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Magen Castronova

U.S. History 21.1

Prof. Guerin
Fall 2008


1. Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull-House, p. 112.

2. Lakewood Public Library, Jane Addams Biography

Women in History. Jane Addams biography. Last Updated: 2/13/2008. Lakewood Public
Library. Date accessed 9/18/2008 . <>.

“The Official Web Site of the Nobel Foundation". Nobel Foundation. 9/18/2008

U.S. Congress. "America's Story from America's Library". The Library of Congress. 9/18/2008

Addams, Jane, Twenty Years at Hull-House: With Autobiographical Notes. New York
Macmillan, 1910.

Photo Credit: Water, Ed. D., copyright claimant. "[Jane Addams, head-and-shoulders portrait,
facing left]" Copyright 1907. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
Magen Castronova
U.S. History 21.1
Prof. Guerin
Fall 2008
Laura “Jane” Addams passed away in a hospital near her home in Chicago on May 21,

1935. Jane was born September 6, 1860 in Cedarville, Illinois, into a fortunate milling family

with a state senator at its head. Jane was not so fortunate in that she was born with a congenital

spinal defect. This was later corrected through surgery.

Jane went on to lead a normal life though her body always remembered her corrected

spinal disorder. She was encouraged by her family to pursue higher education. She attended

Rockford Female Seminary and earned her bachelors degree. She continued to study medicine

for several years until her ill health caused her to leave.

During her time away from medicine and higher education, Addams began

writing and found a niche. She went on to write many books including Newer Ideals of Peace,

The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets, The Long Roal of Woman's Memory, Peace and Bread

in Time of War, The Excellent Becomes the Permanent and a few others pertaining to her time

spent at Hull House.

Before Jane was thirty years old she traveled to Europe twice and decided to replicate the

foundations at a settlement house called Toynbee Hall, which she saw in London. Upon return to

the United States Jane moved into a house in Chicago with Ellen G. Starr with the intention of

“[providing] a center for a higher civic and social life; to institute and maintain educational and

philanthropic enterprises and to investigate and improve the conditions in the industrial districts

of Chicago”1. Starr and Addams co-founded the Hull House. Hull House was a safe haven for

any and all that arrived on its doorstep. “Hull House offered medical care, child care and legal

aid. It also provided classes for immigrants to learn English, vocational skills, music, art and

drama.” 2
Magen Castronova
U.S. History 21.1
Prof. Guerin
Fall 2008
At one point Hull House was receiving over two thousand people a week. From Hull

House, Jane took her charitable efforts a step further. She decided that she would try to treat the

disease and not just the symptoms of bad laws in an under-governed city. Addams took herself

and some of the workers she’d encountered in Hull House and lobbied to the state of Illinois for

better factory inspection laws and child labor laws. “They worked for legislation to protect

immigrants from exploitation, limit the working hours of women, mandate schooling for

children, recognize labor unions, and provide for industrial safety”2

All of Jane’s efforts eventually came to a head on the topic of women’s suffrage. She

became first vice-president of the National American Women Suffrage Association in 1911. She

spoke at lecture tours and began writing articles. Whatever revenue she could gain from the

lectures and the articles went into keeping Hull House alive. Eventually she published Twenty

Years at Hull House and the revenue from that book was enough to help her from struggling


Addams opposed the First World War with valiant effort. She organized the Women's

Peace Party and the International Congress of Women and was elected its first president, a

position she held until her death. She was also a founding member of both the National

Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union

(ACLU). Jane went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts at Hull House.

Addams was in ill health at the time her award was given to her, three years before her

death. She never became well again and was in and out of hospitals until her death. There are no

surviving children to speak of. The funeral services will be held at Hull House Courtyard this

coming Tuesday, before her burial in Cedarville, Illinois.

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