The Frances Perkins Center in Maine

Frances Perkins Homestead in Newcastle, Maine
An exhibit at Frances Perkins Center in Damariscotta, ME

The homestead of Frances Perkins in New-castle, Maine, has now become a National Historic Landmark through the efforts of Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall, the only descendent of Frances Perkins. The fifty-seven acre property that Frances Perkins called home will be hosting a celebration in the spring of 2015 to commemorate the new distinction just conferred upon the site. 

The Frances Perkins Center was established in 2009 to make the exemplary work and career of Frances Perkins to become better known to the public and to preserve her policy legacy. The ancestral homestead is a private residence maintained by the Perkins family. Guided tours provide a glimpse of the site’s history as a working farm, brickyard and home. Educational programs are also given. 

Frances Perkins was Secretary of Labor in the Cabinet of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Under her leadership during his administration, signature programs such as Social Security, the minimum wage, and unemployment insurance were instituted. Frances Perkins was the first woman Cabinet Secretary, the principal architect of the New Deal, and a dedicated advocate for social justice, economic security, and the rights of working people. 

On Saturday, October 25, 2014, Michael Chaney, the Director of the Frances Perkins Center, gave a presentation at the Worcester Public Library to give information regarding the life of Frances Perkins and the Center. Mr. Chaney hopes to gain sup-port and create liaisons with Worcester organizations to explore future program possibilities and make the activities of the Center more widely known. The Director was especially interested in working with the Worcester Women’s History Project. 

A ceremony commemorating the life and dedication of Frances Perkins will be held on May 13, 2015, at St. Michael’s-on-the-Heights Episcopal Church, 340 Burncoat Street, Worcester. Perkins grew up in Worcester and became an Episcopalian in her twenties when living in Illinois. The event was still in the early stages of planning as this newsletter goes to press, so please watch for further details and let us rejoice in the recognition of the accomplishments in the life of Frances Perkins, an important figure in the history of Worcester and in America.

Frances Perkins: A Brief Timeline 

Following is from Wikipedia: 

  • Born 1880, April 10 as Fannie Coralie Perkins in Boston 
    Died 1965, May 14 
  • Frances Perkins’ feast day in the Episcopal Church is May 13. 
  • 1898 Graduated Worcester’s Classical High 
  • 1902 Graduated Mount Holyoke College 
  • 1904-1906 Taught in Chicago 
  • 1905 Joined Episcopal Church 
  • 1910 Received Master’s Degree, Columbia University 
  • 1911 Witnessed Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in NYC 
  • 1913 Married Paul Caldwell Wilson 
  • 1916 Susanna Perkins Wilson born 
  • 1933-1945 U.S. Secretary of Labor 
  • 1946 Wrote The Roosevelt I Knew 
  • 1952 Husband died 
  • 1965 She died. Buried in Newcastle, Maine.
Published Date: 
February 12, 2015