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Frances Perkins

Artist
Samuel Johnson Woolf, 12 Feb 1880 - 1948
Sitter
Frances Perkins, 10 Apr 1880 - 14 May 1965
Date
1933
Type
Drawing
Medium
Charcoal and chalk on paper
Dimensions
Other: 34.3 x 26.4cm (13 1/2 x 10 3/8")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9cm (28 x 22")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Restrictions & Rights
© Estate of S.J. Woolf
Object number
NPG.78.TC668
Exhibition Label
Seen here in her trademark tricorn hat, Frances Perkins spoke in primly reserved accents that put one reporter in mind of someone who had just "swallowed a press release." Nevertheless, as Franklin Roosevelt's secretary of labor and the first woman to hold a cabinet post, she held her own in the masculine universe of New Deal policymaking. Under her leadership, the Department of Labor exercised greater influence than it ever had. Among the accomplishments of her tenure was the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which banned child labor and set the nation's first minimum wage.
Upon Perkins's appointment in 1933, a union leader declared that "labor can never be reconciled" to a woman managing its concerns. However, when Time ran this drawing several months later, it reported that workers were growing increasingly "jubilant" over having her at the Department of Labor.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection