Julia Lathrop

Social Service and Progressive Government


By Miriam Cohen

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Julia Lathrop was a social servant, government activist, and social scientist who expanded notions of women's proper roles in public life during the early 1900s. Appointed as chief of the U.S. Children's Bureau, created in 1912 to promote child welfare, she was the first woman to head a United States federal agency. Throughout her life, Lathrop challenged the social norms of the time and became instrumental in shaping Progressive reform. She began her career at Hull House in Chicago, the nation's most famous social settlement, where she worked to improve public and private welfare for poor people, helped establish America's first juvenile court, and pushed for immigrant rights. Lathrop was also co-founder of one of America's first schools of social work. Later in life she became a leader in the League of Women Voters and an advisor on child welfare to the League of Nations.

Following Lathrop's life from her childhood and college education through her social service and government work, this book gives an overview of her enduring contribution to progressive politics, women's employment, and women's education. It also offers a look at how one influential woman worked within the bounds of traditional conventions about gender, race, and class, and also pushed against them.

About the Lives of American Women series:
Selected and edited by renowned women's historian Carol Berkin, these brief biographies are designed for use in undergraduate courses. Rather than a comprehensive approach, each biography focuses instead on a particular aspect of a woman's life that is emblematic of her time, or which made her a pivotal figure in the era. The emphasis is on a “good read,” featuring accessible writing and compelling narratives, without sacrificing sound scholarship and academic integrity. Primary sources at the end of each biography reveal the subject's perspective in her own words. Study questions and an annotated bibliography support the student reader.



Beginning in the 1890s a group of determined Americans began to search for solutions to the problems of their newly industrialized nation. Rather than give in to pessimism, they decided to face the issues raised by mass immigration, urban poverty, shocking labor conditions, and the dangers to consumers caused by unregulated industries. These women and men were true activists; they did not simply protest—they proposed programs and policies that would improve the conditions they found unacceptable. No one more fully embodied the spirit of these reformers during the Progressive Era than Julia Lathrop. Lathrop devoted her life to child welfare, women's rights, educational reform, the creation of a juvenile justice system, the professionalization of social work, and the rights of immigrants—and in the process she became the first woman appointed to the Illinois State Board of Charities and the first woman to head a federal agency. Small wonder that when she died in 1932 she was remembered as "one of the most useful women in the whole country."

In telling the story of Lathrop's life and accomplishments, Miriam Cohen draws a vivid portrait of the Progressive Era and of the challenges female reformers faced as they entered the public sphere. Women like Lathrop, Jane Addams, Florence Kelley, and Lillian Wald were harshly criticized for undermining the traditional role of woman as wife and mother. To counter claims that they were "unwomanly," these women developed the concept of "maternalist politics," arguing that they were simply fulfilling their womanly duties in the larger arena of the community. But if maternalism allowed them to lobby for legislation, head up agencies, and expand women's higher education, it also diminished their use of a claim to equality as an individual right for all. As Cohen notes, today's American women would reject Lathrop's reliance on traditional gender roles to justify voting rights for women.

One of the many strengths of Cohen's book is that she resists any temptation to idealize Lathrop or the progressive women who were her allies. Although she clearly admires Julia Lathrop, she acknowledges that women reformers of the era shared with other privileged white women an often unthinking but damaging racism and social elitism. This can be seen, Cohen points out, in the suffragist argument that giving the vote to educated, native-born women would counterbalance the right to vote given to immigrant men.

In this carefully researched and gracefully written book Cohen has drawn a rich and complex portrait of a remarkable American woman. In the process she has provided a fresh look at the critical role that women like Julia Lathrop played in an era of progressive reform.

— Carol Berkin


In 2001 the Vassar (Alumnae/i) Club of Chicago invited me to speak on some aspect of social reform in the Windy City. I talked about Julia Lathrop, Vassar Class of 1880, who was so important to the history of Chicago's Hull House. Already doing scholarship on the history of the welfare state, I was familiar with many of Lathrop's accomplishments on behalf of children. Preparing for the talk piqued my interest in this woman who contributed to so many social causes of her day. When Carol Berkin suggested I contribute to her Lives of American Women Series by writing about a woman of the Progressive Era, I eagerly proposed Lathrop. The first woman to head a federal agency, Lathrop appears in numerous scholarly works on women and social reform in the Progressive Era. Yet, except for Jane Addams's memoir about her Hull House friend, she has never been the subject of a book-long study. Carol agreed with my choice and has supported the project ever since. A fine historian and a wonderful writer, Carol's advice for improving the manuscript has been invaluable.

