Jane Addams

Jane Addams

Jane Addams, the eighth child of a successful businessman, was born in Cedarville, Illinois on 6th September, 1860. Jane's mother died when she was only three years old but she was deeply influenced by her father who was a Quaker but had supported Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War.

According to Harriet Hyman Alonso: "Jane Addams was greatly influenced by her father, who stood out in the community as a great supporter of Abraham. Lincoln and an opponent of slavery and was a God-fearing man who, his daughter claimed, favored Quakerism although regularly attending services in both Methodist and Presbyterian churches. Addams, therefore, was reared in a religious home that valued humanitarianism. As a girl, she expressed sympathy for former slaves and other impoverished people in the community. As many other children whose parents opposed slavery but supported the Civil War, Addams grew up aware of the dilemma between fighting a just war and maintaining moral witness against all violence. These values made her a perfect candidate for a lifetime of work around social justice issues."

Edmund Wilson claimed that: "A little girl with curvature of the spine, whose mother had died when she was a baby, she abjectly admired her father, a man of consequence in frontier Illinois, a friend of Lincoln and a member of the state legislature, who had a floor mill and a lumber mill on his place. Whenever there were strangers at Sunday school, she would try to walk out with her uncle so that her father should not be disgraced by people's knowing that such a fine man had a daughter with a crooked spine."

Jane Addams graduated from Rockford Female Seminary in 1881. She then attended the Women's Medical College in Philadelphia, but was forced to abandon her studies after undergoing a serious spinal operation. Eleanor J. Stebner, the author of The Women of Hull House (1997), has argued: "For the next seven years, Addams struggled to find her voice and a way to take an active part in the world she encountered."

Jane Addams & Toynbee Hall

In 1888, while on a European tour, Jane Addams and Ellen Starr, visited the university settlement, Toynbee Hall in the East End of London. Named after the social reformer, Arnold Toynbee, the settlement was run by Samuel Augustus Barnett, canon of St. Jude's Church. Situated in Commercial Street, Whitechapel, Toynbee Hall was Britain's first university settlement. The idea was to create a place where students from Oxford University and Cambridge University could work among, and improve the lives of the poor during their summer holidays. The settlement also served as a base for Charles Booth and his group of researchers working on the Life and Labour of the People in London.

When Jane Addams and Ellen Starr returned to Chicago in 1889, they decided to start a similar project in Chicago. Helen Culver agreed to rent them Hull House for $60 a month. This large, abandoned mansion had been built by the wealthy businessman, Charles J. Hull, in 1856. Situated in Halstead Street, most of the people living in the area were recently arrived immigrants from Italy and Germany.

Hull House

Jane Addams and Ellen Starr moved in to Hull House on 18th September, 1889. They began by inviting people living in the area to hear reading of George Eliot's Romola and to look at slides of Florentine art. After talking to the people who visited the house, it soon became clear that the women had a desperate need for a place where they could bring their young children. Addams and Starr decided to start a kindergarten and provide a room where the mothers could sit and talk. Jenny Dow, who lived in an expensive part of Chicago, agreed to come to Hull House to run the nursery school. Within three weeks the kindergarten had enrolled twenty-four children with 70 more on the waiting list.

Other activities soon followed. Jane Addams ran a club for teenage boys. Whereas Ellen Starr provided lessons in cooking and sewing for young girls. Local university teachers and students were also recruited to provide free lectures on a wide variety of different topics.

Inspired by the ideas of William Morris and John Ruskin, the women decided to turn Hull House into an art gallery. While in Europe the two women had collected reproductions of paintings and these were now hung in the various rooms of the house. Ellen Starr organized art classes and exhibitions as well as developing a scheme where people could borrow art reproductions to hang in their own homes.

Jane Addams & Immigration

Italian and German evenings were also organized at Hull House. Local people presented songs, dances, games and food associated with the countries from where they used to live. This was probably the most successful of their early ventures as it provided an opportunity for local people to make their own contribution to the venture. As Addams later recalled, it soon became clear that the object of the settlement program should be to "help the foreign-born conserve and keep whatever of value their past life contained and to bring them into contact with a better class of Americans."

