Long before Helen Reddy sang about feminism in the 1970’s, Josephine Roche was leading the charge. Roche was born in Nebraska and attended college at Vassar and Columbia University. She moved to Denver in 1912 and became the city’s first full-time female police officer. After inheriting her father’s coal mining company, she purchased enough controlling interestto become it’s president, and actually invited the United Mine Workers of America to come to Colorado to unionize her mines. After leaving the company, she ran for Governor of Colorado. She didn’t win, but President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. In 1948 she began serving as one of three directors on the United Mine Workers welfare and retirement fund. You can read about this and the scandal that followed in A Wide-Awake Woman – Josephine Roche and the Era of Reform, available from the Colorado State Publications Library.
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