Many people have helped me during the time I have been working on Lathrop. Mary Pryor, the Rockford University archivist emeritus, acquainted me with the various aspects of the Julia Lathrop Papers. My wonderful colleagues in the Vassar College Department of History encouraged me along the way; the department's incomparable administrative assistant, Michelle Whalen, provided crucial help. Vassar College Dean of the Faculty office facilitated my work through research funds; I especially thank Dean of the Faculty Jonathan Chenette for his ongoing support. Recognizing Lathrop as a distinguished Vassar alumna, the college library, at the suggestion of former president Catherine Bond Hill, purchased a microfilm copy of the Julia Lathrop Papers to be housed in our own Special Collections. Thank you to Ronald Patkus, associate director of the libraries for Vassar's Special Collections; Laura Streett, archivist; and Dean Rogers, library specialist, who assisted me and my students as we mined the Lathrop papers and Vassar's own holdings on Lathrop. Thanks to Colton Johnson, Vassar College Historian, for his insights and suggestions.

The staffs of the Special Collections Research Center at the University of Chicago Library and the National Archives in Maryland made my work in both collections productive and pleasant. My trip to the archives in Chicago, my hometown, was special because my Aunt Daila Shefner provided me with food, shelter, and love. My dear friend Meryl Silver and her husband, Steven Korn, offered hospitality and so much more while I worked in Maryland.

My Vassar students are thoughtful and engaging; their discussions about women, the Progressive Era, and Julia Lathrop contributed to my own thinking. I was especially blessed to have outstanding student assistants. Adrienne Phelps first collected materials for me from the Vassar Collections. My Ford Fellow, Thomas Renjilian, located materials on Lathrop as I began the book project; our discussions about Lathrop helped me formulate my approach to this study. Rita Carr, Megan Feldmeier, Jessica Roden, and Michael Zajakowski Uhll have provided invaluable help locating materials, discussing the findings, and doing editorial work.

I have lectured on Lathrop over the years and benefited from the responses of Elisabeth Israels Perry and Robyn Muncy. Robyn Muncy generously shared Lathrop documents she had in her possession. Chad Fust taught me the whys and wherefores of the digital camera and how to organize digital documents. My Vassar colleagues Rebecca Edwards, James Merrell, and Quincy Mills offered critical advice on aspects of Lathrop's career. I thank Carol Berkin, Rebecca Edwards, Nora Hanagan, Laura Streett, James Merrell, Kathryn Kish Sklar, and anonymous readers for their comments on draft chapters that made this a better book. My friends Anne Constantinople, Eileen Leonard, Molly Shanley, Adelaide Villmoare, and Patricia Wallace have listened to me talk about Julia Lathrop a lot. I thank them for their support on this project and their help to me in so many other ways. It is a pleasure to work with Nikki Ioakimedes of Westview Press; enthusiastic about the book, responsive to my various questions along the way, and full of excellent ideas about how to improve the work, she has been a wonderful editor. I am also very grateful for the excellent work of Cisca Schreefel and her production staff at Westview.

My parents, Rebecca Slutsky Cohen and Martin A. Cohen, made their own contributions to bettering the lives of Chicagoans. My mother, a social worker trained at the University of Chicago, was inspired by Jane Addams, Julia Lathrop, and the Abbott sisters. My father, a labor economist and arbitrator, worked in a variety of organizations in the Hyde Park–Kenwood community where my brother, Dan, and I grew up. They are no longer with us, and, sadly, my brother did not live to see this project completed, but I believe they would be pleased about this book.

My husband, Michael Hanagan's, help, as always, has been critical. Despite the challenges he faces coping with Parkinson's disease, he supported this project through his enthusiasm, his many readings of draft chapters, and his unflagging confidence in the project. My daughters, Nora and Julia Hanagan, and their spouses, Melanie Priestman and Nate Verbiscar-Brown, are blessings in my life. They are generous, bright, and fun-loving adults. My fabulous granddaughter, Leah Dawson Hanagan, arrived while I was writing the book. My family reminds me of what Julia Lathrop knew—that all people want access to good health care and decent resources so that their loved ones can thrive, and all people should have it.


