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 Blurb: a short, promotional review for the back of a published book.

This book paints a very accurate, artful, and compelling picture of my grandmother’s life. I am astonished and delighted at the level of detail given my family’s stories and traditions, and the portrayal of forces that shaped her career, driving her to accomplish so much. Though written especially for young adults, this book is a must for anyone seeking an intimate understanding of our first woman cabinet officer, who shepherded the New Deal programs that lifted our country out of the Great Depression.

Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall

Ruth Monsell has written a vivid account of the life of Frances Perkins, rich in drama and detail in the way that only an accomplished writer can!

In this modern age, Frances Perkins: Champion of American Workers will inspire, and provide young people with the archetype of a genuine hero.   

Mick Caouette, Producer

Summoned: Frances Perkins and the General Welfare,  South Hill Films
"Recasting the stories that transformed  America"


Ruth Monsell brings to life one of the most extraordinary women in American

History in Frances Perkins, Champion of American Workers. While also written for young adults to discover a person of heroic stature, this portrait of the first woman cabinet member in U.S. history merits reading by people of all ages who are interested in the role of one individual in shaping the social safety net created by the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt. As one privileged to know Miss Perkins in the last five years of her life when she lived at our student residence hall at Cornell University, I find that Ruth Monsell has created the truest portrait of the person I knew among the growing number of books and articles on Frances Perkins.

Dr. Christopher N. Breiseth, Frances Perkins Center Board Member; former CEO of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute

FP Center Logo, color_edited.jpg
With Mick Caouette.JPG

With Mick Caouette, filmmaker, at the Portland, ME premiere of "Summoned" a PBS Documentary on Frances Perkins by South Hill Films

Ruth as Madam Secretaary in

"The Only Woman in the Room"

by Teralyn Reiter, Lincoln Theater, Maine, 2022

Order your copy of Frances Perkins - Champion of American Workers

by Ruth C. Monsell from Histria Books today.


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, Champion, 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. 

Reviewed by
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 six 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.

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

​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.


If you are interested in reviewing this book yourself, please get in touch.

For more reviews, visit NetGalley or Amazon where you can also leave your own review (on Amazon, scroll down from title.) Thanks!

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