Hernandez 1 WGS222 Danielle Hernandez March 6, 2012 Biography: Jane Addams

Jane Addams was born into a respectable and wealthy family in 1860. She grew up in a small farming town in northern Illinois. Addams had a very close relationship with her father, John Addams who was just as notable as she would be one day. He partook in local as well as larger, political responsibilities from owning a mill and teaching Sunday school to being a Republican member of his State Senate and being an ardent supporter of abolition. Addams was very much inspired by his public works and Christian ethics. Her mother, unfortunately died while she was very young and her step-mother, Ann Haldeman, would later become estranged from her as she began in social work. From 1877-1881, Addams attended the Rockford Female Seminary where she excelled and took leadership in both curricular and extracurricular activities. Her father’s death soon after her graduation led to a great deal of depression and physical illness. To try and combat this, she pursued a medical school education but soon dropped out and decided to tour Europe. She always knew that she wanted to do social work of some sort and upon visiting Toynbee Hall in London during the 1880’s, she knew that she would accomplish this by opening a settlement house in the United States. She and her partner Ellen Gates Starr jointly opened Hull House (so named after its architect) in the slums of Chicago on September 18, 1889. Toynbee Hall acted as Addams’s inspiration, but she also aimed to make her own settlement house very different. She stressed it be different from Toynbee by having no proselytizing components. She also wished to distance herself from those running it who claimed a “moral higher ground.” Addams continually

Hernandez 2 stressed that she was simply doing social work and refused elements of charity to be associated with Hull House. In all actuality, she was more focused on Hull House providing an outlet for women like herself to work than on the people it serviced. She was also very much influenced by the social philosophies of John Ruskin and the elitist philosophies of Thomas Carlyle. The Settlement House movement had begun. Only months later, the College Settlement Association began in New York City offering its services to college students. Addams and Starr were both glad to see that they were making widespread change, but were also highly competitive. Addams was always a perfectionist and a workaholic as noted by Starr. She was also a proponent of arbitration and objectivity. She would speak on behalf of any social problem and never felt confined to any particular group or cause. Unfortunately, this made her just as many enemies as supporters. Her separation of religious affairs and social work was particularly troubling to local churches. For instance, she worked at Moody Institute, an evangelical school, but also spent time attending meetings of “anarchist Sunday school” where German immigrants learned the importance of free thought. Between 1909 and 1915, Jane Addams was becoming increasingly popular and was hitting the mainstream. British labor leader John Burns remarked that she was “the only saint America has produced.” She became the first female president of the National Conference of Charities and Correction and the vice president of the National-American Woman Suffrage Association. She began writing, as well. She published six books- one (her autobiography) a bestseller- and wrote regularly for the Ladies’ Home Journal as a proponent of woman suffrage. She also gave numerous poignant and cerebral speeches for groups such as the Chicago Woman’s Club and the Chicago Philanthropy Committee.

Hernandez 3 In 1912, she began supporting the Progressive party and, in effect, its candidate, Theodore Roosevelt, for the presidency. Because of her seemingly unwavering support for Roosevelt and the Progressives, it was particularly shocking when, in 1915, she began arguing vehemently against the Great War in Europe. This was the beginning of both her bout in pacifism as well her decline in popularity. When the United States entered WWI, she led the Woman’s Peace party and an International Congress of Women who attempted to suggest mediation in place of war and agreed with the concept of the League of Nations. This involvement caused her to be seen as a traitor to her country well into the 1920’s, but in 1931, she was rewarded significantly for her efforts with the Nobel Peace Prize. She was again a beloved figure in the public. Jane Addams passed away four years later of cancer and had also been suffering from several other medical conditions at the time. Her funeral was held at Hull House where she had continued living over the years.

Hernandez 4 Works Referenced Brown, Victoria Bissell. Addams, Jane, http://www.anb.org/articles/15/12-00004.html; American National Biography Online. Feb. 2000. “Jane Addams.” Contemporary Heroes and Heroines. Vol. 2. Gale, 1992. Gale Biography in Context. Web. 5 Mar. 2012. Knight, Louise W. Citizen : Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005