrev New Deal -historier i 70'erne og 80'erne og skrev hende helt ud," siger Downey. & quotJeg gik tilbage til arkiverne for at genskabe, hvad der faktisk skete. Faktisk nævner nogle New Deal -historier slet ikke hendes navn. Det var vildt - der er måske to referencer, der reflekterer over noget om hendes arbejde med FDR, men det er ekstraordinært, hvor hurtigt hun blev negligeret og skrevet ud af historien. & Quot

En del af årsagen til hendes skarpe fravær fra historien kan skyldes Perkins 'modvilje mod livet i rampelyset. & quot Frances Perkins løb ikke rundt for at vende tjeneste eller jagte omtale - hun fik tingene gjort og gik videre til det næste, & quot Downey siger. & quot Mange af de mænd, der skrev bøger om begivenheder, hvor Frances Perkins var en nøglespiller, nævner ikke engang hendes navn. & quot

"Frances Perkins var en pioner," siger Downey. Hun var den første kvinde til at have en højt profileret stilling i Washington og brændte vejen for Nancy Pelosi og Elizabeth Warren, som begge har sagt, at hun hver dag har inspireret dem af det, hun gjorde. Elizabeth Warren havde endda kampagnearrangementer i Washington Square Park for at minde folk om fabriksbranden i Triangle Shirtwaist. Folk, der afgiver stemmer for at give flere penge til arbejdsløshedsforsikring, stemmer for at støtte Frances Perkins 'håndværk. & Quot

Hvad angår måderne, hvorpå Amerika vil tilpasse sig livet i en post-pandemisk verden, siger Downey, at Perkins 'arv fortsat vil have stor indflydelse og efterlade en varig arv. En ting, der er super fedt ved det, er, at en af ​​de første økonomiske regninger, der lige gik for at give folk penge ud over pengene fra den føderale regerings arbejdsløshedsforsikring, blev vedtaget næsten enstemmigt, & quot siger hun. Så hvad vi endte med i 2020 var denne utrolige ringende todelt godkendelse af hendes håndværk. Da de søgte måder at hjælpe mennesker gennem elendighed, vendte republikanerne og demokraterne begge til værktøjet udformet af den person, som jeg synes er den eneste vigtigste progressive i amerikansk historie - mand eller kvinde. Det er det, jeg lærte i bogen, er, at hun gjorde mere for at skabe et socialt sikkerhedsnet end nogen anden. & Quot

Perkins tabte arv er at finde nyt liv takket være de sociale og økonomiske ligheder med Amerika efter den store depression, der kan dukke op, når verden fortsat håndterer COVID. "Frances Perkins 'håndværk er det system, vi bruger lige nu til at lindre hundredvis af millioner mennesker nød," siger Downey. & quotHovedlinjen er, at Frances Perkins livsværk erkendte, at der i løbet af menneskelige begivenheder sker dårlige ting, og det er forudsigeligt, at det sker, og hvad du vil gøre er at oprette et system af elasticitet, der hjælper dig med at få en løsning på ordne det. & quot

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Francis Perkins beskriver mange vanskeligheder | Jamestown -bosættelsen i 1608

Francis Perkins ankom til Jamestown i marts 1608 som arbejder. Han bliver hurtigt involveret i forliget. Han skriver et brev til en ven derhjemme og beskriver en stor brand, der ødelægger alt hans tilhørsforhold og meget af Jamestown Fort. Betingelserne for de mennesker, der bosatte sig i Jamestown, var hårde, vanskelige og mindre end ideelle.

Han beskriver i brevet, hvordan et skib, der ledsager sit eget navngivne Phoenix, taber sig i tågen og transporterer omkring 46 passagerer bestemt til Jamestown. Skibet forsvinder og skal aldrig ses mere. Brevet er fyldt med detaljer om landskabet, dyrelivet, vegetationen og afgrøderne. Perkins tegner et interessant billede af bosættelsens politik og handel med indianerne i nærheden. Oplysningerne i brevet er ret oplysende, da det beskriver vanskelighederne og kampen i en kold vinter. Jeg håber du nyder brevet. Jeg vil placere det herunder!

BAGGRUNDOPLYSNINGER OM JAMESTOWN:

Tre engelske skibe forlod Amerika i december 1606. De blev kaldt Susan Constant, Godspeed og Discovery. I maj samme år blev det besluttet, at Virginia ville være der, hvor den nye bosættelse blev bygget. Udfordringerne var mange, og de mænd, der påtog sig denne erfaring, stod over for løbende kampe for at bygge den allerførste engelske bosættelse i den nye verden. Denne indsats blev finansieret og støttet af Virginia Company. Placeringen blev valgt på grund af dens adgang til vand på alle tre sider, der tillod skibe at blive holdt ved kysten.

Stedet var langt nok inde i landet, hvilket gjorde det ideelt til forsvaret og sikkerheden ved fortet. Angreb fra spanierne var en reel bekymring for englænderne, der tog turen til Jamestown. Fortet stod færdigt ved sommeren samme år den 15. juni. Colonial National Park Of Virginia beskrev det som "trekant formet med et bolværk i hvert hjørne, der rummer fire eller fem stykker artilleri" (NPS Virginia).

