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Introduction Florence Kelley was born in Philadelphia in 1859 into a cultured and affluent family Her family was actively devoted to social reform Her father Congressman William Pig Iron Kelley fought passionately to persuade government to uphold the rights of the poor and weak He strongly believed that every child in America whether born rich or poor should be afforded the same opportunities and chances in life Florence was conditioned from a very early age to despise the sight of little children hard at work Her father was a dominating influence throughout Florences life He taught her to read at the age of seven He provided books that focused on child labor and children who were far less fortunate1 He took her on a midnight tour of factories where young boys helped in the manufacturing of steel and glass There she witnessed the deplorable and dangerous conditions children were forced to work under She often contends that through this experience she developed her enthusiasm to advocate for child labor reform She wrote while still a very young woman We that are strong let us bear the infirmities of the weak2 1 Goldmark Josephine Clara Florence Kelleys Life Story Impatient Crusader 1953 University of Illinois Press Urbana ISBN 0-8371-9011-8 2 httpwwwidbsuedusocworkdhuffhistoryextraskellyhtm Florence Kelley -- A Woman of Fierce Fidelity Florences mother Caroline Bartram-Bonsall lost her parents at a very young age Carolines adoptive family Isaac and Elizabeth Pugh were close friends of her parents It was through them that Florence was connected to Sarah Pugh Florences Great-Aunt Sarah was a leading abolitionist who advocated on behalf of the womens suffrage movement the oppression of women free trade peace and a single standard of morals for men and women Sarah was feisty and strong She confided to Florence that she never used sugar and she only wore linen undergarments Her reasoning she explained was cotton was grown
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