The Blog of the Frances Perkins Center

Archive for the ‘The Center’ Category

Video: The Frances Perkins Center looks back at 2010

In General, The Center on January 4, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Click on the photo to play the video

The Center looks ahead to 2010 and beyond

In The Center on October 14, 2009 at 11:17 am

On September 15th, the Frances Perkins Center held a planning session attended by all board members and several friends of the Center. The meeting was facilitated by Carol Wishcamper and was divided into two sections: Programs & Activities; and Finances.

The agreed-upon priorities for programs and activities in the next 18 to 24 months are:

  1. 75th anniversary of the Social Security Act as a theme for 2010 (yearlong celebration, including January film screening and panel discussion, national conversation/Internet “jam,” book of essays about importance and meaning of Social Security, possible curriculum)
  2. Oral History project
  3. Historic Structure/Cultural Landscape Report
  4. Continuing Outreach through awards program, senior college seminars, etc.
  5. Fellowship Program (Perkins Center Scholars)

In discussing the Center’s finances, we focused on ways to generate revenue:

  • Earned income (sponsorships for events and publications)
  • Grants
  • Individual Donors

We set two ambitious financial goals: to submit five grant proposals by December 31, 2009 and to raise $225,000 by next summer. Since the meeting, we have submitted two grant proposals and have raised about $14,000 (only $211,000 to go!).

The meeting ended on a very positive, energetic note. If you’d like to support the Center by making an online donation, go to and designate the Frances Perkins Center as the recipient of your contribution. Thanks!

Frances Perkins Center welcomes new board member, Sarah Peskin

In The Center on October 13, 2009 at 1:01 pm

We’re thrilled to have her. Here’s a little bit about her:

Former chief of planning and legislation for the National Park Service north atlantic region, Sarah Peskin has guided the preservation and interpretation of many nationally significant historic places and managed major new facility projects from concept to operation. A graduate of Smith College, she holds a master’s degree in urban planning from New York University and was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University.

From 1979-90 she was planning director of the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission, the public/private entity that helped develop Lowell National Historical Park. From 1990-2009 she did feasibility studies and worked on legislation to establish new areas such as Weir Farm National Historic Site, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum National Historic Site. She led the recent planning effort for the Schoodic section of Acadia National Park where a navy base was transformed into an educational campus to serve multiple audiences.  Award-winning projects she managed include the Mogan Cultural Center, Boarding House Park, and the Lowell Park Trolley System.  She wrote “Cultural Tourism: Where Culture and Economy Meet” (Boston Foundation, 2004) and “America’s Special Landscapes: The Heritage Area Phenomenon” (Ferrara, 2001).  She has recently retired from the National Park Service to spend most of her time at her home in Walpole, Maine, just across the Damariscotta River from the Perkins Homestead.

Frances Perkins Center featured on public television

In The Center on July 27, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Written by Sichu Mali, summer intern

On July 3, 2009, the Frances Perkins Center was featured in “Maine Watch with Jennifer Rooks” on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN). The program included an interview with the executive director, Barbara Burt, who mentioned that Cynthia Otis, Frances Perkins’s grandmother, had been a major influence on Frances. She also shared the vision of the center with the show host Jennifer Rooks, which includes creating a digital archive of Frances’s documents and a conference center in her name.

Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall, Frances’s grandson and a board member of the center, who was also featured in this program, talked about the fire safety practice he and his grandmother had at The Brick House.

At the MPBN studio, Rooks was joined by Kirstin Downey, author of The Woman Behind the New Deal and Dr. Christopher Breiseth, the immediate past president and CEO of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. Downey discussed Frances’s role in the New Deal and the Fire Safety Code. Dr. Breiseth, who knew Frances personally as a student at Cornell University, spoke about her personality. He mentioned that when he had asked Ms Perkins about her most important accomplishment, she had replied, “Social Security.”

To watch the program, click on the photo below.

