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The Life & Legacy of Frances Perkins


Adult Enrichment / ACE Highlights -
Winter 2023

Frances Perkins, the first female U.S. Cabinet member, served as Secretary of Labor under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933 to 1945. She is widely recognized as the driving force behind the New Deal, advocating for the policies that created Social Security, the forty-hour work week, overtime pay, unemployment insurance, workplace safety standards, and a ban on child labor. We will explore her life, starting with her roots in Maine. We’ll end with a conversation with her grandson, Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall, founder of the Frances Perkins Center. This national historic landmark strives to preserve her legacy by sharing her commitment to the principle that “government should provide all its people with the best possible life.”

Instructors

Christopher N. Breiseth

Former chair of the Frances Perkins Center, Chris Breiseth was the President and CEO of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute from 2001 to 2008. His thirty-year career in higher education included service as president of Wilkes University in Pennsylvania and Deep Spring College in California. He is a graduate of UCLA and holds a master’s degree from Oxford University and a doctorate from Cornell University. As a graduate student at Cornell, he became a close friend of Frances Perkins and was one of a group of students who invited her to live with them at Telluride House, an academic residence for students and invited faculty guests, for the last five years of her life.


Michael Chaney

Michael Chaney is the Executive Director of the Frances Perkins Center, based in Newcastle with administrative offices and a public exhibit on Main Street in Damariscotta. Chaney, a native of Alna, holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Maine-Orono and a Master’s in history from the University of Connecticut. Before returning to Maine in 2010, Chaney’s career was in non-profit management and public history in Vermont and New Hampshire, including, from 2001 to 2009, serving as President and CEO of the New Hampshire Political Library, a non-profit educational organization founded to preserve New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary. From 2010 until 2014, Chaney was the Executive Director of the Yarmouth Historical Society.


Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall

Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall is the only child of Susanna Winslow Wilson Coggeshall, the only child of Frances Perkins. With colleagues, Tomlin helped found the Frances Perkins Center in 2009 to preserve his grandmother’s legacy and carry on her work. Following the sale of the Perkins family homestead to the Center in January 2020, he, with his husband Christopher Rice, relocated to upstate New York. After attending boarding school at Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, Coggeshall studied biology and botany, graduating with a B.S. from the University of Maine. In addition to working with the Frances Perkins Center, he is focused on the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy resources, especially hydrogen and fuel cells as a better form of “battery” to deliver electric energy for mobile applications.


Sarah M. Peskin

Chair of the Frances Perkins Center’s board of directors, Peskin is a former Chief of Planning and Legislation for the National Park Service’s North Atlantic Region. In her thirty years of public service, she guided the preservation and interpretation of many nationally significant historic places. Peskin oversaw the successful nomination of the Frances Perkins Homestead as a National Historic Landmark. She is a graduate of Smith College and holds a master’s degree in urban planning from New York University.


Charles M. Wyzanski

Charles M. Wyzanski is the son of Charles E. Wyzanski, Jr. Recently retired as a Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General, he began his 45-year legal career in the Bangor office of Pine Tree Legal Assistance frequently representing clients in social security and unemployment compensation cases--programs that had their origins with Frances Perkins and his father. A graduate with honors of Harvard College and Columbia Law School, Wyzanski has served on the faculty of Harvard Law School, Boston University, Brandeis, and Tufts. Among his present activities is the researching and writing of a book about his father.

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HL-Perkins

  Christopher N. Breiseth , Michael Chaney , Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall , Sarah M. Peskin , Charles M. Wyzanski


Online
Tuesdays, Feb 7 - Mar 14
6:30 - 8:30 PM

  No Class Feb 21


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Price: $ 75 00