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Jane Addams was born on September 6, 1860, in Cedarville, Illinois. Her family was prosperous and she was the youngest of eight. However, three of her siblings died as infants and another as a teenager. Her mother died when she was two. As a child, Addams developed tuberculosis of spine that left her with a curved spine. She hoped to become a doctor to help people. Her father encouraged her to get an education and she went to Rockford Female Seminary. She graduated in 1881, and that summer her father died. She inherited $50,000 equivalent to $1.2 million in today's dollars.
Addams went to Philadelphia to study medicine but quit after a year. That summer she had surgery on her spine. Addams concluded that he could help the poor without becoming a doctor. After traveling to Europe she decided to found a settlement house and she established the Hull House in Chicago.
Within 15 years of its opening, Hull House was widely regarded as offering the premier facilities and programs for the benefit of the urban working class. An author and supporter of women's suffrage, Addams was also a tireless worker for world peace. She won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
Addams, known prominently for her work as a social reformer, pacifist and feminist during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was born Laura Jane Addams on September 6, 1860, in Cedarville, Illinois. The eighth of nine children born to an affluent state senator and businessman, Addams lived a life of privilege. Her father had many important friends, including President Abraham Lincoln.
In the 1880s, Addams struggled to find her place in the world. Battling with health problems at an early age, she graduated from the Rockford Female Seminary in Illinois in 1881, and then traveled and briefly attended medical school. On one trip with friend Ellen Gates Starr, the 27-year-old Addams visited the famed Toynbee Hall in London, England, a special facility established to help the poor. She and Starr were so impressed by the settlement house that they sought to create one in Chicago. It wouldn&apost be long before their dream became a reality.
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I-90 enters from Beloit, Wisconsin, with I-39. U.S. Route 51 (US 51) joins at exit 1. At the Rockton Road exit, I-39/I-90/US 51 becomes the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway. The two Interstates and the U.S Route run concurrently south to Cherry Valley, passing by Rock Cut State Park. At Chery Valley, I-39/US 51 continues as a freeway south to Bloomington–Normal. I-90 makes a 90º turn and continues east and crosses the Kishwaukee River before entering Boone County. [ citation needed ]
I-90 heads east and then turns southeast and crosses under US 20 and then turns east.
The Jane Addams Memorial Tollway features an Illinois Tollway oasis in Belvidere, an over-highway oasis. This unique rest stop provides several vendors and allows tollway travelers to rest, refuel, and eat without having to exit the tollway. Another oasis was previously sited in Des Plaines near O'Hare, but it was closed and demolished in 2014 to make room for the widening of I-90 and the O'Hare West Bypass. 
After the oasis, I-90 has an interchange with Genoa Road and turns southeast towards McHenry County. I-90 does not have another interchange until IL 23. This interchange gap is 11 miles (18 km) long. [ citation needed ]
I-90 has a short segment in McHenry County but does have an interchange at IL 23. The route heads southeast in the entire county passing by farms. I-90 heads toward Kane County in this direction. [ citation needed ]
I-90 heads southeast and has an interchange with US 20, then it continues southeast toward the Elgin Toll Plaza. It widens to eight lanes and enters the Chicago suburbs at Randall Road and turns due east for 9.2 miles (14.8 km). I-90 crosses the Fox River before entering Cook County. [ citation needed ]
I-90 enters heading due east and passes by housing areas and shopping centers. It then passes north of a forest preserve with active traffic management gantries appearing after crossing under Barrington Road. I-90 then turns southeast toward O'Hare International Airport. In Schaumburg, I-90 meets the western end of I-290, the only loop from I-90 in Illinois. I-90 then turns slightly to the south after the interchange and widens to five lanes in each direction after I-290. At Elmhurst Road, I-90 narrows down to four lanes in each direction and turns slightly to the northeast. It then goes through the areas north of O'Hare International toward Rosemont and I-190/I-294. [ citation needed ]
After the I-190/I-294 interchange, I-90 becomes a freeway called the Kennedy Expressway heading due east. It then turns southeast and meets I-94. I-90/I-94 then turns south and meets the east end of I-290 and the Chicago–Kansas City Expressway. After the interchange, The Kennedy Expressway becomes the Dan Ryan Expressway and meets I-55. I-90 splits from I-94 at Englewood and becomes the Chicago Skyway with three lanes in each direction, turning southeast. It then crosses the Calumet River and continues into Indiana. [ citation needed ]
Jane Addams Memorial Tollway Edit
The 76-mile (122 km) Northwest Tollway portion of I-90 opened on August 20, 1958.  Prior to the opening, the first vehicle to officially travel the new roadway was a covered wagon navigated by local resident John Madsen who took 5 days to make the journey. 