In 1890 Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr were joined at Hull House by Julia Lathrop. All three women had been students at Rockford Seminary together in the 1980s. Lathrop, who had been trained as a lawyer by her father, the United States senator, William Lathrop, was an excellent organizer, and took over the day to day running of the settlement.

Jane Addams, Ellen Gates Starr and Julia Lathrop gradually became more involved in the community where they were living. They were shocked by the poor housing, the overcrowding and the poverty that the people were having to endure. Addams wrote to her step-brother that she was "overpowered by the misery and narrow lives" of these people.

Christian Socialism

In the early days of Hull House, the three women were influenced by the Christian Socialism that had inspired the creation of Toynbee Hall. This was reinforced by the arrival in 1891 of Florence Kelley at Hull House. A member of the Socialist Labor Party, Kelley had considerable experience of political and trade union activity. It was Kelley who was mainly responsible for turning Hull House into a centre of social reform.

The presence of Florence Kelley in Hull House attracted other social reformers to the settlement. This included Edith Abbott, Grace Abbott, Alice Hamilton, Mary McDowell, Charles Beard, Mary Kenney, Charlotte Perkins, Alzina Stevens and Sophonisba Breckinridge. Working-class women, such as Kenney and Stevens, who had developed an interest in social reform as a result of their trade union work, played an important role in the education of the middle-class residents at Hull House. They in turn influenced the working-class women. As Kenney was later to say, they "gave my life new meaning and hope".

Addams met Mary White Ovington, the founder of the Greenpoint Settlement in Brooklyn. Ovington remembers Addams telling her: "If you want to be surrounded by second-rate ability, you will dominate your settlement. If you want the best ability, you must allow great liberty of action among your residents."

Florence Kelley and several other women based at Hull House carried out research into the sweating trade in Chicago and this led to the passing of the pioneering Illinois Factory Act (1893). Kelley was recruited by the state's new governor, John Peter Altgeld, as the chief factory inspector, and two other women involved in the research, Alzina Stevens and Mary Kenney, became inspectors in Illinois.

Helen Culver, who owned Hull House, also gave the women other adjacent property. Wealthy people in Chicago contributed money, including Louise Bowen who provided three quarters of a million dollars. This enabled the group to expand its activities. An art gallery was added in 1891, a coffee house and gymnasium in 1893, a club house in 1898 and a theatre in 1899.

Women's Trade Union League

In 1903 several women associated with Hull House, including Jane Addams, Mary Kenney, Mary McDowell, Florence Kelley and Sophonisba Breckinridge, were involved in establishing the Women's Trade Union League. Union meetings were often held at Hull House and members of the settlement helped support workers during industrial disputes. This resulted in some wealthy people withdrawing their support for Hull House. One businessman wrote that Hill House had "been so thoroughly unionized that it has lost its usefulness and has become a detriment and harm to the community as a whole."

The Hull House complex was not completed until 1907. The settlement now had thirteen buildings spread over a large city block. There were around 70 people living in Hull House and it cost the settlement over $26,500 to run the house and its programs. Rents and sales raised $12,000 but the rest had to come from donations.


On 3rd September 1908, William English Walling published his article, Race War in the North. Walling complained that "a large part of the white population" in the area were waging "permanent warfare with the Negro race". He quoted a local newspaper as saying: "It was not the fact of the whites' hatred toward the negroes, but of the negroes' own misconduct, general inferiority or unfitness for free institutions that were at fault." Walling argued that they only way to reduce this conflict was "to treat the Negro on a plane of absolute political and social equality".

Walling argued that the people behind the riots were seeking economic benefits: "If the white laborers get the Negro laborers' jobs; if masters of Negro servants are able to keep them under the discipline of terror as I saw them doing in Springfield; if white shopkeepers and saloon keepers get their colored rivals' trade; if the farmers of neighboring towns establish permanently their right to drive poor people out of their community, instead of offering them reasonable alms; if white miners can force their negro fellow-workers out and get their positions by closing the mines, then every community indulging in an outburst of race hatred will be assured of a great and certain financial reward, and all the lies, ignorance and brutality on which race hatred is based will spread over the land."