Jamestown var begyndt at udvikle et forhold til Powhatan -indianerne og stolede stærkt på de gaver, der blev sendt til dem fra stammen, såsom mad. Sygdommen var blevet voldsomt tidligt, og mange nybyggere led sygdom som feber, hævelser og hungersnød. Det var på grund af denne kamp, ​​at chef Powhatan sendte fødevarer.

Francis Perkins ankom på et skib, som en anden kolonist drev af kaptajn Newport. Kaptajnen havde meget specifikke instruktioner fra The Virginia Company, der ønskede, at kolonien skulle skabe overskud som guld, handel og basisprodukter fra kontinentet.

BREV SKRIVET AF FRANCIS PERKINS:

mine rosende roser til dig, med tak for de mange venligheder, du har gjort mig, og problemer du har gjort for mig, som jeg kun er i stand til at tilbagebetale med bønner til Gud (og jeg vil tjene dig på enhver måde jeg kan), Jeg er så modig at bede dig endnu en gang om en tjeneste i dette øjeblik, selvom du bare har grund til at forlade mig, da jeg da jeg gik, ikke sagde farvel til en så god ven, som du altid har været for mig . Men det håb, jeg har om din sædvanlige venlighed, vil [jeg stoler på] undskylde mig denne gang, for denne fejl opstod kun, fordi jeg var bange for, at noget ville forstyrre denne rejse, som jeg så gerne ville lave. Jeg vil ikke undlade at rette op, for hvis jeg ikke ser til dig for at hjælpe mig og forsøge at slutte fred med min Frue og i mit fravær opnå det, jeg forklarede dig, før jeg gik, desto mere siden jeg havde tid til at præsentere sagen personligt, [ellers] vil hele sagen resultere i alvorlig skade og skade for mig. Men i fuld tillid til din sædvanlige venlighed beder jeg dig om at være så god til at henvende dig til Sir William Waad, Sir Thomas Smythe, Sir Walter Cope, Sir Thomas Chaloner, Sir George More og andre [bekymrede], for at få mig udpeget til en af rådet her i Virginia, ikke kun som en ære for mig, men også for at gøre det muligt for mig bedre at betale min gæld. Der er medlemmer af rådet, der ikke forstår statssager bedre end jeg, og som jeg sidestiller i erhvervslivet [anliggender]. Det ville være en fornøjelse at se så mange kompetente og intelligente [mænd] komme fra vores land, at jeg ikke burde fortjene at dukke op blandt dem.

Med hensyn til vores tur over og min mening om landet, vil jeg informere dig så godt jeg kan. Vi forlod Gravesend torsdag den ottende oktober 1607. Vi ankom til Plymouth den følgende torsdag, hvor vi blev til mandag, og da vinden ikke var gunstig, måtte vi lægge ind ved Falmouth, hvor vi red ud af en stor storm indtil fredag, hvorefter vi fortsatte vores rejse, [og] på fem uger og to dage ankom vi til øen Santo Domingo, som er i Vestindien, og vi tilbragte hele dagen der med at handle med de vilde, som kom ombord nøgen og bragte os kartofler, bananer, ananas (som er en meget lækker frugt), brød de kalder “casadra ” lavet af visse rødder, papegøjer, haner og høner, linned og andre ting, som de gav os i bytte for jernhakker, sav , knive, rosenkranser, små klokker og andre lignende bagateller, som de værdsætter meget højt og er af stor værdi for dem, der tager dem med på lignende rejser. Og så vi gik rundt om de andre øer i den region i den hele uge kom vi nær øen San Juan på nordsiden, og søndag, to uger senere, så vi Amerika. Den følgende torsdag kaldte skibet, der fulgte med os Phoenix , mistede os i en tæt tåge, der opstod, da vi ikke var mere end ti eller tolv ligaer fra indgangen til havnen, og vi har ikke haft flere nyheder om det siden, [sic] Det skib bragte omkring fyrre mand, der skulle blive her hos os.

Skibet kaldte John og Francis, med kaptajn Christopher Newport, ankom til Jamestown den anden januar. Floden er meget fair og bred, men fuld af stimer og østersbanker. Landet [er] lavtliggende og skovklædt helt ned til kysten. Vi havde varmt vejr hele tiden. Bagefter går det så meget koldt, og frosten var så skarp, at jeg og mange andre led frosne fødder. En måned efter dette tog vi til en region, hvor der var meget frost og sne. Naboområdet havde en stor overflod af vilde svaner, hejrer og traner, gæs, vilde ænder, gråænder og mange andre fugle, så længe vinteren varer, med de smukkeste papegøjer der findes. Kulden var så intens, at floden ved vores fort en nat frøs næsten hele vejen over, selvom den på det tidspunkt var lige så bred igen som den i London. Isen i floden frøs nogle fisk, som, da vi tog dem ud efter isen var smeltet, var meget gode og så fyldige, at de kunne steges i deres eget fedt, uden at der blev tilsat noget.

