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Jane Addams



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This information in this section is from Dead Sociologists' Society created by Larry R. Ridener, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Radford University. Retrieved on August 12, 2002, from http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/DSS/INDEX.HTML#addams


American Roots

Jane Addams was a country girl who reformed the big city. A native of rural Illinois in nineteenth- century mid-America, she went to booming, roaring Chicago, forged her lifework amid teeming streets and squalid tenements, and permanently changed the metropolis of her state. Only a genius could have done this. Jane Addams was a genius who, luckily, arrived on the scene at just the right moment to play her role in history. Between her birth in 1860 and her establishment of Hull-House in 1889, the United States, rising from the disaster of the Civil War, became a nation less and less agrarian, more and more urban. And Jane Addams imaginatively and energetically utilized the new urban environment, with its unsolved problems, to carry out the mission to which she dedicated herself.

That mission, based on individual effort, mutual help, peaceful reform, and faith in progress, placed her squarely in the American tradition--appropriately, for she had deep American roots. Her parents, John Huy Addams and Sarah (Weber) Addams, were originally from Pennsylvania, where their ancestors had lived since Colonial times. In 1681, William Penn had granted a tract of land in his new colony to an Englishman named Robert Adams, who crossed the Atlantic and became one of the earliest Pennsylvanians. He was joined by his brother Walter, progenitor of the line that produced Jane Addams. Walter's son Isaac (Jane's great-grandfather) seems to have been the first "Addams," adding the extra "d" apparently to avoid confusion with a relative of the same name. Isaac's son was Samuel Addams, and his son was John Huy Addams, the father of Jane Addams.

Born in 1822, John grew up in the rich farmlands close to the Pennsylvania Dutch country. Pious and hardworking, much concerned with personal salvation, John apprenticed himself to the owner of a flour mill on the Wissahickon Creek, soon developed the calloused and flattened "miller's-thumb," formed diligent habits that shaped his entire life, and developed a taste for books and ideas that he later passed on to his famous daughter. He also fell in love with Sarah Weber, a belle of Kreidersville, Pennsylvania, who had received a polished education in Philadelphia. Sarah, a keen-witted, personable girl "accomplished in music and drawing," reciprocated John's feelings. They were married in 1844.

Sarah's father, Colonel George Weber, an enterprising flour-mill owner, was descended from German immigrants who came to Philadelphia in 1727. Some of Colonel Weber's friends and relatives had migrated to Illinois; their reports of boundless opportunity in that rapidly growing region made him feel that young John Addams might make a success if he too headed west after his marriage to Sarah. In fact, the Colonel offered to travel with the newlyweds, evidently so that his expertise might be of assistance in the setting up of a new mill in the wilderness. John's father, Samuel Addams, was prosperous enough to provide four thousand dollars for the expedition, quite a handsome sum of money at a time when the average wage was only a few dollars a week-- and one dollar went a long way.


"A two-wheeled conveyance"

So it happened that John Addams married Sarah Weber, and, as his diary puts it: "July 29, 1844. Myself and wife left Kreidersville at four a.m. in a two-wheeled conveyance." They would pick up Colonel Weber in New York City, and be on their way to Illinois. Following the frontier was nothing new for an Addams. John's great-grandfather had made the trip from England when "the frontier" was wherever Europeans could get a foothold on the Atlantic coast. His descendants took the rivers and Indian trails west, forgetting Old World customs and cottages, adapting to buckskin and log cabins. Like so many others, they pushed into the interior, mastering nature as they went but also being mastered by it.

After the Revolution, the Northwest Territory--that broad basin between the Ohio River and the Mississippi--was the giant magnet luring men westward. Formerly it had been a domain of darkness, blocked off by the French, but known to have northern lakes spreading vast as a sea. Out beyond Pennsylvania, explorers said, were huge tracts, covered like a green rug by the great forest, pierced occasionally by deer or buffalo trails. Oak and maple, tulip and sycamore, beech and hickory covered the land. Then the woods ended. After that came two hundred and fifty miles of gently rolling plains, through which flowed rivers called Kaskaskia, Sangamon, and Illinois. The grass was so tall it bent and swayed like waves.

Studying the area on his maps, land-minded Thomas Jefferson drew tentative boundaries for fourteen new states. His suggested names-- such as Cherronesus, Pelisipia, Sylvania, Assenisipia, and Polypotamia--combined native Indian words with classical Greek. Most of the names were far too complicated and soon forgotten; others, such as Illinoia and Michigania, were adapted with slight changes--but in any case the land was taken and loved. The pattern of immigration was set under the Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe administrations. Family farms, which these agrarian-minded Presidents insisted were the backbone of democracy, flourished.

Whooping and hollering men, who adopted nicknames like Buckeyes, Hoosiers, Badgers, Suckers, and Wolverines, poured into the region that was larger than all France, richer than fabled Cathay. In the fertile green fields they planted corn, wheat--and democracy. This land would feed their children's children, and people in far-off places. Here men of the new republic could stretch their muscles and imaginations, now that title to the rich farmlands had been cleared by a series of Indian treaties. The soil was waiting for the plow. Literature of the period reflected the spirit of the venture: "If you are willing to work at any honest business, for which your previous training has fitted you--if willing to join the great army, which, with the axe, the plough, and the steam engine, is striking out into the desert, and conquering an empire greater than was ever ruled by a Timberline or a Bonaparte-- come on!"


In 1849, some doggerel in the Boston Post proclaimed:

"Come leave the fields of childhood
Worn out by long employ
And travel west and settle
In the state of Illinois."

Thousands of Easterners accepted this challenge to adventure, hardship, opportunity, and self-betterment. One man, especially, made the trek into the Midwest a national epic--Abraham Lincoln. Born in Kentucky in 1809, Lincoln was thirteen years older than John Addams. His parents took him to the Indiana woods when he was seven, and in 1830 the Lincolns continued farther west into Illinois, settling near the Sangamon River. Tall, gangling Abe eventually established himself in New Salem, where for six years he made a scanty living by managing a mill, keeping a store, and doing odd jobs. His skill in wrestling made him something of a frontier hero even before he took to law and politics. He was elected to the Illinois legislature in 1834 and married Mary Todd in 1842. Two years later, John Addams also wed and started west.


To northern Illinois

John, Sarah, and her father chose to go (via Albany and Buffalo) to the city named Chicago, from the Indian word meaning "wild onion." The Indians had roamed the area from time immemorial. Then Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet arrived in 1673; these French explorers were the first white men to see the site on Lake Michigan that became Chicago. Pioneers, trappers, and traders came and went for another century, and, after the American Revolution, a permanent trading post arose. The United States formally took possession of Chicago with the erection of Fort Dearborn in 1803, but the garrison was massacred and the fort burned during the War of 1812. Not until 1816 did more troops arrive to rebuild it. The area remained quiescent until the Black Hawk War of 1832, the result of which triggered a period of expansion. Twelve years after this war, the population numbered some eight thousand, the harbor had been deepened, the Illinois and Michigan Canal had been started, and Chicago had become a thriving emporium for traffic on the Great Lakes.

Such was the Chicago that greeted John Addams in 1844. He was not very impressed. Deep in mud, the business district, he noted in his diary, was "located entirely too low" for so sodden an area. The inhabitants appeared to be engaged mainly in mercantile business, and there were "in my opinion too many for the place." So the next day he bought a bay mare for $41, a "tolerably good" buggy and harness for $28, and kept moving west.

The road led into Stephenson county, one of the northern tiers in the state that had been established in 1818 as Illinois, and that still had to negotiate with the Indians for some of the territory within its boundaries. The new constitution placed major authority with the state legislature, leaving the judiciary and the governor somewhat at its mercy. There had been many financial and political problems, but Thomas Ford, elected governor in 1842, was a vigorous man who would, in his four-year term, reduce the state debt from $313,000 to $31,000. A census in 1845 placed Illinois's population at 662,150. The rich black soil, untouched for centuries, was ready for plow and seed. The rolling terrain--a mixture of prairie, forests, and lake bottom--seemed endless. Wheat, hay, oats, and corn would do wonderfully well here; it was a young miller's paradise.

So John Addams must have thought as he drove through the tall beardgrass spotted with such wild flowers as oxeyes, blazing stars, and purple patches of ironweed. In addition to the groves of oak and maple he observed pawpaw, wild plum, and crab apple. This was good country. It would become the heartland of a democracy stretching from one ocean to another. For three months John and Sarah Addams explored northern Illinois. Six miles north of Freeport, on the banks of the Cedar River, they found just what they wanted: a six-year-old sawmill and gristmill for sale with eighty acres of adjoining woodland. This was the place. John's first act after purchase was to plant Norway pine trees on his new domain. He got to work, led the movement to construct a railroad through northern Illinois, and won a reputation as "the best-known man in the district." In 1854, he built a two- story gray brick house for his family. In this sturdy home, on September 6,1860, his eighth child, Laura Jane, was born. She would carry the Addams name to every corner of the nation, and around the world.

A frail and sensitive child, Jane later described herself as "ugly," and placed the blame on the curvature of the spine from which she suffered. That description was scarcely justified. Early photographs show Jane as a dainty, winsome child with large, soft eyes, a meditative expression, and hair neatly parted in the middle--altogether an attractive figure. Her spinal condition obviously made her more withdrawn than she might otherwise have been, for, with the poignant intensity of the young, she exaggerated its effect on her appearance.


Absolute adoration

Jane had a happy childhood. She lived in a fine house over which presided a loving father who could afford to give his family the comforts of their period. John Addams worked, saved, profited from his integrity as a businessman, and acquired a bank in Freeport. Entering politics in 1854, he won eight successive elections to the Illinois legislature He hated slavery, venerated Lincoln, and, although a Quaker, supported the Civil War, during which he encouraged enlistments so successfully that one company called itself the "Addams Guard." His interest in freedom was not restricted to American Negroes. The events then convulsing Europe aroused in him a passionate desire for the destruction of the tyrannies to which so many nations were subjected. He took for his European hero Giuseppe Mazzini, the eloquent spokesman of the Italian Risorgimento, whose libertarian writings, widely admired outside his country, inspired his fellow Italians to struggle against Austrian and papal domination. Jane Addams never forgot the sorrow with which her father read of Mazzini's death in 1872.

Jane's older sisters, Alice and Mary, described their mother as an indomitable woman of realistic and pioneering spirit who had a strong influence on the family. Life had taught Mrs. Addams many hard lessons, and she passed some of them on. Jane barely remembered her, but what Alice, especially, related about their mother made a deep impression on the younger girl. Thus, Alice told Jane how she and her brother Weber had continued to play by the millrace--a dangerous thing to do--despite their mother's warning. Suddenly Mrs. Addams appeared and pushed the little lad into the water. Alice gazed in horror as her brother struggled helplessly. Mrs. Addams ran to a curve in the stream and fished him out as he was borne by the current to that spot. "There was no more careless playing by the millrace," Alice reported. Jane herself learned from her mother only at second hand, for she was but two years and four months old when Sarah Addams died only two weeks after the birth of a stillborn child, in the winter of 1863. This tragedy was a terrible blow to the family, especially to John Addams, bereft of the wife who had accompanied him west in 1844 and borne him nine children. The widower realized that he would have to have another woman in the house, yet he did not remarry for five years.

Meanwhile, during his daughter's formative years, he became for Jane the supreme inspiration for her life. In her own phrasing, her father was the "single cord" on which her memories of early life were strung--the cord that "not only held fast my supreme affection, but also first drew me into the moral concerns of life." She would never again meet a man who could arouse her utter and unalloyed admiration. Her memory as an adult validated her childhood conviction that he embodied everything good--love, kindness, wisdom, rectitude--and nothing bad. She responded to his affection with absolute adoration. Her greatest joy was to be with him, whether in the privacy of their home or on a stroll through the streets of Cedarville. Taking him as a model, she got up before dawn to read books because he had done so as a boy in Pennsylvania. She even rubbed her forefinger against her thumb in the hope that she would develop a miller's-thumb like his.

Yet it was his influence on her thinking, rather than on her daily schedule, that was pivotal. To him life was not a series of propositions to be debated, but an ideal of personal conduct to be followed. Although he contributed to every church in town, he joined none; he confessed to being a "Hicksite Quaker," and left it at that. Perhaps he considered the phrase self- explanatory, for the beliefs of the Hicksites were well known. The sect derived its name from Elias Hicks, a Long Islander who seceded from the main body of Friends because of a disagreement about theological principles. George Fox, the English founder of the Society, had preached both the Bible as a guide for all to follow and also the "inner light" as an individual guide. But subsequent Quaker leaders tended to stress one or the other of these two sources of religious truth. There were evangelical Quakers who relied principally on Scripture, and mystical Quakers for whom the "inner light" seemed sufficient. Both groups were represented among American Quakers, and they managed to maintain the unity of the movement until Elias Hicks began to preach the doctrine of the "inner light" so emphatically that he appeared to some Friends to be denying the authority of the Bible. The elders in Philadelphia tried to silence him. He in turn led his followers out of the orthodox fold in 1827.

The Hicksite Quakers developed their concept of the "inner light" into a creed that committed them to personal integrity, charity toward others, religious toleration, and democracy in church and state. This, then, was the religion to which John Addams subscribed. He set great store by the Bible, which he taught to the local children who came to Sunday School, but he was above all a man of the "inner light." Stoic in his insistence on self-dependence, he drummed this idea into Jane's head: "You must always be honest with yourself inside, whatever happens." In her fifties she referred to her father's counsel about truth and morality as "perhaps on the whole as valuable a lesson as the shorter catechism itself contains."

A favorite childhood haunt of Jane's was the flour mill, full of dusty, dusky corners and empty bins in which to romp. The piles of bran and shorts were as good as sand to play in-- especially when the miller let her wet the edges of the pile with water carried in from the millrace. A meditative child, she was given to dreams by night and reveries by day, and they often reflected a precocious sense of personal responsibility. She dreamed, at the age of six, that "everyone in the world was dead excepting myself, and that upon me rested the responsibility of making a wagon wheel."

In 1868 John Addams married Mrs. Anna Haldeman, a rich, handsome, talented, gregarious widow with two sons. The Addams and Haldeman families united, apparently with little friction, and life went on for all of them. The children were educated in a generation that depended on McGuffey's Readers as the staple of the curriculum. Schools being ungraded, classroom procedure was whatever the teacher wanted it to be. Administrations of the switch were as traditional as those of sulphur and molasses in the spring. The general emphasis in the schools of the Middle West was on the concrete and the practical. "Men are not educated to be mere walking abstractions," a group of western teachers had stated in 1835, "but active, useful men," adding that the job of the West was "to improve the organization of human society." Such mental training was the beginning of Jane's commitment to the socially useful.

Jane was an excellent student, fascinated from the start with the printed page. Among the books at home, she looked into translations of Homer and Virgil, but found herself more at ease with historical works--Plutarch, Washington Irving's Life of Washington, and John Clark Ridpath's formidable history of the world. Her father, to sweeten these large doses of heavy reading, offered her small monetary rewards, payable after cross-questioning on what she had read.


"Mr. Lincoln's Letters"

Carefully preserved in John Addams' desk reposed a small packet of papers that he considered priceless. It was marked simply: "Mr. Lincoln's Letters." Jane Addams could not finger these letters without emotion, for to her, as to her adored father, the Great Emancipator was a martyr, a hero, almost a demigod. The fact that Lincoln had known John Addams well for ten years--well enough to send him informal letters that began "My dear Double-D'ed Addams"--made the association even more vivid. Serving in the Illinois legislature during the days of Civil War contracts and Reconstruction opportunism, John Addams maintained his integrity. He acted strictly according to his "inner light," and so sterling was his reputation that he not only never accepted a bribe, but was never even offered one.

Lincoln understood this stern uprightness, like everyone else. "You will of course," the President said to Addams in one letter, "vote according to your conscience, only it is a matter of considerable importance to me to know how that conscience is pointing." No wonder John Addams was considered, by all acquainted with him, as a "king of gentlemen." No wonder he kept several pictures of Lincoln in his Cedarville home, including two in his bedroom. Although Jane was not yet five at the time of Lincoln's assassination, the dreadful day of his death remained engraved on her memory. She was not in the house when the news arrived, but as soon as she entered it, she found her father weeping--openly, unashamedly. His habitual calm reserve, which she thought unshakable, had cracked. "The greatest man in the world" was dead, he told her. Despite her tender years, she comprehended something of the tragedy that came to her household from an event so far away, so removed from her experience. Looking back later, she saw that this was "my initiation, my baptism" into the harsh reality of the grown-up world.

Life went on, leaving "Mr. Lincoln's Letters" to be treasured and read. Fascinated with books, Jane nevertheless spent many of her days out of doors, developing a romantic attachment to nature that never diminished afterward. When she settled in Chicago and began her social work, she felt sorry for the children of the slums because, among their other deprivations, they had never known the delights of the open country--the fresh air in the meadow, the bright sun on the tall corn, the autumn frost glistening on the pumpkins. She wished that these youngsters could have been transported from the city streets to the banks of the millstream rising into high bluffs near Cedarville, the bluffs pitted by mysterious caves that she and her stepbrother George had explored in the best Tom Sawyer-Becky Sharp tradition.

The abandoned limekiln was the arena where the two staged their mock combats, with George as "The Knight of the Green Plume," ready to tilt at all enemies, imaginary and real, from knights in armor to the snakes and muskrats that infested the underbrush. If nature was beautiful, it was also grim. The struggle for survival was brought home to Jane when she spotted hawks circling overhead and weasels prowling for rabbits, or when a muskrat turned at bay and bit George severely on the hand. Playing with George helped Jane to escape from her childish introversion.

George's mother, Jane's strong-willed stepmother, also left an indelible impression--though not all to the good. Mrs. Addams played the guitar, conducted play-readings, read the latest novels, and sought social advantages for herself and her relatives. Determined to impose on her new family more sophisticated manners and tastes, she added a bay window to the downstairs living room, moved her piano to the most prominent spot, and insisted on more formal meals in the dining room. The Addams girls were instructed to wear frocks "more tasteful in line and color." All this was quite different from the sterner, simpler life to which the Addams family was accustomed. But John did not object to the transformation.

The new Mrs. Addams was also determined to enjoy more gaiety and glamour than the hamlet of Cedarville provided. The state capital at Springfield suited her better. Hence John's 1870 decision not to seek another term-in the legislature, which met in Springfield, dismayed her. At this point she discovered that on such basic decisions, her husband did not need her advice. If Anna Haldeman Addams was ambitious, her husband was adamant. The political career of the man who had helped found the Republican party in Illinois and served his state well for sixteen years--who had even refused the nomination as governor of Illinois at a time when his election was all but assured--now came quietly but firmly to an end. Not outer acclaim but John Addams' "inner light" was his guide. There was nothing his new wife could do about it.


The riddle of life and death

Sometimes the elder Addams would take the family on excursions. A most memorable one was the sixty-five-mile trip to Madison, Wisconsin, to visit not only the state capitol building, but also its illustrious inmate--"Old Abe," war-eagle of the Eighth Wisconsin. This ride in the family buggy went north through the rolling countryside. Stops at country towns were spaced so as to provide excitement and variety: Beloit, Janesville, Milton Junction, Edgerton, Albion, Stoughton; then beautiful lakes Kegonsa, Waubesa, and Monona. "We were driven northward hour after hour," Miss Addams wrote, "past harvest fields in which the stubble glinted from bronze to gold and the heavyheaded grain rested luxuriously in rounded shocks, until we reached that beautiful region of hills and lakes which surrounds the capital city of Wisconsin."