Walling suggested that racists were in danger of destroying democracy in the United States: "The day these methods become general in the North every hope of political democracy will be dead, other weaker races and classes will be persecuted in the North as in the South, public education will undergo an eclipse, and American civilization will await either a rapid degeneration or another profounder and more revolutionary civil war, which shall obliterate not only the remains of slavery but all other obstacles to a free democratic evolution that have grown up in its wake. Yet who realizes the seriousness of the situation, and what large and powerful body of citizens is ready to come to their aid.

Mary Ovington, a journalist working for the New York Evening Post, responded to the article by writing to Walling and inviting him and a few friends to her apartment on West Thirty-Eighth Street. Ovington was impressed with Walling: "It always seemed to me that William English Walling looked like a Kentuckian, tall, slender; and though he might be talking the most radical socialism, he talked it with the air of an aristocrat."

They decided to form the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP). The first meeting of the NAACP was held on 12th February, 1909. Early members included Jane Addams, William English Walling, Anna Strunsky, Mary Ovington, Josephine Ruffin, Mary Talbert, Lillian Wald, Florence Kelley, Mary Church Terrell, Inez Milholland, George Henry White, William Du Bois, Charles Edward Russell, John Dewey, Charles Darrow, Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, William Dean Howells, Fanny Garrison Villard, Oswald Garrison Villard and Ida Wells-Barnett.

A strong supporter of women's suffrage, Addams was vice-president of the National American Women's Suffrage Association (1911-14). Addams controversially supported Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Party in the 1912 presidential elections. Some of the her friends were highly critical of his aggressive foreign policy and his unwillingness to openly support African American civil rights.

Jane Addams and the Women's Peace Party

On the outbreak of the First World War, Jane Addams and a group of women pacifists in the United States, began talking about the need to form an organization to help bring it to an end. On the 10th January, 1915, over 3,000 women attended a meeting in the ballroom of the New Willard Hotel in Washington and formed the Woman's Peace Party. Addams was elected chairman and other women involved in the organization included Mary McDowell, Florence Kelley, Alice Hamilton, Anna Howard Shaw, Belle La Follette, Fanny Garrison Villard, Emily Balch, Jeanette Rankin, Lillian Wald, Edith Abbott, Grace Abbott, Mary Heaton Vorse, Freda Kirchwey, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Crystal Eastman, Carrie Chapman Catt and Sophonisba Breckinridge.

In April 1915, Arletta Jacobs, a suffragist in Holland, invited members of the Woman's Peace Party to an International Congress of Women in the Hague. Addams was asked to chair the meeting and Alice Hamilton, Mary Heaton Vorse, Julia Lathrop, Leonora O'Reilly, Sophonisba Breckinridge, Grace Abbott and Emily Bach went as delegates from the United States. Others who went to the Hague included Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, Emily Hobhouse, (England); Chrystal Macmillan (Scotland) and Rosika Schwimmer (Hungary). Afterwards, Addams, Jacobs, Macmillan, Schwimmer and Balch went to to London, Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, Rome and Paris to speak with members of the various governments in Europe. During this time they met Edward Grey (13th May), Herbert Asquith (14th May), Gottlieb von Jagow (21st May), Theobold von Bethmann-Hollweg (22nd May), Karl von Sturgkh (26th May), Théophile Delcassé (12th June) and Rene Viviani (14th June).

The women were attacked in the press by Theodore Roosevelt who described them as "hysterical pacifists" and called their proposals "both silly and base". Addams was selected for particular criticism. One man wrote in the Rochester Herald, "In the true sense of the word, she is apparently without education. She knows no more of the discipline and methods of modern warfare than she does of its meaning. If the woman conceded by her sisters to be the ablest of her sex, is so readily duped, so little informed, men wonder what degree of intelligence is to be secured by adding the female vote to the electorate."

Henry Ford, the wealthy American businessman, soon made it clear he opposed the war and supported the decision of the Woman's Peace Party to organize a peace conference in Holland. After the conference Addams, Oswald Garrison Villard, and Paul Kellogg, met with Ford and suggested he should sponsor an international conference in Stockholm to discuss ways that the conflict could be brought to an end. During this period Theodore Roosevelt described Addams as "the most dangerous woman in America."