Efter at vi gik i land, som var mandag, den følgende torsdag, var der en brand, der spredte sig, så alle husene i fortet blev brændt ned, inklusive lagerhuset til ammunition og forsyninger, og kun tre [ubrændte] efterlod. Alt, hvad min søn og jeg havde, blev brændt, undtagen en madras, som endnu ikke var taget af skibet. Takket være Gud er vi i fred med alle indbyggerne i det omkringliggende land og handler med majs og forsyninger. De værdsætter virkelig [vores] rødlige kobber. Deres store kejser, eller Werowance, som er navnet på deres konger, har sendt nogle af hans folk for at vise os, hvordan man planter den indfødte hvede [majs] og laver nogle redskaber, som de plejer at fiske, og helt sikkert for alt, hvad vi kan gætte, er det meget sandsynligt, at landet vil vise sig meget frugtbart og godt og omfattende nok til at rumme en million mennesker. Det, vi gør mest lige nu, er at rydde skovene, for hvede [majs] spirer i stor mængde.

Jeg har sendt min kone din kone et par turtelduer, andre til min dame Catherine og andre til Sir William Cornwallis i håb om, at når vores [skibe] foretager en anden tur, vil jeg have bedre ting at sende dig. Jeg sender et øre af den indfødte hvede [majs] med to krukker på vores almindelige jord og to mere til fru Catherine og mere til Sir William den ældre.

Der er mange små dyr her med skind af fin pels. Hvis jeg støder på nogen, sender jeg dem til dig og dine venner for at se. Der er en overflod af [frisk] foder til enhver form for levende bestande, især grise og geder, selvom der var en million af dem. Der er også omkring fortet, hvor vi har fjernet træerne, en meget stor mængde jordbær og andre velsmagende krydderurter, og i betragtning af, at denne ulykke ved branden har forårsaget en generel mangel på alt blandt os, især for mig , som har lidt meget de sidste år - så meget mangel, at jeg ikke engang har papir og blæk til at skrive vores venner med. Jeg beder jer om at se, at min Lady Catherine ikke bliver vred på mig, men at hun med den sædvanlige adel i sit hjerte og den kærlighed, som hun tidligere har været glad for at holde om mig, vil finde en vej sammen med dig og Sir William Cornwallis, så hurtigt som muligt at anbefale mit andragende, især med Sir William Smith, da han mere end nogen anden bærer vægt i spørgsmål af denne art de este estado. Tigger på samme tid min Lady Catherine om at være så venlig at få Sir William Cornwallis til at sende mig kasseret tøj på ti pund, det være sig tøj, undertøj, dublet, ridebukser, kappe, slange eller hvad han nu vil, for vi har brug for det alt fordi ilden brændte alt, hvad vi havde, og alt vil være til nytte for os. Bed min Fru Catherine også om, at jeg skal henvende mig til Sir William San [dy] s på samme måde, for jeg sværger at tilbagebetale værdien af ​​alt, hvad de sender mig, med pligt til at erkende, at det er af hendes venlighed og af disse herrer. [caballeros, riddere], som jeg og mine lever, og hvis dette ikke er nok til at dække manges behov, må min Fru og de herrer [señores] gør mig den venlighed i det mindste at give mig og min søn ud af deres gavmildhed sådanne ting, som de ikke nytter meget, men af ​​stor værdi for mig. Jeg beder dig om ikke at være vred på mig for denne frihed og frimodighed, men at du husker mig ud af din godhed, for jeg er så langt og så adskilt fra mine venner og gør mig også den tjeneste at give min rimelige venlighed kone, hvis hun skulle have lejlighed til at appellere til dig. Tigger dig om at informere min Lady Catherine om indholdet af dette brev, og hvis du kan lide at læse det hele [for hende], og samtidig anbefale mig mest ydmygt til hende og til de herrer, i hvis venlighed og fordel al min tillid er sat, jeg beder vores Herre om at vogte jer alle den 28. marts 1608.

Din tjener, mens han lever,

Francis Perkin. Fra Jamestown

Jeg sender til min Fru Catherine og til min Frue din kone, til hver af dem seks kilo sassafras til brug i medicin eller mellem sengetøj. Det plejede at være fyrre værdreales pundet for ikke længe siden, og er ikke mindre effektivt nu end dengang. Jeg vil ikke undlade at sende min Lady Catherine, dig og Sir William Cornwallis nogle træer, frugt, urter, blomster og andre nye ting, der er produceret af dette land, og tigger dig i mellemtiden om at modtage det, jeg nu kan sende i ånden i som jeg tilbyder det.

BOOK PICK OF DAY:

Jeg anbefaler Jamestown: The History and Legacy Of England ’s First Permanent American Settlement af Charles Rivers Editors for mere information om Jamestown og det engelske folks første bosættelse. Klik her eller på bogen herunder for at få et eksemplar til din læseoplevelse. Jeg håber, at alle nød emnet i dag!

YDERLIGERE LÆSNING:

Deltag i vores historiegruppe på Facebook:

Hvis du er på facebook og interesseret i at deltage i The Chronicles Of History’s gruppe, så er alle velkomne. Gruppen har mange historikere, der hver dag sender interessant historie, og du er mere end velkommen til at deltage. Del historie, dit forfatterskab, bøger eller bare læs! Alle kan deltage, der elsker historie. Reglerne er temmelig afslappede. De vigtigste er at være civile over for hinanden og holde moderne politik ude af diskussionen. Tak skal du have!


Woman's History Month: Frances Perkins

Frances Perkins, FDR's arbejdssekretær og den første kvinde, der fungerede som kabinetssekretær, var hovedarkitekten for New Deal, der blev krediteret med at formulere politikker for at styrke den nationale økonomi efter landets alvorligste økonomiske krise og bidrog til at skabe den moderne middelklasse. Hun var i enhver henseende en selvfremstillet kvinde, der rejste sig fra ydmyg New England-oprindelse til at blive Amerikas førende fortaler for industriel sikkerhed og arbejdstagerrettigheder.

