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Jane Addams Remembered

(Laura) Jane Addams (September 6, 1860-May 21, 1935) won worldwide recognition in the first third of the twentieth century as a pioneer social worker in America, as a feminist, and as an internationalist.  A Nobel Prize Winner for her peaceful social activism, Ms. Addams, together with community leaders,  transformed the poorest neighborhoods of Chicago into thriving beds of creative and progressive community living.

Hull House, Chicago’s first social settlement, was not only the private home of Jane Addams and other Hull House residents, but also a place where immigrants of diverse communities gathered to learn, to eat, to debate, and to acquire the tools necessary to put down roots in their new country.   During the 1920s, African-Americans and Mexicans began to put down roots in the neighborhood and joined the clubs and activities at Hull House. Jane Addams and the Hull-House residents provided kindergarten and day care facilities for the children of working mothers; an employment bureau; an art gallery; libraries; English and citizenship classes; and theater, music and art classes.

Hall House, founded by social reformers Jacqueline McGruder, Stephanie A. Day and the late William Hall, was not named after Jane Addams, but rather the Hall family, including William’s late mother, Carolyn Hall, whose strength and vision affected significant positive change in the city of Detroit.  Co-founder Stephanie A. Day lists Jane Addams, the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Peace, among her personal heroes, and herself made a pilgrimage to the original Hull House in Chicago and to the Hull House Museum with friend and fellow activist Elizabeth Bertoni in the spring of 2006.  Says Ms. Day, “Jane Addams is the inspiration for my life’s work.  She is why I continue to believe.”

“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt.”–Jane Addams


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