When Julia Lathrop died in 1932 at the age of seventy-four, newspapers around the country carried the news, many with banner headlines. That the press would pay attention to her death was not surprising. In 1912, when President William Howard Taft appointed her as the first chief of the US Children's Bureau created to promote child welfare, Lathrop became the first woman to head a federal agency. Under her leadership the Bureau investigated infant mortality and child labor, provided advice on infant and childcare to women across the country, and successfully lobbied for federal legislation providing prenatal and early infant care.

A leading advocate for children and for women's rights, Lathrop began her career as a social reformer in the poor neighborhoods of Chicago but soon became active throughout Illinois. In 1893 Governor Peter Altgeld appointed her as the first woman on the State Board of Charities. As a member of the board, she conducted statewide investigations of the almshouses for the poor and the "insane" asylums and then pushed vigorously to upgrade the institutions and their staffs. In Chicago she also worked on behalf of immigrant protection and the establishment of America's first juvenile court system. If that were not enough, during her Chicago years she helped found one of America's first schools of social work. In 1922, after her retirement from the Children's Bureau, she became a leader in the Illinois and the National League of Women Voters; she also worked for the League of Nations on behalf of children's welfare around the world. Jane Addams, the most celebrated female reformer of her day, founder and director of Chicago's famous social settlement, Hull House, where Lathrop lived for two decades, hailed her close friend and colleague as "One of the most useful women in the whole country."1

In devoting her life to child welfare, women's rights, social research, and building the welfare state, Lathrop was part of a movement of American politicians, journalists, professionals, and volunteers who mobilized at the end of the nineteenth century to deal with a variety of social problems associated with industrialization. Woman activists like Lathrop, mainly from middling and prosperous social backgrounds, emphasized the special contribution that women could make in tackling these problems. With issues of public health and safety, child labor, and women working under dangerous conditions so prominent at the turn of the twentieth century, who better than women to address them?

Focusing on issues that appealed to women as wives and mothers and promoting the notion that women were particularly good at addressing such concerns, many female activists, including Lathrop, practiced what many women's historians call maternalist politics. According to historian Molly Ladd-Taylor, all maternalists believed there was "a uniquely feminine value system based on care and nurturance." They also believed that women across class and race were united "by their common capacity for motherhood and therefore shared a responsibility for all the world's children." By emphasizing that the traditional concerns associated with women as mothers belonged in the civic sphere, the maternalists collapsed the separation between the public world of work and politics and the private world of women and the family. All maternalists, however, did not embrace the same political perspective. Ladd-Taylor terms those maternalists active in the National Congress of Mothers (NCM) as "sentimental maternalists." These women believed that marriage and childrearing were the "highest calling" for every woman; the organization never supported suffrage.

Lathrop and her colleagues at Hull House and in the Children's Bureau also believed that women shared special characteristics as mothers or potential mothers. When Addams referred to Lathrop as one of America's "most useful" women rather than one of America's greatest women or most accomplished women, she reflected traditional notions about women as servants to others. Just as women had traditionally served their families, women had a special affinity for social service to the broader community as well. Not surprisingly, in praising Lathrop in life as well as at her death, people referred to her as a "great public servant."2 Although famous men could also be termed great public servants, they enjoyed such acclamations as "great leaders" or "accomplished persons" much more often than women.

Historian Sonya Michel tells us that "the relationship between maternalism and feminism has . . . vexed feminist scholars from the outset." Even as Lathrop and her closest colleagues, first at Hull House and then at the Children's Bureau, made use of traditional notions of gender, they, unlike the sentimental maternalists, also pushed at its boundaries. These "progressive maternalists," to use Ladd-Taylor's term, were active suffragists and believed that women could legitimately choose between career and marriage. Female social reformers between 1890 and World War I created new spaces for themselves in local and then national government even before they had the right to vote. They carved out new opportunities for paid labor in professions like social work and public health. Moreover, the progressive maternalists believed "that while women had a natural affinity for issues that involved women and families, they insisted that their 'claim to authority' was based on 'professional expertise.'"

The progressive maternalists also stressed the special needs of poor women and children to build support for America's early social welfare state. In a country with a deep suspicion of strong government, these women appealed to society's sympathy for children in arguing on behalf of new social programs. As pragmatic activists, they adopted more than one strategy to achieve reforms. Like men, their politics were multifaceted and shaped by a variety of concerns. To achieve their ends, they worked with various reform coalitions and tailored their rhetoric to strengthen those coalitions. In promoting suffrage they often emphasized that the vote was necessary to address the problems of industrialization more generally as well as the special needs of women and children, but they also argued that women, as citizens, had the right to vote.

