First Woman Cabinet Member
Age Range: 9 - 14
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Unemployment insurance, Social Security, workers’ compensation, minimum wage—all required a fight before implementation. Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Cabinet and the first woman to so serve, was a driving force behind that implementation. Born and raised in comfortable circumstances to a Worcester, Mass., family and educated at Mount Holyoke, Perkins led a fully engaged life of social activism. She was a witness to the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, worked with New York governor Al Smith on the Industrial Commission and for FDR when he was governor of New York. Keller writes cautiously but clearly. Readers learn how Perkins was vilified by some as a Socialist or Communist; about her trademark hat and pearls; about her husband’s life of mental instability; about her daughter Susanna’s suggestion, passed to President Roosevelt, that artists decorate the walls of public buildings. A clean layout with some color pictures aids comprehension. Young readers will find the scope of change Perkins affected to be breathtaking, even her lifelong battle simply to keep her birth name rather than take her husband’s. (timeline, notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 9-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 2006
ISBN: 1-931798-91-5
Page count: 160pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2006