Jane Addams
Jane Addams

Henry Ford came up with the idea of sending a boat of pacifists to Europe to see if they could negotiate an agreement that would end the war. He chartered the ship Oskar II, and it sailed from Hoboken, New Jersey on 4th December, 1915. Addams planned to be on the ship but three days before it was due to leave she became seriously ill with tuberculosis of the kidneys. The Ford Peace Ship reached Stockholm in January, 1916, and a conference was organized with representatives from Denmark, Holland, Norway, Sweden and the United States. However, unable to persuade representatives from the warring nations to take part, the conference was unable to negotiate an Armistice.

In 1918 Herbert Hoover recruited Addams to his Department of Food Administration. She toured the country making speeches encouraging the people of America to help conserve and increase production of food. This upset some pacifists who felt that any support of the war effort was morally wrong. However, she was praised by some of her former critics. The editor of the Los Angeles Times wrote: "now she is seeing clearly again, and her service is with the country, with the administration, with the Allies, wholehearted and whole-souled."

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

Addams was again criticised in April 1919 when she lead the American delegation to the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) conference in Zurich. Among the delegates were Florence Kelley, Alice Hamilton, Emily Balch, Jeanette Rankin and Lillian Wald. At the conference Addams was elected president of the WILPF and Balch became secretary-treasurer.

In 1919 Woodrow Wilson appointed A. Mitchell Palmer as his attorney general. Palmer had previously been associated with the progressive wing of the party and had supported women's suffrage and trade union rights. However, once in power, Palmer's views on civil rights changed dramatically. Worried by the revolution that had taken place in Russia, Palmer became convinced that Communist agents were planning to overthrow the American government. Palmer recruited John Edgar Hoover as his special assistant and together they used the Espionage Act (1917) and the Sedition Act (1918) to launch a campaign against radicals and left-wing organizations.

On 7th November, 1919, the second anniversary of the Russian Revolution, over 10,000 suspected communists and anarchists were arrested in what became known as the Palmer Raids. Palmer and Hoover found no evidence of a proposed revolution but large number of these suspects were held without trial for a long time. The vast majority were eventually released but Emma Goldman and 247 other people, were deported to Russia.

In January, 1920, another 6,000 were arrested and held without trial. Palmer and Hoover found no evidence of a proposed revolution but a large number of these suspects, many of them members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), continued to be held without trial. When Palmer announced that the communist revolution was likely to take place on 1st May, mass panic took place. In New York, five elected Socialists were expelled from the legislature.

American Civil Liberties Union

Jane Addams was appalled by the way people were being persecuted for their political beliefs and in 1920 joined with Roger Baldwin, Norman Thomas, Chrystal Eastman, Paul Kellogg, Clarence Darrow, John Dewey, Abraham Muste, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Upton Sinclair to form the American Civil Liberties Union.

During her life Jane Addams wrote articles about social problems in a variety of magazines including American Magazine, McClures, Crisis, and Ladies Home Journal. Addams also wrote several books including, Democracy and Social Ethics (1902), Newer Ideals of Peace (1907), Spirit of Youth (1909), Twenty Years at Hull House (1910), A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil (1912), Peace and Bread in Time of War (1922) and The Second Twenty Years at Hull House (1930).

In 1927 Jane Addams joined with John Dos Passos, Alice Hamilton, Jane Addams, Upton Sinclair, Dorothy Parker, Ben Shahn, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Floyd Dell, George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells in an effort to prevent the execution of Nicola Sacco and Bertolomeo Vanzetti. Although Webster Thayer, the original judge, was officially criticised for his conduct at the trial, the execution went ahead on 23rd August 1927.

Even when Jane Addams was in her seventies right-wing figures continued to attack her as the "most dangerous woman" in the United States. In 1934 Elizabeth Dilling wrote in her book, The Red Network, that: "Jane Addams has been able to do more probably than any other living woman to popularize pacifism and to introduce radicalism into colleges, settlements, and respectable circles. The influence of her radical proteges, who consider Hull House their home center, reaches out all over the world."

