Frances Perkins: The Woman Behind the New Deal

About the Exhibit > For More Information

This exhibit features correspondence, manuscripts, notes, drafts of speeches, photographs, and memorabilia from RBML's extensive collection of Frances Perkins' papers. The physical exhibit opened on November 5, 2009 and runs through March 26, 2010.

Opening Event

The opening of the exhibit featured author Kirstin Downey discussing her new book, The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR’s Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday). Her web site is:

Other Events

The Frances Perkins Center will be holding an event at the Harvard Club in New York City on Thursday, January 14, 2010 from 4:00-8:30 p.m. Features speakers will be Kirstin Downey, Christopher Breiseth, and Karenna Gore Schiff and Catherine Corman who will present the premiere of their short documentary, "Lighting the Way: Frances Perkins." For more information please see the Center's web site:

Exhibit hours

The exhibit is open whenever the Rare Book and Manuscript Library is open (generally, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.; Mondays 9:00-7:45 when classes are in session). 

The exhibit is located at:

Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Butler Library, 6th Fl. East
535 West 114th St.
New York, NY 10027

Contact us at: (212) 854-5153 or

Frances Perkins Papers

The Frances Perkins Papers at Columbia University constitute the largest group of her papers anywhere in the world. Roughly half of the 170 boxes of materials were given by Perkins herself in 1955. The other half was given by her daughter, Susanna Perkins Coggeshall, over many years following the death of her mother. A detailed finding aid for the papers, keyword searchable, is available through the Rare Book & Manuscript Library's web site:

In addition, Columbia's Oral History Research Office holds her extensive oral history created in 1955, amounting to 5,566 pages of typed transcript. The Frances Perkins Papers and Oral History are open to all researchers.

For more information



Rare Book & Manuscript Library / Butler Library, 6th Fl. East / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-5153 /