”Fra jeg var på college, var jeg rædselsslagen over det arbejde, som mange kvinder og børn skulle udføre på fabrikker. Der var absolut ingen effektive love, der regulerede antallet af timer, de fik lov til at arbejde. Der var ingen bestemmelser, der beskyttede deres helbred eller passede godt nok på deres erstatning i tilfælde af skade. Disse ting virkede meget forkert. Jeg var ung og blev inspireret af tanken om at reformere, eller i øst gøre hvad jeg kunne, for at hjælpe med at ændre disse overgreb. ” Sagde Perkins.

Fannys medstuderende organiserede et kapitel i National Consumers League og inviterede i februar 1902 sin eksekutivsekretær, Florence Kelley, til at tale på Mount Holyoke. Senere fortalte Frances Perkins til en ven, at Kelleys tale "først åbnede mit sind for nødvendigheden af ​​og muligheden for det arbejde, der blev mit kald."

I 1907 accepterede Frances Perkins en stilling som generalsekretær for Philadelphia Research and Protective Association, en ny organisation, hvis mål var at hindre afledning af nyankomne immigrantpiger, herunder sorte kvinder fra syd, til prostitution. Hun studerede sociologi og økonomi på University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School med den progressive økonom Simon N. Patten. I 1909 begyndte hun et stipendium med New York School of Philanthropy, hvor hun undersøgte underernæring i barndommen blandt skolebørn i New Yorks Hell's Kitchen og meldte sig ind som kandidat i sociologi og økonomi ved Columbia University. Hendes forskningsprojekt med titlen "A Study of Malnutrition in 107 Children from Public School 51" blev hendes kandidatafhandling.

I 1910, da hun opfyldte et mål, hun satte sig for otte år før, blev Frances Perkins eksekutivsekretær for New York City Consumers League, der arbejdede direkte med Florence Kelley, kvinden, hvis tale på Mount Holyoke havde sat kursen i hendes karriere. Hendes arbejde fokuserede på behovet for sanitære bestemmelser for bagerier, brandbeskyttelse for fabrikker og lovgivning for at begrænse arbejdstiden for kvinder og børn på fabrikker til 54 timer om ugen. Meget af hendes arbejde var i Albany, i haller og udvalgslokaler i statens hovedstad. Der, med vejledning og råd fra forsamlingsmand Al Smith, senator Robert Wagner og nyfundne Tammany Hall -allierede, lærte Frances Perkins færdighederne hos en effektiv lobbyist for arbejdsmarkeds- og sociale reformer.

Efter forslag fra Theodore Roosevelt blev Frances Perkins ansat som gruppens eksekutivsekretær. En af udvalgets første handlinger var at søge en statskommission til at undersøge og fremsætte lovgivningsmæssige anbefalinger. Fabriksundersøgelseskommissionens mandat var meget bredere end oprindeligt påtænkt: at undersøge ikke kun brandsikkerhed, men andre trusler mod industriarbejderes sundhed og velvære og disse truslers indvirkning på familier. Frances Perkins, på det tidspunkt en anerkendt ekspert inden for arbejdstagernes sundhed og sikkerhed, fungerede som ekspertvidne, efterforsker og guide, førende lovgivere ved inspektioner af statens fabrikker og arbejdspladser for på første hånd at se farerne ved uhindret industrialisme. Kommissionens arbejde resulterede i det mest omfattende sæt love, der regulerer arbejdsmiljø og sikkerhed i landet.

The gubernatorial election of 1918 was the first in which women in New York had the right to vote. Frances Perkins campaigned hard to capture the women’s vote for Al Smith, her friend and ally during her prior work in Albany. Shortly after his election as governor, Smith appointed her to a vacant seat on the New York State Industrial Commission. She was the first woman to be appointed to an administrative position in New York state government and, with an annual salary of $8000, the highest paid woman ever to hold public office in the United States. Smith’s goal was to weed out the incompetence and corruption in the state labor department so that Frances and her fellow commissioners would enforce the laws the Factory Investigating Commission had brought about. For Smith’s four terms as governor, Frances Perkins served as his closest labor advisor, working with him to build on the legislative accomplishments of the prior decade. In his final term, he appointed her to chair the Industrial Commission.

In the election of 1928, Smith lost his bid to become the nation’s president, and New York elected a new governor, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt asked Frances Perkins to become the state’s Industrial Commissioner, with oversight responsibilities for the entire labor department. Soon, she became the most prominent state labor official in the nation, as she and Roosevelt searched for new ways to deal with rising unemployment. “We have awakened with a shock to the frightful injustice of economic conditions which will allow men and women who are willing to work to suffer the distress of hunger and cold and humiliating dependence. We have determined to find out what makes involuntary employment,” she said.

“I came to Washington to work for God, FDR, and the millions of forgotten, plain common workingmen.”

When, in February, 1933, President-elect Roosevelt asked Frances Perkins to serve in his cabinet as Secretary of Labor, she outlined for him a set of policy priorities she would pursue: a 40-hour work week a minimum wage unemployment compensation worker’s compensation abolition of child labor direct federal aid to the states for unemployment relief Social Security a revitalized federal employment service and universal health insurance. She made it clear to Roosevelt that his agreement with these priorities was a condition of her joining his cabinet. Roosevelt said he endorsed them all, and Frances Perkins became the first woman in the nation to serve in a Presidential cabinet.


