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Collins, Jennie (1828–20 July 1887), labor reformer and woman suffragist, was born in Amoskeag, New Hampshire, to humble circumstances. Orphaned by the age of fourteen and largely self-taught, Collins joined the ranks of New England women employed in the textile mills of Lawrence and Lowell, Massachusetts. In the 1840s she moved to Boston, where she worked briefly as a domestic servant and then became a tailor in the city’s prospering garment industry....

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Dreier, Mary Elisabeth (26 September 1875–15 August 1963), labor reformer and suffragist, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Theodor Dreier, a partner in an iron firm and elder in the German Evangelical church, and Dorothea Adelheid. Mary Dreier attended George Brackett’s School in Brooklyn and was tutored in music, art and language. Her parents raised Dreier and her siblings to be independent and morally responsible. After her father died in 1897, her mother founded a rest and recreation home for poor women in his memory before she died two years later. A large inheritance allowed her to live comfortably and dedicate her life to social reform....

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Margaret Hinchey photograph by Bain News Service Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-DIG-ggbain-23027)

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Hinchey, Margaret (10 December 1870–29 February 1944), suffragist and labor leader, was born in Limerick, Ireland, the daughter of Thomas Hinchey and Mary Maloney. Known informally as “Maggie,” she immigrated to New York City in 1897. Little record survives of her early life, but irregular spelling and grammar in her later correspondence suggest limited formal education....

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Malkiel, Theresa Serber (01 May 1874–17 November 1949), trade union leader, woman suffragist, publicist, and educator, was born in Bar, Russia. In 1891 she emigrated with her parents to the United States.

Soon after her arrival, Theresa Serber became a pioneer in the Jewish workers’ movement and socialist labor agitation in New York City. Employed in the garment industry, she joined the Russian Workingmen’s Club in 1892. In October 1894 she was among a group of seventy women who founded the Infant Cloak Makers Union (ICMU). Although it was a depression year, she and her associates decided not to accept wage cuts and deteriorating labor conditions any longer. Their action was front-page news. Eventually the ICMU became part of the Socialist Trades and Labor Alliance. In 1896, Serber was among the delegates to the first convention of the latter alliance; in 1899, along with many others, she broke with labor leader ...

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Robinson, Harriet Jane Hanson (08 February 1825–22 December 1911), textile mill worker, suffragist, and author, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of William Hanson, a carpenter, and Harriet Browne. When Harriet was six, her father died. Her mother then ran a boarding house in Industrial Lowell, Massachusetts, with the help of her children....