Frances Perkins

Champion of American Workers

Non-Fiction - Biography
220 Pages
Reviewed on 01/27/2024
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

Author Biography

It's safe to say I've been a writer all my life, as I wrote and illustrated my first chapter book at age 10. After that I spent more time as a teacher of English, American history, choral music, art and theater.

Having previously illustrated 3 children's books and then written and illustrated my own, "Silly Time in Rhythm and Rhyme," I became inspired to write a biography after visiting, in 2012, the historical homestead which became the Frances Perkins Center.

I would love to hear from readers, whether with questions, comments, or reviews.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Joe Wisinski for Readers' Favorite

Frances Perkins: Champion of American Workers by Ruth Cashin Monsell is the biography of a woman who holds a solid place in history—the first female presidential cabinet member in the United States. Perkins served as the Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945. She was known to stand up for American workers, enacting many life-saving measures, along with those that improved quality of life, such as a shorter work week. Beyond her work in implementing safety and lifestyle improvements, Perkins was instrumental in the creation of Social Security, as well as other programs, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps. Monsell’s book is a complete biography, covering all aspects of Perkins' life. The book ends with “The Wit and Wisdom of Frances Perkins,” followed by an extensive bibliography and a list of places that were important in Perkins’ life that readers may want to visit.

Frances Perkins by Ruth Cashin Monsell is an absolutely fascinating book about the life of a little-known American woman. I didn’t know much about Perkins, only knowing her name, before I began reading this book. But I was hooked from the first page and the more I read the more I became enthralled with this biography of an exceptional woman. Monsell is a fine writer and wrote with enthusiasm about Perkins. Because of reading this book, I came to a better appreciation of Perkins, as well as Monsell for writing it. Everyone should read this exceptional, well-researched book. Readers will come away inspired by Perkins’ life and grateful for all she accomplished on behalf of her fellow Americans. I highly recommend it.

Edith Wairimu

Frances Perkins: Champion of American Workers by Ruth Cashin Monsell documents the remarkable story of a determined advocate for workers’ rights. Perkins was born in 1880 in Boston, Massachusetts to a middle-class family and later raised in Worcester where her father owned a stationery business. In her senior year of college, she met Florence Kelley, a dynamic social justice crusader, and was exposed to the horrors that mill and factory workers encountered daily. These two events would inspire her lifelong mission to fight for the underprivileged. At just twenty-one and against her parents’ wishes, she left for New York to work at the Charity Organization Society. Throughout her life, Perkins continued her work as a champion for social justice and human dignity, later becoming the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet as the United States Secretary of Labor.

This biography is an inspiring tribute to an outstanding woman whose work continues to benefit millions of Americans. Perkins came from an ordinary background and served as her family’s breadwinner for years after her husband became unable to work which shows that through determination, anyone can follow in her footsteps and create change that improves the lives of others. Perkins’s attributes, including her compassion for the less fortunate, her visionary approach to her work, and her dedication to justice and equality are all exceptional qualities that I found motivating. The work contains current and historical details that I found informative. Frances Perkins by Ruth Cashin Monsell is a brilliant, well-compiled biography of a remarkable pioneer whose relentless efforts paved the way for others and created a more equitable society.

Jamie Michele

In Frances Perkins: Champion of American Workers by Ruth Cashin Monsell, Frances "Fannie" Perkins, deeply affected by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in March 1911, devoted her life to social change. From her early settlement work in New York City, she championed workers' rights and safety regulations. Perkins, the first woman on the New York State Industrial Commission, reshaped labor conditions. As the first woman U.S. Secretary of Labor during the Great Depression, she played a pivotal role in New Deal programs, facing opposition and criticism. Despite prejudice, Perkins left an indelible mark on American labor, recognized for her achievements and commitment to improving workers' conditions globally. After twelve years as Secretary of Labor, she continued public service, leaving a legacy of lifelong dedication to public service and the labor movement. Perkins passed away in May 1965. She is remembered for her impactful contributions.

In Frances Perkins, Ruth Cashin Monsell effectively portrays Perkins' evolution from her childhood anticipation of summers in Maine to her role as a vocal and impactful commitment to social justice. Monsell does an excellent job of building on the foundational importance of youth and young adulthood so that we get a well-rounded picture of what drove this extraordinary woman. The writing style is clean, straightforward, and easy to become immersed in. Monsell engages readers, avoiding the pitfalls of textbook presentations, and instead turns the biography into a story, which is a testament to her skill as a writer. As someone who grew up in San Francisco, the standout to me is the San Francisco longshoremen strike, where Perkins quashed recommendations to send in federal troops. Monsell writes, "She stood up for restraint and sent her own private cable to FDR. He thanked her for her frank assessment of the issues...and then gave her complete authority to speak for him." Perkins' approach averted potential bloodshed. Very highly recommended.