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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jane Addams
Born September 6, 1860(1860-09-06)
Cedarville, Illinois, U.S.
Died May 21, 1935 (aged 74)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation Activist
Parents John H. Addams
Sarah Weber

Jane Addams (September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935) was a founder of the U.S. Settlement House movement, and the second woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.



Born in Cedarville, Illinois, Jane Addams was the youngest of six children born into a prosperous, loving family.[1] Although she was the eighth child, two of her siblings died in infancy, leaving only six to mature.[2] Her mother, Sarah Addams (née Weber), died from tuberculosis during pregnancy when Jane was two years old.

Jane's father, John H. Addams, was the President of The Second National Bank of Freeport, an Illinois State Senator from 1854 to 1870, and owner of the local grain mill. He remarried when Jane was eight. Her father also was a founding member of the Republican Party and supported Abraham Lincoln. Jane was a first cousin twice removed to Charles Addams, noted cartoonist for The New Yorker.[3] She was born with Pott's disease, which caused a curvature of her spine and lifelong health problems.

Addams's father encouraged her to pursue a higher education, but not at the expense of losing her femininity and the prospect of marriage and motherhood, as expected of upper class young women. She was educated in the United States and Europe, graduating from the Rockford Female Seminary (now Rockford College) in Rockford, Illinois. After Rockford, she spent seven months at the Women's Medical College of Philadelphia, but dropped out. Her parents felt that she should not forget the common path of upper class young women. After her father's sudden death, Addams inherited $50,000.

In 1885, she set off for a two-year tour of Europe with her stepmother. Upon her return home, she felt bored and restless, indifferent about marriage, and wanting more than just the conventional life expected of well-to-do ladies. After painful spinal surgery, she returned to Europe for a second tour in 1887, this time with her best friend Ellen Starr and a teacher friend. During her second tour, Addams visited London's Toynbee Hall, which was a settlement house for boys based on the new philosophy of charity. Toynbee Hall was Addams's main inspiration for Hull House.

Throughout her life Addams was close to many women and was very good at eliciting the involvement of women from different classes in Hull House's programs. Her closest adult companion and friend was Mary Rozet Smith, who supported Addams's work at Hull House, and with whom she shared a romantic friendship. Together they owned a summer house in Bar Harbor, Maine[4][5][6][7][8]

According to one biographer Addams was raised as a Quaker but joined a Presbyterian church in Chicago and maintained her membership there as an adult.

Hull House

Jane Addams in a car, 1915

In 1889 she and her college friend, Ellen Gates Starr,[9] co-founded Hull House in Chicago, Illinois, the first settlement house in the United States. The house was named after Charles Hull, who built the building in 1856. When starting out, all of the funding for the Hull House came from the $50,000 estate she inherited after her father died. Later, the Hull House was sponsored by Helen Culver, the wealthy real estate agent who had initially leased the house to the women.[10]

Jane and Ellen were the first two occupants of the house, which would later be the residence of about 25 women. At its height, Hull House was visited each week by around 2000 people. Its facilities included a night school for adults, kindergarten classes, clubs for older children, a public kitchen, an art gallery, a coffeehouse, a gymnasium, a girls club, bathhouse, a book bindery, a music school, a drama group, a library, and labor-related divisions. Her adult night school was a forerunner of the continuing education classes offered by many universities today. In addition to making available services and cultural opportunities for the largely immigrant population of the neighborhood, Hull House afforded an opportunity for young social workers to acquire training. Eventually, the Hull House became a 13-building settlement, which included a playground and a summer camp (Bowen Country Club).

The Hull House neighborhood was a mix of various European ethnic groups that had immigrated to Chicago beginning at the turn of the nineteenth/twentieth century. The Bethlehem-Howard Neighborhood Center Records memorializes that mix of immigrants that made up the social laboratory upon which the social and philanthropic elitists comprising Hull House's inner sanctum tested their theories and based their challenges to the establishment. "Germans and Jews resided south of that inner core (south of Twelfth Street)…The Greek delta formed by Harrison, Halsted, and Blue Island Streets served as a buffer to the Irish residing to the north and the Canadian–French to the northwest."[11] Italians resided within the inner core of the Hull House Neighborhood...from the river on the east end, on out to the western ends of what came to be known as Little Italy.[12] Greeks and Jews, along with the remnants of other immigrant groups, began their exodus from the neighborhood during the early part of the 20th century. The Italians were the only ethnic group that continued as a thriving community through the Great Depression, World War II and well beyond the ultimate demise of Hull House proper in 1963. Taylor Street Archives: Florence Scala