Her Life: The Woman Behind the New Deal

Frances Perkins, FDR’s Secretary of Labor and the first woman to serve as a cabinet secretary, was the driving force behind the New Deal, credited with formulating policies to shore up the national economy following the nation’s most serious economic crisis and helping to create the modern middle class. She was in every respect a self-made woman who rose from humble New England origins to become America’s leading advocate for industrial safety and workers’ rights.

Frances Perkins was born Fannie Coralie Perkins in Boston in 1880, but her roots were in Maine. Her mother, Susan E. Bean, came from Bethel, and her father Frederick Perkins, was born and raised in Newcastle, on land along the Damariscotta River his ancestors first settled in the 1750s. The family farmed the land and also operated a brickyard at the river’s edge. After the Civil War, economic times became more difficult in rural Maine, and the brickyard began to falter. Frederick and his younger brother moved to Massachusetts for better prospects, while the oldest son remained in Newcastle to manage the farm. In 1882, Frederick Perkins moved his young family from Boston to Worcester, where he opened a paper goods business – a business that remains successful to this day. He maintained close ties to Newcastle, however, and Fanny, as she was known to the family, spent her childhood summers with her grandmother on the farm in Newcastle. Frequently in winters, her grandmother and uncle would stay with the Perkins family in Worcester.

Cynthia Otis Perkins, then a widow in her seventies, was the center of the family, “an extremely wise woman – worldly wise, as well as spiritually wise,” Frances later explained. “I am extraordinarily the product of my grandmother,” whose wisdom guided her throughout her life.

It was at the Brick House, built in 1837 as a wedding gift for her grandparents, that Fanny heard stories about the French and Indian War, when the Perkins family maintained a garrison by the river to shelter the community in case of trouble. She also learned of life before the Revolution and of her Otis family relatives who had played a major part in the colonists’ fight for independence. These stories were passed down by Cynthia’s mother Thankful Otis, who spent her last years in the house. In the summer following Fanny’s fifteenth birthday, Cynthia’s cousin, Union General Oliver Otis Howard, first head of the Freedmen’s Bureau and founder of Howard University, visited the Brick House. Because Howard had lost his right arm in the war, Fanny was enlisted as his secretary.

Thus, Fanny was raised with a deep appreciation of history and pride in her patriot ancestry. She came of age understanding her New England heritage and adopting the Yankee values that were the core of that heritage – frugality, ingenuity, tenacity and self-reliance – as well as a belief that the new nation, only a century old at her birth, held opportunities for all who sought and were willing to work for them. Her life would take her far beyond the humble Maine farm, but it is there that she returned year after year for rest and renewal.

The Perkins household in Worcester was strict, conservative and Republican. Fanny and her sister Ethel, four years her junior, were restricted largely to the people and events within their house and the nearby Plymouth Congregational Church. It was only when Fanny entered school that she encountered poverty. When she asked her parents why nice people could be poor, they gave her the accepted answers of the day: that poverty was the result of alcohol or laziness. Her father told her that little girls shouldn’t concern themselves with such things. Frederick Perkins read to the family in Greek and gave Fanny lessons in Greek grammar when she was only eight. He also taught her to read at an early age and encouraged her interest in classical literature. Although it was unusual for young women to attend college at that time, it was always assumed that Fanny would do so. She graduated from the college preparatory curriculum at Worcester’s Classical High School and then enrolled in Mount Holyoke College, fifty miles away in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

Founded in 1837, Mount Holyoke is the nation’s oldest continuing institution of higher education for women. Its founder, Mary Lyon, believed that women should be educated, but with education came responsibility. “Education was to fit one to do good.” “Go where no one else will go, do what no one else will do,” she advised Mount Holyoke’s young women. This sense of purpose clearly foretold the remarkable career that Fanny Perkins would eventually pursue.

At Mount Holyoke, Fanny Perkins, known as “Perk” to her classmates, came under the demanding tutelage of professors who insisted she enroll in only the most rigorous courses. Fanny majored in physics, with minors in chemistry and biology. She was a popular student, became class president her senior year and permanent class president upon graduation. It was in her final semester, however, that she took a course in American economic history that would have the most profound impact on her life. Taught by historian Annah May Soule, the course concerned the growth of industrialism in England and America. Professor Soule required her students to visit the mills along the Connecticut River in neighboring Holyoke to observe working conditions there.

Of this experience, Frances Perkins later said, “From the time I was in college I was horrified at the work that many women and children had to do in factories. There were absolutely no effective laws that regulated the number of hours they were permitted to work. There were no provisions which guarded their health nor adequately looked after their compensation in case of injury. Those things seemed very wrong. I was young and was inspired with the idea of reforming, or at east doing what I could, to help change those abuses.”

Fanny’s fellow students organized a chapter of the National Consumers League and, in February of 1902, invited its executive secretary, Florence Kelley, to speak at Mount Holyoke. Later Frances Perkins told a friend that Kelley’s speech “first opened my mind to the necessity for and the possibility of the work which became my vocation.”

