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Relentless ReformerJosephine Roche and Progressivism in Twentieth-Century America$
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Robyn Muncy

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691122731

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691122731.001.0001

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Only Ten Minutes Left? Epilogue and Assessment

Only Ten Minutes Left? Epilogue and Assessment

(p.289) Chapter 17 Only Ten Minutes Left? Epilogue and Assessment
Relentless Reformer

Robyn Muncy

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the legacy of Josephine Roche. Roche did not live to see the new, deindustrialized age in American history. Early in 1976, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It had metastasized and she died on July 29, 1976, at age 89. Even though obituaries of Roche rehearsed many of the highlights of her amazing career, she had by then faded from Americans' collective memory. She had lived so long that few remembered the headlines trumpeting her breakthroughs as a policewoman in the 1910s, as a progressive industrialist in the 1920s, or as assistant secretary of the treasury in the 1930s. Her obscurity resulted in part from Roche's own desire to hide from public view during the anti-communist frenzy of the late 1940s and early 1950s. When she reemerged, she was an old woman eventually represented in print as little more than a rubberstamp to John L. Lewis. The remainder of the chapter considers representation because it helps us understand further how such an important and previously well-known woman could disappear from American history.

Keywords:   Josephine Roche, progressives, progressivism, biography, legacy

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