Other historians have termed these reformers "social justice feminists" because they prioritized the problems of poverty, sweated labor, and the growing inequality between the rich and poor while promoting an "expanded view of women's citizenship." Linda Gordon terms the women "social feminists" because of their belief in women's rights, including suffrage, and their commitment to social welfare. "Some of the social feminists called themselves feminist and some did not but all believed that women's [political] power was vital to improve the world."3

Lathrop's career, which involved leadership in so many facets of public life, illustrates how women worked both within the bounds of traditional norms about gender as well as pushed against them. A social reformer and a social scientist, she pushed for women's political rights and promoted women's education. Most especially she took on a new role in the federal government and used her power to provide professional jobs for other women as well. Throughout the book Lathrop and her close associates will be referred to as progressive maternalists or social feminists.

Lathrop's personal style also combined traditional traits of womanhood with a style that was anything but traditionally feminine. Those who knew and worked with her often commented on her brilliance, her quick wit, the way in which she balanced her "ladylike Victorian persona," her poise, her tact—indeed her pragmatism—with a dogged determination.4 When she retired from the Bureau in 1921 noted progressive journalist William Chenery wrote about Lathrop's "remarkable personality, her flashing irony and her human understanding. Few residents of Washington," he concluded, "are better liked. Even reactionary senators who did not understand what she was driving at and who had no taste for what they understood, count Miss Lathrop among their honored friends."5

Dr. Alice Hamilton, America's founder of industrial medicine, noted that her close friend from their Hull House days did not shrink from a fight, whereas "I have always hated conflict of any kind, . . . and would shirk unpleasantness." For Lathrop "harmony and peaceful relations with one's adversary were not in and of themselves of value, only if they went with a steady pushing of what one was trying to achieve." At times, Hamilton wrote, she "remembered Julia Lathrop and forced myself to say unpleasant things which had to be said."

Lathrop's modesty also stood out for Hamilton, as it did for so many others. "When I try to describe Julia Lathrop the word that comes first to my mind is 'disinterested.' This is a rare quality . . . even in people who are devoting theirs lives to others. Julia Lathrop did not see herself as the center of what she was doing."6

Throughout her adult life Lathrop displayed what we might view as undue humility, even for that era, when much modesty was expected of women. But she also took well-deserved pride in her accomplishments. When, in 1944, Lathrop's brother William donated her personal papers to Rockford College, he included at least three honorary diplomas, four citations from American colleges and the governments of Poland and Czechoslovakia, one medal, and the scroll from President Taft appointing Julia Lathrop as chief of the Children's Bureau. Here we see Lathrop preserving important, material evidence of the public recognition bestowed upon her. Yet Lathrop hated to talk about herself and very much underestimated her achievements. In 1929, three years before her death, Lathrop, a graduate of Vassar College in 1880, filled out an alumnae questionnaire that was circulated to class members in preparation for her class's fiftieth reunion in 1930. Under "Occupational Record" she wrote, "For many years, at intervals a resident at Hull House." Under "Public Record," despite her role in leading so many organizations, she listed only that she was a "member of the Illinois State Board of Charities for about 13 years" and then "For nine years, Chief US Children's Bureau in the Dept. of Labor, a presidential appointment." Under "Literary Record," which asked her to list articles; papers, written or edited; and contributions to the press or to periodicals, this author of hundreds of Bureau publications, many social investigations, and popular and professional magazine articles wrote, "No literary record. I have of course in connection with work . . . written many brief articles. Few are preserved"—which, thankfully, is not true—"and few deserved to be preserved." Under "Other Creative or Productive Work" she answered only, "I have spoken much on the subjects in the social [work] with which I have been concerned."7

Lathrop's approach to her own accomplishments reflected her individual personality and the society's contradictory impulses about what constituted proper womanhood. Lathrop also held contradictory attitudes about class and race. Whether she was working in poor Chicago neighborhoods or as head of the Children's Bureau as she worked to improve the conditions for poor mothers across the country, Lathrop, like many of her friends and colleagues, sometimes showed elitism about what constitutes proper family life. These activists could be patronizing when it came to immigrants; their attitude toward African Americans and American Indians could be even more troubling, often steeped in assumptions about the superiority of all European cultures. But more so than most reformers of the day, Lathrop had an appreciation for the real problems faced by the poor, especially poor mothers. Convinced that poverty and inadequate services, not character defects, were responsible for disease, malnutrition, delinquency, and premature death among poor families, Lathrop worked throughout her life to prove it to others. Although her views about race were problematic, she was one of the few white reformers who spoke out throughout her career against racial discrimination, working with such civil rights leaders as W. E. B. Dubois and the National Association of Colored Women; in her later years she championed efforts to improve the lives of Native Americans.