On September 7, 2007, highway officials responding to an effort by state lawmakers renamed the Northwest Tollway to Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, after Jane Addams, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Settlement House movement in the United States.  
The Illinois Tollway's 2005–2012 Congestion-Relief Program provided $644.1 million in improvements to the I-90 corridor.  Projects included rebuilding and widening of the tollway between I-39 and Rockton Road, including a reconfiguration of the I-90/I-39 interchange to improve traffic flow. This construction started in 2008 and was completed by the end of 2009. 
From 2013 to 2016, over $2 billion was spent on rebuilding and widening the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway from I-39 to the Kennedy Expressway. The inside shoulders were widened for future transit opportunities, and active traffic management was incorporated into the corridor from IL 59 to the eastern end.   In addition, almost all of the crossroad bridges were rebuilt and several interchanges were reconfigured/expanded.  In 2019, a $33.4 million interchange with IL 23 was added near Marengo to provide the first I-90 interchange in McHenry County. 
Until 1978, I-90 was routed on the Congress Street Expressway (later named the Eisenhower Expressway) which was extended from the Loop to the intersection of the Northwest Tollway and IL 53. The Kennedy Expressway was signed only as I-94, and the portion of present-day I-90 between the Edens Expressway and IL 53 was not signed as an Interstate Highway. This provided a non-toll section of I-90 between downtown Chicago and IL 53. The route designations were changed to their present form when I-90 was moved to follow the entire length of the Kennedy Expressway and the Jane Addams Tollway, and the original route was designated I-290.
In 2018, ISTHA raised the speed limit on I-90 from 65 to 70 miles per hour (105 to 113 km/h) from the I-39 split to Randall Road. They also raised it from 55 to 70 miles per hour (89 to 113 km/h) from Randall Road to Mount Prospect Road and raised the limit from Mount Prospect Road to the Kennedy was raised from 55 to 60 miles per hour (89 to 97 km/h). The speed limit for buses is 65 miles per hour (105 km/h), and the speed limit for trucks is 60 miles per hour (97 km/h). 
Chicago Skyway Edit
The Chicago Skyway was originally known as the Calumet Skyway.  It cost $101 million (1958, $791 million in 2011) to construct and took about 34 months (nearly 3 years) to build. Nearly 8 miles (13 km) of elevated roadway, the Chicago Skyway was originally built as a shortcut from State Street, a major north-south street on Chicago's South Side that serves the Loop, to the steel mills on the Southeast to the Indiana state line where the Indiana Toll Road begins. Later, when the Dan Ryan Expressway opened, the Chicago Skyway was extended west to connect to it. There are only two eastbound exits east of the toll barrier, whereas there are four westbound exits west of the toll barrier (so that no exits are available until one has crossed the bridge and paid the toll). The Chicago Skyway opened to traffic on April 16, 1958.  
The Skyway's official name, referring to it as a "toll bridge" rather than a "toll road", is the result of a legal quirk. At the time of its construction, the city charter of Chicago did not provide the authority to construct a toll road. However, the city could build toll bridges, and it was found that there was no limit to the length of the approaches to the bridge. Therefore, the Skyway is technically a toll bridge spanning the Calumet River with a six-mile-long (9.7 km) approach. This also is part of the reason that there are no exits available until after one has crossed the bridge and paid the toll. 
Historically, the Chicago Skyway was signed as, and was widely considered to be part of, I-90 from the mid-1960s forward (after I-90 in this area had been swapped with I-94). However, around 1999, the City of Chicago realized they had never received official approval to designate the Skyway as I-90. The city subsequently replaced most of the "I-90" signage with "TO I-90/I-94" signage. However, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has always and continues to report the Skyway as part of the Interstate Highway System, and the Federal Highway Administration also considers the Chicago Skyway an official part of I-90. 
In the 1960s, the newly constructed Dan Ryan Expressway and the neighboring Calumet Expressway, Kingery Expressway and Borman Expressway provided free alternatives to the tollway, and the Skyway became much less used. As a result, from the 1970s through the early 1990s, the Skyway was unable to repay revenue bonds used in its construction.  Traffic volumes rebounded from the late 1990s onward, partially because of the construction of casinos in Northwest Indiana, along with reconstruction of the Dan Ryan, Kingery and Borman Expressways.  In June 2005, the Skyway became compatible with electronic toll collection, with users now able to pay tolls using I-PASS or E-ZPass transponders. 