When Fanny Perkins graduated from Mount Holyoke in 1902, her parents intended that she live at home and take a teaching position, or perhaps find work with the church, until a suitable marriage prospect appeared. Fanny had other ideas. When her efforts to seek employment in social work were unsuccessful, she began reading materials in the field, including Jacob Riis’ 1890 depiction of life in New York’s slums, How the Other Half Lives. Ultimately, she left Worcester for a teaching position at Ferry Hall, an elite school for girls in Lake Forest, Illinois. Further demonstrating her independence, she changed her name and her religious affiliation from the Congregational Church of her forebears. In June of 1905, she was confirmed in the Episcopal faith as Frances Perkins. The church and her belief in the need to make the Kingdom of God in this world would be a source of strength and commitment throughout her life.

While in Chicago, Frances Perkins spent her free time and vacations working at Chicago Commons and Hull House, two of the oldest and most well known settlement houses in the country. Working with the poor and the unemployed, she became convinced of her vocation. “I had to do something about unnecessary hazards to life, unnecessary poverty. It was sort of up to me. This feeling … sprang out of a period of great philosophical confusion which overtakes all young people.”

In 1907, Frances Perkins accepted a position as general secretary of the Philadelphia Research and Protective Association, a new organization whose goal was to thwart the diversion of newly arrived immigrant girls, including black women from the South, into prostitution. She studied sociology and economics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School with the progressive economist Simon N. Patten. In 1909, she began a fellowship with the New York School of Philanthropy, investigating childhood malnutrition among school children in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, and enrolled as a Master’s Degree candidate in sociology and economics at Columbia University. Her research project, entitled “A Study of Malnutrition in 107 Children from Public School 51,” became her Master’s thesis.

In 1910, fulfilling an objective she set for herself eight years before, Frances Perkins became Executive Secretary of the New York City Consumers League, working directly with Florence Kelley, the woman whose speech at Mount Holyoke had set the course of her career. Her work focused on the need for sanitary regulations for bakeries, fire protection for factories, and legislation to limit the working hours for women and children in factories to 54 hours per week. Much of her work was in Albany, in the halls and committee rooms of the state capitol. There, with the guidance and counsel of Assemblyman Al Smith, Senator Robert Wagner and newfound Tammany Hall allies, Frances Perkins learned the skills of an effective lobbyist for labor and social reforms.

On March 25, 1911, Frances Perkins was having tea with friends in New York City’s Washington Square when the group heard fire engines. Running to the scene of the fire, Frances Perkins witnessed in horror as 47 workers – mostly young women – jumped from the eighth and ninth floors of the building to their deaths on the street below. In all, 146 died as flames engulfed the upper three stories of the building. The fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was, she later proclaimed, “the day the New Deal was born.” In response to the fire, a citizen’s Committee on Safety was established to recommend practices to prevent a further tragedy in the city’s factories.

At the suggestion of Theodore Roosevelt, Frances Perkins was hired as the group’s executive secretary. One of the Committee’s first actions was to seek a state commission to investigate and make legislative recommendations. The Factory Investigating Commission’s mandate was much broader than originally contemplated: to study not only fire safety, but other threats to the health and well-being of industrial workers and the impact of those threats upon families. Frances Perkins, by that time a recognized expert in the field of worker health and safety, served as expert witness, investigator and guide, leading legislators on inspections of the state’s factories and worksites to view first-hand the dangers of unfettered industrialism. The Commission’s work resulted in the most comprehensive set of laws governing workplace health and safety in the nation.

These new laws became a model for other states and the federal government. Reflecting on her years as lobbyist, investigator and researcher, Frances Perkins later said, “The extent to which this legislation in New York marked a change in American political attitudes and policies toward social responsibility can scarcely be overrated. It was, I am convinced, a turning point.”

The gubernatorial election of 1918 was the first in which women in New York had the right to vote. Frances Perkins campaigned hard to capture the women’s vote for Al Smith, her friend and ally during her prior work in Albany. Shortly after his election as governor, Smith appointed her to a vacant seat on the New York State Industrial Commission. She was the first woman to be appointed to an administrative position in New York state government and, with an annual salary of $8000, the highest paid woman ever to hold public office in the United States. Smith’s goal was to weed out the incompetence and corruption in the state labor department so that Frances and her fellow commissioners would enforce the laws the Factory Investigating Commission had brought about. For Smith’s four terms as governor, Frances Perkins served as his closest labor advisor, working with him to build on the legislative accomplishments of the prior decade. In his final term, he appointed her to chair the Industrial Commission.

In the election of 1928, Smith lost his bid to become the nation’s president, and New York elected a new governor, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt asked Frances Perkins to become the state’s Industrial Commissioner, with oversight responsibilities for the entire labor department. Soon, she became the most prominent state labor official in the nation, as she and Roosevelt searched for new ways to deal with rising unemployment. “We have awakened with a shock to the frightful injustice of economic conditions which will allow men and women who are willing to work to suffer the distress of hunger and cold and humiliating dependence. We have determined to find out what makes involuntary employment,” she said.

