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Frances Perkins (1880-1965) was the first woman appointed to a U.S. cabinet post and the longest-serving Secretary of Labor. Perkins had a long and illustrious record as a social activist: she reorganized New York state’s factory inspections system, advocated the Workmen’s Compensation Act, and promoted the legislative protection of women and child laborers. As U.S. Secretary of Labor under Roosevelt she helped develop major New Deal legislation, including the Social Security Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Always regarded with some hostility by both organized labor and the business community, Perkins survived an attempt to impeach her in 1939. As one of the most distinguished and trailblazing women in the history of American government, Perkins is often studied in American history classes. Moreover, her career touched on issues key to our current debates about government and social policy. This book is richly illustrated with documents and rare photographs.

Oxford Portraits is a new series of biographies for young adults. Written by prominent writers and historians, each of these titles is designed to supplement the core texts of the middle and high school curriculum with intriguing, thoroughly informative and insightful accounts of the lives and work of the notable men and women who helped shape history. Each book is illustrated with numerous graphics, photographs, and documents. A unique feature is the inclusion of sidebars containing primary source material, mostly excerpts from the subject’s writings. A chronology, further reading list, and index rounds out every volume.

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