The Cabinet: The Last Leaf

Descended of New England Puritans, victor of many savage Albany battles involving labor-management relations, Frances Perkins was not about to bend before Washington's political winds. "Being a woman has only bothered me in climbing trees," was her one concession to critics who howled when Franklin Roosevelt appointed her Secretary of Labor in 1933—the first woman Cabinet member in U.S. history.

"The accusation that I am a woman is incontrovertible," she allowed at another point, shaking her trim tricorn hat like a panache at the antifeminists. William Green, doughty president of the A.F.L.,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!