Click to watch the video

Click to watch the video

Our summer intern

In The Center on June 4, 2009 at 7:09 am

We are very pleased to welcome our first summer intern to the Frances Perkins Center. Her name is Sichu and she’ll be a senior at Mount Holyoke College next fall. Sichu is an international student and hails from Katmandu. She’s a sociology major at Mount Holyoke, and plans to go to law school after graduation.

Yesterday, we took a tour of scenic places near the Frances Perkins Center. Here's Sichu on the rocks in front of the Pemaquid Lighthouse.

Yesterday, we took a tour of scenic places near the Frances Perkins Center. Here's Sichu on the rocks in front of the Pemaquid Lighthouse.

Sichu will spend the summer cataloguing papers and memorabilia at the Center and helping with office tasks.

Maine Sunday Telegram showcases the Frances Perkins Center

In Biography, Programs, The Buildings, The Center on April 12, 2009 at 7:11 am


Political reporter Dieter Bradbury and photographer Jack Milton visited The Brick House last week. This article, New Deal leader celebrated in Maine, and accompanying slideshow are the result. The combination makes a wonderful introduction to the Center and its mission.

AFL-CIO NOW blog mentions the Frances Perkins Center

In Events, The Center on April 6, 2009 at 7:01 am

We were pleased to catch a very nice article written by James Parks in the AFL-CIO’s blog about the Center and our upcoming Washington, DC, event on April 21st. You can read it here:


Join us April 21st in Washington, DC

In Events, Fundraising, The Center on March 29, 2009 at 11:55 am

We have two exciting events taking place in Washington on April 21st.

I. Celebrating Frances Perkins and Her Commitment to Social Justice

The Dept. of Labor's official portrait of Frances Perkins

The Dept. of Labor's official portrait of Frances Perkins

When: Tuesday, April 21st, 3:30 – 5:00 PM

Where: The Great Hall of the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Ave. (Please use the Visitors’ Entrance off 3rd Avenue.)

Who & What: A program of remembrance and celebration, with speakers including:

  • Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis
  • Kirstin Downey, award-winning journalist, former Washington Post reporter, and author of The Woman Behind the New Deal.
  • Dr. Christopher Breiseth, president-emeritus of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and personal friend of Secretary Perkins
  • Frances Perkins’s grandson, Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall, whose words will be accompanied by photos of the Perkins home.

This program is free and open to the public. For more information or to RSVP, email the Center at or call 207-208-8955. (Please note, to expedite security check-in, be sure to RSVP in order to have your name included on the admittance list.)

II. Reception and “DC Launch Party” for the Frances Perkins Center

Later that evening, the celebration moves to the Woman’s National Democratic Club, where Frances Perkins was once a member.

When: Tuesday, April 21st, from 6:00 – 7:30 PM

Where: The Woman’s National Democratic Club, 1526 New Hampshire Avenue NW (Just off DuPont Circle)

Who & What: There will be food and drinks, a chance to buy an autographed copy of Kirstin Downey’s new book, and the opportunity to talk with other people who also care passionately about the legacy of Frances Perkins—all while supporting the Frances Perkins Center.

Suggested donation is $50. For more information or to RSVP, email the Center at or call 207-208-8955.

Interview on Maine Public Radio

In Biography, The Center on March 25, 2009 at 9:39 pm
MPBN logo

MPBN logo

Last week, Keith Shortall visited The Brick House and interviewed Tomlin Coggeshall (Frances Perkins’s grandson) and me. Here’s the result, which played tonight on “Maine Things Considered”.

You can go to to read the transcript and download the interview.


In The Center on March 6, 2009 at 9:01 am

We have bookmarks! If you’d like a few, send us an email: You can also pick up a bookmark (and a book) at appearances by author Kirstin Downey and her newly published book, THE WOMAN BEHIND THE NEW DEAL: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR’s Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience. (Click on the link to see her book tour schedule.)

bookmark front

bookmark back

The artwork is from a Works Progress Administration mural at the Detroit Public Library by Marvin Beerbohm.