Today’s person in history is Florence Kelley. She was an active voice in reforming the laws pertaining to the working conditions of women and children.
Florence Kelley was a social reformer and political activist who championed government regulation to protect working women and children.
Kelley was born into a Pennsylvania Quaker and Unitarian family with a strong commitment to abolitionist and women’s rights activism. After reading through her father’s library and graduating from Cornell, Kelley studied law and government at the University of Zurich, joined the German Social Democratic party, and translated Friedrich Engels’s The Condition of the Working Class in England into English. In 1884 Kelley married a socialist Russian medical student and the couple had three children. After returning to the US, she divorced in 1891 and joined Jane Addams and other reformers at Hull-House, the Chicago social settlement. In 1892 the Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics hired her to investigate the “sweating” system in the garment industry, and the federal commissioner of labor, Carroll Wright, asked her to survey Chicago’s 19th ward, her findings appearing in Hull-House Maps and Papers. She was soon appointed chief factory inspector by Illinois Governor John Peter. Kelley earned her law degree from Northwestern University in 1895. Click here to read more.