The grand climax of the trip was in the capitol; she noted that "Old Abe" looked like the proud eagle on a Roman standard. His keeper, a veteran of the Civil War, ostentatiously in uniform, enthralled them with tales of the battles "Old Abe" had survived. For many visitors the pilgrimage to see the bird that symbolized the United States was unforgettable. Standing under the great classic dome, hearing the solemn roll call of bloody engagements, they recalled another Old Abe who had been the standard-bearer of his country's conscience. To the Addams family of Illinois, Lincoln gave patriotism, in Shakespeare's phrase, "a local habitation and a name." They lived in his aura and venerated his memory.

The Union, preserved by the martyred President, grew at a remarkable rate during Jane's childhood. Not quite five when the war ended, and sixteen when the Yankee troops finally withdrew from the South, she herself saw little of that dramatic growth. Later on she would understand the full significance of the radical changes that took place as the triumphant North concentrated its huge power to bolster industrial progress. Advances in agriculture, mining, and manufacturing were phenomenal. Introduction of the Bessemer smelting process turned this period into the Age of Steel and covered vast areas with smoke and soot. Robber barons came into their own--powerful businessmen, industrialists, and bankers who fought their way to the top in the fierce competition of the marketplace. Many Americans felt that Horatio Alger, with his "rags to riches" stories, reflected the essential mood of the nation in the post-Civil War period. Truth was indeed stranger than fiction in a land that placed no barriers before the aspirations and ambitions of the rugged individualist. Everyone craved success, and some achieved it.

But only some--there lay the root of a growing evil. The weak, the ineffectual, and the luckless could not hope to compete. They often fell far behind in the race for the good things of American life, their hopes blighted by a wretchedness from which they could not extricate themselves. Nor could they look to the government for assistance. This was the heyday of laissez-faire, which meant that the government had no right to interfere with the individual as long as he stayed within the law--no matter what the social consequences might be. As a result, the American dream for the captains of industry had become a nightmare for the common man.

In fact, the spirit epitomized by the nation's capital appeared to be one that favored the rich rather than the poor. In the 1870's, Washington was a city where corrupt practices flourished; speculators, lobbyists, and representatives of high finance made an art of wangling decisions in their favor from the President and Congress. The scandals of the Grant Administration became so notorious that reformers began to demand a change in the system.

Jane Addams was nine when Jay Gould shook the nation by almost cornering gold on "Black Friday" of 1869. Gould and his piratical cronies, Daniel Drew and James Fisk, bought large amounts of gold at a low figure, took what they acquired out of circulation, and created a shortage that pushed the price up. The conspirators then provoked a panic on the stock exchange by spreading the false rumor that President Grant had decided to keep federal supplies of gold off the market, which meant that the shortage would continue, and that the price would keep climbing. This conspiracy might have reduced the nation's financial system to chaos if Grant, finally alerted to the peril, had not released four million dollars' worth of gold, a move that ruined many speculators as the price tumbled back.

Jane was thirteen when Mark Twain published The Gilded Age, a biting satire on the money-grubbing, sordid politics and blatant chicanery that permitted scoundrels like Gould to operate so flagrantly. A character in this novel describes one road to success in Washington: "A Congressional appropriation costs money. Just reflect, for instance. A majority of the House committee, say $10,000 apiece-- $40,000; a majority of the Senate committee, the same each--say $40,000; a little extra to one or two chairmen of one or two such committees, say $10,000 each--$20,000; and there's $100,000 of the money gone, to begin with."

Misdeeds such as these abounded in America, but so did protests. Jane would find reformist ideas gathering strength when she stepped out of her secluded Cedarville home into the swirling, muddied currents of public life. Meanwhile, she had some growing up to do.

Not all of her buggy rides were as pleasant as the one to Madison. On a winter trip in 1875, when she was fifteen, she came to a turningpoint in her life. Word arrived that Polly, the old family nurse, was dying in a lonely farmhouse about four miles away, and Jane was the only one who at that moment could go to her. Struggling through a snowstorm, Jane reached the farmhouse just before Polly succumbed. Alone by the bedside, transfixed with horror, the teenage girl saw the eyes of the stricken woman staring at her, heard the harsh rattle in the throat, watched death triumphant. Jane Addams felt fearfully alone in a bleak universe that seemed heedless of the sorrows of mankind. On the return to Cedarville, she trembled as the cold wind cut her tear-stained face. She was beginning to understand the human dimensions of the profound mystery that she termed "the riddle of life and death." She was beginning to realize how complicated the world is--and how complicated she herself was. Later, in recalling the episode of old Polly's death, Jane Addams summed up its meaning for herself: "Once to be young, to grow old and to die, everything came to that, and then a mysterious journey out into the Unknown."

From Fishwick, Marshall W. Illustrious American: Jane Addams. Pp. 9-20. Morristown, NJ: Silver Burdett Company, 1968.


Like Father, Like Daughter

Miss Addams left all her papers to her nephew, James Weber Linn, who, in his perceptive biography of his aunt, observes that Jane and her father can be compared through the respective diaries that they kept at the age of twenty-two:

"The diary of this journey from Pennsylvania to Illinois, which John Addams kept for six months without the break of a day, many of the entries being made at considerable length, is of . . . historical interest.... The young Pennsylvanian was a shrewd observer of material things. But the personal interest of the diary is much more considerable than the historical. The record was intended for his own eyes only; indeed, until the little leather- bound volumes turned up in a 'secret drawer' of an old desk in the attic of the Addams homestead, full eighty-five years after they had been written, that record was probably seen by no other eye than his. And it is with himself, his own ambitions, uncertainties, exaltations and depressions of spirit, that he is . . . concerned.


"He reveals his eagerness for exact information, his caution as a bargainer, his determination not to be ' over- reached' as he determined never to overreach; his industry, his endurance, his physical equability in temperament. It is curious to note how many of the entries conclude with an estimate of the day's feelings. Here are successive final lines from one week's entries in September, while he was waiting . . . in the hope that the owners of the mill he desired to buy might come to terms. 'So ended this day in tolerable spirits.' 'My spirits were however good to-day.' 'Upon the whole I was very much discouraged to- day., 'This day spirits good.' 'I will endeavor to pray for better spirits.' 'Spirits to-day good while at work (he was helping to pick potatoes that day) but otherwise discouraged.' There is nothing precocious, or even mature, in such entries. Indeed when Jane Addams read them, for the first time, in her own old age, she was amazed. She had had no conception of her quiet father as qualmish in youth. The simplicity of the father's self-analyses is the more striking when they are compared to the similar diarial 'searchings after self-understandings' of the daughter at the same time of life--twenty-two. In a 'common-place book' dated 1882, the year after John Addams' death, and a gloomy year for Jane, she writes: 'The difficulty is not in bearing our ills, but in knowing what ills are necessary, not in doing what is right but in knowing what is right to do. I suppose to say that I do not know just what I believe is a form of cowardice, just going on trying to think things out instead of making up my mind, but then why am I happier when I am learning than when I am trying to decide? For I do not think there could be any happiness in being a coward., The longing for self-understanding is the same, the souls of father and daughter dwelt in intimacy, but how different the approaches to self-knowledge! The difference is partly in the forms of their education, partly in the generations; the daughter was spiritually an inquirer, the father in many ways conventional; their wish however was the same, to possess and recognize the 'inner light.' "

From Fishwick, Marshall W. Illustrious American: Jane Addams. Pp. 18-19. Morristown, NJ: Silver Burdett Company, 1968.


Jane and Her Stepmother

James Linn, as the son of Jane's older sister Mary, knew his aunt for nearly sixty years, her stepmother for several decades, and the whole Addams family situation with the intimacy of a close relative. Hence he is both authoritative and informative in telling how Jane's father came to choose his second wife, and to what extent his choice influenced Jane's own life:


"Prosperous, distinguished John Addams needed a wife. One day in 1867, as he was driving in to Freeport to the bank, as he did every day, the thought came into his mind, 'What a good wife for me Mrs. William Haldeman would make!' Now William Haldeman was a citizen of Freeport, with whom John Addams was well acquainted, and his wife was a handsome, able woman. Suddenly John Addams realized that he was considering marriage with another man's wife. He was amazed and displeased with himself. But when he reached town, he was informed at the bank that 'William Haldeman had died in the night.' What if the thought of Mrs. Haldeman had been sent him for guidance? A year later he offered her marriage, and his offer was promptly accepted.


"The second Mrs. John Addams was beyond any doubt a remarkable person. She lived to be ninety-three years of age, and was still handsome . . . when she died. She awed her neighbors, though she never allured them.... She was a skilled musician, giving lessons to Freeport aspirants. She was a constant reader, even of novels, which in her day and neighborhood were thought by most good people to be dangerous. But she did not confine her reading to novels; she was fond of reading plays aloud to her family, and as her son George and her stepdaughter Jane grew a little older she would gather them both round the livingroom table on many an evening, and read Shakespeare, taking the characters turn about. Once in a while even John Addams was induced to join in this reading-circle, but usually it was confined to Mrs. Addams, Jane, and George. Later at Hull-House it was the memory of these many evenings of reading aloud that led Jane Addams to put such emphasis on similar 'reading-clubs' for the neighbors. The stepmother played the guitar too, and sang endless songs from Tom Moore, whose lyrics she knew by heart, as well as many others. She was what in those days was called 'accomplished.'


"Mrs. Addams was fond of society; even at ninety an amusing talker when she chose to be; and in the early days after her second marriage she was determined to have more society than Cedarville afforded. She was not only as Mrs. John H. Addams a personage in that section of Illinois, but she knew herself to be a personage in her own right: well educated, witty, high-spirited, and rich. She meant not to remain in Cedarville. But she encountered a quiet will even stronger than her own. Not only did the family remain in Cedarville, but in 1870, two years after his second marriage, John H. Addams declined further renomination to the state senate. In the preceding session his new wife had gone with him to Springfield as a matter of course, and there had been social wars and rumors of wars, of course in a mild way, but disturbing to the senator's mind. He never gave this as his reason for refusing further renomination, but his wife never had any doubt that it was his reason, and nagged him about it in consequence for years.


"In all minor matters Mrs. Addams had her own way. Mary, the oldest sister, who had managed the household since she was seventeen, quietly withdrew to Rockford Seminary, where she took lessons on the piano and in china-painting for a while, and then married la] Presbyterian minister. . . . Alice, too, after a year or so, was sent to Rockford to school. Jane only remained at home, under her stepmother's domination.


"It was not a harsh domination, in itself. The little girl and her stepmother were fond of one another, and allowing for their difference in ages, had many of the same tastes.... The second Mrs. Addams brought with her to Cedarville her two sons, Harry and George Haldeman. Harry was eighteen, but George was only seven, six months younger than Jane. Eight years later Harry Haldeman married Alice Addams, after a tempestuous season in which the stepbrother and stepsister, violently in love, were vigorously opposed by the parents of both. Strong-willed Alice carried it through, though not until the very last moment was she sure that her father would attend the wedding.... Harry Haldeman did not much affect Jane's life. He was as cynical as she was the reverse....


"But the younger brother, George, was, after her father, the devotion of Jane's girlhood, as they grew up together. Later he wished to marry her, although he resented her social ideals, which he regarded as vague, and he laughed at her sociological inquiries. In time, from concentration on study, particularly biological research at Johns Hopkins, he had a nervous breakdown from which he never fully recovered. But for nine years, from the time they were eight years old until they were seventeen, when she went away to Rockford Seminary and he to Beloit College, they were inseparable.... Whenever Jane Addams wrote or spoke of those nine years, she used always the pronoun 'we,' and it meant always 'Jennie and George.' "


The second Mrs. Addams persistently urged Jane to marry George, and Jane just as persistently refused: "Many years afterward, when both George and his mother were dead, one summer on the coast of Maine, Jane Addams used to sit occasionally in those circles which, with their hands resting on the table, await the rappings that follow, if any of the company are 'psychic,' and a believer in the 'spirits' once informed Jane Addams that she was psychic to a high degree. At any rate, after a moment or two of silence the table would begin to rap; invariably the first raps would indicate that Jane Addams was being addressed; and she would remark, half whimsically and half in boredom, 'Oh, it's my stepmother, of course, it always is. Now she will be reproaching me again for not having married George.' And the table would inquire with some petulance, 'How long are you going to keep on with that philanthropic nonsense?' "

 From Fishwick, Marshall W. Illustrious American: Jane Addams. Pp. 18-19. Morristown, NJ: Silver Burdett Company, 1968.


The Start of a Midwestern Flowering

In 1877 a shy self-contained young girl aged seventeen left her home in Cedarville to get a college education and prepare herself for her lifework. Jane Addams would have preferred to go to far-off Massachusetts to attend Smith College, where she had been accepted, but her father decided she should follow in the footsteps of three older sisters who had gone to Rockford Female Seminary, thirty miles to the southeast in neighboring Winnebago County. John Addams was now on this institution's governing board; he liked the idea of Jane's being close by where he could "keep an eye on her." Later on, he promised, she could go to Europe, see the things deemed proper for ladies in Victorian days, and widen her experiences. But the diversity that Jane had read about she would not yet know personally. Instead, hers would be the tight little world of a strongly religious boarding school. Showing some of her father's stoicism, Jane appraised the situation, accepted the decision, and packed her bags.

Even in the last quarter of the nineteenth century it was unusual for girls to go on to higher education. A woman's place was in the home, so far as most middle-class Americans were concerned. Cooking, sewing, weaving, and childrearing were their proper areas of interest. That John Addams had both the desire and the means to educate four daughters made his a truly exceptional family. He sensed, quite accurately, that education was becoming a critical factor in post-Civil War America. Between 1860 and 1880 over five hundred high schools were established in the United States, thereby creating thousands of teaching jobs for college graduates. The "schoolmarm" was already a stereotype in American society, but an increasing number of young men now joined her in the classroom. The development of a better psychology of education, with new methods, new subjects, and new textbooks, made teaching an intellectual challenge and a personal fulfillment. By 1870, male teachers were prominent in the school system.

An 1873 ruling handed down by the Michigan Supreme Court in the Kalamazoo case gave communities the right to tax themselves for the maintenance of secondary schools, thus starting a new era in the Midwest. That same year, St. Louis opened the first public-school kindergarten; the experiment proved so successful that it spread across the country. Higher education also underwent a transformation during Jane Addams' youth. Older universities were reorganized by famous educators like Harvard's Charles W. Eliot, who introduced electives, allowing undergraduates wide freedom to choose the subjects they preferred instead of being compelled to take rigidly prescribed courses. New institutions sprang up, the most celebrated being Johns Hopkins, a purely graduate school based on ideas imported from Germany. (Woodrow Wilson took his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins in 1885.) Booker T. Washington founded Tuskegee Institute, providing Negro students with more opportunities to acquire learning. Rockford Female Seminary was only one of the many women's colleges that flourished across the land.

The federal government provided assistance. The United States Office of Education served as a clearinghouse for educational problems of cities and states. Land-grant colleges had already been established under the Morrill Act of 1862. They expanded their agricultural research and experiment stations with federal money appropriated under the Hatch Act of 1887--a boon to the Middle West from which Jane Addams came. Meanwhile, many private citizens were taking an interest in one major field with which Jane would have much to do later on--adult education. Lecturers addressed adult audiences at Chautauqua, New York, for the first time in 1874, and the word "Chautauqua" soon entered the language as a synonym for this type of lyceum.

Three years after Jane received her diploma at Rockford, John Dewey took his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins. He would go on to champion a pragmatic philosophy called "instrumentalism" in which ideas are treated as instruments for probing and changing reality, and are retained, revised, or discarded according to whether they work or not. He would revolutionize education by insisting that the classroom must be integrated into the social background, so that American children may learn at school how to be worthy citizens of their democratic society. The importance of John Dewey for Jane was this: His philosophy influenced her practice more than any other.

Change was in the air in the 1870's and 1880's. This was an extremely creative and expansive period for American education.


The Rockford Female Seminary

Leaving home with her father one sunny September morning, Jane went due south to Freeport, then took the main road east to Rockford. The ripened grain was golden in the fields; she felt close to this land that she would always think of as her own. Groves of fine elms and oaks could be seen on either side, surrounded by beds of colorful prairie flowers. That night they reached Rockford, founded in 1834 mainly by New Englanders. Named for the shallow rock-bottomed ford used by the Galena-Chicago stagecoach line before any settlement existed there, Rockford was known as "The Forest City."

John Addams pointed out the local landmarks, such as the railroad station. In 1852 the Chicago and Galena Union Railroad had reached Rockford, and the town had been growing ever since. John H. Manny's reaper factory, founded in 1853, was considered a rival of Cyrus McCormick's in Chicago. Rockford's hosiery business, begun in 1870, was booming. The Winnebago Court House, built on the public square facing West State Street, had provided one of Illinois's tragic news events of the previous spring. On May 11, 1877, the partly constructed dome collapsed, killing nine workmen and fatally injuring two others. The main part of the building, in yellow limestone of French rococo design, was finished in 1878.

But the place that interested Jane most was the Rockford Female Seminary on College Avenue. It had been chartered in 1847, making this one of the earliest institutions for female education in the Mississippi Valley; by 1851, the women of Rockford had contributed $1,000 for the land, and the men $3,500 for a building. The cornerstone of Colonial-style Middle Hall was laid in 1852, the same year Miss Anna P. Sill was elected principal, and the first seven graduates received their certificates in 1854.

Conscious of the heroic sacrifices that made the school possible, the students applied themselves with a seriousness and intensity that blanketed the campus. Rockford's chief purpose, as stated in the catalogue, was "to develop moral and religious character in accordance with right principles, that it may send out cultivated Christian women in the various fields of usefulness." Spearheading this passionate campaign was Miss Sill, who dominated the seminary and stayed at Rockford as principal for thirty-two years. Tenacious as a bulldog, she did not give up an idea once she had got her teeth into it. From the day of her arrival, she interpreted "various fields of usefulness" to mean service to God, particularly in the field of missions. Jane clashed with this stern mentor on more than one occasion. "She does everything for love of God alone," Jane wrote of Miss Sill in her diary, "and I do not like that."

For her part, Jane defined the phrase "various fields of usefulness" in a broader sense, groping toward the principle that service to man, whether religious or not, must enter into any sound criterion of right action as far as she was concerned. Her father had taught her to think for herself, and she did so--respecting the opinions of others, but not accepting them unless she felt personally committed. In a real sense, Jane differed not only with Miss Sill but also with the original purposes of Rockford Seminary. Jane always felt that her moral development during her school years was significant precisely because she had the moral stamina to stand up to her strong-minded superiors there. Her efforts helped to transform Rockford from a seminary to a college.

This side of her character, of course, did not reveal itself on the day of her arrival. Diminutive in size, and away from home for the first time, she suffered the qualms of most freshmen settling into college life. A classmate, Eleanor Frothingham Haworth, remembered that "on September 23, 1877 . . . I met a little girl with very pretty light-brown hair, pushed back, and particularly direct, earnest eyes; but she looked as I know I was feeling, very trembly inside. She said her name was Laura Jane Addams, and she had just come from Cedarville.... I have always wondered if I looked as young and worried as Jane did that day."

Even a careful observer would not have known during Jane's first weeks at Rockford that so small and timid a girl had such a bold mind and spirit of her own. Only five feet three inches tall, and weighing a mere ninety-five pounds, Jane no longer carried her head on one side, though her spine still gave her trouble. She had large blue eyes, well-defined thin features, and a light complexion. Even though she was enjoying better health than she had previously known, she seemed nothing more than an attractive but not outstanding newcomer. Before long, the picture changed. The rest of the undergraduates learned that Jane Addams was a very special person who generated her own type of electricity. She would never lose the meditative expression of her childhood, but a decided tilt of her chin showed a new firmness--and she was always ready for a debate or for a frolic. Since she had been accustomed to serious and amusing talks with her father for so long, she could meet her classmates on more than even terms.