The story of Julia Lathrop is the story of someone who, like all of us, is shaped by the historical context of her times but who also pushed successfully against some of its limitations.


Childhood and Education at Vassar: Old Traditions and New Paths

Born in 1858, the eldest of six children (one of whom died as a baby), Julia Clifford Lathrop grew up in Rockford, Illinois, a small town eighty miles northwest of Chicago. Lathrop came from well-established ancestors on both sides. In 1620 the Reverend John Lathrop, one of the founders of the "Independent" Church of England, known in the United States as the Congregationalists, was arrested and jailed. In the 1920s, when the nationally and internationally renowned Julia Lathrop was fighting against the growing intolerance of political dissent and immigration restriction, she used to joke that "her ancestors did not come in on the Mayflower because they were in jail at the time." Perhaps less often did she add that when the reverend objected to being placed in the common "clink" because it "was not suitable for a person of high degree, the justice of his plea was recognized" and he was moved to a gentlemen's prison.y1

Lathrop's father, William, was born in Genesee County, New York, where his father had prospered as a farmer but then lost everything on a speculation that failed. In 1851 William settled in Rockford, where he established a lucrative and prominent law practice. As a trial lawyer, he practiced all over the state of Illinois. Lathrop would later recall that as a child she used to hear her father speak of suits in one town or another and wondered why he did not bring them home. William Lathrop was known as a hard worker with a great sense of humor. Lathrop's close friends believed she inherited her "quick and spontaneous" wit from him. She probably also took after her father in her ability to do public speaking almost extemporaneously, with few written notes.

In 1857 William Lathrop married Sarah Adeline Potter, known as Adeline, a member of a prominent and prosperous Rockford family. Born one year later, Julia was named for one of her father's sisters who died in childhood. Anna and then her three brothers, Edward, William, and Robert, known as "the little boys," followed Julia. While Julia was growing up the family employed one servant, and all the children were expected to do some chores. Nonetheless, once grown, Lathrop never showed any interest in housework; she could do plain sewing and crocheting, which also bored her. As for cooking, she was known only for her browned oysters and also made excellent omelets. Lathrop did have an interest in and a special eye for interior decoration that she carried to her residences in Chicago, to Washington, and, later, back to her own home in Rockford. As an adult she also cared a great deal about her dress; she enjoyed purchasing nice clothes, and her friends often remarked about her terrific attire. While living at Hull House, to protect herself on chilly afternoons, she would throw over her skirt and thin shirtwaist blouse a "mandarin coat of blue, embroidered inch-deep in vivid colorings and outlined in golden threads."2

Julia attended public school in Rockford; school reports noted that she was a good child and very bright. She was also "timid and shy" in those days, and her concern in adulthood that children be treated with respect and sympathetic understanding may have stemmed from her early school days. Once, when her teacher selected her because of good behavior for an errand that would require her to cross through the school, with its long corridors and stairs, she found herself too afraid to carry out the task, so she declined with a shake of her head. When, despite the teacher's urging, she would not change her mind, the instructor humiliated her by declaring aloud, "Julia Lathrop, you are as stubborn as a mule."

The shyness, however, did not seem to apply at home. The Lathrop family was very close-knit, spending a great deal of time together. Julia took on special responsibility to look out for her brothers, once interceding on behalf of one brother who was expelled from school for breaking a rule against snowball fighting. With a flair for drama, she often made up and then directed plays for the younger children; sometimes she could be a very stern. Apparently one brother once blurted out in frustration to his older sister, "You are not a mother to us as an older sister ought to be; you are a perfect stepmother to us." Years later Lathrop looked back on those experiences with her usual sense of humor. In the 1890s, when testifying at an Illinois hearing against child labor while she was living at Hull House, a hostile legislator challenged her expertise on the issue by asking this single woman, now in her thirties, how many children she had actually raised. "Without a moment of hesitation," Jane Addams, also present at the event, recalled, "with no suggestion of a retort but as if she were answering a commonplace question [Lathrop] replied, 'with a little help from my mother and father I have raised four.'"3

Lathrop remained close to her parents until their deaths and close to her siblings throughout her life. She visited her parents' home frequently during her years in Chicago; although her parents were no longer alive by the time she moved to Washington, Lathrop returned to the Rockford home to stay with her sister, Anna. The letters exchanged between Lathrop and her family throughout her adult life reveal their continual connections. During her many travels abroad—sometimes to study welfare services in other countries, sometimes for holiday, and often for both—she wrote numerous letters to her family and sent home various gifts. She received many letters from them as well, catching her up on news from home and expressing concern when she was ill. Family letters often discussed finances—­including money that Lathrop had invested and controlled ­independently—reflecting their importance to her throughout her adult life, as Lathrop relied on these resources for her living or as a supplement to the money she earned.