Chicago's Department of Streets and Sanitation formerly maintained the Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge System. A transaction that gave the city a $1.83 billion cash infusion leased the Skyway to the Skyway Concession Company, a joint-venture between the Australian Macquarie Infrastructure Group and Spanish Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte S.A., which assumed operations on the Skyway on a 99-year operating lease. The agreement between SCC and the city of Chicago marked the first time an existing toll road was moved from public to private operation in the United States. 
|Winnebago||South Beloit||0.00||0.00||I-39 north / I-90 west – Madison||Continuation into Wisconsin|
|0.29||0.47||1||US 51 north / IL 75 – South Beloit||Western end of US 51 overlap|
|Rockton||2.71||4.36||3||CR 9 (Rockton Road)||Northwestern end of Jane Addams Memorial Tollway|
|3.60||5.79||South Beloit Toll Plaza 1|
|Rockford||8.94||14.39||8||IL 173 (West Lane Road) – Machesney Park||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance ramps pay toll|
|12.47||20.07||12||CR 55 west (East Riverside Boulevard)||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance ramps pay toll|
US 20 Bus. (State Street)
|Cherry Valley||17.40||28.00||17||I-39 south / US 51 south to US 20 – Bloomington||Eastern end of I-39/US 51 overlap to Chicago Rockford International Airport via US 20 west|
|Boone||Belvidere||20.40||32.83||20||Irene Road||I-Pass only on eastbound exit and westbound entrance ramps|
|22.93||36.90||Belvidere Toll Plaza 5 (westbound)|
|24.62||39.62||25||Belvidere–Genoa Road||Exit ramps pay toll|
|McHenry||Riley||36.10||58.10||36||IL 23 – Marengo, Genoa||I-Pass only on exit and westbound entrance ramps|
|37.39||60.17||Marengo Toll Plaza 7 (eastbound)|
|Kane||Hampshire||41.54||66.85||42||US 20 – Hampshire, Marengo|
|Huntley||46.02||74.06||47||IL 47 – Huntley, Woodstock, Elburn||I-Pass only|
|Elgin||51.78||83.33||52||CR 34 (Randall Road)||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance ramps pay toll|
|53.42||85.97||Elgin Toll Plaza 9|
|54.22||87.26||54||IL 31 (State Street, 8th Street) – Elgin||Signed as exits 54A (south) and 54B (north) westbound exit and eastbound entrance ramps pay toll|
|55.95||90.04||56||IL 25 (Dundee Avenue)||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance ramps pay toll|
|Cook||Hoffman Estates||57.77||92.97||58||Beverly Road||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance westbound exit ramp pay toll|
|59.31||95.45||59||IL 59 (Sutton Road)||Exit ramps pay toll|
|61.81||99.47||62||Barrington Road||I-Pass only on eastbound exit and westbound entrance ramps|
|Schaumburg||65.19||104.91||65||Roselle Road||I-Pass only on eastbound exit and westbound entrance ramps westbound entrance ramp via Central Road|
|66.93||107.71||67||Meacham Road||I-Pass only westbound exit and entrance no access from I-290 and IL 53 ramp|
|Rolling Meadows||67.84||109.18||68|| |
I-290 east / IL 53 to I-355 south / IL 390 – Chicago, West Suburbs, Northwest Suburbs
|Signed as exits 68A (east/south) and 68B (north) eastbound exit ramp pay toll western terminus of I-290|
|Arlington Heights||70.47||113.41||70||Arlington Heights Road||Toll on eastbound exit and westbound entrance ramps|
|Des Plaines||73.25||117.88||73||Elmhurst Road to IL 83||I-Pass only on eastbound exit and westbound entrance ramps|
I-490 south (Western O'Hare Beltway)
|Currently under construction expected to be complete in 2023|
|75.80||121.99||76||IL 72 (Lee Street)||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|Rosemont||76.75||123.52||Devon Avenue Toll Plaza 17 (westbound)|
|77.03||123.97||—||IL 72 (Higgins Road) / Devon Avenue||Westbound entrance|
I-294 south (Tri-State Tollway) – Indiana
I-190 west (Kennedy Expressway) – O'Hare
|Eastbound exit and westbound entrance I-190 exit 1C I-294 north exit 40|
I-294 north (Tri-State Tollway) – Milwaukee
|Signed as exit 77 westbound I-294 south exit 40B|
|78.20||125.85||River Road Toll Plaza 19 (eastbound)|
I-190 west (Kennedy Expressway) to I-294 south (Tri-State Tollway) / River Road / Mannheim Road – O'Hare, Indiana
|Westbound exit and eastbound entrance eastern terminus of I-190 southeastern end of Jane Addams Memorial Tollway|
|79.28||127.59||79||IL 171 south (Cumberland Avenue)||Signed as exits 79A (south) and 79B (north)|
|79.99||128.73||80||Canfield Road||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|80.84||130.10||81A||IL 43 (Harlem Avenue)|
|81.14||130.58||81B||Sayre Avenue||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|81.85||131.72||82A||Nagle Avenue||No westbound exit|
|82.09||132.11||82B||Bryn Mawr Avenue||Westbound exit|
|82.31||132.47||82C||Austin Avenue to Foster Avenue||Eastbound exit|
|82.79||133.24||83A||Foster Avenue||No eastbound exit|
|83.01||133.59||83B||Central Avenue||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|83.71||134.72||84||Lawrence Avenue||Eastbound To I-94|