Plain food, simple living, and hard work prevailed at Rockford. All of the girls made their own fires, and kept their rooms in order. When their daily lessons were done, they talked endlessly in the evenings about philosophies of life, social problems, and the question of whether women ought to have the vote (which they answered with a resounding affirmative). The lively, consuming interest that Jane and her close friends had in ideas was mirrored in the motto from Aristotle they put up on the wall of the chess-club room: "There is the same difference between the learned and the unlearned as there is between the living and the dead."


Piety, labor, reason

Tiny, independent Jane Addams read the prescribed books avidly, not just to obtain passing grades from her instructors, but because she wanted to understand literature, philosophy, and science. Her deep concern for religion, however, did not include a missionary vocation, and she refused to pretend otherwise. She dryly noted in her diary: "The desirability of Turkey as a field for missionary labor was enticingly put before me." Members of the student body and the faculty, and even the zealous Miss Sill, argued with her unavailingly. She was caught by the ideal of "mingled learning, piety, and physical labor," but "much given to a sort of rationalism." In short, she was determined to find her own way. Close by was one who would mean more to her than any sermon, book, or teacher at Rockford: another freshman who arrived in the fall of 1877, Ellen Gates Starr from Durand, Illinois. Ellen's consuming interest in the arts and the beauty of form set her off from most of the other students; it also struck a responsive chord in Jane Addams that made them friends not only for the year but for life. This was the same Ellen Starr who would become the co-founder, with Jane, of Hull-House more than a decade later.

Where Ellen found her natural outlet in art, and wrote more about medieval and Renaissance Florence than about biblical times in the city of Jerusalem, Jane seemed to be most stimulated by science. She joined the school's newly formed science club and set out to prove several theories by tests of her own. She placed glasses of water containing wheat and corn grains near the stove in her room and kept careful records of their germination. Biology, the favorite subject of her stepbrother George (now studying at nearby Beloit College), introduced her to the theory of evolution, set forth in Charles Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859.

Darwinism, Jane learned, involved two major points, the first of which concerned organic development. Darwin held that new forms of animal life develop out of old ones by a slow, gradual process over an immense span of time. Therefore, the species we know have not always existed--for example, the horse is descended from a dog-sized creature that lived eons ago.

Since Darwin applied his theory to man no less than to the lower orders, and said that human beings are descended from nonhuman ancestors, he provoked a heated controversy between scientists, who accepted evolution, and theologians, who felt that he was impugning the biblical account of Adam and Eve. Echoes of this controversy reached Rockford Female Seminary, where Jane Addams found that it could be exciting to speculate about evolution in a school where the prevailing sentiment of most teachers was all in favor of a fundamentalist theology, which held that the world was quite literally created in seven days and that Jonah quite literally survived in the belly of a whale. She accepted evolution because she believed the theory to be true. Besides, she derived consolation from the interrelation of all living things, with man as nature's crowning achievement.

But she rejected Darwin's second point, at least in the form put forward by some Darwinians with regard to society and the state. Trying to explain the driving force behind evolution, Darwin argued that since all creatures have to struggle with their enemies and their environment, those born with helpful variations tend to survive. Thus, white foxes survive in the snowy Arctic because they are nearly invisible to their prey; black ones, on the contrary, die out for want of this protective coloring. In short, life develops through natural selection. The English philosopher Herbert Spencer coined the phrase "survival of the fittest," and used it as an excuse for denouncing social-welfare legislation, which he considered a violation of the natural law governing the universe. While Jane Addams was at Rockford, William Graham Sumner of Yale University was teaching his students Social Darwinism of an uncompromising kind and ridiculing the idea that any government has a right to mitigate the struggle for advancement, in which some people succeed and others fail. On the basis of what he took to be hard evolutionary science, Sumner defended laissez-faire to the hilt. He persuaded many Americans--but not Jane Addams--to accept Social Darwinism. The principle of allowing the fittest to survive, and the rest to go under, contradicted her whole approach to social, political, and economic problems.

Jane read widely in the sciences during her undergraduate days at Rockford, supplementing what was available in the meager school library with volumes borrowed from her brother-in-law Harry Haldeman on her visits home. (Harry, stepbrother of Jane and Alice before he married the latter, was to become "a clever and daring surgeon.") She was attracted to the scientific method: verification of facts by using laboratory techniques. Although not a researcher by temperament or inclination, she "pressed plants, stuffed birds, and pounded rocks" during summer vacations, "in some vague belief that I was approximating the new method." She was already concerned about the place of women in American life, a concern that would later carry her into the suffragette movement. In an essay she wrote in 1879, she asserted that a woman could grow accurate and intelligent only "through the thorough study of at least one branch of physical science, for only with eyes thus accustomed to the search for truth can she detect all self-deceit and dogmatism." So she urged girls to take up science for its training in hard, precise, objective thought. So that others might have access to more source material than she had had, Jane later presented to the Rockford Seminary library, in the first gift she made after coming into her share of her father's estate, a thousand dollars to be spent for books on the sciences. As an undergraduate, her vocational goal was to study medicine, take her M.D., and devote her life to the treatment of pain and disease.

As her years at Rockford passed, Jane Addams gained in confidence, authority, and influence--and caused her fellow classmate Eleanor Haworth to form a new opinion: "I do remember that whenever difficulties with Miss Sill came up for settlement, most of us 'let Jane do it' in presenting them. Miss Sill... tried regimentation, and there was opposition to it. We were quite willing to work hard, but we were sometimes on tiptoe with the desire to work in our own way. In our class in Moral Philosophy, Jane insisted on giving the name 'Don Quixote' the Spanish pronunciation. We backed her up with laughter at Miss Sill's 'Don Quix-ott.' Miss Sill suspended the whole class for two days, then took us back without comment. At chapel exercises that day Jane took my hymnal and wrote on the fly-leaf:

'Life's a burden, bear it.
Life's a duty, dare it.
Life's a thorn-crown? Wear it.
And spurn to be a coward.'

She was a rebel but she 'spurned to be a coward."'

Such leadership brought Jane a whole series of honors--class president, editor of the college's magazine, and its leading public speaker. A marriage proposal came from Rollin Salisbury, senior class president of Beloit College. Jane said "No." Salisbury took the rejection very personally; he remained a bachelor, and years later, while teaching at the University of Chicago, he never called on Jane Addams at nearby Hull-House.


"Be sincere and don't fuss"

Nothing shows her earnest and agonizing efforts to "find her way," especially in religious matters, so clearly as the letters she wrote to her intimate chum, Ellen Gates Starr. "Every time I talk about religion, I vow a great vow never to do it again," Jane confessed after struggling with theological abstractions. "My creed is ever be sincere and don't fuss." But fuss she did, for months on end, in a vain effort to come to terms with her inner doubts. "If I could fix myself with my relations to God and the universe, and so be in perfect harmony with nature and deity, I could use my faculties and energy so much better and could do almost anything." If, if, if--what a big little word that can be!

So Jane Addams kept searching, questioning, wondering. She tried "an awful experiment"-- giving up all prayer for three months, and--to her great surprise--"feeling no worse for it." Ellen implored her to go back to her old ways, "for no good can come of such experiments, and harm might." Jane could not turn from her doubting. For Ellen's benefit, she ended up quoting not the Bible, but a favorite quatrain from Matthew Arnold:


"Unaffrighted by the silence round them
Undistracted by the sights they see
These demand not that the things without them
Yield them love, amusement, sympathy."

Jane was trying to place the more speculative religious questions on the foundation of rationalism and thus somehow manage to root their abstractions in reality. Such an intellectual effort in her college days indicated that she could not rest content with her father's individualistic conception of the "inner light," and would continue to seek a corporate religion--a church--that united its adherents through a believable theology and realistic principles of moral conduct. If the "inner light" of John Addams led him unswervingly into righteous social action, Jane Addams felt the need of a more definite guide to keep her on the straight and narrow amid the ethical dilemmas of the daily round.

Ranging freely through the world of ideas during her Rockford period, Jane took delight in the masters of English literature who had something to say about the individual confronting the universe. The poetry of Robert Browning reinforced her natural optimism when she came across lines like this: "God's in His heaven/All's right with the world." Thomas Carlyle inspired her with the thought that men should accept stern reality as essentially good despite its attendant evils, that they should utter the "Everlasting Yea" to life. John Ruskin taught her that optimism did not imply satisfaction with, or acceptance of, the human condition in its institutional manifestations. Ruskin set his face against the iniquities of the British industrial system, denounced progress for the few at the expense of the many, laid bare the fallacies of laissez-faire competition, and demanded that economic values be subordinated to human values. Matthew Arnold gave her the ideal of culture--"sweetness and light"--as something to help raise the masses.

Jane was so intrigued with Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater that she and four classmates slipped off to swallow doses of the drug--which was much easier to obtain without a doctor's prescription in that period than it is nowadays. They expected to enjoy the wonderful experiences described by De Quincey, "but," Jane recalled, "no mental reorientation took place, and the suspense and excitement did not even permit us to grow sleepy." The young teacher whom they had taken into their confidence was alarmed; she removed their De Quincey and the remaining opium, administered an emetic to each of the five girls, and ordered them to appear at worship after supper "whether you are able to or not!" Thus ended one adventurous nineteenth- century student's scheme of using a drug to create an artificial dreamworld.


Liking to be a winner

Another outlet for Jane's considerable energy was debating. In her last spring at Rockford she was chosen to represent the school at the Interstate Oratorical Contest. A young man from Illinois College, William Jennings Bryan (born, like Jane, in the year 1860), was there too. He would go on to become one of the golden voices of his generation. But on this occasion, he did not win the contest. Neither did Jane Addams, who ended up "exactly in the dreary middle." Throughout her life, she liked to be a winner. But she had the courage to know when she had lost, and the humor to allow her to see even a loss in perspective.

On a bright June morning in 1881, buggies, wagons, and saddle horses converged on Rockford Seminary. It was commencement time, and the three brick buildings were crowded with students and visitors. As the local newspaper chose to express it: "Seventeen Buds of Blooming Promise make their bow to Alma Mater and their debut before the world." Parents and friends of the graduates thronged East Hall for the commencement exercises at which the undisputed star was Jane Addams, class president and, as valedictorian, spokesman for the other girls who had gone through Rockford with her. She was an engaging figure as she stood at the rostrum discoursing on the rights and obligations of women in human affairs. Her address reflected high idealism, moral fervor, undeviating optimism, and faith in the future--and she would never contradict what she said that day.

The applause died away, the ceremonies ended, carriages wheeled out of the seminary grounds bearing the girls back to their homes, and Jane Addams knew that she had reached a peak of achievement and acclaim. She did not know that a dark valley of frustration and doubt lay just over the horizon.



While still in their teens, Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr began a friendship that would last the rest of their lives. But the co-founders of Hull-House always had basic differences in their personalities. In a letter to Ellen dated June 7, 1889, just before starting their joint settlement project, Jane wrote: "Dearest: I think I owe you an apology.... I gave $25.00 yesterday to Beloit College. I must stop doing things of that kind and save for our affair. I don't know why I am so weak and need you to keep me from my weakness. My greatest self-denial will come in my refusing to give to other things, and you must make yourself my bugbear for that. I need you, dear one, more than you can realize."

Linn's biography of Jane does much to explain the dissimilar, yet complementary, talents of the two: "Ellen Gates Starr and Jane Addams were freshmen together in Rockford. [Then Ellen] left college to teach . . . in Chicago, at the famous old Kirkland School for Girls, fashionable but strenuously educational too.... Ellen Starr taught English and 'art'-- not drawing and painting, but appreciation.... [When] Jane confided to Ellen Starr her scheme for a house among the poor people somewhere in Chicago, Ellen embraced it at once, with that vivacity, sincerity and confidence ... always characteristic of her....

"A strange thing about Ellen Starr was that as she grew older she grew more, not less, intense. Her major interests at Hull-House at first were what they had been at the Kirkland School--in teaching. She organized reading classes and clubs; drew the young people by scores into the studio of the Butler Gallery for the study of painting; began at the grammar. school nearest to Hull-House that scheme for giving the public-schoolchildren of Chicago a chance to see good pictures every day, which has since developed so splendidly into the Public School Art Society; and finally studied and taught bookbinding as a fine art in a way that made it literally fashionable. It was partly through Ellen Starr's connection with the Kirkland School too that in the early 'nineties so many young women of social prominence came to Hull- House.... She was aspirational, shining, and serene. But as time went on . . . her interest in the unionization of women became intense. She concerned herself directly with strikes.... She picketed. She harangued. . . . She became a member in good standing of the Socialist Party, and argued for its tenets with a sort of charming fierceness. Her quest for beauty, her dream of bringing beauty into even the ugliest and most miserable of the lives about her, did not cease, but it was accompanied by a more passionate quest, a more partisan longing, for social justice. She remained an artist, but she became a combatant.... She crusaded down dirty streets, and frail and gentle as she was in appearance, was no more daunted by policemen than she would have been by Saracens....

"No one ever forgot that she was a co-founder of Hull-House. On the other hand . . . the House . . . stood for tolerance, for opportunity, not for combat. . . . It was a City of Refuge, to whom might come all who. . . were oppressed by riches and responsibilities, as well as those who were oppressed by misery and by social theory. The only word upon the mat was 'Welcome,' the only motto over the entrance, 'May you find hope who enter here.' Miss Starr never doubted that tolerance was good, but was it not a good that interfered with the Best? There arose a militancy in her that found tolerance difficult.... In the end she satisfied that militancy, that desire for self- discipline, in the Church. She became a Roman Catholic. And with that submission of herself to authority, her old serenity returned."

Miss Starr left Hull-House after over forty years of residence and entered a Benedictine convent. She died in 1940.

"Significant Relationship" from Fishwick, Marshall W. Illustrious American: Jane Addams.Pp. 29. Morristown, NJ: Silver Burdett Company, 1968. (This portion was edited to maintain continuity.)

Remainder from Fishwick, Marshall W. Illustrious American: Jane Addams. Pp. 21-30. Morristown, NJ: Silver Burdett Company, 1968.


Woman Caught Between Two Worlds

For Jane Addams the spring of 1881 was bright and golden, a time for dreaming. But the summer that followed was a nightmare. With June came the thrill of graduation, the flurry of farewells, the pledges to "remember you always." Then back to Cedarville, snug and secure, where her idolized father and the others sustained her. Like her stepbrother George, Jane talked of going east in September to further her education by graduate study, he in biology and she in medicine. Whenever there was a dull moment, Mrs. Addams arranged a gay party and played on the guitar to add to the merriment. Life seemed to be singing.

Suddenly the singing stopped. On July 2, 1881, the telegraph lines crackled with news from Washington: President James A. Garfield had been shot, and mortally wounded, by a deranged, disappointed office-seeker. Jane gasped: The assassin, Charles J. Guiteau, was the son of a man who worked in her father's bank in Freeport. His half-sister, Flora, was a frequent family guest in Cedarville. Angry, venomous charges swept the country, centering on the Guiteaus. Jane, needless to say, had no thought of abandoning her friends because of public opinion; this was their hour of greatest need, and she did what she could to strengthen the Guiteaus to meet an ordeal rendered all the more pathetic by the insanity of the assassin. When he went to the gallows for the crime, she was with Flora, trying to take her friend's mind off the terrible events that would place a stigma on the name Guiteau forever.

Partly to get his family away for a vacation, partly to inspect mining properties in Michigan and Wisconsin, John Addams planned a trip that August. As always, Jane was glad to be at his side. The brisk northern air and the spicy pine trees of Michigan delighted her. She leaned out of the carriage to buy blood-red raspberries, the sweetest she had ever tasted. A few days later she watched boats, laden with silver cargoes of fish, skimming over blue Lake Superior. Her father's enthusiasm for the copper mines he had come to see delighted her, too. Suddenly one day, Mr. Addams doubled up with pain. "We must take him home at once," his wife said. They got as far as Green Bay, Wisconsin. There, in a hotel, his inflamed appendix ruptured and John Addams died. Vigorous and capable as ever at fifty-nine, he had been struck down in a few hours. The silent, stunned family brought the body home for burial. There, in the family cemetery near the creek in Cedarville, they laid him to rest next to his first wife Sarah and the four children who had died in infancy.


Pain like a knife

John Addams left behind an estate valued at $350,000--quite a fortune for his time and place. Neither his widow nor his children would have to worry about maintaining the station in life to which he had accustomed them. The most prominent family in Cedarville, they could live at their ease if they wanted to, or indulge their taste for travel without worrying about the cost. No matter. It was all dust and ashes as far as Jane was concerned. Her whole existence had been shaken by the loss of her father, the center of her thoughts for so many years. There was a vacuum, a void in her life that no other interest, for the time being at least, could fill. To her friend Ellen Starr she wrote shortly after the funeral: "The greatest sorrow that can ever come to me has passed, and I hope it is only a question of time until I get my moral purposes straightened." Actually, it took years rather than months before she regained her equilibrium.

Meanwhile, she often seemed hardly to know what was said or done around her. John Addams, the father-god, was dead, and Tennyson's term for one type of male-female relationship--"he for God only, she for God in him"--had some application here, as it may have had for an even higher percentage of men and women in that Victorian era than in most other periods of human history. No child is ever fully prepared for the effects of a beloved parent's death--but the growing independence Jane had shown in her Rockford days must have made at least some of her family and friends wonder why she did not demonstrate a greater strength and resilience in coping with this crisis. Still, life goes on, and Jane knew she must come to terms with it. She had already been accepted by the Women's Medical College in Philadelphia. Since George was going east for his graduate studies at Johns Hopkins, she would have to pull herself together and go east with him. Because they too felt cut off from what had been their life in Cedarville, Mrs. Addams and Jane's older sister Alice also decided to visit Philadelphia. The shutters of the Addams house were closed. The piano was covered. The fires were put out for the first time since John and Sarah Addams had moved in a generation earlier. Somehow the very heart of the family had stopped beating when the patriarch was buried six feet under the black soil across the creek.

The only solution, Jane sensed, was constant work, which would wipe out the memory of that dark, silent house. Her studies went well enough, but her health began to fail. In the spring she passed her examinations; but pain cut into her back like a knife, and her nerves seemed close to breaking. For tortured days and nights she lay pale and helpless in a Philadelphia hospital. Her brother-in-law, Dr. Harry Haldeman now, visited her and called in a noted back specialist. "She'll not live a year," this doctor concluded. "You don't know her," Dr. Haldeman replied. "She'll outlive us all."

Jane improved enough to make the journey home, in great pain, and even to return to Rockford. The seminary had been transformed into a college, and could in June 1882 grant her the B.A. degree she had actually earned a year earlier. Back home, she collapsed. Now she moved west, to Mitchelville, Iowa, where Dr. Haldeman was practicing. He decided that she had an abscess on her spine that only surgery would relieve. The operation was successful, although it was so extensive that it left Jane incapable of bearing children. After the operation she had to lie on a board for six months, then wear a heavy steel and whalebone brace. Fitting down to her hips, it acted as a crutch under her arms and took the pressure off her spine. No one can say what pain and despair the gallant young girl of twenty-two endured during this phase of her life, and for years afterward.