  • “Finally! The majority of students—by which I mean women—will have the opportunity to read biographies of women from our nation's past. (Men can read them too, of course!) The ‘Lives of American Women' series features an eclectic collection of books, readily accessible to students who will be able to see the contributions of women in many fields over the course of our history. Long overdue, these books will be a valuable resource for teachers, students, and the public at large.”
    —Cokie Roberts, author of Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty

    “Just what any professor wants: books that will intrigue, inform, and fascinate students! These short, readable biographies of American women—specifically designed for classroom use—give instructors an appealing new option to assign to their history students.”
    —Mary Beth Norton, Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History, Cornell University

    “For educators keen to include women in the American story, but hampered by the lack of thoughtful, concise scholarship, here comes ‘Lives of American Women,' embracing Abigail Adams's counsel to John—‘remember the ladies.' And high time, too!”
    —Lesley S. Herrmann, Executive Director, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
  • Julia Lathrop offers the historical context in which women reformers had to maneuver at the turn of the century. If we can measure the advancement of social welfare by the opportunities that existed at the time, then Miriam Cohen has done a service to us all by bringing Julia Lathrop's career back into focus. I am eager to share Julia Lathrop's strategic, political, and careful policy making with my classes.”
    —Joanne L. Goodwin, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

    Julia Lathrop brings out the subject's intense commitment to improving the health and lives of impoverished children, her skillful negotiation of local and national politics, her determination to expand women's professional opportunities in social welfare work, and her collegial way of working with others. The writing is clear and accessible for students.”
    —Barbara Steinson, DePauw University

    “A great strength of this book is its depiction of the Progressive Era, and women's activism particularly, as diverse. In reflecting the breadth of Lathrop's work, and the limitations as they applied to issues of racism, Miriam Cohen has crafted a complex look at progressive era reforms.”
    —Tonia M. Compton, Columbia College

    Praise for the Lives of American Women series:
  • “These books are, above all, fascinating stories that will engage and inspire readers. They offer a glimpse into the lives of key women in history who either defied tradition or who successfully maneuvered in a man's world to make an impact. The stories of these vital contributors to American history deliver just the right formula for instructors looking to provide a more complicated and nuanced view of history.”
    —Rosanne Lichatin, 2005 Gilder Lehrman Preserve America History Teacher of the Year

    “Students both in the general survey course and in specialized offerings like my course on U.S. women's history can get a great understanding of an era from a short biography. Learning a lot about a single but complex character really helps to deepen appreciation of what women's lives were like in the past.”
    —Patricia Cline Cohen, University of California, Santa Barbara

    “Biographies are, indeed, back. Not only will students read them, biographies provide an easy way to demonstrate particularly important historical themes or ideas. . . . Undergraduate readers will be challenged to think more deeply about what it means to be a woman, citizen, and political actor. . . . I am eager to use this in my undergraduate survey and specialty course.”
    —Jennifer Thigpen, Washington State University, Pullman

On Sale
Mar 7, 2017
Page Count
192 pages

Miriam Cohen

About the Author

Miriam Cohen is Evalyn Clark Professor of History in the Department of Women's Studies at Vassar College. Her book, Workshop to Office: Two Generations of Italian Women in New York City (1993, Cornell University Press) was a finalist for the Thomas Znaniecki Prize of the American Sociological Association. Her specialties include the history of American women and the history of twentieth-century social reform. She has published numerous articles on the history of social welfare, including “Reconsidering Schooling and the American Welfare State,” which was selected as one of the most important articles published by the History of Education Quarterly in its first fifty years. Miriam was also a senior advisory editor of the Encyclopedia of Women in American History (M.E. Sharpe, 2002).

Series Editor Carol Berkin is a well-known women's historian and the author of many popular and scholarly books, including Civil War Wives. She is Professor of History Emerita at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and she is a member of the Society of American Historians.

Learn more about this author