Jane Addams was born in Cedarville, Illinois on September 6th of 1860. She graduated in 1881, from Rockford Female Seminary, and was at the top of her class. After graduation, Addams wanted to take advantage of the fact that she was educated and put her education to use. Addams attempted to study medicine, and after this was unsuccessful she discovered something she was very passionate about. In 1888, Addams visited Toynbee Hall, a settlement house in London, and instantly knew that she wanted to help found the first settlement house in the United States. Addams and a close friend, Ellen Gates Starr, set out on a mission to do so.
- 1889 – Founded the Hull House.
- 1902 – Published Democracy and Social Ethics.
- 1907 – Published Newer Ideals of Peace.
- 1909 – Helped establish the NAACP, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Was also elected the first female President of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections.
- 1910 – Published Twenty Years at Hull House.
- 1911-1914 – Vice President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, was also the head of the National Federation of Settlement and Neighborhood Centers.
- 1915 – Helped to establish Woman’s Peace Party, was the first Chairman of this organization.
- 1919-1929 – Founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, was the president of this organization.
- 1930 – Published The Second Twenty Years at Hull House.
- 1931 – Was the first female to ever receive a Nobel Peace Prize.
Reform Movement Career & Contributions
Addams helped establish the Hull House in Chicago, this was the first settlement house in the United States. Settlement houses offered aid to residents of poorer areas, they hoped to alleviate poverty. They also offered support to European immigrants, such as education and healthcare. Addams later helped to establish many organizations that benefited women, immigrants, African Americans, and lower class citizens. Addams helped establish the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National American Woman Suffrage Association, Woman’s Peace Party, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
Other Notable Information
Addams played a major role in the political campaign of Theodore Roosevelt in 1912. She was also involved with the establishment of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920. After Addams helped found the Hull House in 1889, many well-known reformers and social workers came to stay there; Florence Kelley, Julia Lanthrop, Grace Abbott, and Edith Abbott were just a few of these people.
Hobbies and Interests
Addams enjoyed writing books in her free time, she wrote several books related to her area of reform. She also enjoyed working with labor unions when she was not focusing on her main goals. Addams fought for an 8 hour workday for women, factory inspections, workers’ compensation, and tenement house regulation. Addams had many passions and areas of reform which she supported, but her main interest was world peace.
One of Addams’s greatest accomplishments was becoming the first woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Being a feminist, it was of great importance to Addams that women be treated as equals; winning a Nobel Peace Prize was something a woman had never accomplished before, Addams opened the door for many other women to follow in her footsteps. Addams also opened the first settlement house in the United States, this was very important to Addams being that she was a social reformer. Addams also helped establish the Woman’s Peace Party and later became the first Chairman of this organization. Not only were these accomplishments major for Addams, but also for those who were benefited by them. Addams founded many organizations that ultimately fought for peace, and even served as an important official for many of these organizations.
- “Jane Addams.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 9 July 2019, https://www.biography.com/activist/jane-addams.
- “About Jane Addams.” Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, https://www.hullhousemuseum.org/about-jane-addams.
- Michals, Debra. “Jane Addams.” National Women’s History Museum, https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/jane-addams.
- “Timeline of Jane Addams’ Life.” Timeline of Jane Addams’ Life, http://castle.eiu.edu/wow/classes/fa07/jatimeline.html.
- Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Jane Addams.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2 Sept. 2019, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jane-Addams.