Again Mrs. Addams came through with a plan: Why not go to Europe for a complete change? Jane was enthusiastic. In 1883, Jane, her stepmother, and a party of six others went aboard the Cunard liner Servia headed for the Old World from which the Addams had migrated two centuries earlier. For an educated American in the 1880's, a journey to Europe was a kind of pilgrimage. Ancestral shrines, memories, and roots were here; so were the world's leading universities, academies, and cities. Europe's wealth, power, and prestige were unmatched. Politically independent for a century, Americans still suffered from a strong sense of cultural inferiority. "In truth," Matthew Arnold proclaimed in his haughty report of a visit made to America the same year Jane Addams was first visiting Europe, "everything is against distinction in America, and against the sense of elevation to be gained through admiring and respecting it." The United States had no castles, no sages, no medieval knights. If American writers like Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman considered this an advantage, visitors like Harriet Martineau, Charles Dickens, and Mrs. Trollope often sneered at American newness and crudity. "Their cities are all provincial towns," Miss Martineau wrote. "It would be well if they loved the real less and the ideal more," Dickens complained. "I was quite oppressed by the serious and melancholy air of business." To escape this "provincialism" and taint of business, thousands of Americans flocked annually to Europe, tracking down "culture" in packs. They still do.


Fiction close to fact

Of all European nations, Americans then seemed to feel most in awe of Great Britain, at her imperial peak in the late nineteenth century. When Queen Victoria's government got effective control of the Suez Canal (1875) and she became Empress of India (1876), one could truly say that Britannia ruled the waves. Almost a quarter of the globe's land surface was colored red on maps, to designate British control or allegiance; the sun never set on British soil. Her economic, political, and cultural influence permeated the world--a fact that the British had no notion of keeping secret.

No one was more fascinated by the Anglo-American connections than the novelist Henry James, born in America in 1843 but through choice a resident of England after 1876. He eventually became a British subject. By coincidence, James was also on the Servia when it sailed for Europe on August 22, 1883, and he sat at the same table with Jane Addams in the dining room. "He is very English in appearance," she wrote, "but not especially keen or intellectual." This remains perhaps the most astonishing judgment ever passed on Henry James, who was actually among the most "intellectual" men of his generation. But, apart from his Anglified reserve, which made it difficult for him to converse easily with strangers, the truth is that he and Jane could hardly have understood one another. James agreed with those Europeans who considered Americans crude, commercial-minded, and brash. Unsympathetic to the booming democracy that inspired Walt Whitman and Mark Twain, he found his ideal in the British aristocratic tradition that nurtured ladies and gentlemen of refined manners and established social position. While Jane Addams wanted to work out her destiny in her homeland, Henry James simply turned his back on it. She was an activist bent on changing society; he was a detached observer of the passing scene. Both became cosmopolitans interested in the people of foreign lands, but Jane would mingle with the poverty-stricken and downtrodden, while James preferred to circulate through the salons and country houses of the upper classes.

Still, Jane might have had a better opinion of her dining room acquaintance if she had read his latest novel, The Portrait of a Lady, a beautifully written study of a young American girl visiting Europe for the first time. James described, with a wealth of subtle nuances, the experiences of Isabel Archer entering an old, sophisticated society quite willing to take advantage of her wide-eyed American innocence--something that Jane might have appreciated during her own European experience. Like Isabel, she saw fine country houses similar to the Gardencourt of James's novel, and she brushed against women who resembled his insidious Madame Merle. Unlike Isabel, however, Jane noticed how the other half lived--the masses, the larger segment of what Benjamin Disraeli called "the two nations" of the rich and the poor.

Jane Addams and Henry James went their separate ways after this one brief encounter on the high seas. It is a beguiling thought that two such different human beings ever got within speaking distance of one another.

Literary and social historians are also tempted to compare and contrast Jane Addams' life with that of her brilliant contemporary, Emily Dickinson, who was residing quietly in New England while Jane was seeking new experiences in Europe. Both were surcharged with nervous energy, baffled by the problems of finding a role for themselves in nineteenth-century America, given to introspection and self-analysis. The two did have somewhat different attitudes toward their fathers, for while Jane cherished a deep devotion to her father, Emily was sometimes quite skeptical about hers--as well as about the busy male world where her father played an active part. Emily heartily disliked people who "care about careers" to the exclusion of all other possible interests, and her attacks on a stuffy deity are accompanied by attacks on stuffy men. However, like the New England poetess, Jane Addams saw her life close twice--once when her father died, and again as she herself approached death. Both had a terror they "could tell to none," and came to know that "the soul selects its own society." Their solutions were quite different. Emily's surcease was poetry written in relative solitude; Jane had to get out into the world of action to find satisfaction. But are there any women of the present generation who tell us so much about our era as these two dedicated spinsters tell us about theirs?

Isabel Archer lived only in Henry James's novel; Emily Dickinson in distant Amherst, Massachusetts. The woman who had a direct effect on Jane's life, day after day, was Anna Haldeman Addams--but the effect was too often negative to please either. While they agreed on the importance of refinement, grace, and style in personal deportment, Jane refused to regard these passports to high society as the be-all and end-all that Mrs. Addams made of them. Jane's unwillingness to marry George Haldeman, or anyone else, remained as a barrier between stepdaughter and stepmother, for the latter could not sympathize with the determination of a girl in her early twenties to have a career rather than a husband. The quiet, intense conflict between the two was yet another burden for the frail, still-convalescent Jane.


Social vs. aesthetic reactions

During these months of mental struggle, physical pain was Jane's constant companion. But she would have nothing to do with self-pity or pampering. "Failure through ill health is just as culpable and miserable as failure through any other cause," she observed. In Europe, she would go to all the places she was supposed to go, see all the things she was supposed to see, learn whatever she was supposed to learn.

No one was more excited than twenty-three-year-old Jane Addams when she got her first glimpse of Europe--off Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland, on August 29, 1883. Yet as early as the following day she began to find out what European "aristocracy" meant. The owner of nearby Blarney Castle, she learned, had an income of --13,000 (then over $60,000) a year. Men who worked for him got six shillings (then about $1.50) a week. Jane remembered this gross inequality as well as the striking beauty of the castle. She had hardly set foot in the Old World before the gulf between her social and aesthetic reactions began to emerge.

The next two months were devoted to "doing" the British Isles. In Dublin the Addams group bought art books. They went on to Edinburgh, "an enchanted city, filled with heroic associations." Stratford-on-Avon conjured up all the Shakespearean memories. But the traumatic experience that was to shape her whole thinking occurred farther south, in London. One Saturday evening, soon after their arrival in the capital, the American visitors went into the slums at Mile End Road. Jane "saw for the first time the overcrowded quarters of a great city at midnight." It was a sight that left her stunned and in disbelief. She had never imagined that such wretched, haggard people existed as the men, women, and children who pressed forward in a turbulent mob at the Saturday-night food auction, bidding frantically for vegetables that no member of the upper classes would have considered fit to eat. She noticed, too, that, as the auctioneer hawked his unsavory wares, skullduggery mingled with sorrow among the buyers. Since many an individual had to trade his last poor coin for a mildewed cabbage or wilted bunch of carrots, or else go without his Sunday meal, each tried to jostle his way to the front, and to outmaneuver the others before the last remnant of food was gone.

So this was glorious London, admired capital of a cultured nation and worldwide empire! The stinking vegetables, pinched faces, and raucous shouts were bad enough, but the myriad of clutching hands would haunt Jane more than anything else. From that day forward, she could never see a number of outstretched hands without being carried back to the horror of Mile End Road.

Not the fact that she had been unable to do anything, but that no one expected her to do anything, was the shock from which Jane Addams never fully recovered. As in London, so in every other city she visited, she found that an endless panorama of hideous human need and suffering lurked just behind the shining aristocratic exterior. On one occasion, in Saxe-Coburg, Germany, Jane tried to do something about conditions in a brewery. From her hotel she saw a line of working women carrying wooden tanks full of hot brew. Leaning forward under their back-breaking loads, they sometimes spilled scalding hot liquid on their bodies; large scars showed how many times such accidents had happened before. Stung into action, Jane found the brewery owner and complained. He received her with "exasperating indifference," evidently puzzled as to why anyone should object to the sight. The incident was a lesson in the indifference of employers to the suffering of their employees.


Little to dance about

On and on the Grand Tour went, lasting twenty-one months, and carrying Jane from northern Europe to Austria, Italy, Greece, back to Italy again, Switzerland, Britain, Berlin, and finally Paris. Jane looked at dozens of cathedrals, hundreds of pictures, and innumerable lovely views; studied German, Italian, and French; filled notebooks with her impressions. Her stepmother wanted her to take dancing lessons in Paris, but Jane's back hurt too much for that. Her diaries show conclusively that Jane Addams found a great deal to think about --but little to dance about--in nineteenth-century Europe.

One central lesson dominated all others: Artistic and intellectual effort was futile when disconnected from the ultimate test of the conduct it inspired. Until the word was made flesh, what did it mean to the millions who never attended operas or visited museums? What had she learned about real life in the cloister called Rockford Female Seminary? The young woman who returned first to New York and then to Cedarville could not ignore these questions, and could not begin to find answers. She wished that life might be molded closer to the heart's desire, but she had no idea of how to do it, or even where she should begin.

A bad period of her life followed. Jane called it "the nadir of nervous depression and sense of maladjustment." The family moved to Baltimore, where George was studying at Johns Hopkins. Mrs. Addams spent much time trying to climb the social ladder, a game in which her stepdaughter had no interest whatever. Jane felt as if she were being stifled by the politeness and pretension all around her. Courses in archaeology and Italian history provided the only real stimulation she had.

Anxious for the corporate religion that had eluded her at Rockford, she was baptized a Presbyterian in the summer of 1885. But, because the dedication of this church's members, rather than its specific theological tenets, motivated her, she remained nonsectarian, and some years later transferred, with no feeling of discomfort, to the Congregational church near Hull-House. She joined these religious bodies, her nephew James Weber Linn claims, as she might have joined a labor union, "because she thought her membership would help out." She was always glad to cooperate with any religious group engaged in humanitarian social work.

"I wish I had had a call to foreign missions as some of the girls at Rockford had," Jane wrote to Ellen Starr, who was now a schoolteacher. "They were fortunate; they knew what they wanted to do." Out of college several years, well-read and traveled, what had she done? That question became more acute during a visit to Girard, Kansas, where part of the funds from her father's estate had been used to buy mortgages. This type of investment had never bothered her before. Now, touring one of the farms that contributed to her personal income, she suffered a rude awakening. The farmhouse was badly rundown. The farmer's wife, "a picture of despair" after years of work and sorrow, stood in the doorway. Dirty, ragged children, too young to comprehend their own misery, shrank shyly behind her. The yard was filthy, the pigs in the pen half starved. The whole place had "poverty" written over it as surely as the slums of London. Jane's conscience revolted. She withdrew her investment in order to register a practical protest against the system that so demoralized human beings.

Personal doubts and spiritual unrest accompanied her home from Kansas. She still had no fixed resolution about what to do with her life when, in December 1887, she again went on shipboard, headed for Europe to join Ellen Starr. Perhaps this time she would find the purpose and the meaning she craved. At twenty-seven, six years out of college, she had accomplished nothing of consequence and had lost any sense of continuity or pattern in life that she had begun to develop in her teens. On her second European journey she wryly noted "the difference in my age and dignity between this trip and the one before. Then I was Mademoiselle and Fraulein; now everywhere it is 'Madame' with the utmost respect."


Revelation at the bullring

From Southampton and Paris she traveled to Germany. At Ulm, the glorious cathedral rose before her eyes. What impressed her most, however, was not the aesthetic beauty that has enchanted visitors to the town since the Middle Ages, but the mingling of people represented in the statues, paintings, and stained-glass windows. Here in this medieval building were portrayals of Hebrew prophets and Greek philosophers; Martin Luther, father of the Reformation, took his place amid Catholic saints. All mankind seemed welcome and at home in Ulm Cathedral. It was something new in the experience of Jane Addams--a "cathedral of humanity" dedicated to brotherhood, understanding, unity, and spiritual aspiration. A thought began to tease her mind: Why not build a modern "cathedral of humanity" ? Surely so magnificent an ideal could not be dead, only waiting to be realized in a form that would meet contemporary needs? That thought became the cornerstone on which the edifice of her later life would be built .

Jane and Ellen Starr met in Munich, then went on to Rome. There Jane was ill for several weeks, and spent some time on the Riviera recuperating, after which she traveled to Madrid for Easter of 1888. Here the goal she had been seeking, and the idea she had been trying to formulate, would finally begin to clarify itself. Jane, like most tourists, was drawn to the spectacle of the bullfight. The others in her party, unable to stand it, left early; but Jane stayed, entranced by the "glories of the amphitheater." The bravery of the matadors reminded her of the trials of courageous men in past ages. This reverie, not the stark reality of the five dead bulls, held her. Finally leaving, and finding her friends waiting for her, she began, under their criticism, to mull over the incident. Suddenly she felt "tried and condemned"--for enjoying the violence, and for wasting her precious time on it.

Like a bolt, the realization of her inaction struck her speechless. She had been lulling her conscience with dreams, defending her continued idleness with self-righteous charges against others, and making some indefinite future reform a reason for going on with study and travel. "I had fallen into the meanest type of self-deception in making myself believe that all this was in preparation for great things to come," she confessed. In the stern terms of Christ's parable, she had been so busy pointing to the relatively small motes in others' eyes that she had not seen the relatively huge beam in her own eye. Such was her self-criticism outside the Madrid bullring.

From then on, she would act. The next morning she revealed to Ellen Starr a plan that had lingered in her mind for years, but had not begun to take any definite shape until her stay at Ulm. Why not rent a house in a city where many daily needs were urgent--where the battle for life was actually being fought--where one could try out the grand ideas learned in books and lectures by putting them to the ultimate test of the conduct they dictated or inspired? Why not do the truth? To Jane's astonishment and delight, Ellen Starr, the artist, understood precisely what she meant, and promised to join her in putting the new scheme into practice. The central principle on which the remainder of Jane Addams' long life would rest had been stated. Now she knew what she was seeking: ways and means of turning mere words into an inspiring, practical reality.

From Fishwick, Marshall W. Illustrious American: Jane Addams. Pp. 31-40. Morristown, NJ: Silver Burdett Company, 1968.


Jane Addams, Sociologist

The lack of documentation of Addams as a sociologist is due to a number of factors. Looking first at her own ideas, she was opposed to academic sociology, elitism, partriarchy, and intellectualism. Each of these belief systems is intrinsic to the assumptions of sociology as it was practiced after World War I. Although she considered herself a sociologist, she wanted the profession to develop in a radically different direction than it did.

Addams was the greatest woman sociologist of her day. The fact that she was female is vital, for sociology had a sex-segregated system. After World War I, these two tracks within the profession split into social work as female-dominated and sociology as male-dominated. Almost all the women trained in Chicago Sociology prior to 1918 were ultimately channeled into social work positions. Discrimination against hiring women in academic sociology departments was rampant. The major professional association, the American Sociological Society (ASS), limited women's participation in most of its offices and programs; and the social thought developed after 1918, especially at the University of Chicago, was dramatically patriarchal and opposed to Addams' vision. [16] An applied, professional component of sociology died when Addams' severance from sociology occurred, and it has never become a respected alternative to sociologists in the academy. [17] Other social sciences, like geography, economics, and history have developed more than one professional career line, but sociology failed to do this to any considerable extent.

Finally, despite the extensive scholarly and popular study of Addams' life, it is extremely difficult to trace her influence on sociological thought. Because many sociologists claim that she is not a sociologist while many social workers claim that she is a social worker, it has appeared that Addams' "professional home" has been found. It is as if people assume she must be one or the other! This assumption has led to a profound misunderstanding of Addams' intellectual contributions and impact on sociology. There is absolutely no attempt here to minimize her impact on social work. Social workers correctly acknowledge Addams as a major thinker and professional model. The problem lies not with social workers but with sociologists. Addams was a preeminent sociologist, and an understanding of her role in sociology is integral to an understanding of this profession. To undertake any analysis of the role of women sociologists or the sociological study of women during the era of interest in this book, Addams' sociological career and concepts must be considered. When Addams is limited to membership in only one field, social work, the impact she had on sociology is entirely overlooked. Concomitantly, there is an unstated assumption that her ideas and model for action were adopted by social workers and rejected by sociologists. Instead of this dichotomy between two different specialties, a complex pattern of incorporating and modifying her ideas in each profession has occurred. It is beyond the scope or intent of this book to trace Addams' influence on social work; the task of discovering her role in sociology is difficult enough.

Addams' influence on sociology must often be inferred because most early sociologists rarely cited the work of their closest colleagues. This has been a problem in documenting the interaction among all the early Chicago men. People who coauthored writings or trained students together, such as Park and Burgess, are easily seen as important colleagues. But people who spoke to each other with great frequency, visited each other's homes, and engaged in organizational work together have few records of their shared interests that are easily accessible to scholars who study only published writings. Academic sociologists tend to rely heavily on academic publications, organizations, and institutions while overlooking applied sociology that is directed to nonacademic audiences, organizations, and institutions. For applied sociologists such as Addams, indications of mutual influence must often be sought in nonacademic records. Original archival data containing correspondence, newspaper reports, and organizational records relevant to applied sociology can help to fill the gaps in our academic documentation. Such alternative resources are particularly vital in a situation like Addams' where her influence has been buried over the course of several decades.

Because of the lack of scholarship on Addams as a sociologist, some formal criteria are needed to begin this investigation. Kasler, studying early German sociologists. has determined that if one of five criteria is met, then the individual was a member of the profession. He wrote:

As sociologist I define those who fulfill at least one of the following five criteria:

Addams meets not one but all of the above criteria, in addition to other more complex associations with the profession. Each of these points is briefly examined here.


Addams lectured through the country, at numerous colleges and social settlements. For example,

In February 1899, she went on a typical lecture tour--leaving Chicago on February 13, she spoke at Wells College in Aurora, New York on the 14th; at Auburn Seminary the next day; at Wells again on the 16th; then to New York for a quick stopover; then to Boston where she made two appearances at woman's (sic) clubs on the 18th; two more appearances on Sunday; on to the University of Vermont on Monday; back to Boston for two more appearance (sic) on Tuesday; two more on Wednesday, and two on Thursday; then she was off to Meadville, Pennsylvania; to Harrisburg, Richmond, Virginia, and Columbia, South Carolina, before returning home. [19]

Although many of these speeches were not academic, others were, and Addams' division between academic and everyday thought was dramatically different from that of her male academic colleagues. In addition, she offered college courses through the Extension Division of the University of Chicago. [20] The university offered her at least two chances to become directly affiliated with its staff, both of which she refused. [21] Albion Small, chair of the Department of Sociology there, even offered her a half-time graduate faculty position. [22] She declined these offers because she wanted to be outside of the academy, although she was deeply dedicated to teaching. She wanted to teach adults who could not otherwise enter the academy, because of their poverty or lack of credentials. Furthermore, she was concerned about the limits of speech and political activism associated with university settings.

Membership in the American Sociological Society

Addams was a charter member of the ASS, founded in 1905. She remained an active member from then until at least 1930. [23] She addressed the group, one of the few women to do so, in 1912, 1915, and 1919. These major presentations resulted from invitations extended by the presidents of the association. In 1918 she again addressed the group and was a discussant of a paper in 1908. [24] So not only was she a member, she was the most active and illustrious woman member during this period.

Coauthorship of Sociological Articles or Textbooks

The most prestigious and central journal to the new discipline, the American Journal of Sociology (AJS), was established at the University of Chicago in 1895. Although Addams published in a number of popular and scholarly journals, using only the AJS as one indicator of her sociological publications, she published five articles there plus a discussion of another paper. [25] In addition, five of her books were reviewed in the journal's pages, often by leading sociologists. [26] Clearly her work was read and recognized by sociologists of her day.