Peace movement

Delegation to the Women's Suffrage Legislature Jane Addams (left) and Miss Elizabeth Burke of the University of Chicago, 1911

The harsh criticism received by Addams, both for her outspoken pacifism during World War I and her defense of immigrants' civil rights during a period when anarchism and socialism were greatly feared in the United States, never stopped her from putting forth a great amount of effort and energy into Hull House. She even had the time to work on international peace efforts. She spoke and campaigned extensively for Theodore Roosevelt's 1912 Presidential campaign on the Progressive Party.

Jane was elected president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, a position that entailed frequent travel to Europe (both during and after World War I) and Asia. During World War I, Addams faced harsh rebukes and criticism as a pacifist. Her speech on pacifism at Carnegie Hall received negative coverage by newspapers such as the New York Times, which branded her as unpatriotic. This was a difficult time for Jane Addams. Later, during her travels, she would spend time meeting with a wide variety of diplomats and civic leaders and reiterating her Victorian belief in women's special mission to preserve peace. Recognition of these efforts came with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Addams in 1931. As the first U.S. woman to win the prize, Addams was applauded for her "expression of an essentially American democracy."


Hull House and the Peace Movement are widely recognized as the key tangible pillars of Addams' legacy. While her life focussed on the development of individuals, her ideas continue to influence social, political and economic reform in the United States as well as internationally.

Theories developed by 21st century Pulitzer Prize winners Jared Diamond (Fates of Societies) and E. O. Wilson (On Human Nature) both drew upon Addams' hypothesis that physical and social landscapes can influence the fate of subcultures. Willard Motley, a resident artist of Hull House, extracting from Addams' central theory on symbolic interactionism, used the neighborhood and its people to write his 1948 best seller, Knock on Any Door.[13]

Jane Addams on a US postage stamp of 1940

Addams' role as reformer enabled her to petition the establishment and alter the social and physical geography of her Chicago neighborhood. Although contemporary academic sociologists defined her engagement as "social work," Addams' efforts differed significantly from activities typically labeled as "social work" during that time period. Before Addams' powerful influence on the profession, social work was largely informed by a "friendly visitor" model in which typically wealthy women of high public stature visited impoverished individuals and, through systematic assessment and intervention, aimed to improve the lives of the poor. Addams rejected the friendly visitor model in favor of a model of social reform/social theory-building, thereby introducing the now-central tenets of social justice and reform to the field of social work.[14]

Hull House enabled Addams to befriend and become a colleague to early members of the Chicago School of Sociology. Her influence, through her work in applied sociology, impacted their thoughts and their direction. In 1893, she co-authored the Hull-House Maps and Papers that came to define the interests and methodologies of the School. She worked with George H. Mead on social reform issues including promoting women's rights, ending child labor, and mediating during the 1910 Garment Workers' Strike.

Addams worked with labor as well as other reform groups toward goals including the first juvenile-court law, tenement-house regulation, an eight-hour working day for women, factory inspection, and workers' compensation. She advocated research aimed at determining the causes of poverty and crime, and supported women's suffrage. She was a strong advocate of justice for immigrants and blacks, becoming a chartered member of the NAACP. Among the projects that the members of the Hull House opened were the Immigrants' Protective League, the Juvenile Protective Association, the first juvenile court in the United States, and a Juvenile Psychopathic Clinic.

A wall-mounted quote by Jane Addams in The American Adventure in the World Showcase pavilion of Walt Disney World's Epcot.

Addams' writings and speeches, on behalf of the formation of the League of Nations and as peace advocate, are well documented; influencing the later shape of the United Nations.


In 2007, a joint resolution of the Illinois General Assembly renamed the Northwest Tollway as the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway.[15]

Jane Addams House is a residence hall built in 1947 at Connecticut College.

Hull House had to be demolished for the establishment of the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois in 1963 and relocated. The Hull residence itself was preserved as a monument to Jane Addams.

Jane Addams Business Careers Center is a high school in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Jane Addams Trail is a bicycling, hiking, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing trail which stretches from Freeport, Illinois to the Wisconsin state line. It is 12.85 miles (20.68 km) long, and is part of the larger Grand Illinois Trail, which is over 575 miles (925 km) long.[16] The trail is located near her birthplace of Cedarville, Illinois.[17]

Jane Addams has been immortalized further with the naming of a Jesuit Volunteer Corps Southwest community. The house or "casa" as it is known in the organization, is located in Sacramento, California. Located in the city's renowned, Oak Park, seven Jesuit Volunteers live in Casa Jane Addams every year.

