Through her study of Josephine Roche’s extensive career, Robyn Muncy offers a longue durée history of progressivism that spanned most of the twentieth century. As Denver’s first policewoman, Roche plunged into early twentieth-century municipal reform as a leader of (her native state) Colorado’s Progressive Party, as a candidate in the state’s primary race for governor, and as assistant secretary of the treasury of the Roosevelt administration. Even more unusual, this woman reformer played a key role in the mining industry, first as an owner-manager of North Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Fuel Company, and then as a trade-union leader, heading the Welfare Fund of the United Mine Workers (UMW).

From the Progressive Era through the New Deal, the postwar period, and into the 1970s, Roche embodied a consistent set of goals and methods best described as progressive: those associated with the “social sciences,”...

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