Boldly, Perkins challenged the Hoover Administration’s prediction in January of 1930 that employment was on the rise and recovery from the depression was in sight. Angry at what she considered a heartless deception, she called a press conference and announced that Hoover had been wrong. Figures from the New York Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a steady decline in employment, with that January’s unemployment slated to be the worst in sixteen years. Her confrontation with the White House made front-page news throughout the country. As the Hoover Administration continued to make reassuring statements about the economy, she countered with statistical evidence of growing unemployment. “It is cruel and irresponsible to issue misleading statements of improvement in unemployment, at a time when the unemployed are reaching the end of their resources,” she said.

From her position in New York State, Frances Perkins worked with representatives of labor and industry to explore long-range programs to increase employment. She helped organize a conference on unemployment of the seven industrial states of the Northeast. She reorganized and expanded the state’s employment agencies, but increasingly, her focus was on devising a program of unemployment insurance. With her encouragement, Roosevelt became the first public official in the country to commit himself to unemployment insurance, and in 1930, he sent Perkins to England to study the British system. In October, she returned, armed with recommendations for an American version of that program.

With the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt as President in 1932, Frances Perkins’ years in public service in New York were over. Soon, however, the policies and programs Frances Perkins had advanced for the State of New York were about to be tested for all the nation.

When, in February, 1933, President-elect Roosevelt asked Frances Perkins to serve in his cabinet as Secretary of Labor, she outlined for him a set of policy priorities she would pursue: a 40-hour work week a minimum wage unemployment compensation worker’s compensation abolition of child labor direct federal aid to the states for unemployment relief Social Security a revitalized federal employment service and universal health insurance. She made it clear to Roosevelt that his agreement with these priorities was a condition of her joining his cabinet. Roosevelt said he endorsed them all, and Frances Perkins became the first woman in the nation to serve in a Presidential cabinet.

From her earliest days in the Roosevelt cabinet, Frances Perkins was a forceful advocate for massive public works programs to bring the nation’s unemployed back to work. Within a month of Roosevelt’s inauguration, Congress enacted legislation establishing the Civilian Conservation Corps, which Roosevelt asked Perkins to implement. Roosevelt also asked her to present a plan for an emergency relief program, and she delivered a young social worker from New York named Harry Hopkins who had visited Frances in Washington with his own proposal. That proposal became embodied in the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, which Hopkins led. Before Roosevelt presented his final One Hundred Days legislation to the Congress, the National Industrial Recovery Act, Perkins convinced him to allocate $3.3 billion for public works from the moneys appropriated. Serving as a member of the Special Board for Public Works, Perkins helped to ensure that money was spent on socially useful projects: schools, roads, highway, housing projects and post offices. Public works construction employed a many as 1.5 – 2 million people in 1934.

In 1934, Roosevelt appointed Frances Perkins to head a Committee on Economic Security, where she forged the blueprint of legislation finally enacted as the Social Security Act. Signed into law by the President on August 14, 1935, the Act included a system of old age pensions, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation and aid to the needy and disabled.

In 1938, Congress enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act, also crafted with the support of Perkins, establishing a minimum wage and maximum work hours and banning child labor.

At the time of Roosevelt’s death in April of 1945, Frances Perkins was the longest serving labor secretary and one of only two cabinet secretaries to serve the entire length of the Roosevelt Presidency. In 1944, a piece portraying Frances Perkins in Collier ’s magazine described her accomplishments over the previous twelve years as “not so much the Roosevelt New Deal, as … the Perkins New Deal.” She had accomplished all but one of the items on the agenda she had presented to the newly elected President in February of 1933: universal access to health care.

Before leaving the Department of Labor in June of 1945, Frances Perkins stood in the department’s auditorium, and while a full orchestra played, she shook the hands, and personally thanked every one, of the department’s 1800 employees. The following evening, she was honored at the Mayflower Hotel. The months that followed were busy, as she began writing The Roosevelt I Knew, a best-selling biography of FDR published in 1946, and serving as head of the American delegation to the International Labor Organization in Paris.

The following year, President Truman appointed her to the United States Civil Service Commission, a position she held until 1953. She then began a new career of teaching, writing and public lectures, ultimately serving until her death as a lecturer at Cornell University’s new School of Industrial Relations.

Frances Perkins suffered a stroke and died at Midtown Hospital in New York City on May 14, 1965, at the age of 85. She is buried alongside her husband, Paul Wilson, in the Glidden Cemetery on the River Road in Newcastle, Maine, a short distance from the Brick House, the place she always considered her home.

Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall at the grave of his grandparents. Glidden Cemetery, Newcastle, Maine.


Rise To Greatness

TID magazine Frances Perkins on the cover of TID magasin. 1933.

Though the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt didn’t begin pushing through the slate of wide-ranging progressive reforms and programs known as the New Deal until the 1930s, Frances Perkins later said that March 25, 1911 was “the day the New Deal was born.”

It was on this day that the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York’s Greenwich Village caught fire, trapping many of its mostly-female employees inside and causing some to even leap to their deaths from the upper stories. In the end, the fire claimed 146 lives and exposed the dangers of unsafe factory conditions as a whole.

In response, the city established a Committee on Safety, of which Frances Perkins was appointed the head on the recommendation of none other than Theodore Roosevelt himself. Perkins’ work on the committee helped New York to establish “the most comprehensive set of laws governing workplace health and safety in the nation” and her labors certainly did not go unnoticed.

