Talk on Frances Perkins

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Boothbay Register
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Leah Sprague, chairman of the Board of Directors and founding member of The Frances Perkins Center, will speak on “The Maine Roots of Frances Perkins and Her Role In Shaping America,” at the Boothbay Region Historical Society from 4 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 22.

As secretary of labor from 1933 to 1945, Frances Perkins was one of the most influential women in 20th century America. She was the first woman Cabinet member, and has often been referred to as the most important politician behind the creation of America’s Social Security program. She was also the driving force behind Franklin Roosevelt’s most significant New Deal labor legislation. Workplace conditions, child labor, and labor safety legislation were all important legislative concerns during Perkins’ lengthy time in U.S. government. But Perkins was also strongly linked to Maine, through family roots and the family farm in Newcastle, which served to draw her back to Maine repeatedly during her life.

Sprague, a retired attorney, a justice in Massachusetts Trial Court, and Assistant Attorney General under Governor Michael Dukakis, now resides in Maine where she has been a past president of the Newcastle Historical Society, and is currently writing a book on women in the judiciary. Sprague will discuss Perkins’ career which began following her 1902 graduation from Mount Holyoke College and her 1910 graduation with a master’s degree from Columbia. Thereafter Perkins was an activist for working people and an official in New York state administrations under governors Al Smith and Franklin Roosevelt. The Frances Perkins Center, located in Damariscotta, provides an opportunity for visitors to learn more about Perkins’ life and especially her connections to Maine.

The talk will take place at the Boothbay Region Historical Society’s Museum at 72 Oak St., Boothbay Harbor. Reservations are recommended. Please call 633-0820.