Elgar original reference
Edited by Robert W. Dimand, Mary Ann Dimand and Evelyn L. Forget
(1859–1932) Lawyer, social scientist and social reformer, Florence Kelley was best known for her activities as Executive Director of the National Consumers’ League from the time of its founding in 1899 until her death in 1932. In that capacity she pursued labour legislation that achieved pathbreaking interventions in the relationship between employers and employees. Kelley was born into a patrician Quaker and Unitarian family in Philadelphia, the daughter of William Durrah Kelley, a leading politician, and Caroline Bonsall Kelley, a descendant of John Bartram, the Quaker botanist. During a childhood plagued by illness she attended school only sporadically. Her intellectual development was nurtured by her father and her mother’s aunt, Sarah Pugh. Her father, abolitionist, founding member of the Republican Party, Radical Reconstructionist, and US congressman from Philadelphia from 1860 until his death in 1890, became her chief mentor. Sarah Pugh, head of the Philadelphia Female Antislavery Society, close friend of Lucretia Mott, and correspondent of British reformers like Richard Cobden and John Bright, exempliﬁed the ability of single women to devote their lives to reform causes. Florence often visited her grandparents’ home, where Sarah Pugh lived, and heard about the women’s rights activism of Pugh and Mott. For her, Sarah Pugh became ‘conscience incarnate’. During six mostly schoolless years before she entered Cornell University, Florence systematically read her father’s library, imbibing the ﬁction of Dickens and Thackeray, Louisa May Alcott and Horatio Alger, the poetry of Shakespeare, Milton, Byron and Goldsmith, the writings of James Madison, histories...
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