|—||I-94 west (Edens Expressway) – Milwaukee||Western end of I-94 overlap westbound exit and eastbound entrance western end of reversible express lanes I-94's exit numbers used throughout the concurrency I-94 exit 43B|
|84.77||136.42||43C||Montrose Avenue||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|85.03||136.84||43D||Kostner Avenue||Westbound exit|
|44A||IL 19 (Irving Park Road) / Keeler Avenue||No westbound exit|
|44B||IL 19 (Irving Park Road) / Pulaski Road||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|87.08||140.14||45C||Belmont Avenue / Kedzie Avenue||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|87.64||141.04||—||Sacramento Avenue||Eastbound entrance|
|87.79||141.28||46A||California Avenue||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|87.96||141.56||46B||Diversey Avenue||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|47A||Western Avenue / Fullerton Avenue||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance from Western Avenue|
|89.08||143.36||47B||Damen Avenue||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|89.52||144.07||48A||Armitage Avenue||Eastbound traffic uses Armitage Avenue to Ashland Avenue|
|90.10||145.00||48B||IL 64 (North Avenue)||Westbound traffic uses North Avenue to Ashland Avenue|
|90.91||146.31||49B||Augusta Boulevard / Milwaukee Avenue||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|91.40||147.09||50A||Ogden Avenue||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|91.62||147.45||50B||Ohio Street||Eastern end of reversible express lanes|
|92.19||148.37||51A||Lake Street||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|92.27||148.49||51B||Randolph Street west|
|92.34||148.61||51C||Washington Boulevard east||Exits only no entrances|
|92.53||148.91||51E||Monroe Street||Eastbound exit|
|92.62||149.06||51F||Adams Street west||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|92.71||149.20||51G||Jackson Boulevard east||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
I-290 west / IL 110 (CKC) west (Eisenhower Expressway) – Aurora, West Suburbs
|Jane Byrne Interchange southeastern end of Kennedy Expressway northern end of Dan Ryan Expressway eastern termini of I-290/IL 110|
|51I||Ida B. Wells Drive – Chicago Loop|
|93.42||150.34||51J||Taylor Street / Roosevelt Road||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|93.57||150.59||52B||Roosevelt Road / Taylor Street||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|94.22||151.63||52C||18th Street||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|I-55 south (Stevenson Expressway) – St. Louis |
I-55 north (Stevenson Expressway) / 22nd Street – Lake Shore Drive, Chinatown
|Signed as exits 53B (south) and 53C (north) westbound I-55 exits 292 and 293B Cermak Road access from westbound only western end of express lanes|
|94.48||152.05||53A||Canalport Avenue / Cermak Road||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance Chinatown exit|
|96.45||155.22||55A||35th Street||Guaranteed Rate Field, Illinois Institute of Technology|
|99.50||160.13||58A||59th Street||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|100.00||160.93||58B||63rd Street||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|—||I-94 east (Dan Ryan Expressway) – Indiana||Eastern end of I-94 overlap eastern end of express lanes western end of Chicago Skyway eastbound exit and westbound entrance I-94 exit 59A original I-90 exit numbering resumes on Chicago Skyway|
|100.33||161.47||100||State Street||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|101.42||163.22||101||St. Lawrence Avenue||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|101.78||163.80||102||73rd Street||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|103||Stony Island Avenue north to Lake Shore Drive||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|103.93||167.26||—||Jeffery Boulevard||Eastbound entrance|
|104.28||167.82||104||87th Street||Westbound exit|
|104.67||168.45||Chicago Skyway Toll Plaza|
|105.26||169.40||105||Anthony Avenue / 92nd Street||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge|
|107.62||173.20||107||US 12 / US 20 / US 41 / LMCT (Indianapolis Boulevard) / 104th Street||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
I-90 east / Indiana Toll Road east to I-80 / I-65 / I-94 – Toledo
|Continuation into Indiana eastern end of Chicago Skyway|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
I-90 has two related auxiliary Interstate Highways within Illinois. I-190 is a spur into O'Hare International Airport in Chicago that is also known as the Kennedy Expressway O'Hare Extension or the O'Hare Expressway. I-290 takes a southwesterly dogleg left route accessing the western suburbs and heading eastward into downtown Chicago. It is also known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Expressway.
