The Woman behind the New Deal
Frances Perkins is no longer a household name, yet she was one of the most influential women of the twentieth century. Based on eight years of research, extensive archival materials, new documents, and exclusive access to Perkins's family members and friends, this biography is the first complete portraitMore »
Frances Perkins is no longer a household name, yet she was one of the most influential women of the twentieth century. Based on eight years of research, extensive archival materials, new documents, and exclusive access to Perkins's family members and friends, this biography is the first complete portrait of a devoted public servant with a passionate personal life, a mother who changed the landscape of American business and society. Frances Perkins was named Secretary of Labor by Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. As the first female cabinet secretary, she spearheaded the fight to improve the lives of America's working people while juggling her own complex family responsibilities. Perkins's ideas became the cornerstones of the most important social welfare and legislation in the nation's history, including unemployment compensation, child labor laws, and the forty-hour work week. Arriving in Washington at the height of the Great Depression, Perkins pushed for massive public works projects that created millions of jobs for unemployed workers. She breathed life back into the nation's labor movement, boosting living standards across the country. As head of the Immigration Service, she fought to bring European refugees to safety in the United States. Her greatest triumph was creating Social Security. Written with a wit that echoes Frances Perkins's own, award-winning journalist Kirstin Downey gives us a riveting exploration of how and why Perkins slipped into historical oblivion, and restores Perkins to her proper place in history.« Less
the life of Frances Perkins, FDR's Secretary of Labor and his moral conscience
Becoming Frances Perkins
The young activist hits New York
The triangle shirtwaist fire
Finding allies in Tammany Hall
Teddy Roosevelt and Frances Perkins
A good match
The indomitable Al Smith
FDR and Al Smith
With the Roosevelts in Albany
FDR becomes president
Frances becomes Secretary of Labor
Skeletons in the Labor Department closet
Jump-starting the economy
At home with Mary Harriman
Blue Eagle: a first try at "civilizing capitalism"
Refugees and regulations
Rebuilding the house of labor
Labor shakes off its slumber
The union movement revitalizes and splits apart
Court-packing, wages, and hours
War clouds and refugees
Frances and Franklin
Madness, misalliances, and a nude bisexual water sprite
The war comes
Last days of the Roosevelt administration
The Truman administration
End of the Truman era
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