See also


  1. ^ Haberman, Frederick (1972). Nobel Lectures, Peace 1926-1950. Amsterdam: Elsevier Publishing Company. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1931/addams-bio.html.  
  2. ^ Firor Scott, Anne; James Weber Linn (2000). Jane Addams: A Biography. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. pp. 22. ISBN 0252069048.  
  3. ^ Davis, Linda H. (2006). Charles Addams: A Cartoonist's Life. New York, NY: Random House. ISBN 0679463259.  
  4. ^ Sarah, Holmes (2000). Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History. London.  
  5. ^ Loerzel, Robert (June 2008). "Friends—With Benefits?". Chicago Magazine (Chicago Magazine). http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/June-2008/Friends-With-Benefits/. Retrieved 2009-03-29.  
  6. ^ Simonette, Matt (2008-05-14). "Community Discusses "Recovery" of Jane Addams as Lesbian". Chicago Free Press. http://www.chicagofreepress.com/node/1819. Retrieved 2009-03-29.  
  7. ^ Schoenberg, Nara (2007-02-13). "Hull-House Museum Poses the Question "Was Jane Addams a Lesbian?"". Chicago Tribune (Tribune Company). http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-31575983_ITM. Retrieved 2009-03-29.  
  8. ^ Brown, Victoria Bissell (2003). The Education of Jane Addams. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 361. ISBN 0812237471. http://books.google.com/books?id=In0FyWy858gC&dq=jane+addams+lesbian&pg=PP1&ots=gKqddAVrJb&source=citation&sig=peSm-VgHEGucIdeQgI__hHcbOlU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=11&ct=result#PPA361,M1.  
  9. ^ Morrow, Deana F.; Lori Messinger (2005). Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression in Social Work Practice: Working with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. pp. 9. ISBN 0231127286.  
  10. ^ Brown, Victoria Bissell (February 2000). "Jane Addams". American National Biography online. Oxford University Press. http://www.anb.org/articles/15/15-00004.html. Retrieved 2008-10-26.  
  11. ^ Hull House Museum
  12. ^ http://www.taylorstreetarchives.com
  13. ^ Taylor Street Arhies
  14. ^ http://www.ssw.umich.edu/ongoing/fall2001/briefhistory.html
  15. ^ "Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)". Illinois Department of Transportation Website. State of Illinois. 2009. http://www.illinoistollway.com/portal/page?_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&_pageid=133,1395269. Retrieved 2009-03-29.  
  16. ^ Grand Illinois Trail Guide - bikeGIT.org. Hosted by the League of Illinois Bicyclists
  17. ^ Jane Addams Trail – Part of the Grand Illinois Trail
  • Taylor Street Archives
  • Stern, Keith (2009). "Jane Addams". Queers in History. BenBella Books, Inc.; Dallas, Texas. ISBN 978-1933771-87-8.  

Further reading

  • Bowen, Louise de Koven. Growing up with Pity. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1926.
  • Deegan, Mary. Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, Inc., 1988.
  • Knight, Louise W. Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
  • Polacheck, Hilda Satt. I Came a Stranger: The Story of a Hull-House Girl. Chicago, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1989.
  • Stiehm, Judith Hicks. "Champions for Peace : Women Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.” Rowman and Littlefield, 2006.
  • Taylor Street Archives
  • "Jane Addams: a biography" By Robin Kadison Berson

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Jane Addams.

Jane Addams (6 September 1860 – 21 May 1935) was an American social reformer.



  • In his own way each man must struggle, lest the moral law become a far-off abstraction utterly separated from his active life.
    • As quoted in The MacMillan Dictionary of Quotations (1989) by John Daintith, Hazel Egerton, Rosalind Ferguson, Anne Stibbs and Edmund Wright, p. 374.

Twenty Years at Hull-House (1910)

Chapter 1

  • I had a consuming ambition to possess a miller's thumb. I believe I have never since wanted anything more desperately than I wanted my right thumb to be flattened as my father’s had become, during his earlier years of a miller’s life.

Chapter 2

  • I dreamed night after night that everyone in the world was dead excepting myself, and that upon me rested the responsibility of making a wagon wheel.