Jane Addams, Secular Saint, Scorned During WWI
Addams had come to First Congregational knowing full well that she would encounter skeptics. This day was no different and yet more intense. As the activist spoke, her listeners, who included longtime friend and ally Orrin N. Carter, chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, sat in hostile silence until Addams delivered the line
Jane Addams in the 1870s (Interim Archives/Getty Images)
“Opposition to the war is not necessarily cowardice.”
Justice Carter sprang to his feet.
“Anything that may tend to cast doubt on the justice of our cause in the present war is very unfortunate,” the jurist declared. “No pacifist measure, in my opinion, should be taken until the war is over.”
Addams had heard worse, but now she was enduring what may have been the most discomfiting public moment in a life that until recently had been one of fulfillment, accomplishment, and above all popular approval. A staunch progressive, Addams had won Americans’ hearts by founding Hull House, a pioneering social action center in Chicago, by being a force on behalf of woman suffrage, by speaking out against imperialism, and by advocating for workers. Now pacifism had made her a pariah, a role for which nothing in decades of public service and public approbation had readied her.
Jane, pictured at age 12 in 1872, was a prodigy as a reader and thinker. (Jane Addams Collection, Swarthmore Peace Collection)
Jane Addams was born in 1860 in Cedarville, near Rockford, Illinois. The youngest of four children, she was two when her mother, Sarah Weber Addams, died. At four, the girl developed spinal tuberculosis, which left her with a crooked spine and a lifetime of ailments. Her father, an enterprising mill and factory owner, had been a friend of young Abraham Lincoln. John Addams encouraged his adoring youngest to read—she especially loved the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson—discussed current events with her, and introduced her to political figures. He represented Cedarville for seven terms in the state Senate. Himself raised a Quaker, John Huy Addams did not bring up his children in a particular church, but Jane wrote later that he connected her to “the moral concerns of life.” A grave, thoughtful child, she announced that she wanted to live among the poor, perhaps practicing medicine—at which point her vision and her father’s sharply diverged. Though Jane excelled at Rockford Female Seminary, a local college, her father refused to approve her request to transfer to more rigorous Smith College in Massachusetts. Like most men of his era, John Addams focused his ambitions on his son, Harry.
Jane Addams was not alone in feeling a patriarchal thumb on her aspirations. “She hides her hurt,” she wrote of the her generation of middle-class Americanwomen. “Her zeal and her emotions are turned inwards, and the result is an unhappy woman, whose heart is consumed by vain regrets and desires.” Jane barely had graduated from seminary in 1881 when John Huy Addams suddenly died. The loss of her father and a substantial inheritance enlarged his daughter’s possibilities, but what Jane Addams later called “the family claim”—the unwritten assumption that a young single woman’s first duty was to family, in her case siblings and stepmother—outweighed any wish to engage with the world.
In this wish to engage, Addams had company. The Civil War having claimed hundreds of thousands of men with whom women might have made matches, Addams’s female peers stepped into more diverse and meaningful roles, paid or unpaid, in a society transformed by the typewriter, the sewing machine, and other labor-saving, job-creating inventions. Industrialization and immigration had cities bursting at the seams—overcrowded, filthy, and disease-ridden. A collective reform impulse emerged, bringing women like Addams fresh prospects and role models in a movement eventually labeled “progressivism.”
