Donn Mitchell ’91 Explores Theology of Frances Perkins

Donn Mitchell, Class of 1991, has a new book from Anglican Examiner Publications, Tread the City’s Streets Again. It is the first book to explore the theology and vocation of Frances Perkins, the settlement house worker who went on to lift millions of Americans out of poverty through the creation of the Social Security system.

From the slums of Chicago to the brothels of Philadelphia; from the tenements of New York to the halls of power in Albany and Washington, Perkins was guided by a deeply incarnational understanding of Christianity.

Drawing heavily on her presentations as part of the St. Bede Lectures at St. Thomas, Fifth Avenue, in 1948, this book allows Perkins, mostly in her own words, to explain the theological foundations of her vocation. A lay associate of All Saints Sisters of the Poor, Perkins was a devout Episcopalian steeped in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. As U.S. Secretary of Labor in the New Deal, she was able to translate many of the ethical teachings of her tradition into social policy.

“Donn Mitchell has beautifully understood and conveyed the primary motivating factor in my grandmother's life and work." writes Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall, Perkin’s grandson and founder of the Frances Perkins Center. "Her faith and her compassion for her fellow man …  improved the lives of so many that the Episcopal Church named her a Holy Woman. Tread the City's Streets Again takes the reader by the hand and introduces the soul of Frances Perkins.”

Mitchell teaches religion and ethics at Berkeley College in New York and has served as Adjunct Professor of Ethics at Princeton Theological Seminary. He formerly directed a program to develop theological education faculty through the Episcopal Church Foundation.

Tread the City's Streets Again is available for order from Anglican Examiner Publications.