Jane Addams, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, remained president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom until her death on 21st May, 1935.

Primary Sources

(1) In his book, The American Earthquake, published in 1958, Edmund Wilson included a section on Jane Addams (1958)

A little girl with curvature of the spine, whose mother had died when she was a baby, she abjectly admired her father, a man of consequence in frontier Illinois, a friend of Lincoln and a member of the state legislature, who had a floor mill and a lumber mill on his place. Whenever there were strangers at Sunday school, she would try to walk out with her uncle so that her father should not be disgraced by people's knowing that such a fine man had a daughter with a crooked spine.

When he took her one day to a mill which was surrounded by horrid little houses and explained to her, in answer to her questions, that the reason people lived in such houses was that they couldn't afford anything better, she told her father that, when she grew up, she should herself continue to live in a big house but it should stand among the houses of poor people.

(2) Harriet Hyman Alonso, Women at the Hague (2003)

In 1915 Jane Addams was already renowned for the establishment of Hull-House, the Chicago settlement that decided her reputation as one of the Progressive Era's most effective reformers and social thinkers. Born on September 6, 1860, in Cedarville, Illinois, Addams was greatly influenced by her father, who stood out in the community as a great supporter of Abraham. Lincoln and an opponent of slavery and was a God-fearing man who, his daughter claimed, favored Quakerism although regularly attending services in both Methodist and Presbyterian churches. Addams, therefore, was reared in a religious home that valued humanitarianism. As a girl, she expressed sympathy for former slaves and other impoverished people in the community. As many other children whose parents opposed slavery but supported the Civil War, Addams grew up aware of the dilemma between fighting a just war and maintaining moral witness against all violence. These values made her a perfect candidate for a lifetime of work around social justice issues. Her upbringing held her in good stead throughout her public school years, college-level education at the Rockford Female Seminary, and a period of searching for the kind of work she could do to serve both herself and humanity.

After visiting Toynbee Hall, a settlement house that had opened in London's East End in 1884, Jane Addams felt she had found her path. A year after the visit, in February 1889, she and her friend Ellen Gates Starr rented the semi-abandoned mansion of Charles J. Hull, once a country home but now situated in the slums of Chicago. There they created Hull-House as a settlement that would serve a predominantly immigrant community. Within four years of its inception the settlement boasted an array of dubs and functions as well as a day nursery, gymnasium, dispensary, playground, and cooperative boardinghouse known as the Jane Club. Lobbying and public campaigns launched by such Hull-House residents as Florence Kelley and Alice Hamilton resulted in an array of legislation, including passage of the first factory inspection act in Illinois in 1893, establishment of the state's first juvenile court in 1899, and investigations into city sanitary and health conditions.

While Hull-House made Addams a household name, it also resulted in her election in 1909 as the first woman president of the National Conference of Charities and Correction (later known as the National Conference of Social Work), her being the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Yale University (1910), and her being called upon to second Theodore Roosevelt's nomination to run for president in 1912 on the Progressive Party ticket. From 1911 through 1914 she also served as first vice president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and in 1913 she attended the convention of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance in Budapest, where she met many women she would see again at The Hague congress.

Three factors thus led to Addams's sensitivity to peace: first, youthful exposure to her father's ideals of social and racial justice and tile fact that he passed along a humanitarian, strongly Christian identity; second, work with the poor and immigrant community at Hull-House, which taught her about commonalities among people and the importance of ethnicity to identity; and, third, work in the woman suffrage campaign, which awakened her to the specific injustices that women the world over experienced in personal, political, and economic arenas. Her ever-growing political clout and international reputation as an effective, respected organizer added to her attraction when other activist women were considering who should lead the new peace movement.

