Jane Adams Essay

1102 words - 5 pages

In September 6, 1860 Jane Addams was born in Cedarville.
Jane Addams was the youngest of eight children. Addams
spent her childhood playing outdoors and reading indoors.
When Jenny was only three her mother became very ill and
died. As a result of not having any siblings her , disliked
greatly being reprimanded. When she was age four, she
contracted tuberculosis of the spine, which caused a
curvature in her back and lifelong health problems. As a child,
she thought she was "ugly". In her teens, Addams had big
dreams which is to do something useful in the world. Long
interested in the poor from her reading of Dickens and
inspired by her mother's kindness to the Cedarville ...view middle of the document...

This visit helped to finalize the idea then current in her mind, that of opening a similar house in an underprivileged area of Chicago, which was the Hull House, the first settlement house in the United States. The house had been built by Charles Hull in 1856. Initially, Addams paid for all of the capital expenses (repairing the roof of the porch, repainting the rooms they were renting, purchasing the furniture) and the bulk of the operating costs.

Addams and Starr were the first two occupants of the house, which would later become the residence of about 25 women. 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. 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 13-building settlement complex, which included a playground and a summer camp (known as Bowen Country Club). Starr and Addams developed three ethical principles for social settlements: to teach by example, to practice cooperation, and to practice social democracy, that is, egalitarian, or democratic, social relations across class lines. Hull House therefore offered a comprehensive program of civic, cultural, recreational, and educational activities and attracted admiring visitors from all over the world, they were all designed to foster democratic cooperation and collective action and downplay individualism.

In the 1890s Julia Lathrop, Florence Kelley, and other residents of the house made it a world center of social reform activity. Hull House used the latest methodology to study overcrowding, truancy, typhoid fever, cocaine, children's reading, newsboys, infant mortality, and midwifery. Starting with efforts to improve the immediate neighborhood, the Hull House group became involved in city- and state-wide campaigns for better housing, improvements in public welfare, stricter child-labor laws, and protection of working women. Addams brought in prominent visitors from around the world, and had close links with leading Chicago intellectuals and philanthropists....

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