Francis Perkins

1880- 1962

Secretary of Labor



Francis Perkins on the right

Frances Perkins was born on April 10, 1880 in Boston Massachusetts. She was trained as a social worker, is remembered for being the first female Cabinet member.

From the time of her graduation from Mount Holyoke College in 1902, Perkins was involved in Progressive movements. She was a part of the commission that investigated the Triangle Shirt Company Fire, in an attempt to prevent recurrences of such sweatshop-related tragedies.

When Franklin Roosevelt became Governor of New York, he appointed Perkins to the post of Industrial Commissioner. When he won the Presidency, Perkins was appointed to the position of Secretary of Labor.

Perkins was an effective Secretary of Labor, and served for 12 years. She was instrumental in drafting almost all of the New Deal labor legislation including the Social Security Act of 1935 that created Social Security.