Essay about Florence Kelley

1604 Words Dec 9th, 2010 7 Pages
Florence Kelley
(1859 – 1932)

Florence Kelley, A Woman of Fierce Fidelity
Florence Kelley is considered one of the great contributors to the social rights of workers, particularly women and children. She is best known as a prominent Progressive social reformer known for her role in helping to improve social conditions of the twentieth century. She has been described as a woman of fierce fidelity (Goldmark, 1953). Kelley was a leading voice in the labor, suffragette, children’s and civil rights movements. She was also a well-educated and successful woman, a rare combination during the turn of the twentieth century.
Kelley was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 12, 1859 to Quaker parents, William Darrah Kelley and his
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Settlement houses were created to help the urban poor and to assist college educated women to find meaningful employment and to professionalize the social sciences of Sociology and Social Work through collecting statistics, reports and photographs.
At the turn of the century, many Americans hoped to improve society for the better. These reform-minded citizens were called Progressives. Kelley was among the Chicago women of her class that strongly believed that they belonged in the public arena calling attention to the working conditions of children and women, social injustice and democracy for all. These Progressives wanted to use the government as an agency of reform and they believed grassroots efforts at the local level would spread to the state and then national level. They embraced strong efforts to address the corruption of government and to make government more efficient. Kelley and the women of the Hull House actively campaigned for civil rights, children’s health and welfare and prohibition.
During her years of work at the Hull House, Kelley participated in the documentation of urban poverty. Kelley pioneered the use of scientific data to influence the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Goldmark, 1953). In 1892, Kelley was hired by the Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics to investigate the sweat shop activity in the garment industry. In this position, Kelley was

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