Born in Cedarville, lllinois on September 6, 1860 and graduated from Rockford College in 1882, Jane Addams founded the world-famous social settlement Hull House on Chicago’s Near West Side in 1889. From Hull House, where she lived and worked until her death in 1935. Jane Addams built her reputation as the country’s most prominent woman through her writing, her settlement work, and her international efforts for world peace.
Around Hull House, which was located on the corner of Polk and Halsted Streets, immigrants to Chicago crowded into a residential and industrial neighborhood. Italians, Russian and Polish Jews, Irish, Germans, Greeks and Bohemians predominated. Jane Addams and the other residents of the settlement provided services for the neighborhood, such as kindergarten and daycare facilities for children of working mothers, an employment bureau, an art gallery, libraries, and music and art classes. By 1900 Hull House activities had broadened to include the Jane Club (a cooperative residence for working women), the first Little Theater in America, a Labor Museum and a meeting place for trade union groups.
In the early years of the twentieth century, Jane Addams became involved in the peace movement, becoming an important advocate of internationalism. This interest grew during the First World War, when she participated in the International Congress of Women at the Hague in 1915. She maintained her pacifist stance after the United States entered the war in 1917, working through the Women’s Peace Party, which became the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in 1919. She was the WILPF’s first president. As a result of her work, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
—From the Jane Addams’ Hull-House Museum
Twenty Years at Hull-House
by Jane Addams and Ruth W. Messinger