Posted by: Through the Eyes of Women | November 14, 2016

November 14, 2016: In 1909 Fanny Sellins Became A Union Organizer And Lost Her Life Because Of It. Host Brenda Starr Discusses “Fanny Never Flinched” With Author Mary Cronk Farrell

Fanny Never Flinched : One Woman's Courage In The Struggle For American Labor Union Rights

Fanny Never Flinched : One Woman’s Courage In The Struggle For American Labor Union Rights

The struggle to establish labor unions in the United States was a long, hard, often dangerous fight and nothing exemplifies that more than then the life and death of Fannie Sellins. Author Mary Cronk Farrell has written a clear, incisive biography of this courageous lady, who, as she says, never flinched in the face of danger.

Fannie Sellins , born in 1872, was an immigrant factory worker turned labor activist. She organized garment workers and later supported and helped striking coal miners and their families.

Entrance to a W. Va. coal mine: a "drift" mine. The live-wire was only shoulder -high in places inside, and unprotected. Location: West Virginia. Sept. 1908 Lewis Hine Call Number: LOT 7477, no. 0132 [P&P]

Entrance to a West Virginia coal mine

Her story, written for young readers, is a timely, tragic, and ultimately inspiring must-read. And as with most books by Mary, adults will also find it a fascinating read.
Fanny would become a full time organizer in 1909 and traveled the nation calling for fair wages and decent working conditions.


The early 1900’s have been called the Gilded Age of American Industrialization. Owners of industrial corporations were the “gilded” while hundreds of thousands of workers subsisted on poverty wages. Today the gap between the rich and poor in America rivals the 1920s.


Fanny Never Flinched, for ages 10 and up, portrays the life of an ordinary American girl who grew up in a time like today – a time of rapid change and economic crisis that called for extraordinary leadership.



Mary Cronk Farrell’s books have been honored with the SPUR Award for Best Juvenile Fiction, and as Notable Social Studies Books for Young People and NY Public Library Best Books for Teens. Mary speaks at schools, libraries, and women’s and family workshops. She lives in Spokane, Washington.

Other books by Mary include:


Pure Grit:How American WWII Nurses Survived Battle&Prison Camps In The South Pacific

“Pure Grit”

"Fire In The Hole" about Idaho silver mining

“Fire In The Hole”






For more info:

Also available for listening in The Archives is Brenda’s TTEOW interview with Mary on March 17, 2014 about her book PURE GRIT:How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle & Prison Camp in the Pacific 

To listen to and/or download this program click the following link:20001_tteow11-14-15_program


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