When: 1886 – 1976
Where: Born in Nebraska and educated in New York, she moved to Denver in 1906
Why Important: Labor advocate, businesswoman, and Denver’s first female police officer
Josephine Roche was the first policewoman in Colorado,[footnote]“Miss Roche is Now a Deputy Sheriff.” Salida Mail, May 13, 1913. CHNC[/footnote] the first woman to run a major coal company, and the second woman to work for the President of the United States. Her father was president of the Rocky Mountain Fuel Company (RMF). When he died, she inherited some of his stock in the fuel company. Over time, she used this money to speak out for people in poor working conditions. With some of this money and stock she invited the United Mine Workers to unionize her mines. RMF was the first western coal company to sign a union contract and pay its miners $7 a day, which was considered a lot of money for mine workers at that time.
Josephine tried to become the governor of Colorado, but she wasn’t elected.[footnote]“Gov. Johnson Wins In Spirited Contest.” Steamboat Pilot, September 14, 1934. CHNC[/footnote] However, Franklin Roosevelt, president of the United States, appointed her Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.[footnote]“Medill General Manager Rocky Mountain Fuel.” Steamboat Pilot, December 28, 1934. CHNC[/footnote]
Content Date: Jan. 1, 1886 to Jan. 1, 1976
- Josephine Roche was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986.
- Read Josephine’s bio at Wikipedia
- For more information about Josephine Roche, check out the Colorado Encyclopedia.