Most telling of all, however, is her publication and editing of the most central text to Chicago sociology, Hull-House Maps and Papers. This groundbreaking book outlined the major issues of the Chicago School of Sociology and used a methodological technique employed by Chicago sociologists during the next forty years after its publication. Chapter 3 here is an analysis of its role in sociological thought.

Addams believed that her books were to be read and used by sociologists. Concern with ethics was central to the work of sociologists at this time; especially to Albion Small, Charles Henderson, and Charles Zeublin, all Chicago Sociologists. Thus her book Democracy and Social Ethics was a major sociological and theoretical statement on the construction of social order and its meaning. [27] Again, while writing on women's self-reflection, she felt that her daily observation of this phenomenon while living "in a Settlement with sociological tendencies" almost impelled her to write of this event. [28] The reviews of these two latter books and others in AJS indicate that both Addams and sociologists believed them to be sociological treatises.

Self-Definition as "Sociologist"

Addams was opposed to formal titles and ties. For example, she felt forced to assume the title of "Head" of the settlement for its board of trustees. In her own speech, however, she referred to herself only as "Jane Addams of Hull-House." [29] Opposed to hierarchical and elitist structures, she resisted all formal categorizing of her work and profession. Nonetheless, she did consider herself a sociologist during the period studied here. For example, Farrell noted:

Miss Addams later identified herself professionally with these sociologists. In 1908 she wrote of her attendance at the American Sociological Association: "I simply have to take care of my professional interests once in a while and this little trip was full of inspiration." [30]

Similarly, in her writings she referred to her sociological work [31] and clearly taught sociology, wrote it, and participated in sociological events.

Addams worked within a sociological network, as well. For example, when a representative from the MacMillan Company requested names of college professors who might be interested in her book Newer Ideals of Peace, Addams responded that she only wanted those professors who knew her personally to receive a copy. The male sociologists (the largest single category of professors) included on her list were: Charles Henderson, George H. Mead, George Vincent, William I. Thomas, John Dewey, Graham Taylor, Charles Zeublin, Charles H. Cooley, and Sidney Webb. [32]

Definition by Others as "Sociologist"

All of the above information indicates the high esteem of her colleagues. In this book, her extensive collegial contacts with the men of the Chicago School are documented. She was thereby a resource for both the most influential sociological school of thought of her day and for the succeeding generation of sociologists who expanded and modified this early work.

Addams was also considered a major sociologist by men outside of the Chicago school. E.A. Ross. one of the leading early figures in sociology, was a frequent visitor to and lecturer at Hull-House. Whenever he came to Chicago he lived at the settlement, and extended her two invitations to speak at the ASS when he was an officer. [33] Furthermore, Addams shared the platform with sociologist Franklin Giddings in 1892 when they taught at the Summer School of Applied Philanthropy and Ethics. At this meeting, crucial to women sociologists, it was Addams and not Giddings who made the most impressive statements, thereby drawing a group of women around her and organizing their interests through her leadership. [34] A year later she again assumed a leadership position when she presided over a two-day conference at the Chicago World's Fair. Sponsored by the International Parliament of Sociology, Addams chaired the sessions as a worldwide leader in applied sociology. [35]

Addams' writings were rarely cited by her male colleagues as significant influences. There were, however, notable exceptions. Charles Cooley, an early president of the American Sociological Society, for example, cited Addams seven times in his seminal text Social Organization. [36] E.A. Ross (another early president of the American Sociological Society) also used Addams as a sociological reference and authority. For example, Ross recommended her book The Spirit of Youth to a student who wanted "the best sociological books" to read. Ross also assigned her writings in his coursework. His syllabus for a "Seminary on the American Family" used Addams' Spirit of Youth, Twenty Years at Hull-House, and Democracy and Social Ethics for major reading material, and her A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil was an additional reference work. [37] E.S. Bogardus, yet another leading early sociologist, provides further documentation of her works being used in sociology seminars. [38] Since her books were reviewed in AJS, as noted above, these specific references are only documenting a small portion of her use in sociological coursework and acknowledgement as a colleague.

In addition to recognition by her sociological contemporaries, Addams was often referred to as a sociologist by the popular press. In 1912, one Philadelphia newspaper reported her holding this title. [39] She was also called a sociologist when she presented a paper on crime and the ineffective action of the criminal justice system. Both the publication of the proceedings of the conference and its newspaper reporting endowed her with this title. [40]

Thus, by all formal criteria, Addams more than meets the definition of a sociologist. But these qualifications only reveal a small portion of her influence. For she was the leader of a large number of women sociologists whose work and influence on sociology have also been neglected. The criteria listed above were primarily evidence of male sociologists' recognition. To women, Addams provided a new legitimate career as a female sociologist. She epitomized the woman who lived outside of the traditional female role and who was esteemed and honored as a result. Addams was not only the image of a society's "good woman" but she also served as a role model for women professionals. She articulated a vision of sociology adopted by many women, all of whom have been deleted from the annals of sociological history.

Male American sociologists otherwise ignored or ostracized from the profession a number of sociologists who were also associated with Addams. For example, she was a close friend and colleague of W.E.B. DuBois, the great Black sociologist. Together they formed a sociological network marginal to academic thought, but central to American political and social thought. [41] Similarly, Addams was directly associated with British sociology, exemplified in the work of Beatrice and Sidney Webb. This British influence, however, never flourished in mainstream American male sociological thought, which was dominated by Germanic and French influences.

Finally, Hull-House itself was a central institution to sociology. The home to several women sociologists, it was a meeting place for intellectual discussion and debate. Sociologists, both male and female, visited the settlement frequently, thereby influencing American sociological thought. Addams, as the leading figure in the settlement, played a key role in the institutional power of Hull-House, an additional criterion for her inclusion as a sociologist. These wider influences are beyond the scope of this book. Here one central aspect of her sociological influence is studied: her work with the Chicago men, each of whom is introduced later in this chapter.


16. See Mary Jo Deegan, "Early Women Sociologists and the American Sociological Society."

17. The role of nonacademic sociologists has been problematic for decades. Professional debates about their unequal status in the profession abound and efforts to develop "applied sociology" are continually being made. See discussions, in Footnotes (January 1983):2-3; and newsletters of the Clinical Sociology Association and the Humanist Sociologists.

18. Dirk Kasler, "Methodological Problems of a Sociological History of Early German Sociology." paper presented at the Department of Education, University of Chicago, 5 November 1981.

19. Davis, American Heroine, p. 125.

20. Addams is listed as lecturer in the Extension Division of the University of Chicago for several years (e.g.. 1902, 1909. 1912). For a copy of the syllabus of one of her courses, see "Survivals and Intimations in Social Ethics," Ely Papers, Wisconsin State Historical Society, 1900. Farrell noted the syllabus of another course in his footnotes. see Beloved Lady, p. 83. This was titled "A Syllabus of a Course of Twelve Lectures, Democracy and Social Ethics."

21. Addams declined Harper's offers to annex Hull-House with the university on at least two occasions. She refers to this in a letter to William R. Harper, then president of the University of Chicago, on 19 December, 1895, Presidents' Papers. box 1, folder 9, University of Chicago Special Collections, hereafter referred to as UCSC. This attempt to affiliate Hull-House with the university is discussed in depth in chapter 7 in this volume.

22. Small to Addams, 1913, Addams Papers, DG1, box 4, Swarthmore College Peace Collection, hereafter referred to as SCPC.

23. The Publications of the Sociological Society included a list of members in each of their annual publications from 1906 to 1930. This practice was discontinued after the latter date.

24. Discussant of John Commons, "Class Conflict in America," Publications of the American Sociological Society, vol. 2 (1907), pp. 152-55; "Recreation as a Public Function in Urban Communities." Publications of the American Sociological Society, vol. 6 (1911), pp. 35-39: "Americanization," Publications of the American Sociological Society , vol. 14 (1919). pp. 206-14.

25. Jane Addams' American Journal of Sociology articles: "A Belated Industry," I (March 1896):536-50; ''Trade Unions and Public Duty." 4 (January 1899):488-62: "Problems of Municipal Administration," 10 (January 1905):425-44; "Recreation as a Public Function in Urban Communities," 17 (March 1912):615-19;"A Modern Devil Baby, 20 (July 1914):117-18. Addams also wrote a comment on an article by John R. Commons, "Class Conflict in America," 13 (May 1908):772-3.

26. Book reviews in American Journal of Sociology on Addams books: Charles R. Henderson, "Review of Democracy and Social Ethics," 8 (July 1902):136-38; George H. Mead, ''Review of The Newer Ideals of Peace," 13 (July 1907):121-28; Harriet Thomas and William James. "Review of The Spirit of Youth City Streets," 15 (January 1910):550-53; Florence Kelley, "Review of A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil," 18 (September 1912):271-72; Jessie S. Ravitch, ''Review of The Child, the Clinic and the Court," 31 (July 1925):834-35.

27. Democracy and Social Ethics (New York: Macmillan. 1902).

28. The Long Road of Women's Memory (New York: Macmillan. 1916), p. xi.

29. Lionel Lane. "Jane Addams and the Development of Professional Social Work," p. 2. Unpublished paper, Addams Papers, DG1, Box 10, Series 4, SCPC.

30. Farrell, Beloved Lady, p. 68.

31. Hull-House Maps and Papers, by Residents of Hull-House, A Social Settlement, A Presentation of Nationalities and Wages in a Congested District of Chicago, Together With Comments and Essays on Problems Growing Out of the Social Conditions (New York: Crowell, 1895), p. iv; and The Long Road of Woman's Memory, p. xi.

32. Addams to A. Huelson. n.d. (attached to letter from Huelson to Addams, 11 January, 1907), Addams Papers, DG1, SCPC. The pragmatists Janes Tufts, Ella Flagg Young, and William James were also on the list.

33. Ross to Addams, 12 January, 1912, Ross Papers, box 5, Ross to Addams, 12 September, 1915, Ross Papers, box 7, Wisconsin State Historical Society, hereafter referred to as "Ross Papers".

34. Addams' paper on "The Subjective Necessity of Social Settlements" became a classic statement on the need for settlement workers to be in that setting and relying on their neighbors and friends. See Philanthropy and Social Progress: Seven Essays by Miss Jane Addams, Robert A. Woods, Father J. O. S. Huntington, Professor Franklin H. Giddings and Bernard Rosanquet, intro. Henry C. Adams (New York: Crowell, 1893), pp. 1-26.

35. E.W. Krackowizer, "The Settlement Idea," Boston Evening Transcript (8 June 1895), in Hull-House Scrapbooks, B-27, p. 40, SCPC.

36. See C. H. Cooley, Social Organization (New York: Scribner's, 1909), pp. 431-32.

37. E. A. Ross to Dean F. B. Taylor. 25 February, 1914; Ross Papers, box 6; E.A. Ross, Seminary On the American Family, Economics 262 (discipline boundaries, as this book continually notes, were very blurred during these years), "List of Books on Reserve" and "List of Additional Books and Bulletins Not on Reserve." These lists were submitted in 1926 but the course itself is undated. Dummer Papers, box 409, Schlesinger Library.

38. E.S. Bogardus. "Leading Sociology Books Published in 1916," Journal of Applied Sociology 4 (May 1917):14.

39. "More Campaign Contributions," North American, Philadelphia (2 October 1912):647-45; (p. 148; J.A. Scrapbooks, #5. SCPC).

40. "Problem of Crime Unresolved, Let Us Start at It Anew," by Jane Addams; "Famous Sociological Authority of Hull House, Chicago," The Proceedings and Cure of Crime, 1929; and "Jane Addams Discusses Problem of Crime," Baltimore American (3 July 1927):2-E + . Series 3, box 7, Addams Papers, DG1, SCPC.

41. Addams was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which DuBois led. The close relationship between DuBois and Addams is noted in several places and deserves an analysis beyond the scope of this topic. For example, see references to their joint activities in Twenty Years, p. 255; Levine, Jane Addams and the Liberal Tradition, pp. 134, 185. See also W.E.B. DuBois to Addams, 11 January. 1932, Addams Papers, DG 1, SCPC.

From Mary Jo Deegan, Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918. New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Books, 1986, pp. 7-13.


The Significance of Addams as a Sociologist

Because Addams is now recognized as one of the greatest women leaders of the United States, it is necessary to address the issue of the importance of documenting her role in one, predominantly academic, discipline. There are several vital reasons why this is a task affecting more than an esoteric minority.

First, Addams is a major intellectual who interpreted American life, its heritage, and values. She is a social theorist of major proportions, but because her most radical ideas are unpopular and she has been stigmatized by being reduced to an image of womanhood, her intellectual leadership has been obscured. Lasch's book on her social thought is an excellent exception to this treatment, and there are a few other texts on her life that counter this trend toward adulation rather than analysis. [42] This book, then, is part of a larger body of work documenting Addams as a force shaping American thought.

Second, this neglect of a major American theorist is partially due to patriarchal ideology. When an intellectual of such magnitude can be neglected and distorted, it is clear that the fate of less eminent, but nonetheless significant, women analysts is similar. This book documents the process of selectively using Addams' social thought in sociology while denying her significant contributions to it. Simultaneously, knowledge of other segments of her thought has been repressed and her sociological leadership denied.

Third, the social thought itself is underanalyzed and has potential impact on the future of ideas in the United States, if not internationally. Addams was an articulate theorist of women's roles and values as well as a critical thinker of social institutions and social change. This thought is worthy of re-examination in its own right.

Fourth, Addams profoundly affected the course of American sociology. The discipline, then, needs to examine its roots in her work in order to understand its own history and epistemology. Concomitantly, the sexism of sociology is revealed in the study of Addams' thought and professional affiliations.

And fifth, Addams was the leader of an extensive network of women sociologists. This entire group of women, ranging in number between fifty and 100, formed a complex network of professional ties, institutions, social activism, and intellectual contributions that has never been seriously analyzed. This vast world of American women professionals has been submerged in a patriarchal society and its academic disciplines. Documentation of this wide and influential group and the study of its erasure from history would require a series of books. [43] This volume is an introduction to this other world, where Addams was the spokesperson for women who were later to be disenfranchised.

Any of the above reasons would be sufficient to justify an examination of Addams as a sociologist. As a set of reasons, they are impelling. Addams' career as a sociologist was a significant one, although it does not encompass her entire contributions to American society, social thought, or academic development. Her greatness exceeds her influence on this one profession. Nonetheless, an analysis of Addams the sociologist reveals a role, her intellectual leadership, and the broad practice of sociological patriarchy that cannot be shown in any other way. She is the key to understanding an era and a discipline.



42. Jane Addams, The Social Thought of Jane Addams, ed. Lasch; Davis, American Heroine. Another book which partially demystified Addams' leadership is Farrell's Beloved Lady. As its title suggests, however, there is still an overlay of mythmaking as "lady" and an emotional image in this work. Two excellent articles are Lynd, "Jane Addams and the Radical Impulse," and Curti, "Jane Addams on Human Nature." Although there are some other good resources, especially for documentation of her life and career, there are literally hundreds of articles on Addams that refer to her saintliness (or villainy) and mythologize her public image. As a group of writings, they symbolize Addams as an unreflective but often holy woman.

43. A large segment of this women's network was located at or through the University of Chicago and Hull-House. See Mary Jo Deegan, "Women in Sociology: 1890- 1930," Journal of the History of Sociology 1 (Fall 1978): 11 -34; and "Early Women Sociologists and the American Sociological Society." Other women sociologists are also briefly examined in a number of other articles. See Barbara Keating, "Elsie Clews Parsons," Journal of the History of Sociology 1 (Fall 1978):1- 1. The writings of a series of women sociologists are summarized in the articles written by Deegan for the American Women Writers series ( New York: Ungar Publishing. 1978-81). These include entries on Sophonisba Breckinridge, Edith Abbott, Emily Green Balch, Marion Talbot, and Helen Merrell Lynd. See also Mary Jo Deegan, "Sociology at Wellesley College. 1900-1919, " Journal of the History of Sociology 6 (December 1983):91-115.

From Mary Jo Deegan, Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918. New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Books, 1986, pp. 13-15.



Cedarville to Chicago

1860 Born on September 6 in the Illinois town of Cedarville.
1863 Mother dies.
1868 Father marries second wife.
1877-81 Attends Rockford Female Seminary (later Rockford College).
1881 Suffers severe mental depression on father's death.
1882 Undergoes operation to correct spinal defect.
1883-85 First European tour.
1885 Joins Presbyterian Church.
1887-88 Second European tour.
1881 Debates with William Jennings Bryan in intercollegiate contest.
1889 Opens Hull-House.
1891 Founds Jane Club for women.
1892 Speaks at summer school in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
1893 Attends Congress of Representative Women at Chicago World's Fair; continues expansion of Hull-House.
1894 Defends Pullman strike, and criticizes Pullman in A Modern Lear.
1860 Lincoln elected President.
1861-65 Civil War.
1863 Emancipation Proclamation.
1865 Lincoln assassinated; Thirteenth Amendment ends slavery.
1868 President Andrew Johnson is impeached but acquitted; Grant elected.
1876 Centennial of the Revolution.
1881 Garfield assassinated.
1892 Populists demand free silver; Ellis Island opened for immigrants.
1868-70 Susan B. Anthony edits The Revolution, suffrage newspaper.
1869 Jay Gould causes Black Friday.
1873 First public kindergarten.
1879 George's Progress and Poverty.
1885 "New immigration" begins.
1886 Haymarket riot in Chicago.
1890 Census Bureau proclaims end of Western frontier; census: 62,947,714.
1893 Chicago World's Fair.
1894 Pullman strike; Howells' A Traveler from Altruria; Stead's If Christ Came to Chicago.
1860 Garibaldi's men invade Sicily.
1866 Tolstoy's War and Peace.
1869 Suez Canal opened.
1870-71 Franco-Prussian War; Third Republic proclaimed in Paris.
1878 Leo XIII becomes pope.
1884 Fabian Society founded by socialists in London.
1888 Wilhelm II Emperor of Germany.
1893 Dvorak's New World Symphony.
1894 Nicholas II Czar of Russia.
1894-1906 Dreyfus affair in France.


National Acclaim

1895 Convalesces after attack of typhoid fever.
1896 Visits Tolstoy in Russia.
1900 Honorary member of DAR.
1902 First book, Democracy and Social Ethics.
1907 Publishes Newer Ideals of Peace.
1909 Writes The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets.
1910 Receives Yale honorary degree; publishes Twenty Years at Hull-House.
1895 Becomes ward garbage inspector.
1898 Opposes American imperialism.
1900 Juror at Paris Exposition, gains prize for DAR exhibit.
1902 Speaks at funeral of former Governor John Peter Altgeld.
1905-09 On Chicago School Board.
1907 Attends national peace conference; joins woman suffrage committee.
1909 Heads National Conference of Social Work.
1910 Helps settle garment strike.
1896 Supreme Court approves "separate but equal" doctrine.
1898 Spanish-American War.
1901 McKinley assassinated; Theodore Roosevelt becomes President.
1902 T.R. introduces "Square Deal."
1906 Pure Food and Drug Act.
1907 Financial panic; U.S. flotilla begins international courtesy calls.
1908 Taft elected President.
1910 T.R. breaks with Taft; Mann Act curtails organized prostitution.
1896 F. P. Dunne creates "Mr. Dooley."
1899 Dewey's School and Society; Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class; first use of spinal anesthesia.
1900 Susan B. Anthony retires; Carrie Nation raids saloons.
1902-12 Muckraker journalism.
1904 Steffens' Shame of the Cities.
1906 T.R. wins Nobel Peace Prize.
1910 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People founded.
1895 Germany opens Kiel Canal; Marconi invents radio.
1897 Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee; Greco-Turkish War.
1898 The Curies discover radium.
1899 First Hague Peace Conference; Boer War begins.
1900-01 Boxer Rebellion in China.
1904 Franco-British Entente.
1905 Revolt in Russia suppressed.
1907 Kipling wins Nobel Prize.
1909 Bleriot flies the English Channel.
1910 George V King of England.