Governor Al Smith appointed Perkins to the New York State Industrial Commission in 1918, making her not only the first woman to be appointed to an administrative position in New York state government, but the highest-paid woman in public office in the United States to that point. When Smith was succeeded by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1928, the future president appointed Frances Perkins Industrial Commissioner and in 1933, brought her along to Washington with him as Secretary of Labor, making her the first female cabinet member in American history.


San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

(Editor's note: October is LGBT History Month, celebrated annually to recognize the notable achievements of LGBT people throughout time. Each day this month, Equality Forum will feature one LGBT icon who has made notable contributions to society and SDGLN will publish the story here in the Causes section. View previous LGBT History Month icons HERE.)

Frances Perkins was the first woman appointed to the U.S. cabinet, serving as U.S. secretary of labor under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933 to 1945—longer than anyone else who held the post.

As the principal architect of FDR’s New Deal, Perkins helped write and lobby for legislation in response to the Great Depression. Her myriad achievements include establishing pensions, unemployment and workers’ compensation, a minimum wage and overtime, the 40-hour workweek, child labor laws, new jobs through public works programs, and the blueprint for the Social Security Act—considered her greatest accomplishment.

During Hitler’s rise to power, Perkins facilitated the entry of tens of thousands of immigrants to the United States, two thirds of whom were European Jews fleeing the Nazis.


Meet Frances Perkins

Originally named Fannie Coralie Perkins, Frances Perkins was born April 10, 1882 in Boston, MA. She spend most of childhood in Worcester and attended Worcester’s Classical High School. Her father was a partner in a stationary and supply store. He began to teach her Greek at age 8 and to read and appreciated classical literature. She was raised in a strict, conservative, religious, middle class family environment.

Uddannelse

In 1902 she graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a BA and also served as president of her class. She majored in physics and had minors in chemistry and biology.

During her last semester she took a course in economic history. The instructor required students to visit the nearby mills along the Connecticut River to observe working conditions. Later she wrote: “While in college I was horrified at the work that many women and children had to do in factories. There were no effective laws that regulated the number of hours they could work. There were no provisions to guard their health nor offer compensation in case of injury. I was inspired to help change those abuses.”

Her fellow students organized a chapter of the National Consumers League and invited the executive secretary, Florence Kelley, to speak at Mount Holyoke. Ms. Perkins later noted that “the speech opened my mind regarding work that became my vocation.”

In 1910 she earned a master’s degree from Columbia University in sociology and economics.

Early Employment and Roles

In 1902 she moved to Lake Forrest, IL near Chicago and became a science teacher at Ferry Hall, a college oriented toward wealthy young women. There she formally changed her name. She also was involved with Hull House in Chicago.

In 1907 she took a job in Philadelphia as general secretary of the Philadelphia Research and Protective Association, which was concerned with immigrant women who were forced into sexual slavery. In 1910 she became executive secretary of the Consumer’s League of New York. She investigated labor conditions and successfully lobbied the state legislature to restrict the hours of women workers to 54 hours per week.

During her early academic and employment roles, she became sensitive to the plight of immigrants and the poor. She had learned political skills in conflict resolution that often resolved differences between employers and workers.

A Mind Opening Experience

By chance on March 25, 1911, Ms. Perkins experienced a life-changing event. She was having tea with a wealthy friend who lived at Washington Square in New York City. They learned that the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was on fire only a short distance away. They rushed to the scene and witnessed the horror. It changed Ms. Perkins forever and created her permanent commitment to worker rights and safety.

Family

In 1913 she married Paul Caldwell Wilson. He was an economist. She had one child, a daughter. Later, he began exhibiting mental issues that kept him institutionalized for much of his later life.

City and State Work Experience

National Work Experience

  • A 40-hour work week
  • A minimum wage
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Abolition of child labor
  • Direct federal aid to states for unemployment relief
  • Social Security
  • A revitalized federal employment service
  • Universal health insurance

FDR Asks Perkins to Head Committee on Economic Security

Death

Frances Perkins Stamp – 1980

Referencer

Several books have been written about Frances Perkins, her work and accomplishments. Here are a few:

  • Kristin Downey, The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR’S Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience, Anchor, 2009
  • Penny Colman, A Woman Unafraid: The Achievements Of Frances Perkins, iUniverse, 2010.
  • S. Miller, The New Deal as a Triumph of Social Work: Frances Perkins and the Confluence of Early Twentieth Century Social Work with Mid-Twentieth Century Politics and Government, Palgrave Pivot, 2015.
  • Naomi Pasachoff, Frances Perkins: Champion of the New Deal, Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Bill Severn, Frances Perkins: A Member of the Cabinet, Hawthorn Books, 1976.

There are numerous Internet web sites covering many details about Frances Perkins. Below is a partial list:


Columbia University Libraries


Frances Perkins at work for the Factory Investigation Commission, circa 1911.
Frances Perkins Papers, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University

It’s safe to say — by volume of patron requests — Frances Perkins‘ 5,500+ word oral history is one of the most requested interviews in the Oral History Archives at Columbia’s collections.

Today, March 4th, marks the anniversary of Perkin’s appointment to the U.S. Cabinet as Secretary of Labor in 1933.

In honor of this occasion, and recognizing demand for Perkin’s oral history interview, here’s a .zip file* containing all five parts of this momentous interview.

Update: these materials are now accessible via the Libraries’ Digital Collections.

*Unfamiliar with .zip files and how to use them? See these instructions from The National Institute of Mental Health Information Resource Center.


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