Jane Addams

	History courses mention little if anything about Jane Addams; they
should mention much, as she was an amazing lady.  Born September 6, 1860,
in Cedarville, Illinois, to a well-known legislator, Jane Addams had the
opportunity to travel.  This also gave her the opportunity to see
"slum-type" areas of cities where children grew up.  At a young age,
Jane felt a compassion for these children.  This compassion forced a drive
in her to do something about these grotesque living conditions.  As Jane
grew, she continued this need of hers to do something worthwhile to
benefit human life.  To eliminate or at least alleviate the poor quality
of life people were living, was to be the beginning of her foremost
goal.  While traveling in London, she saw something that would change her
life forever.  Jane saw Toynbee Hall; a place for the less fortunate. 

	Toynbee Hall was a building that had a library, swimming pool,
gym, and countless activities.  Toynbee Hall was right in the center of
one of the poorest parts in London.  Ideas flooded Jane.  She felt somehow
she could set something like this up in America.  She confided her idea to
her good friend Ellen Star who was also a humanitarian.  This was the
beginning of what was to be a life-long effort of dedication to children
and remarkable success for Jane. 

	Jane Addams found the perfect building right in the middle of one
of Chicago poorest areas, the 19th Ward.  On September 18, 1889, Jane
purchased this building (which was really a mansion) from Charles Hull,
giving her it's name; Hull House.  Hull House was a place where people
could go to escape from their pitiful living conditions.  Jane wanted the
house mostly for children.  She wanted them to live and play in a clean
and healthy environment.  Once this vision was accomplished, this would
appease her haunting memory of children playing in disease-infested

	At Hull House, Jane started Chicago's first kindergarten and
day-care for children of working mothers with the help of volunteer Jenny
Dow.  They organized girls clubs, boys clubs and countless activities to
keep the children in a healthy environment and off of the dirty streets. 
Hull House offered various types of lessons for children and adults
including piano and art.  Jane placed her own collection of arts and
treasures from all of her places of travel throughout the house.  She felt
that everyone deserved the chance to see, know, and be in the presence of
beauty.  During the middle of the night, while Jane was sleeping in her
room she heard a burglar sneak through her window.  She told him to be
quiet and not wake her nephew, and then, when he was going to leave using
the window once again she told him to use the front door, it's unlocked. 
Another time when she caught a different burglar after talking to him a
bit she told him to come back tomorrow and she'd find him a job, he did
and she did. 

	By word of mouth, people learned of Hull House and the various
classes and lectures given.  Training of American citizenship and training
for skilled labor soon took place.  Health clinics were also offered
there.  Immunization shots and medical care was given to anyone in need. 
The doors were always open.

	Many things at once were always happening at Hull House and the
more Jane did the better she felt.  By the year 1900 there were over 100
of these settlement houses in the United States.  Hull House became an
affirmative alternative to being on the streets and in the saloons. 

	Jane was happy with Hull House and the positive results of it, but
by the same token, was saddened by what was happening outside in the
streets.  She constantly complained to the city officials about the poor
garbage system in Chicago.  To quiet her, the mayor made her the official
garbage inspector.  To their surprise, Jane took her appointment very
seriously.  She followed trash wagons to make sure that they picked
everything up.  If they dared not, she became tough and persistent.  Jane
liked the results she got.  She went as far as taking landlords who didn't
keep their garbage contained, to court and made sure all dead animals were
removed from the streets.  Jane didn't stop there, she worked on many more
important projects for many causes. Jane worked for political campaigns,
raised money for Hull House, lobbied for child-labor laws and workman's
compensation laws.  She acted as go-between in striking situations,
compromising to find peace and end strikes.  Jane spoke in public for many
causes including women's pension laws and housing laws.  She wrote books
telling and explaining Hull House and it's effect on working women,
children and poverty.  She headed up playgrounds throughout Chicago and
tore down dilapidated buildings.  In 1906 Jane belonged to the National
American Women's Suffrage Association and fought for the right of women
and Black people to vote, and in 1911 she was made Vice President of the
association.  In 1909 Jane became a member of the newly formed National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  Jane supported Teddy
Roosevelt's new party campaign, and in 1914, during World War I, she was a
strong advocate for peace.  In 1931 Jane was finally awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize. 

	Jane Addams had many accomplishments in her lifetime, but her
greatest achievement would have to be her lifelong effort at Hull House
with its astounding impact on American children and their education.  In
Jane's helping to meet the basic needs of a person, such as comfort,
safety, rest, nutrition, medicinal care, friends, and love while providing
educational instruction, she made it possible for children to use their
abilities and talents to learn and have an education.  Jane offered hope
for lives that were destined for destitution.  She was a giant in her
lifetime and would have given of herself in any lifetime.  Jane benefited
women, children and all of humankind because of her dedication and love of
the human race. 

prepared by Melanie Valenti


1.Peace and Bread The Story of Jane Addams, 
Stephanie Sammartino McPherson

2.Jane Addams Pioneers in Change,
Leslie a. Wheeler

3.Jane Addams, World Neighbor,