Progressivism and War

1912 Publishes A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil.
1915 Pneumonia prevents her from sailing with Ford peace ship.
1916 Supports Democrat Woodrow Wilson; publishes The Long Road of Woman's Memory.
1917 Saddened by accusations of being pro-German in her pacifism.
1920 Votes for Socialist Debs.
1912 Campaigns for Theodore Roosevelt in presidential election.
1913 Attends International Suffrage Alliance in Budapest.
1915 Presides at The Hague over organization later called Woman's International League for Peace and Freedom; becomes embroiled in "bayonet controversy"; supports Ford peace ship.
1917 Opposes American entry into war.
1917-18 Works for Food Administration under Herbert Hoover.
1919 Sees misery of German people.
1911 La Follette leads Progressives.
1912 Wilson defeats T.R. and Taft.
1913 Federal Reserve Act on banking.
1914 Wilson proclaims U.S. neutrality as World War I erupts in Europe.
1916 Wilson reelected, using slogan: "He kept us out of war."
1917 U.S. declares war on Germany.
1919 Senate rebuffs Wilson on League of Nations; Eighteenth Amendment provides for Prohibition.
1920 Nineteenth Amendment establishes woman suffrage.
1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire in New York leads to safety legislation.
912 Harriet Monroe founds Poetry; Dreiser's The Financier.
1913 Woman suffrage in Illinois.
1914 First American patent for multistage rockets.
1914-20 Wartime boom.
1915 Carrie Chapman Catt heads suffrage movement.
1916 Repplier's Counter-Currents.
1919 Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio.
1912 Anglo-German naval discussions fail; Franco-Russian naval agreement.
1912-13 Balkan Wars.
1914-18 World War I.
1915 Germans use poison gas.
1917 Germans proclaim unrestricted submarine warfare; Bolsheviks seize power in Russia.
1918 Germany capitulates.
1919 Treaty of Versailles.
1920 League of Nations established.


Testing and Triumph

1922 Records her relief work in Peace and Bread in Time of War.
1923 Takes trip around the world.
1924 Votes for Progressive La Follette.
1930 Publishes The Second Twenty Years at Hull-House.
1931 Attends fiftieth class reunion at Rockford College.
1932 Votes for Republican Hoover; publishes The Excellent Becomes the Permanent.
1934 Writes My Friend, Julia Lathrop.
1935 Dies in Chicago on May 21.
1921 Presides over WILPF in Vienna.
1927 Blacklisted by DAR.
1929 Presides over WILPF in Prague, and is elected honorary president for life; presides over Hull-House fortieth anniversary celebration.
1931 Wins Nobel Peace Prize.
1932 Addresses both party conventions, urging international amity.
1935 Wins American Education Award; attends Washington celebrations in her honor, and addresses world by radio.
1921 Harding takes office surrounded by "the Ohio gang."
1923 Harding dies; Coolidge becomes President.
1924 Harding scandals exposed.
1926 Army Air Corps established.
1928 Hoover elected President.
1929 Great Depression begins.
1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt elected.
1933 F.D.R. rejects "fear itself"; New Deal begins; Twenty-first Amendment repeals Prohibition.
1934 Federal Housing Administration.
1935 Social Security Act.
1921 Tomb of the Unknown Soldier dedicated at Arlington.
1924 Immigration quotas set.
1925 Tennessee "Monkey Trial."
1927 First full- length talking movie; first long transmission of TV signals.
1927-28 Model A Ford replaces the long-popular Model T.
1928 Justice Holmes hits wiretapping.
1929 Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms.
1931 Urey isolates heavy hydrogen.
1933 Unemployment reaches 13 million.
1935 Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess.
1922 Mussolini's march on Rome.
1923 Hitler jailed after abortive "beerhall putsch" in Munich.
1924 Lenin's death triggers struggle for power in Moscow.
1929 Stalin consolidates power as dictator and Trotsky goes into exile.
1930 Gandhi's "salt march" to sea challenges British authority in India.
1931 Alfonso XIII of Spain abdicates.
1933 Hitler takes power in Germany.
1935 Italy invades Ethiopia; Moscow purge trials begin.

From Fishwick, Marshall W. Illustrious American: Jane Addams. Pp. 230-231. Morristown, NJ: Silver Burdett Company, 1968.



Selected Photos of Jane Addams

(Click on the thumbnail of each picture to see a larger version.)

Jane Addams as a thoughtful eight-year old when this picture was taken.
House that John Addams built for his first wife in 1854 and the place of Jane's birth in 1860.
Jane at 16 with her stepmother, Anna, and one of her two stepbrothers, George.
Anna Haldeman Addams, Jane's stepmother.
John Addams, Jane's father, and Jane at age twenty-one. These photos show the strong family likeness including the dimple in the chin.
Jane Addams receiving an honorary degree from Yale University.
Jane Addams with a young girl at Hull-House.
Map of the 19th Ward of Chicago from Hull-House Maps and Papers, an early sociological study.
Jane Addams participating in a march for Women's Suffrage in 1912 in Illinois.
Jane Addams convalescing from an operation, shown here the day after receiving word of her Nobel Prize.
Jane Addams (right) at a dinner in Washington with Eleanor Roosevelt (left) and Mrs. Cordell Hull (center) in 1935.
Portrait of Jane Addams from the Hull-House.



Jane Addams - The Work

The Chicago Men and the Sociology of Women

Careers in sociology are created and maintained in three ways: through institutional practices of training and hiring, through the development and acceptance of sociological concepts, and through collegial networks. In a patriarchal society, these factors are structured differently for each sex, with men receiving better benefits and more power than women.

For Addams, her career in sociology was directly associated with the academy's barriers to hiring women as fully recognized professors. In fact when she was a college student, women were rarely allowed even to matriculate in universities with advanced degrees. In this restrictive milieu, the University of Chicago was relatively open to the training of women and to their marginal employment in departments.

More specifically, the Department of Sociology admitted female students from the day it opened its doors in 1892, and even had a female faculty member, Marion Talbot. Soon, more women were hired in low-paid and low status positions. This "radical" policy was a result of sociology's zealous approach to "scientific" social change. The "woman question" was part of the social reform agenda. However, most of the Chicago men were more committed to urban reform than improving the status of women.

The Chicago men's views on the role of women in everyday life were central to Addams' career in sociology. The men's institutional support of women was dramatically reflected in 1902 by their support of or opposition to the introduction of sex-segregated classes during the first two years of training at the University of Chicago. Similarly, the men's sociological writings, particularly on women, provide a key to understanding their intellectual relationship to Addams' writings on cultural feminism. Another indicator of the sexual division of labor in the profession is found in the work relationships between male and female sociologists. These ties are exhibited through joint interests in teaching and research as well as overlapping ideas and patterns of social interaction. Before analyzing each man's writings and collegial network concerning women, the general milieu of women's higher education, particularly at the University of Chicago is described.

From Mary Jo Deegan, Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918. New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Books, 1986, pp. 191.


The Higher Education of Women, 1892-1917

Since women had gained limited access to some universities and professional schools in the United States from the mid-nineteenth century, it is often assumed that the crucial battles in women's higher education had been "won" during these earlier confrontations. This was not the case.

Institutional discrimination against women in higher education flourished during the entire period analyzed here. As students or faculty members (especially the latter), women were systematically limited in their opportunities. Sometimes they were completely barred from entering a college or university. At other times more subtle forms of prejudice were exhibited, such as a lack of intellectual acceptance or financial support.

A leading advocate for women's rights to education during this era was Marion Talbot, an early Chicago sociologist who is rarely recognized as part of this school. [1] Her original interest in this program was a result of her personal struggle. In the 1870s, she discovered to her dismay that she could not obtain adequate training in Boston, a leading educational enclave, in order to enter college. Then, after a considerable battle to obtain a college degree, she could not find a job.

Working with women in a similar quandary, in November of 1881 she cofounded the Association of Collegiate Alumnae (ACA, later to become the American Association of University Women, AAUW). Most of the documentation on women's higher education during the 1890s was channeled through this group.[2] By 1884, they had 356 members. Of this number, only twenty-six held master's degrees and a mere four had earned doctorates. [3] As a group, they fought to gain access for women into universities and in 1892 they felt they had made considerable progress when four graduate schools opened their doors to women: Chicago, Yale, Pennsylvania, and Leland Stanford, Jr. [4]

Despite this relative progress in the United States, European universities remained more open to women students. These opportunities for higher education, however, were not supported by financial aid. Fellowships and faculty positions were available to men, not women. [5] But:

there was no room in this masculine procession for young women, no fund available whereby they might, by virtue of their post-graduate training, become competitors for the college and university positions to which young men aspired. Very few graduate courses were open to young women, and no positions on college faculties outside of the women's colleges then developing. [6]

At the turn of the century, then, women with any college training, let alone graduate work, were pioneers. They fought for entry, financial assistance, and job prospects. This led to women taking degrees in any fields they could enter, and taking any jobs they were offered. Sociology was a relatively open field within this milieu of repression and restrictions.

At this time European theorists represented both the most conservative and most radical thought on the role of women in society. The conservative position can be found in the writings of Auguste Comte and Emile Durkheim. [7] Both "founding fathers" of sociology, they were also patriarchal in their analysis of society. The Schwendingers summarize Comte's views as follows:

With regard to women, Comte maintained that women were constitutionally inferior to men because their maturation was arrested at childhood. He insisted that patriarchal authority (as well as a political dictatorship) was absolutely indispensable for "Order and Progress" in France. Accordingly, he proposed that women were justifiably subordinated to men when they married. Divorce should be unequivocally denied them: women should be pampered slaves of men. [8]

Durkheim noted in Suicide that "Women's sexual needs have less of a mental character because, generally speaking, her mental life is less developed." [9] He wrote that women must remain monogamous and that they participate less in the "collective conscience" or moral order of society. [10]

As she lives outside of community existence more than man, she is less penetrated by it; society is less necessary to her because she is less impregnated [sic] with social ability. With a few devotional practices and some animals to care for, the old unmarried woman's life is full.[11]

Sexist attitudes such as these were targets attacked by radical sociologists. Engels, in particular, developed a complex theory of the relationship between women's status, the family, the accumulation of wealth and the concentrated power of the state. [12] In the United States, Charlotte Perkins Gilman was writing on the political economy of women and their rights for full and equal participation in society. [13]

Thus the role of women in society was the subject of considerable debate. The major answer to the question of women's rights as professionals at the University of Chicago was to allow them entry, but expect them to "act" and have interests different from men's. During the era studied here the predominant institutional response to women in sociology at the University of Chicago was the popular ideology of the "Doctrine of the Separate Spheres."

Women and Chicago Sociology: 1892-1902

When Chicago opened in 1892, women were included within its "pioneer" plans. As students and faculty, women were expected to be participants in a "radical" new approach to education. (It was this dream that partially attracted Addams during the early days, too.) There were more successful women within the university during its first three decades than during its succeeding five. [14]

This participation, however, was not the same as the men's. Women were expected to remain within their "special sphere," even though educated in an advanced manner. This "Doctrine of the Separate Spheres" was the dominant attitude towards women's place in society at this time. Each sex was expected to be distinct. Women "managed" the home, emotions culture, morality, and children. Men "governed" the family, social and political institutions, especially the economy, and were more rational than women.[15] Thus Chicago made a forward step by including women within the university structure, but retained its belief in a "separate sphere" for women within this structure.

Sociology was particularly suited to this approach to the "new woman." It was a social science that was meant to "care for" social maladjustment. Albion Small adopted this separatist view, but he was not alone in this perspective. Addams, for example, thought women were different too, albeit superior; and in 1892 Samuel Dike articulated the male view as follows:

Men and women are fundamentally different. Therefore, even if they received the same education, they would respond to it in unique ways. There must be subjects in which women will take deeper interest than men. The place of the family in the social order, and of women in the family, and their future as wives and mothers, will inevitably draw the attention of women to the family and the home as subjects of educational importance in proportion to their richness in educational material and value, and to their close connection with the life of women. [16]

Women were expected to study the "simpler forms of social life" [17] while men studied the "larger" ones. In this seminal article on the "sphere" of women in sociology. Dike noted that women sociologists would be best occupied in social settlements, where their philanthropic and benevolent spirits would respond to the needy. Dike also noted that the "major" concerns of women were often ignored in sociology coursework, and that this lack must be addressed. [18]

Fortunately, the women largely ignored this view of "their work. " They, too, shared the vision of "special" aptitudes and interests, but they thought theirs were superior to the men's and wished to alter the shape of society in toto, according to their worldview. The women on the sociology faculty, five in number, were always "segregated" within the department: Mary McDowell as a "Special Lecturer," Annie Marion MacLean in Extension, Sophonisba Breckinridge and Marion Talbot in "Household Administration," and Edith Abbott as a "Special Lecturer in Statistics." [19] This separation was not entirely forced on the women, for they desired this status, too. In their "world," they were given considerable leeway to define sociology and the work they wanted to do. This segregation, moreover, created faculty jobs for women. For example, Talbot noted that in 1901 there were only twenty female faculty members. When the "women's sociology" group started the Chicago Institute (later to merge with the social work program), the number of employed women jumped to forty-one. [20] For the women, this desired separation was based on their strengths and not their inferiority. The women's view of their distinctiveness, however, did not govern the university. They were separate, but unequal, as scholars.

Writing in 1903. Talbot documented the superior performance of women in the university:

Ninety-three men and 128 women received honors for scholarship based on class and examination grades. If the women had received honors in the same proportion to their numbers as the men the number of women would have been 81 instead of 128. In the same period of time 1,164 students have received the Bachelor's degree--614 men or 53 percent, and 550 women or 48 percent. One hundred and forty-five of the men and l99 of the women received honors for scholarship on graduation, and 44 men and 73 women received special honors. If the women had received honors and special honors m the same proportion to their numbers as the men, the number of women would have been 130 honors and 39 for special honors instead of 199 and 73 respectively. [21]

This overachievement was even more remarkable given the constraints within which women studied. Talbot also documented that despite women's academic excellence, they received a smaller proportion of the fellowship funds. Approximately 12 percent of the graduate men received aid; less than 5 percent of the graduate women did. [22]

The women clearly excelled the men in their scholastic performance. The men, in retaliation and in response to pressures and money supporting the segregation of the sexes, began to favor "separate training" for men and women. Thus, the "golden age" of the first decade came to an end. It was the pressure of women's outstanding performance that was the first impetus to decrease their student opportunities. As Talbot scathingly notes, on 3 July 1900, the University Congregation,

(that grandiose organization which never lived up to President Harper's expectations and, after a period of coma, finally expired) the following topic was raised for discussion: Resolved that better educational results would be secured in the University by teaching the sexes in separate classes. [23]

Coeducation, supported during the first ten years, was then given a severe blow.

Women and Chicago Sociology, 1902-20

When coeducation was attenuated at the university, the women and some of the men strongly opposed it because it meant involuntary segregation. Thus, the early Chicago men's views on women can be partially traced through their response to this controversial coeducation issue. Small and Vincent supported sex segregation in the classroom, the former in public and the latter in private. In a more passive way, Thomas and Henderson also supported it by not visibly protesting it. Zeublin and Mead (as well as the Chicago women) protested it publicly. These stances are examined when each of the men is considered below.

Within the Sociology Department, sex segregation became increasingly apparent. Although each change between 1902 and 1920 cannot be documented here, the net result is that by 1920 the women faculty were administratively and professionally separated into the School of Social Services Administration.

Formally, the women were now social workers and the men were sociologists. The causes of these dramatic definitions resulting in two separate fields of specialization is the topic of chapter 12. Suffice it to be noted here, that women's place in sociology was first established through "special qualities" of mind and action and later removed from the field to another profession. The women's areas of specialization were only selectively continued by male sociologists during the 1920s and 1930s. Thus, sexism was institutionalized in sociological thought, but in a complex and changing pattern. Forces countering this prejudice were best articulated by Thomas and Mead, although their voices were unheeded. The "religious" men tended to be more conservative than Mead and Thomas, while Park and Burgess were the most repressive.



1. Talbot's place in the Chicago Department of Sociology is briefly discussed by Mary Jo Deegan, "Women and Sociology: 1890- 1930," Journal of the History of Sociology 1 (Fall 1978): 11 -34. Few references to her work can be found in any other writings on the Chicago School.

2. See the first chapter of Marion Talbot and Lois Kimball Mathews Rosenberry, The History of the American Association of University Women, 1881-1931 (Cambridge, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin. 1931), pp. 3-11.

3. Ibid., pp. 144-45.

4. Ibid.. p. 146.

5. Ibid., p. 143.

6. Ibid.

7. Writings by early male sociologists on the subject of women are considered by Herman and Julia Schwendinger, The Sociologists of the Chair (New York: Basic Books, 1974).

8. Ibid., p. 310.

9. Emile Durkheim, Suicide, tr. J.T. Spaulding and George Simpson (New York: Free Press. 1951, c. 1897), p. 272.

10. Ibid.

11. Ibid.. p. 215.

12. Frederick Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (Moscow: Progressive Press, 1968, c. 1884).

13. Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Women and Economics (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1966,c. 1898).

14. See the excellent documentation of women in social science at Chicago by Jo Freeman. "Women on the Social Science Faculties since 1892." Mimeograph of a speech given to a minority groups workshop of the Political Science Association, Winter 1969.

15. See Eileen Kraditor. ed., Up from the Pedestal (Chicago: Quadrangle, 1970): Jessie Bernard, The Female World (New York: Free Press. 1981).

16. Samuel W. Dike, "Sociology of the Higher Education of Women," Atlantic Monthly 421 (November 1892):671.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid., pp. 673-76.

19. Mary Jo Deegan, "Women and Sociology: 1890- 1930," Journal of the History of Sociology 1 (Fall 1978):14-24.

20. Marion Talbot, "The Women of the University," Decennial Publications of the University of Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1903), p. 122.

21. Ibid., pp. 138-39.

22. Ibid., p. 139.

23. Marion Talbot, More Than Lore (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1936), p. 172.

From Mary Jo Deegan, Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918. New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Books, 1986, pp. 192-196.


Jane Addams on Cultural Feminism

Addams was, and remains, one of the most articulate and sophisticated theorists of cultural feminism. Her major intellectual resource, especially during the 1890s, was Otis Tufton Mason's Woman's Share in Primitive Culture. [7] Addams used Mason's book in a course she taught through the University of Chicago Extension Division. [8] Therefore, a brief summary of his ideas is in order.