Addams's first foray into the world of peace was her membership in the Anti-Imperialist League, founded to protest the Spanish-American War of 1898 that resulted in an extended war in which the United States colonized the Philippines. She particularly deplored the racist and imperialistic language of the war, which referred to the "browning" of the U.S. Population should numbers of Filipinos enter the country and by referring to "taming" and "civilizing" the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Cuba (which became a protectorate of the United States) expressed U.S. ideals of white Christian Superiority. By 1902 she began to formalize her ideas in print with Democracy and Social Ethics. In this work, Addams made clear her belief that various ethnic groups could learn to live and work together and in the process develop a collective social morality that would eventually lead to Cross-Cultural understanding, tolerance, and the use of what now would be called conflict resolution or negotiation and mediation. As the democratic nature of living together became more embedded in local communities it would set the model for future national and international communities based on cooperation rather than conflict.

(3) Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House (1910)

In my long advocacy of peace I had consistently used one line of appeal; contending that peace is no longer an abstract dogma; that a dynamic peace is found in that new internationalism promoted by the men of all nations who are determined upon the abolition of degrading poverty, disease and ignorance, with their resulting inefficiency and tragedy. I believed that peace was not merely an absence of war, but the nurture of human life, and that in time this nurture would do away with war as a natural process

(4) In her book Twenty Years at Hull House (1910), Jane Addams described how an unemployed shipping clerk had arrived in 1893 at Hull House asking for help.

I told him of the opportunity for work on the drainage canal and intimated that if any employment were obtainable, he ought to exhaust that possibility before asking for help. The man replied that he had always worked indoors and that he could not endure outside work in winter. He did not come again for relief, but worked for two days digging on the canal, where he contracted pneumonia and died a week later. I have never lost trace of the two little children he left behind him, although I cannot see them without a bitter consciousness that it was at their expense I learned that life cannot be administered by definite rules and regulations; that wisdom to deal with a man's difficulties comes only through some knowledge of his life and habits as a whole; and that to treat an isolated episode is almost sure to invite blundering.

(5) Mary White Ovington, Reminiscences (1932)

I knew Jane Addams and have never forgotten her piece of advice to me: "If you want to be surrounded by second-rate ability, you will dominate your settlement. If you want the best ability, you must allow great liberty of action among your residents." Jane Addams's name today is among the most famous in the world. But perhaps few people realize the incalculable good she has done in helping others to enlarge and glorify their own work. Many people can build their fortune by using others. Few can encourage ability without dominating it.

(6) The Indianapolis Journal (28 February, 1896)

Jane Addams is a woman of indomitable energy and persistence, of enthusiasm and adaptability; intellectually she is strong and possesses a keen sense of a humour. She is a slender, delicate, pink-cheeked woman with a face as fine as a cameo and a manner unassuming and attractive.

(7) Jane Addams wrote about lynching for the Independent Magazine (January, 1901)

To those who say that most of these hideous and terrorizing acts have been committed in the name of chivalry, in order to make the lives and honor of women safe, perhaps it is women themselves who can best reply that bloodshed and arson and ungoverned anger have never yet controlled lust. On the contrary, that lust has always been the handmaid of these, and is prone to be found where they exist; that the suppression of the bestial cannot be accomplished by the counter exhibition of the brutal only. Perhaps it is woman who can best testify that the honor of women is only secure in those nations and those localities where law and order prevail; that the sight of human blood and the burning of human flesh has historically been the signal for lust; that an attempt to allay and control it by scenes such as those is as ignorant as it is futile and childish.

(8) Emily Bach was one of the women who attended the International Peace Conference in the Hague. In her journal she recorded her impression of Jane Addams (April, 1915)

Miss Addams shines, so respectful of everyone's views, so eager to understand and sympathize, so patient of anarchy and even ego, yet always there, strong, wise and in the lead. No 'managing', no keeping dark and bringing things subtly to pass, just a radiating wisdom and power of judgement.

(9) Jane Addams, Trade Unions and Public Duty (1899)

Let us put ourselves in the position of the striking men who have fallen upon workmen who have taken their places. The strikers have for years belonged to an organization devoted to securing better wages and a higher standard of living, not only for themselves, but for all men in their trade. They honestly believe, whether they are right or wrong, that their position is exactly the same which a nation, in time of war, takes towards a traitor who has deserted his country's camp for the enemy. We regard the treatment accorded to the deserter with much less horror than the same treatment when it is accorded to the 'scab', largely because in one instance we are citizens are participants, and in the other we allow ourselves to stand aside.

