Fact Book Article:
Jane Addams (September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935) was a pioneer settlement worker, founder of Hull House in Chicago, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in woman suffrage and world peace. Beside presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, she was the most prominent reformer of the Progressive Era and helped turn the nation to issues of concern to mothers, such as the needs of children, public health, and world peace. She said that if women were to be responsible for cleaning up their communities and making them better places to live, they needed the vote to be effective in doing so. Addams became a role model for middle-class women who volunteered to uplift their communities. She is increasingly recognized as a member of the American pragmatist school of philosophy. In 1931 she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.Hull HouseJane Addams, 1915.
The run-down mansion had been built by Charles Hull in 1856 and needed repairs and upgrading. Addams at first paid for all of the capital expenses (repairing the roof of the porch, repainting the rooms, purchasing the furniture) and the bulk of the operating costs. But gifts from individuals supported the House from its first year and over time, Addams was able to reduce the proportion of her contributions, although the annual budget grew rapidly. A number of wealthy women became important long-term donors to the House, including Helen Culver, who managed her first cousin Charles Hull's estate, and who eventually allowed them to use the house rent free, Louise deKoven Bowen, Mary Rozet Smith, Mary Wilmarth, and others.
Addams and Starr were the first two occupants of the house, which would later become the residence of about twenty-five women. At its height, Hull House was visited each week by around two thousand people. Its facilities included a night school for adults, kindergarten classes, clubs for older children, a public kitchen, an art gallery, a coffeehouse, a gym, a girls' club, a bathhouse, a book bindery, a music school, a drama group, and a library, as well as labor-related divisions. Her adult night school was a forerunner of the continuing educationclasses offered by many universities today. In addition to making available social services and cultural events for the largely immigrant population of the neighborhood, Hull House afforded an opportunity for young social workers to acquire training. Eventually, Hull House became a thirteen-building settlement complex, which included a playground and a summer camp (known as Bowen Country Club)
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