This feminist text is a radical statement on the role of women in the formation of culture and civilization. Mason attributed the development of many, if not all, the major innovations in art, language, religion, and industry to women. He documented that, in general, it was women who housed, fed, and clothed the species in early societies. Mason stressed the uniqueness of women's abilities and nature, even in the areas of public governance and speech: "Nothing is more natural than that the author of parental government, the founder of tribal kinship, the organizer of industrialism, should have much to say about that form of housekeeping called public economy." [9] Clearly. many of Addams' ideas are traceable to this influential book which not only stressed the significance of women, but even their superiority to men. Mason's concluding paragraph amply conveyed his view:

It is not here avowed that women may not pursue any path in life they choose, that they have no right to turn aside from old highways to wander in unbeaten tracks. But before it is decided to do that there in no harm in looking backward over the honorable achievements of the sex. All this is stored capital, accumulated experience and energy. If all mankind to come should be better born and nurtured, better instructed in morals and conduct at the start, better clothed and fed and housed all their lives, better married and encompassed and refined, the old ratios of progress would be doubled. All this beneficent labour is the birthright of women, and much of it of women alone. Past glory therein is secure, and it only remains to be seen how far the future will add to its lustre in the preservation of holy ideals. [10]

This interpretation of women's place in early society contrasts markedly with most interpretations of "primitive" societies. Instead, such cultures and social worlds are often seen as "barbaric," "naturally" dominated by men, and strongly lacking in the benefits of "contemporary civilization." Such a patriarchal view was supported originally by W.I. Thomas, who examined the sexual division of labor in early societies as a function of "katabolic and anabolic energies" for males and females respectively. His interpretation of the male dominance of public life and activities based on this quasi-Darwinist position soon ended, however, and his later formulations of women's role in society were much more egalitarian. [11]

As scholars studying early societies, it is assumed here that Thomas was more influenced by Addams' cultural feminism than she was influenced by his ideas about sexual energies. Although Addams did believe in the existence of a "maternal instinct," this biological state was a sex-linked strength of women that was denied its full expression in patriarchal society. In his early writing Thomas justified the restriction of women's participation in society and their limitation to the "women's sphere." At this time, Addams valued the female world and wanted it to be extended throughout society. This does not imply. however, that his influence on her work was negligible. On the contrary, when the corpora of Addams and Thomas are compared, striking similarities emerge.

The study of women was central to both, and the specific concerns of the young delinquent, the immigrant, and the prostitute were common threads. Emphasis on the social origin of behavior and the significance of social meaning and interaction permeate both sets of writings. Both authors were more conservative in their earlier writings than in their later ones. Addams was more religious and elitist in her early years than in subsequent ones, and Thomas was originally more sexist. Both studied "primitive" societies and ultimately came to believe than women were increasingly oppressed as "civilization" spread. "The city" was viewed as the locale for changing social expectations, and the cost of such social dislocation was considered in depth by both.

With the frequent visits of Thomas to Hull-House, their long friendship, his activities in support of women's suffrage and rights of expression, it is clear that a deep intellectual and collegial bond existed that was reflected in both of their work on women. [12] It is possible that Addams was partially responsible for Thomas' broadening view of the role of women in society and his movement away from the then popular Doctrine of the Separate Spheres. Similarly, it is probable that Thomas aided in Addams' broadening perspective on social meaning and interaction as a basis for society rather than her earlier, more moralistic stance.

Despite these significant areas of overlapping interests and thought, there were important distinctions in their work. Addams was more politically active, more concerned with the plight of the poor and working class, and more involved in applied sociology than Thomas was. [13] On his part, he was clearly more scholarly, more influential in the academic world of sociology, and more supportive of a single standard for the sexes based primarily on the male model of society and social action. Thomas was also more supportive of women's testing of moral limits and standards than Addams. His view of the city and social disorganization held a key to interpreting city life as potentially exciting precisely because it was an adventure, albeit often an illegal or harrowing one. Addams, in turn, saw the underside of this glamour more poignantly and with more opprobrium. City life was far from an adventure for impoverished families in poor housing, with limited money, bad health, and underpaid employment. Addams emphasized the problems of the city and the dislocation of minorities: the poor, the aged, the immigrant, the young, and women.

Addams was a public leader because she acted on her vision of a new world, while Thomas was an intellectual leader because he systematically described his vision of the present. Together, they formed an important intellectual vision with a common base and a slightly different focus.

Another intellectual stream feeding her cultural feminism was radical feminism. In particular, she was strongly influenced by her life-long friendship with Charlotte Perkins Gilman, another early feminist theoretician and sociologist. [14] Gilman's writings were more materialist and militant than Addams', but they shared a deep interest in women's culture and emancipation.

One of the first indications of this friendship was Gilman's move to Hull-House in July of 1895. She left San Francisco amid much fanfare, for even at this time she was a noted figure. One newspaper claimed that she was to be Addams' "guest and first assistant." [15] She stayed less than a year, perhaps because of her failure to be an important leader within the group, but during that time she was an active participant at the settlement.

In October, Gilman offered a series of six weekly lectures. She discussed the labor movement, the advancement of women, childhood, social organization, the "body of humanity," and social ethics. [16] The following March she joined Addams, Kelley, McDowell, Vincent, and Small in a public protest against Chicago sweat shops. [17] Shortly after this, however, Gilman moved out of Hull-House and on to other projects. Her ties with Addams and the other Hull-House figures were never severed, however.

Gilman and Addams joined forces on at least two other occasions. They both worked on The Women's Journal, a feminist magazine advocating women's emancipation. This journal was notable in being one of the few women's publications that addressed working women's issues. [18] In 1915 [19] Gilman and Addams also participated in the beginning of the women's peace movement.

In addition to these feminist activities, they were also intellectual colleagues. In 1898, Gilman's book Women and Economics was published and enthusiastically read by Addams and her female colleagues. Florence Kelley wrote Gilman that " 'Ms. A.' has carried off one copy to Rockford [Addams' hometown], and given her other one to Mary Smith, so with our wonted frugality, the residents are waiting in rows for her to come back with it." [20] Kelley was able to "have a shot at it on our trip to Washington . . . and read it through on the way down and again, critically, on the way back." [21] Both Kelley and Gilman were socialists, and this materialistic interpretation of women's perspective was clearly known by Addams. Thus, the residents of Hull-House, including Addams, were not demurely reading "proper" or "saintly" literature, but were interested in radical changes in the structure of society, including feminist alterations in women's power and status.

Repeatedly, Addams advanced the argument that women were more humanitarian, caring, and "down to earth" than men. By restricting women's freedom to the home, the larger society was corrupt and unjust. Everyday life functioned poorly because it was based on male values and ethics. This cultural feminism permeated the settlement movement, and provided a system of values for organizing life in these communal homes.

Cultural feminism was an underlying theme in all of Addams' writings. In addition she frequently used women as the source of her ideas and topics of analysis. She wanted to broaden the scope of women's activities, therefore altering the basic structure of values and relations throughout society. In addition to this generalized approach, Addams specifically studied prostitutes, women in the marketplace, especially working-class women, and pacifism. Each of these areas of study is examined below.


7. Otis Tufton Mason, Women's Share in Primitive Culture (New York: D. Appleton. 1918, c. 1894).

8. "A Syllabus of a Course of Twelve Lectures, Democracy and Social Ethics by Jane Addams, A.B." (n.p., n.d.), SCPC. Cited by John C. Farrell, Beloved Lady (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. 1967), p. 83, n. 5. Since Addams wrote a text by the same name (New York: Macmillan. 1902), Mason's ideas probably influenced her in writing this book.

9. Mason, Women's Share in Primitive Culture, p. 240.

10. Ibid., p. 286.

11. See W.I. Thomas, Sex and Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1907). Ch. 1 is based on Thomas' thesis, "Organic Difference in the Sexes," pp. 3-55. See also the discussions in this volume in chs. 5 and 8.

12. Thomas and his relationship to Addams is documented in chs. 5 and 8. His work in social reform and specific causes in Chicago also provided for a complementary division of labor between the applied and theoretical sociologist.

13. It is important to remember that Thomas' work on the topic of women was too political, as were his ideas on sexuality, for the academic community. The limits of faculty activism, documented in ch. 7, were so constraining that even the more modified politics of Thomas were too much for the business elite that dominated the university.

14. Gilman was closely associated with the sociologist Lester Ward, published in The American Journal of Sociology, and spoke at the American Sociological Society. A thorough analysis of her sociological thought has yet to be done. See a brief analysis of Gilmans's sociology by Carolyn Sachs, Sally Ward Maggard, and S. Randi Randolph, "Sexuality, the Home and Class," in Midwest Feminist Papers 2 (1981):31-44.

15. "Gone to Live at Hull-House," San Francisco Chronicle 25 (July 1895):15, Scrapbook 3, 1895-97, SCPC.

16. Ibid., schedule of lectures, p. 18 (the pages are not chronologically compiled).

17. Ibid., "Attack the Sweat Shop," 18 March 1896, p. 68; "To Abolish Sweat Shops." n.d., p. 69.

18. The affiliation of the Woman's Journal is noted in each issue.

19. Davis, American Heroine, p. 216.

20. Florence Kelley to Charlotte Gilman, 28 July 1898, Gilman Papers, 177; 138, one of 2 microfilms, Schlesinger Library.

21. Ibid.

From Mary Jo Deegan, Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918. New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Books, 1986, pp. 226-230.


Addams on Women and the Larger Society

The most direct way to broaden women's sphere was the extension of their existing, home-oriented worldview into the realms of business, government, and formal institutions, such as education and the courts. Thus, Addams saw women as able to change and improve society by acting on their traditional values in the everyday masculine world. Society would be radically altered through the inclusion of values other than the display of power and force characteristic of men. Nowhere is Addams as scathing of this patriarchal world than in the article "If Men Were Seeking the Franchise." [22]

Taking the role of women in an imaginary matriarchal society, Addams noted that these rational and conscientious women could not see the value of having men empowered as citizens. In such a matriarchy, the state would develop along the lines of the family so that a primary goal would be the nurturance and education of children and the protection of the sick, the weak, and the aged. [23]

In a series of arguments against enfranchising men, Addams adopted the role of the mystified women:

Can we, the responsible voters, take the risk of wasting our taxes by extending the vote to those who have always been so ready to lose their heads over mere military display? [24] . . . we know that you men have always been careless about the house, perfectly indifferent to the necessity for sweeping and cleaning: if you were made responsible for factory legislation it is quite probable that you would let the workers in the textile mills contract tuberculosis through needlessly breathing in the fluff, or the workers in machine shops through inhaling metal filings, both of which are now carried off by an excellent suction system which we women have insisted upon, but which it is almost impossible to have installed in a man-made state because the men think so little of dust and its evil effects. [25]

Would not these responsible women voters gravely shake their heads and say that as long as men exalt business profits above human life, it would be sheer folly to give them the franchise. [26] The trouble is that men have no imagination, or rather what they have is so prone to run in the historic direction of the glory of the battlefield, that you cannot trust them with industrial affairs. [27]

Continuing in her defense of prostitutes, Addams is revolted by the callous hypocrisy of men:

Worse than anything which we have mentioned is the fact that in every man-ruled city the world over a great army of women are so set aside as outcasts that it is considered a shame to speak the mere name which designated them. [28] The men whose money sustains their houses, supplies their tawdry clothing and provides them with intoxicating drinks and drugs, are never arrested, nor indeed are they even considered lawbreakers. [29]

This satirical essay, one of Addams' most forceful attacks on male injustice, was a cutting critique of the male world which fears the humanitarian world of women.

This female realm is based in the home and family relationships. But both men and women "do not perceive that as society grows more complicated it is necessary that woman shall extend her sense of responsibility to many things outside of her own home if she would continue to preserve the home in its entirely." [30] A woman who remained at home and did not participate in the life of the community was stunted. When such a woman met a more active one, "she recognized that her hostess after all represents social values and industrial use, as over against her own parasitic cleanliness and a social standing attained only through status." [31] Nonetheless, women were constantly urged to put the family and their needs before other considerations. Addams called this demand "the family claim." Most men were adverse to changing this standard, but so were women.

This instinct to conserve the old standards, combined with a distrust of the new standard, is a constant difficulty in the way of those experiments and advances depending upon the initiative of women, both because women are the most sensitive to the individual and family claims, and because their training has tended to make them content with response to these claims alone. [32]

Modern women struggled to balance two "claims, the social and the family." A prime resource for changing the relationship between these competing prescriptions for action was education. Predictably such a change was problematic, for "the family has responded to the extent of granting the education, but they are jealous of the new claim and assert the family claim as over against it." [33]

After completing her education, the woman was expected to once again be loyal to the narrowly defined family boundaries. "The failure to recognize the social claim as legitimate causes the trouble, the suspicion constantly remains that woman's public efforts are merely selfish and captious, and are not directed to the general good." [34]

With critical insight, Addams noted that such education was not automatically liberating: "during this so-called preparation, her faculties have been trained solely for accumulation, and she learned to utterly distrust the finer impulses of her nature, which would naturally have connected her with human interests outside of her family and her own immediate social circle." [35] Formal education, in other words, often trained women for a male world.

Addams saw much of her work as a translation of the family claim into the world and work of the social claim. She did this by pointing to women's ability to care for "civic housekeeping."

The men of the city have been carelessly indifferent to much of this civic housekeeping, as they have always been indifferent to the details of the household. They have totally disregarded a candidate's capacity to keep the streets clean, preferring to consider him in relation to the national tariff or to the necessity for increasing the national navy, in a pure spirit of reversion to the traditional type of government which had to do only with enemies and outsiders. [36]

Women were also "bread givers": nurturant people who fed others emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

So we have planned to be "Bread Givers" throughout our lives; believing that in labor alone is happiness, and that the only true and honorable life is one filled with good works and honest toil, we have planned to idealize our labor, and thus happily fulfill Women's Noblest Mission. [37]

The development of this concept in 1880 at twenty years of age illustrates the profound continuity in Addams' thought. For in 1918 during World War I, she continued this theme in her passionate pleas for peace (see discussion below). Addams wanted society to be more nurturant; to value people more than profits; and to have the mores that governed the home and family as part of the rules of interaction for the entire community. The "nation" created boundaries between people, preventing cooperation and unity. Therefore, a new international-mindedness was needed to learn that all people were part of one community. [38]

This cross-national and cultural approach was the antithesis of the "competitive" perspective of Park and Burgess and their "Chicago" view of the basis of society. For the men described the patriarchal world in which they lived and participated, being both observers and advocates of this perspective.

Cultural feminism not only articulated the superiority of feminine values for Addams, it also provided a perspective to critique the oppression of women in everyday life. A group of women who epitomized the misuse of women in a capitalistic and exploitative society were prostitutes, discussed next.


22. Jane Addams, "If Men Were Seeking the Franchise," Ladies Home Journal (June 1913):104-7. In Jane Addams: A Centennial Reader (hereafter referred to as Centennial Reader), ed. Emily Cooper Johnson (New York: Macmillan, 1960), pp. 107- 13.

23. Ibid.. p. 108.

24. Ibid.

25. Ibid.. pp. 110-19.

26. Ibid., p. 110.

27. Ibid.

28. Ibid.. p. 111.

29. Ibid., p. 112.

30. Jane Addams, Democracy and Social Ethics, p. 104.

31. Ibid., p. 6. v

32. Ibid., p. 72.

33. Ibid., p. 84.

34. Ibid., pp. 89-90.

35. Ibid., p. 77.

36. Jane Addams, "Utilization of Women in Government," in Newer Ideals of Peace (New York: Macmillan, 1907).

37. Jane Addams, "Bread Givers," Rockford (Illinois) Daily Register (21 April 1880). Reprinted in Centennial Reader, p. 104.

38. George Herbert Mead, "National-Mindedness and International-Mindedness," International Journal of Ethics 39 (November 1929):392-407. Mead's concept of democracy and international-mindedness closely paralleled Addams' thought. See John S. Burger and Mary Jo Deegan, "George Herbert Mead on Internationalism, Democracy and War," Wisconsin Sociologist 18 (Spring-Summer 1981):72-83.

From Mary Jo Deegan, Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918. New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Books, 1986, pp. 230-233.


Addams and Working Women

Women who worked in the marketplace suffered from a number of injustices including socialization detrimental to their development in the public arena. Trained to respond first to their "family claims," women had to respond instead to "social claims" in order to survive in the male-dominated business world. Women were taught to identify with their families to such an extent that they did not organize to defend their rights. Women undercut their fellow laborers when they limited their female vision to the immediate needs of their families. Addams strongly criticized this:

The maternal instinct and family affection is [sic] woman's most holy attribute; but if she enters industrial life, that is not enough. She must supplement her family conscience by a social and an industrial conscience. She must widen her family affection to embrace the children of the community. She is wrecking havoc in the sewing-trades, because with the meagre equipment sufficient for family life she has entered industrial life. [57]

Because Addams supported the labor movement and many unions were organized by men and barred women as equal participants, [58] the women's labor unions in Chicago were organized primarily through Hull-House. In 1892 the cloakmakers were organized there, and in 1891 the shirtmakers. The Chicago Women's Trade Union League was also organized there, and yet another two women's unions met at the settlement. [59]

Union organizing required more than merely providing a setting. The women workers needed to define themselves in relation to the conflicting family and social claims. The residents, according to Addams, could facilitate this change in consciousness. They could also help working-class men and women to communicate with one another.

The residents felt that between these men and girls was a deeper gulf than the much-talked of "chasm" between the favored and unfavored classes. . . . There was much less difference of any sort between the residents and working-class than between the men and girls of the same trade. [60]

Addams' approach to the methods of settling labor disputes was a dramatic illustration of her belief in feminine values. For she felt that strikes and violence associated with the labor movement were ill-fated and destructive.

Men thus animated may organize for resistance, they may struggle bravely together, and may destroy that which is injurious, but they cannot build up, associate or unite. They have no common, collective faith. The labor movement in America bears this trace of its youth and immaturity. [61]

In the same vein, she believed that the working class and capitalists were not warring classes, but part of the same democratic society. The apolitical and largely economic character of American unions was foreseen by Addams as a limited and unsatisfactory direction. She advocated the workers' goals of a shorter workday, increased wages, better industrial and general education, and worker protection in the marketplace, but qualified her support when she wrote that the movement "does not want to lose sight of the end in securing the means, nor assume success, nor even necessarily the beginnings of success, when these first aim are attained." [62] Workers needed to struggle for self-definition and independence. Protection was only a stopgap measure and concern. [63] Addams saw the definition of society as warring classes as one that doomed society as a whole. The "literal notion of brotherhood" demanded a conception of universal kinship: "before this larger vision of life there can be no perception of "sides" and "battle array." [64] Labor unions became, in fact, the tools of capitalists by reducing their negotiations to single industry issues.

Addams clearly did not support the Marxist vision of labor, although she frequently read writers adopting this perspective (discussed in the next chapter). As a pragmatist, Addams advocated a number of laws to "protect" the worker, especially women workers, which led to her advocacy of positions far less radical than her long-term goals. For example, she was against the militant suffragists and their later proposal of the Equal Rights Amendment because of her defense of protective legislation. Her efforts to avoid class distinctions within the movement have also been criticized. [65]

Addams was intrinsically committed to a trade union movement oriented toward large-scale social change, and not the limited economic benefits of a short-term contract. She failed to have this vision adopted by the unions, and she became increasingly critical of their use of strikes. She saw the latter actions as generating severe hardships for the workers who wanted relief from such misery. [66]

Because Addams wanted to understand the strengths of the community as well as its problems, she described poor, aged, and working women as vital members of the community. They had a strength of spirit and power of mind to create a vision of happiness in the midst of degradation. She was fascinated by this "aesthetic sensibility": [67] "Years of living had taught them that recrimination with grown-up children is worse than useless, that punishments are impossible, and that domestic instruction is best given through tales and metaphors." [68] Older women, in particular, gained strength from their process of teaching, so that "the old people seemed, in some unaccountable way, to lose all bitterness and resentment against life." [69] The ability to do this was based on their verbal power and imagery. Women, according to Addams, developed mythical stories and fairy tales to establish some control and order in a world that was chaotic and oppressive.

