Frances Perkins Biography
(United States Secretary of Labor (1933-45))
Birthday: April 10, 1880 (Aries)
Born In: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Frances Perkins was an American activist, sociologist, stateswoman, and the fourth US Secretary of Labor. Her tenure lasted for 12 years, from 1933 to 1945, which effectively made her the longest-serving secretary of labor in the history of the United States. She also has the distinction of being the first woman to be included in the US Cabinet. A staunch loyalist and friend of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Perkins played a crucial role in leading the labor movement to the New Deal coalition. Alongside Interior Secretary Harold L. Ickes, she remained part of the cabinet throughout Roosevelt’s presidency. As the secretary of labor, Perkins implemented a number of aspects of the New Deal, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Public Works Administration and its successor the Federal Works Agency, and the labor section of the National Industrial Recovery Act. Through the Social Security Act, she set up unemployment benefits, pensions for the many uncovered elderly Americans, and welfare for the poorest Americans. During World War II, at a time when skilled labor was quintessential and women were migrating towards traditionally male jobs, Perkins provided responses to several labor queries. Following Roosevelt’s death, she submitted her resignation from the cabinet but maintained her association with the government as a US civil service commissioner until 1953.