(10) Jane Addams, Ladies Home Journal (January, 1910)

Women who live in the country sweep their own dooryards and may either feed the refuse of the table to a flock of chickens or allow it innocently to decay in the open air and sunshine. In a crowded city quarter, however, if the street is not cleaned by the city authorities no amount of private sweeping will keep the tenement free from grime; if the garbage is not properly collected and destroyed a tenement house may see her children sicken and die of diseases from which she alone is powerless to shield them, although her tenderness and devotion are unbounded. In short, if women would keep on with her old business of caring for her house and rearing her children she will have to have some conscience in regard to public affairs lying quite outside of her immediate household. The individual conscience and devotion are no longer effective. The statement is sometimes made that the franchise for women would be valuable only so far as the educated women exercised it. This statement totally disregards the fact those those matters in which women's judgement is most needed are far too primitive and basic to be largely influenced by what we call education.

(11) Jane Addams, speech at Carnegie Hall (9th July, 1915)

The first thing which was striking is this, that the same causes and reasons for the war were heard everywhere. Each warring nation solemnly assured you it is fighting under the impulse of self-defense.

Another thing which we found very striking was that in practically all of the foreign offices the men said that a nation at war cannot make negotiations and that a nation at war cannot even express willingness to receive negotiations, for if it does either, the enemy will at once construe it as a symptom of weakness.

Generally speaking, we heard everywhere that this war was an old man's war; that the young men who were dying, the young men who were doing the fighting, were not the men who wanted the war, and were not the men who believed in the war; that someone in church and state, somewhere in the high places of society, the elderly people, the middle-aged people, had established themselves and had convinced themselves that this was a righteous war, that this war must be fought out, and the young men must do the fighting.

(12) In her speech at Carnegie Hall Jane Addams claimed that soldiers were provided with alcohol before making bayonet charges. The journalist, Richard Harding Davis, wrote a letter of complaint about her speech to the New York Times (13th July, 1915)

In this war the French or English soldier who had been killed in a bayonet charge gave his life to protect his home and country. For his supreme exit he had prepared himself by months of discipline. Through the winter in the trenches he had endured shells, disease, snow and ice. For months he had been separated from his wife, children, friends - all those he most loved. When the order to charge came it was for them he gave his life, that against those who destroyed Belgium they might preserve their home, might live to enjoy peace.

Miss Addams denies him the credit of his sacrifice. She strips him of honor and courage. She tells his children, "Your father did not die for France, or for England, or for you; he died because he was drunk."

In my opinion, since the war began, no statement has been so unworthy or so untrue and ridiculous. The contempt it shows for the memory of the dead is appalling; the crudity and ignorance it displays are inconceivable.

(13) Pittsfield Journal (3rd July, 1915)

The time was when Miss Jane Addams of Hull House, Chicago held a warm place in the hearts of the American people but she is vast losing the esteem, with her earlier efforts seem to merit. Her dabbling in politics, her suffrage activity and her ill-advised methods of working for peace have very materially lowered her in the esteem of hundreds of former admirers.

(14) Rochester Herald (15th July, 1915)

In the true sense of the word, she (Jane Addams) is apparently without education. She knows no more of the discipline and methods of modern warfare than she does of its meaning. If the woman conceded by her sisters to be the ablest of her sex, is so readily duped, so little informed, men wonder what degree of intelligence is to be secured by adding the female vote to the electorate.

(15) Jane Addams, Patriotism and Pacifist in War Time (16th June, 1917)

This world crisis should be utilized for the creation of an international government to secure without war, those high ends which they now gallantly seek to obtain upon the battlefield. With such a creed can the pacifists of today be accused of selfishness when they urge upon the United States no isolation, not indifference to moral issues and to the fate of liberty and democracy, but a strenuous endeavor to lead all nations of the earth into an organized international life worthy of civilized men.

(16) Fort Wayne News (18th June, 1917)

For three of four years past Jane Addams has gone to bizarre extremes in her advocacy of weird measures and her championship of impossible people, apparently capitalizing a reputation honestly won in a worthy work, to keep herself constantly in the headlines. She has sacrificed fame for notoriety and a place in the public heart for a place in the spotlight.