Women who lived with bitter poverty and family abuse were able to transcend such squalor. Women thus developed "the strength of stout habits acquired by those who early become accustomed to fight off black despair." [70] This analysis of women's courage did not condone the conditions that generated the need for it. On the contrary, Addams felt that such conditions were useless and could be changed through community struggles. Moving women out of the home enabled them to widen their visions of life: Working women "possess the enormous advantage over women of the domestic type of having experienced the discipline arising from impersonal obligations and of having tasted the freedom from economic dependence, so valuable that too heavy a price can scarcely be paid for it." [71] Thus, working women were exploited in the marketplace in exchange for a degree of freedom from the restrictions of domesticity. However, the feminine values allowed these same women to bear their costs with dignity. Working women were able to translate their unique experiences into an appreciation for the community and loved ones whereas men's militaristic and warring theories allowed them to only see their suffering and failures.

Thus working women were urged to accept their new roles in the community. This labor, however, was often misused and antithetical to their training as women with "family claims." Despite these contradictory demands and the high costs of living in poverty, women were able to lead courageous lives, generating social bonds and happiness. This triumph could not be explained if the poor were seen only as oppressed and without indigenous culture and values. Addams saw these paradoxical forces and explained them as a function of cultural feminism.



57. Jane Addams, "The Settlement as a Factor in the Labor Movement," in HH Maps and Papers (New York: Crowell, 1895), p. 190.

58. See Heidi Hartmann, " Capitalism, Patriarchy, and Job Segregation by Sex," Signs 1 (Spring 1976):137-69.

59. Addams, "The Settlement as a Factor in the Labor Movement," p. 188.

60. Ibid.

61. Ibid., p. 194.

62. Ibid., p. 195.

63. Ibid., p. 197.

64. Ibid., p. 200.

65. Virginia Fish, "The Hull-House Circle," mimeo, n.d.

66. See the collection of articles on labor in the Centennial Reader, pp. 192-217.

67. Jane Addams, The Long Road of Women's Memory (New York: Macmillan, 1916), p. 6.

68. Ibid., p. 9.

69. Ibid., p. 10.

70. Ibid., p. 68.

71. Ibid., p. 100.

From Mary Jo Deegan, Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918. New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Books, 1986, pp. 235-238.


The End of Addams' Career as a Sociologist:

From Sociologist to Social Worker

After World War I, Addams and the men of the Chicago School traveled different paths. From her central place as an early leader in sociology, she moved to an undistinguished niche. Not only was she no longer a leader; her early influence was almost entirely erased in historical accounts. This remarkable slip in stature was presaged by a number of changes in her sociological thought and in that of the Chicago men, discussed throughout this book. The dramatic finale of her sociological career culminated with the social changes and upheaval attending World War I and its aftermath.

In this final chapter, three major issues are examined. The first section emphasizes the historical context, although the era affected all the issues examined here. World War I inaugurated massive changes in social thought, social institutions, and everyday life. [1] The decline of sociological activism and its association with cultural feminism is directly related to its zeitgeist. The defeat of Addams' ideas concerning elite education and the need to have a viable practice of sociology outside of the academy also occurred then. At the University of Chicago, personnel and policy changes resulted in a different practice of sociology and social work. For example, in 1920 all the women sociologists in the Department of Sociology were moved en masse out of sociology and into social work. [2] Consequently, Addams became more identified with social work at the University of Chicago and less identified with the now all male Department of Sociology. These local changes reflected national movements that finalized a shift of women from sociology into social work. By 1918 Addams' ties to Chicago sociologists were attenuated. Her life after this period is very briefly examined in my second major section. This completes her life story and the saga of her sociological career. This is followed by a brief recapitulation of Addams' contributions to sociology. An evaluation of her work as a contemporary resource concludes the book.


1. There is an extensive literature on World War I and the shift in values it initiated. For writings particularly relevant to questions raised here see Allen F. Davis, American Heroine (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), David Noble, The Progressive Mind, 1890-1917 (Chicago: Rand, McNally, 1970): John Chamberlain, Farewell to Reform (Chicago: Quadrangle, 1965, c. 1932): S. Cohen, "A Study in Nativism: The American Red Scare of 1919-1920." Political Science Quarterly 79 (March 1964):52-75; John Higham, Strangers in the Land, Patterns of American Nativism, 1896-1925 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1955). Addams discusses the era as well in The Second Twenty Years at Hull-House (New York: Macmillan, 1930), pp. 153-87 (hereafter referred to as The Second Twenty Years).

2. For documentation of the series of administrative shifts that moved female Chicago sociologists from sociology into social work, see Mary Jo Deegan. "Women in Sociology: 1890- 1930," Journal of the History of Sociology 1 (Fall 1978): 19-23.

From Mary Jo Deegan, Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918. New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Books, 1986, pp. 309.


A Final Evaluation of Addams' Contributions to Sociology

Addams helped shape American sociology in a fundamental way. Her early work in HH Maps and Papers set the intellectual precedent for decades of work now recognized as "Chicago Sociology." Her participation in Chicago Sociology was intrinsic to its agenda, its brilliance, and it role in American life and politics.

Her two major streams of thought, cultural feminism and critical pragmatism, provide a rich heritage for scholars and Americans. She articulated a view of society based on the American experience and the social thought of her age. Patriarchal worldviews prevented an institutionalization of her work in sociology and her epistemological leadership was hidden.

Despite this historical distortion of her role as a sociologist, her work with the early men of the Chicago School was significant. Her influence on them and their relationships to her are categorized and summarized in Table 12.2. Three different patterns of relationships can be discerned.


TABLE 12.2

SMALL central, esp. economic issues frequent visitor used in class, supported publication supported Doctrine of separate spheres, sex segregation at Chicago admiring colleague; AJS honorary Ph.D. worked on social reform issues
HENDERSON central, esp. social settlements frequent visitor and lecturer used in writings, probably also in classes mixture of traditional religious views and liberal rights colleague, working on numerous projects with similar social reform goals, supported social settlements
ZEUBLIN central, especially social settlements resident and frequent visitor and lecturer contributor, used mapping methodology supported suffrage colleague, supported Fabian sociology
VINCENT central, esp. Chautauqua Education frequent visitor   probably more liberal than Small but believed in Doctrine of Separate Spheres colleague in Chautauqua Programs
THOMAS vital, but theory and practice part of division of labor frequent visitor and lecturer, actively supported affiliated causes studied immigrants and urban problems (social disorganizational) dramatic change in ideas from Social Darwinist to egalitarian colleague on topics of women, espec. prostitution, immigrants, and juvenile delinquency
MEAD integral to theory of self and society frequent visitor, lecturer, active supported of affiliated orgs. and causes favored mapping methodology basically egalitarian colleague, esp. in reference to pragmatism and role of social reform in everyday life
BURGESS mixed, more favorable in early part of career distant admirer used mapping methodology, mixed evaluation mixed ideas; appeared to be enacting Doctrine of Separate Spheres admired image of woman on the pedestal
PARK mixed, virulantly anti-reform ideologies little or no contact used mapping methodology, studied urban life sexist knew of Addams



The first network concerns Small, Henderson, Zeublin, and Vincent. Called here the "religious men," this group worked very closely with Addams for almost a quarter of a century. Small, Henderson, and Zeublin were all trained in the ministry and their use of religious assumptions marks their work in a distinctive way. Small and Vincent shared similar interests in elite education and a more conservative view of women. Henderson and Zeublin were particularly close to the social settlement movements and actively turned to Addams for intellectual and moral leadership. Mapping, education, social settlements, the economy, and criminal reforms were all topics central to Addams' sociological contributions and the work done by these men. She was more radical, less sexist, and more intellectually challenging than these men. Nonetheless, they shared a basic core of common interests, work, and historical context. All four men were actively associated with Addams, Hull-House, and the study of the city and its reform.

Mead and Thomas formed with Addams a significant intellectual force and influence on American thought. The least sexist of the men, they more willingly accepted Addams as a colleague and brought their personal lives and professional careers together. The considerable overlap in their ideas and work needs to be examined in greater depth than is possible here. Mead was most influenced by Addams' critical pragmatism, particularly supporting her concepts of democratic change, the need for communication, and the flexibility of human nature. Thomas, too, shared an interest in immigrants and juveniles who were undergoing rapid social change in the new American city. Of all the men, he was the most influenced by her work with women and thereby formed a unique relationship to her thought concerning the role of women in modernizing society.

Finally, Park and Burgess inherited the wealth of concepts and methodologies generated by these early sociologists (see Table 1.1 showing the in-bred male patterns of recruitment). Park and Burgess had the most minimal contacts with Addams, but their intellectual debt to her was great. The most sexist of the men, the most opposed to social reform, and part of a new generation of sociological thought, Park and Burgess signaled the end of Addams' direct influence on the men of the Chicago School

The changes in the relationships that occurred with these three subgroups of men were integrally related to their historical contexts. Political limitations on the academy; changing social currents fanned by unionization, the women's movement, progressive thought, and World War I; and the processes of increasing industrialization, urbanization, and bureaucratization were large social forces in which these sociologists lived, wrote, and acted. These larger tides are reflected in Addams' relationships to the Chicago men. Out of this vortex of change, a clear pattern emerges. Addams was not only integral to the development of the "Chicago School," she was one of its founders.

Despite her brilliance, a number of errors in her thought are glaringly obvious. She overestimated the stability of the women's network and her leadership of it. She thought progress was more imminent and rational than it was. Her worldview was too idealistic in its interpretation of the power of patriarchy. Physical power and coercion were more dominant and accepted parts of society than she thought. Although she decried rampant inequalities in society, her power resulted from her being accepted by the elite. She thought this acceptance arose from the intrinsically human bonds that crossed lines of differences, but her role as an intellectual and public leader was more tied to the historical context than she realized. Despite her massive programs for social action (and most of them were successfully adopted), Addams believed more in the power of ideas than in the material world.

She basically segregated her ideas about cultural feminism from her ideas about critical pragmatism. Although these two epistemologies appeared to overlap, she wrongly assumed that society was embedded in the cultural feminism enacted by women. She thought that women voters would overturn the power of male viewpoints thereby showing the greater resiliency, justice, and humanity of the feminine, cooperative worldview. In this, she erred. Women voters turned to men for guidance, and women politicians did not gain ascendancy. Physical coercion and bedlam in World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, to list only a few conflicts, have repeatedly shown that ours is a murderous and violent age, supported by women voters.

Despite these major weaknesses in her thought, Addams' ideas were powerful and innovative. Her writings, lifestyle, commitments, and implementation of knowledge in everyday life dramatically altered the course of American life. She is one of the most influential American sociologists, and a comprehensive examination of her impact on sociology has only been initiated here.

As Americans enter another dark economic time, questions concerning the work of sociology, the meaning of community and democracy, and the social construction of equality are once more pressing issues. Although Addams partially failed in her work, she also succeeded beyond most of our dreams. Her own words are the most apt for guiding us in the future:

If we believe that the individual struggle for life may widen into a struggle for the lives of all, surely the demand of an individual for decency and comfort, for a chance to work and obtain the fullness of life may be widened until it gradually embraces all the members of the community and rises into a sense of the common weal. [34]


34. Jane Addams, Democracy and Social Ethics (New York: Macmillan, 1902), p.

From Mary Jo Deegan, Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918. New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Books, 1986, pp. 323-326.

This information in this section is from Hull House Organization, written by Margaret Luft. Retrieved on September 23, 2002, from http://www.hullhouse.org/website/about.asp 

About Jane Addams

by Margaret Luft
Director, Uptown Center

Hull House Association of Chicago is the direct descendent of the settlement house founded by Jane Addams in 1889. History books have documented the lifetime achievements of this remarkable woman whose name represents not only a famous place in
American history, but a philosophy of community service and social reform.

Jane Addams was a member of the first generation of privileged, American women who obtained college educations and then dedicated their lives to community service and social justice.
Born in 1860, Ms. Addams was influenced by the abolitionist
ent, the westward expansion of the US government, the industrial revolution, the progressive era of political reform, and most importantly, the Protestant ethic of hard work, intellectual achievement, and duty to serve others.

Having come from a comfortable, middle class background, Ms. Addams did not have to "work to survive" or "earn a living". Many of her peers accepted a life in a "good marriage" and settled into a pattern of homemaking, church activities, and limited participation in community and charitable services.

But Jane Addams was different, and she chose to make use of her college education in a way that would challenge her physically, intellectually, and spiritually. Jane Addams believed that she had been educated to serve, but she wanted to serve in a way that would have a real impact on the lives of people who had not had the same advantages as she.

During her travels to Europe after the completion of her education, Ms. Addams visited and was inspired by the community of residents she met at Toynbee Hall in London. It was there she first encountered the concept of a "settlement house" and observed well educated university graduates
living in a community of working class and poor people. These settlement workers organized clubs, recreation, and
educational programs for people in the neighborhood. The distinguishing characteristic of the settlement was its ability to deliver services without employing "professional social
workers" or welfare agency staff who were often judgmental and punitive in the way they related to poor people.

In 1889, Jane Addams and her lifelong friend, Ellen Gates Starr, had been given a house by a retired businessman named Charles Hull. His once beautiful country mansion, which had served as a retreat from the rigors of city life, had gradually been surrounded by the encroaching tenements of the rapidly growing city. The house, located at the corner of Polk and Halsted streets, was referred to by the people in the neighborhood as "the Hull House" and stands today as a national landmark and the museum honoring the work of Jane Addams and her colleagues. It was to this house Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr moved on September 18, 1889. On that day, they opened their doors, welcomed their neighbors, and thus began the "great experiment" that would last for over 100 years.

The community of the westside of Chicago was characteristic of the large, northern, industrial urban areas of the 19th century of America. Chicago was a center of industry and commerce and served as a gateway between the manufacturing northeast and the agricultural midwest. After the civil war, the US push westward to claim new territories fueled an incredible burst of growth in transportation, manufacturing, and commerce. This economic expansion required cheap labor, and thus massive migrations from Europe were encouraged by the US government. The Halsted street neighborhood where Jane Addams made her home was a slum complete with overcrowded tenements, crime, disease, inadequate schools, inferior hospitals, and insufficient sanitation.

The abundance of non-English speaking "new Americans" who had come from southern and eastern Europe overwhelmed the public welfare agencies, mutual aid societies, and municipal government. Newspaper accounts from that era abound with reports and editorials in which public debate was devoted to fears of "foreigners, anarchists, and unwashed rabble" who had no knowledge of American democracy and who were perceived as having no contribution to make to American culture. There was great concern expressed as to how quickly the new arrivals would give up their old world ways, and assimilate into mainstream America. It was believed that until they gave up their language, customs, and loyalty to the old countries, the immigrants were a threat to the political, economic, and social structures of the day.

Not surprisingly, the new immigrants self-perception was quite different from the one expressed in the mainstream press. Many arrived with little more than the clothes on their backs and their heads filled with tales of "streets of gold". While the merchants and factory owners of this bustling "city of the big shoulders" were all too eager to hire immigrants, most were unwilling to pay a decent wage or accept any responsibility for creating the conditions which perpetuated the slums. Local politicians were easily corrupted by moneyed interests, and city services (garbage removal, building safety codes, and police and fire protection) were woefully inadequate.

Economic conditions required parents to work long hours, leaving small children unsupervised and forcing older children to scrounge for themselves. Schooling was inadequate, and teachers unaccustomed to the ethnic diversity were scornful of children who could not speak English. Recreational facilities were non-existent so that juvenile delinquency, prostitution, and petty street crime became major threats to the safety of everyone living in the tenements.

Forced to work in appalling conditions, unwelcomed by the community leaders who exploited their labor but ignored their needs, the immigrants of Chicago's westside were without hope or means of escape.

It was here that Jane Addams brought herself, her belongings, her political ideals, and her determination to live by a set of principles. She was a student and an advocate of the progressive political movement which espoused such ideas as political reform, women's suffrage, pacifism, cultural pluralism, dignity of labor, social justice, rights of children, the need for public health and safety rules, and the duty of government to protect the vulnerable. She believed that civic, religious, and philanthropic organizations needed to join into partnership with community residents and government to solve the problems which created ghetto life. Ms. Addams believed that the "new immigrants" would enrich American culture if given ample opportunity to participate in it.

Ms. Addams established her residency in Hull House based upon several basic principles:

First, Ms. Addams wished to live in the community as an equal participant in the local issues of the day. Unlike the social workers and society matrons who visited the poor and then returned to their middle class homes every evening, Ms. Addams and her colleagues lived where they worked. The "settlement" concept was central to the success of the Hull House community, and the practice of "neighbors helping neighbors" became a cornerstone of the Hull House philosophy.

Second, the Hull House community believed in the fundamental dignity of all individuals and accorded every person whom they encountered with equal respect while learning about their ethnic origins, cultures, and customs.

Third, the Hull House community believed that poverty and the lack of opportunity bred the problems of the ghetto. Ignorance, disease, and crime were the result of economic desperation and not the result of some moral flaw in the character of the new immigrants. Ms. Addams promoted the idea that if afforded a decent education, adequate living conditions, and reliable income, any person could overcome the obstacles of the ghetto, and furthermore if allowed to develop his skills, that person could not only make a better life for himself but contribute to the community as a whole. Access to opportunity was the key to successful participation in a democratic, self governing society. The greatest challenge and achievement of the settlement was to "help people help themselves".

Implementing these principles was no small task, and Ms. Addams gathered around her a community of young men and women, who were well educated, and willing to sacrifice personal comfort, to risk living in a hostile community, and to experiment actively in seeking solutions to the challenge of ghetto life at the turn of the century. The activities of Hull House included citizenship and literacy classes, adult education, sports and hobby clubs, theatre and dance programs, cooking, sewing, and homemaking classes, public baths, day nurseries, health clinics and visiting nurses, immunization programs, art appreciation, lending libraries, political discussion groups, lectures on educational and workplace reforms, loaned meeting spaces for labor meetings, mutual aid societies, and social clubs. Most importantly, Hull House created a forum for public debate on policy and legislative issues in municipal, state, and national arenas.

The achievements of the Hull House community are too numerous to list, but the impact was incalculable. This group of idealistic young people made Hull House the most famous settlement house in the USA and generated ideas, proposals, and policy reforms still felt 100 years later. Civil rights, women's suffrage, international peace, juvenile protection, labor relations, court reform, public health, public housing, civic watchdog, and urban planning movements can all trace their origins, at least in part, to the work of the Hull House settlement.

By the time of her death in 1935, Jane Addams had won the Nobel Peace Prize and changed forever the profile of Chicago. After her death, the residents of Hull House carried on the work begun by Jane Addams and the other founders. Hull House continued to serve the people of Halsted Street through the Depression of the 1930's and World War II. But economic and political forces had an impact

on the changing nature of urban life. While migrations from Europe had diminished considerably, "new immigrants" from the rural south, the Hill country of Appalachia, central and south America, Asia, the Caribbean, and parts of Africa and the Arabic middle east continued to pour into Chicago in search of employment, education, and a better life.

At the same time, two major cultural shifts occurred:

During the 1950's suburban communities were established in a ring around the city, and the availability of affordable, single family homes escalated the "white flight" from the urban core. Industry followed, and the jobs went with them.

During the 1960's the emergence of publicly funded welfare programs and the War on Poverty established government as the primary source of relief for poor people who were left behind in the ghettos.

It is ironic that the many of the reforms promoted by Hull House had become institutionalized, and the resulting federal, urban renewal programs destroyed the very neighborhood which had been the home of the settlement residents for 70 years. Hull House Association was faced with the challenge of transition to this modern day urban scene. The original Hull House complex of 13 buildings was sold to make way for the new campus of the University of Illinois, and Hull House moved to the northside of Chicago.

After the move from Halsted street, Hull House established two community centers: Jane Addams Center in Lakeview, and Uptown Center in a storefront on Wilson Avenue. In addition, other community centers located in south, west, and suburban communities joined Hull House to become members of the modern Hull House Association.

The following items are optional readings.

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