After John Addams died, the family moved to Philadelphia, where Harry entered medical school. Jane also took classes, but back trouble led to a mental breakdown and hospitalization. Nerve specialist S. Weir Mitchell convinced Jane, as he had many other young women, that her physical woes stemmed from self-absorption and failure of will. Returning to Cedarville, she earnestly embraced Mitchell’s diagnosis, eschewing self-pity and striving to be “the highest, gentlest and kindliest spirit.” A risky spinal surgery and a long recovery restrained in a heavy corset further tested her.
Finally, in early 1883, Addams set off with friends and relatives on the traditional “Grand Tour” of the Continent popular with young adults of her class. Addams found herself riveted by industrial London’s “dark heart,” the East End. Historically a locale of docks, slaughterhouses, and other “noxious trades,” the East End crammed into tenements London’s poorest residents. One Saturday evening, a missionary the young American had met at her boarding house took Addams on a tour of the district, where dilapidated housing looked onto streets dense with beggars, urchins, animal carcasses, and filth. Addams gaped at East Enders scrabbling to buy decaying meat and decaying produce, a penitential contrast to the culturally elevated circuit she had been making of authors’ graves, museums, and theaters around the city. “All huge London came to seem unreal save the poverty in its East End,” she later wrote.
To Addams, the East End seemed a personal reproof that she considered as she toured the Continent, gravitating unblinking to city upon city’s poorer quarters. At home, she bristled at her stepmother’s preoccupation with the social whirl she and her father’s widow fell out permanently in 1887, when Jane’s stepbrother proposed marriage and Jane rebuffed him.
Reverberations of her experiences in the East End led Addams to seek insight in faith. Schooled in the Bible at college, she pondered Christ’s example. An 1886 translation of Leo Tolstoy’s My Religion: What I Believe, chronicling the Russian count’s efforts to emulate Christ in embracing poverty and nonviolence, captivated Addams. But she did not know what meaningful action to undertake.
Addams found her course in late 1887, reading in Century magazine of Toynbee Hall, a British “settlement house.” For decades, would-be reformers in America and England had struggled to fight urban poverty. Neither government had programs for disadvantaged citizens beyond pointedly harsh municipal poorhouses, poor farms, or workhouses the indigent had to look to private charities, churches, and beggary.” In Britain, radical thinkers were finding inspiration in the writings of economist and social theorist Arnold Toynbee, who favored transmitting values over palliating poverty with donations. Adherents of Toynbee had installed progressively inclined privileged individuals in slums to offer neighbors fellowship and learning. These “settlers” and their “settlement houses,” while paternalistic, sought to reach across class lines.
As the Century article explained, East End clergyman Samuel Barnett and wife Henrietta had bought a disused school near their rectory. The couple invited 15 Oxford graduates to move into the building’s upper floors, naming their project for Toynbee. The young men had day jobs elsewhere in London, but after working hours offered neighborhood residents classes and cultural programs convened on Toynbee Hall’s main floor. The settlement workers also investigated social conditions in the neighborhood.
Bearing a letter of introduction, Jane went to London and looked up the Barnetts. The couple introduced their visitor to the Oxford contingent and its activities. Toynbee Hall was “so free from ‘professional doing good,’ so unaffectedly sincere and so productive of good results in its classes and libraries that it seems perfectly ideal,” Addams wrote to her sister Alice.
Energized, Addams moved to Chicago, where industry had attracted a large immigrant population. When the city’s west side was still green, industrialist and developer
The plight of the poor, like this Italian family in Chicago, prompted Addams to start Hull House. (Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Charles Jerald Hull had built a country house there. Hull recently had died, and now his Italianate mansion stood in a polyglot slum. The three-story brick pile at 800 South Halsted Street looked to Addams as if it could be a Toynbee Hall. Hull’s heir agreed to rent the place, eventually forgoing payment. Addams paid for renovations out of her inheritance. In 1889, she, seminary classmate Ellen Starr, and a housekeeper moved in. New York City boasted America’s first settlement house, the Neighborhood Guild, founded in 1886 on the Lower East Side, but Hull House was the first staffed with female settlers.
Addams wanted Hull House to be a community center and source of moral uplift. Her neighbors at first were wary but soon youngsters were flocking to afternoon art classes and adults to evening receptions and cultural programs. Visitors liked the entertainment but pushed for practical help with employers, garbage removal, and ethnic frictions. Within the year, Addams was mediating labor disputes.
