Mar 8, 2009

The Heroine of the New Deal

(The Daily Beast) - As Frances Perkins got ready to her leave her post as secretary of Labor in 1945, she looked back to the moment she entered the Cabinet 13 years before. “I had, as you know, a program in mind,” she remarked mildly to her friend Felix Frankfurter. The understatement was typical. What she aimed for when she took over Labor in 1932 was: unemployment insurance, protection against indigence in old age, work relief for the jobless, the abolition of child labor, the 40-hour week and the minimum wage. In the next few years, those would translate into: Social Security, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Fair Labor Standards Act. “Everything except health insurance, dear Felix,” she concluded. Oh well. Continued

Photo: Frances Perkins by Jean MacLane (U.S. Department of Labor)