Cover for Sklar: The Selected Letters of Florence Kelley, 1869-1931. Click for larger image

The Selected Letters of Florence Kelley, 1869-1931

First-hand accounts of one woman's fight to improve working conditions for Americans in the early twentieth century

As head of the National Consumers' League from its founding in 1899 until her death in 1932, Florence Kelley led campaigns that reshaped the conditions under which goods were produced in the United States. Her efforts produced the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, as well as laws providing for an eight-hour workday and a minimum wage. She mobilized women's organizations to support the passage of the first federal health legislation for women and children in 1921, and she headed the crusade against child labor between 1890 and 1930. An ally of W.E.B. Du Bois, she was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and served on its board for twenty years.

This volume collects nearly three hundred of Florence Kelley's letters, written over the course of more than six decades and embracing such topics as improved working conditions for women and children, intense engagement in electoral politics, struggles against manufacturing interests, and the machinations of a conservative Supreme Court. Rendered in Kelley's vivid, often combative prose, these letters also provide an intimate view into the personal life of a dedicated reformer who balanced her career with her responsibilities as a single mother of three children.

"This comprehensive edition ... offers readers a true understanding of Kelly's thought and activism. . . . A valuable addition to the historical canon. Recommended."--Choice

"An important book for general readers and scholars alike. Sklar and Palmer provide an excellent account of the unifying themes of Florence Kelley's lifelong commitments to social legislation in general and women and children in particular."--Ellen Carol DuBois, coeditor of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Feminist as Thinker: A Reader in Documents and Essays

"Since this is the first and only publication of Florence Kelley's correspondence, it marks a singular contribution to scholarship that is invaluable and long-awaited. This collection of Kelley's vivid correspondence, with its insightful introduction and excellent notes, has been well worth the wait."--Charlene Haddock Seigfried, editor of Jane Addams' Democracy and Social Ethics and The Long Road of Women's Memory

Kathryn Kish Sklar is a distinguished professor of history at SUNY, Binghamton and coeditor of the online journal and database Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000. She is the author of Florence Kelley and the Nation's Work: The Rise of Women's Political Culture, 1830-1900 and other books in the history of American women. Beverly Wilson Palmer is a research associate at Pomona College and the editor of The Selected Letters of Lucretia Coffin Mott and other books.

To order online:

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
A New Language, A New World - Cover
A New Language, A New World

Italian Immigrants in the United States, 1890-1945

Nancy C. Carnevale

Dirty Words - Cover
Dirty Words

The Rhetoric of Public Sex Education, 1870-1924

Robin E. Jensen

Next to Godliness - Cover
Next to Godliness

Confronting Dirt and Despair in Progressive Era New York City

Daniel Eli Burnstein

Sports in Zion - Cover
Sports in Zion

Mormon Recreation, 1890-1940

Richard Ian Kimball

Hostile Heartland - Cover
Hostile Heartland

Racism, Repression, and Resistance in the Midwest

Brent M. S. Campney

This Is Not Dixie - Cover
This Is Not Dixie

Racist Violence in Kansas, 1861-1927

Brent M. S. Campney

Open Wound - Cover
Open Wound

The Long View of Race in America

William McKee Evans

Good, Reliable, White Men - Cover
Good, Reliable, White Men

Railroad Brotherhoods, 1877-1917

Paul Michel Taillon

Defining Deviance - Cover
Defining Deviance

Sex, Science, and Delinquent Girls, 1890-1960

Michael A. Rembis

Ladies of the Ticker - Cover
Ladies of the Ticker

Women and Wall Street from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression

George Robb