Chapter 6

  • The Settlement ... is an experimental effort to aid in the solution of the social and industrial problems which are engendered by the modern conditions of life in a great city. It insists that these problems are not confined to any one portion of the city. It is an attempt to relieve, at the same time, the overaccumulation at one end of society and the destitution at the other ...
  • [The Settlement House] must be grounded in a philosophy whose foundation is on the solidarity of the human race, a philosophy which will not waver when the race happens to be represented by a drunken woman or an idiot boy.
  • We all bear traces of the starvation struggle which for so long made up the life of the race. Our very organism holds memories and glimpses of that long life of our ancestors which still goes on among so many of our contemporaries. Nothing so deadens the sympathies and shrivels the power of enjoyment as the persistent keeping away from the great opportunities for helpfulness and a continual ignoring of the starvation struggle which makes up the life of at least half the race. To shut one’s self away from that half of the race life is to shut one’s self away from the most vital part of it; it is to live out but half the humanity to which we have been born heir.

Chapter 7

  • We fatuously hoped that we might pluck from the human tragedy itself a consciousness of a common destiny which should bring its own healing, that we might extract from life’s very misfortunes a power of cooperation which should be effective against them.
  • ... this dream that men shall cease to waste strength in competition and shall come to pool their powers of production is coming to pass all over the earth.

Chapter 8

  • ... life cannot be administered by definite rules and regulations; that wisdom to deal with a man’s difficulties comes only through some knowledge of his life and habits as a whole ...
  • With all the efforts made by modern society to nurture and educate the young, how stupid it is to permit the mothers of young children to spend themselves in the coarser work of the world!

Chapter 9

  • ... if the Settlement seeks its expression through social activity, it must learn the difference between mere social unrest and spiritual impulse.
  • A Settlement is above all a place for enthusiasms, a spot to which those who have a passion for the equalization of human joys and opportunities are early attracted.

Chapter 10

  • ... of all the aspects of social misery nothing is so heartbreaking as unemployment ...

Chapter 11

  • Hospitality still survives among foreigners, although it is buried under false pride among the poorest Americans.

Chapter 14

  • Private beneficence is totally inadequate to deal with the vast numbers of the city's disinherited.

Chapter 15

  • ... social advance depends quite as much upon an increase in moral sensibility as it does upon a sense of duty ...

Chapter 16

  • I have come to believe ... that the stage may do more than teach, that much of our current moral instruction will not endure the test of being cast into a lifelike mold, and when presented in dramatic form will reveal itself as platitudinous and effete. That which may have sounded like righteous teaching when it was remote and wordy, will be challenged afresh when it is obliged to simulate life itself.

Chapter 17

  • If the underdog were always right, one might quite easily try to defend him. The trouble is that very often he is but obscurely right, sometimes only partially right, and often quite wrong; but perhaps he is never so altogether wrong and pig-headed and utterly reprehensible as he is represented to be by those who add the possession of prejudices to the other almost insuperable difficulties of understanding him.
  • The common stock of intellectual enjoyment should not be difficult of access because of the economic position of him who would approach it.

The Second Twenty Years at Hull-House (1930)

  • ... the task of youth is not only its own salvation but the salvation of those against whom it rebels, but in that case there must be something vital to rebel against and if the elderly stiffly refuse to put up a vigorous front of their own, it leaves the entire situation in a mist.


  • The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

JANE ADDAMS (1860-), American sociologist, was born at Cedarville, Illinois, on the 6th of September 1860. Af ter graduating at Rockford (Illinois) Female Seminary (now Rockford College) in 1881, she spent several years in the study of economic and sociological questions in both Europe and America, and in 1889 with Miss Ellen Gates Starr established in Chicago, Illinois, the social settlement known as Hull House, of which she became the head-worker. The success of this settlement, which became a great factor for good in the city, was principally due to Miss Addams's rare executive skill and practical commonsense methods. Her personal participation in the life of the community is exemplified in her acceptance of the office of inspector of streets and alleys under the municipal government. She became known as a lecturer and writer and published Democracy and Social Ethics (1902), Newer Ideals of Peace (1907), and The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets (1909).

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Jane Addams

Jane Addams (September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935) was an American social worker. In 1886, she founded a placed called Hull House. It tried to take care of the problems poor people and immigrants faced in Chicago. She wanted more peace, and more civil rights for immigrants and women. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, and was the first American women to earn it.

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