1933 – Labor Secretary Frances Perkins became the first woman to serve in a Presidential administrative cabinet


Portrait of Frances Perkins in her office, standing at her desk

Caption: above:
Perkins, Frances. Harris & Ewing, photographer
[between 1905 and 1945]
Prints & Photographs Division
Library of Congress

Frances Perkins became the 1st woman appointed to a presidential Cabinet when she was sworn in as Secretary of Labor on March 4, 1933.

Frances Perkins was born in Boston in 1880 and graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1902. She received her Master’s in Political Science from Columbia University in 1910 and after graduation, she became head of the New York Consumers League in 1910. It was during her tenure at the Consumers League that she witnessed the horrible Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire which left a lasting impression.

In 1919, Governor Al Smith added her to the Industrial Commission of the State of New York and, in 1929 when Franklin Roosevelt was elected governor, he appointed her Commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor.External Link

loc.gov