(17) Los Angeles Times (20th March, 1918)

It will not be for her chairmanship of the Woman's Pace Party and its earnest but mistaken activities that Jane Addams will reign in the hearts of men. And now she is seeing clearly again, and her service is with the country, with the administration, with the Allies, wholehearted and whole-souled."

(18) Jane Addams, speech in Chicago (28th November, 1919)

Hundreds of poor laboring men and women are being thrown into jails and police stations because of their political beliefs. In fact, an attempt is being made to deport an entire political party.

These men and women, who in some respects are more American in ideals than the agents of the government who are tracking them down, are thrust into cells so crowded they cannot lie down.

And what is it these radicals seek? It is the right of free speech and free thought; nothing more than is guaranteed to them under the Constitution of the United States, but repudiated because of the war.

It is a dangerous situation we face at the present time, with the rule of the few overcoming the voice of the many. It is doubly dangerous because we are trying to suppress something upon which our very country was founded - liberty.

The cure for the spirit of unrest in this country is conciliation and education - not hysteria. Free speech is the greatest safety valve of our United States. Let us give these people a chance to explain their beliefs and desires. Let us end this suppression and spirit of intolerance which is making of America another autocracy.

(19) Thomas Bayard of Delaware, speech in Congress (1926)

It is of the utmost significance that practically all the radicalism started among women in the United States centers about Hull House, Chicago, and the Children's Bureau at Washington, with a dynasty of Hull House graduates in charge of it since its creation.

It has been shown that both the legislative program and the economic program - "social-welfare" legislation and "bread and peace" propaganda for internationalism of the food, farms, and raw materials of the world for their chief expression in persons, organizations, and bureaus connected with Hull House.

And Hull House has been able to cover its tracks quite effectively under the nationally advertised reputation of Miss Jane Addams as a social worker - who has often been painted by magazine and newspaper writers as a sort of modern Saint of the Slums - that both she and Hull House can campaign for the most radical movements, with hardly a breath of public suspicion.

Jane Addams' funeral in the Hull House courtyard.
Jane Addams' funeral in the Hull House courtyard.

(20) Louise Bowen, letter to a friend about the death of Jane Addams (27th May, 1035)

Miss Jane Addams went to Passavant Hospital on the 18th May. The operation was performed on her that day but it was found that she had an incurable disease. On the 20th she sank into unconsciousness, and she died very quietly on the evening of the 21st.

May 22nd and 23rd Miss Addams lay in state in Bowen Hall at Hull House. She looked very lovely and very natural, and during the twenty-four hours she was there thousands of people passed through the Hall. The Hull House Women's Club formed a guard of honor and stood on either side of the hall, while the older boys and girls in the Clubs with white ribbons tied around their arms acted as ushers and everything was conducted in a most orderly way.

She lay in a casket with a loose light blue robe around her, her hair pushed back from her forehead as she always wore it. On either side of the casket were bright colored tulips, so that it looked as though she was resting on a bed of flowers. The hall was opened at five o'clock in the morning, and working men on their way to their jobs came in with lunch boxes in their hands, many of them kneeling on a little stool in front of the casket and saying a prayer.

The morning of the funeral - and it was a beautiful day - she was taken from Bowen Hall and placed upon the terrace in Hull House Court. This Court is surrounded by the various Hull House buildings. The funeral was at 2.30 in the afternoon. As early as ten o'clock in the morning the Court Yard was crowded with people, one or two thousand standing there all day in order to be present at the services.

When the funeral began, the music for which was furnished by the Hull House Music School, every window in the Court was filled with people, there were flowers in every window and wreaths hanging below the windows, while the terrace was banked with lilacs and apple blossoms with bright colored tulips around the edges. It was a most touching and democratic gathering. Strong men and women with children in their arms all stood weeping for the friend they had lost.

Student Activities

The Middle Ages

The Normans

The Tudors

The English Civil War

Industrial Revolution

First World War

Russian Revolution

Nazi Germany

United States: 1920-1945