Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Perkins, Frances

While she was born in Boston, Frances Perkins considered her family’s “Brick House” in Newcastle to be her home. As the National Park Service observed in its National Landmark Nomination document:

The Perkins Homestead in Newcastle, Maine, is nationally significant as the ancestral home and lifelong summer residence of Frances Perkins, U.S. Secretary of Labor 1933-45, the nation’s first female cabinet secretary and one of the most influential and effective public servants during the New Deal.

This modest but dignified family homestead (listed in the National Register as the Brick House Historic District) embodies the New England traditions of hard work, thrift, and community responsibility that guided Frances Perkins throughout her long life. Documentation makes plain that the Brick House was a constant in her life, unlike any of her other known residences which were mostly rented apartments.

The farm’s period of significance spans her entire lifetime (1880-1965) because it was the place she always considered her true home. It was where she developed the New England values she ascribed to her wise Maine grandmother, Cynthia Otis Perkins, and with whom she spent her childhood summers.

Continuously owned by the Perkins family for over 250 years, “there is no place more strongly associated with Frances Perkins, a figure of undisputed national significance.”

The Frances Perkins Center is located on Main Street in Damariscotta. It serves as a small museum and the office of the Center’s director.

Frances Perkins Center (2014)

Frances Perkins Center (2014)

The Center Interior (2014)

The Center Interior (2014)

Additional resources

Frances Perkins Center. http://francesperkinscenter.org/

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This entry was last modified: November 15, 2014 04:54 PM

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