Hull House’s success drew allies and applicants seeking to work and live there. As Addams and Hull House exerted more influence, the reputations of both grew—as did the operation itself, eventually occupying 13 buildings. Over the years, dozens of female reformers resided at Hull House, their experience often carrying into other projects.
After Addams convinced union organizer Mary Kenney to help with neighborhood labor disputes, Kenney moved into Hull House years later, she founded a settlement house in Boston. Fleeing an abusive spouse, activist Florence Kelley moved into Hull House her interest in urban research and lobbying got Addams thinking about politics and power. When University of Chicago professors like John Dewey lectured at Hull House, a partnership was born. Settlement houses multiplied in American cities. By 1900 there were 100, mostly staffed by young women.
In early 1894, Addams helped found the Civic Federation of Chicago, which sought to improve city services by allying business, labor, and academic leaders to exert collective pressure. That spring, industrialist George Pullman cut wages and laid off workers at his enormous Chicago railcar factory. The American Railway Union, whose members built, operated, and maintained rail equipment, called a strike against Pullman. Addams, resolutely remaining impartial, led the federation in attempting to negotiate a settlement. The effort failed. The strike against the railroads went nationwide, stirring violence and ending in federal intervention by President Grover Cleveland. Both sides attacked Addams, who, shocked by the vitriol, emerged highly regarded for her evenhandedness. For this and similar efforts, organizations showered Addams with honors. The Daughters of the American Revolution made her an honorary member, for instance.
Addams began to receive requests to speak before civic and other groups. Eyeing her bank balance, eroded by outlays to renovate and operate Hull House, she saw in lecturing and writing the opportunity for a revenue stream. Her renown soon had other progressive groups, including national and international suffrage organizations, proffering leadership roles.
The 1898 Spanish-American War and concern about European militarism had spurred a growing pacifist movement. Another offshoot of progressivism, this cadre, Addams included, viewed war as an outdated barbarity that could be rendered obsolete by an international body dedicated to peaceful mediation of international disputes. In 1911, Andrew Carnegie put up $10 million for an Endowment for International Peace. Philosopher William James and colleagues, noting war’s emotional
Chicago’s Hull House, pictured in the 1920s, was America’s best-known settlement house. (Bettmann/Getty Archives)
appeal, advocated a “moral equivalent,” perhaps national service, to bearing arms.
By 1912, Addams was well regarded enough to be tapped to place fellow progressive Theodore Roosevelt’s name in nomination as Progressive—or “Bull Moose”—Party candidate for the presidency. Roosevelt was anything but a peacemaker. The presidency had deepened his belief that “by war alone can we acquire those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life.” Addams believed in a life of mutual and democratic engagement but, even though she saw war as being intrinsic to Roosevelt’s worldview, she nominated him. Roosevelt lost.
When Europe did go to war in August 1914, a revitalized peace movement drew Addams into its international leadership. The following January, she and others of like mind founded the Women’s Peace Party in Washington, DC the group named Addams its president. The party endorsed “continuous mediation” of the European war conflict by neutral nations. In 1915, most Americans opposed taking a side. This wariness encouraged the peace group to hope President Woodrow Wilson would identify the United States, a neutral nation, as a negotiator. Wilson met and exchanged letters with Addams but the president committed to nothing.
In April 1915, Addams and other Women’s Peace Party representatives sailed to the Netherlands for an International Congress of Women. At The Hague, many of the 1,500 pacifists, enthusiastically embracing the continuous mediation concept, knew Addams from international suffrage meetings they named her the event’s president.
At Hull House, children could learn skills like operating a loom. (Bettmann/Getty Images)
After the congress, she and other envoys toured warring and neutral countries, talking with foreign ministers as well as wounded soldiers and civilians. As the fact-finding tour was under way, a German submarine torpedoed the liner Lusitania off Ireland, killing Americans. Interventionists demanded the United States prepare for war public sentiment for pacifism curdled.
Addams returned to America in July 1915 oblivious to the bellicose shift in national attitude. Addressing a peace rally at New York’s Carnegie Hall, she followed a written speech with extemporaneous remarks about meeting young military casualties in Europe, describing their complaints that “this war was an old man’s war” and their stories of needing a drink to make a bayonet charge. Addams said needing alcohol to fight exposed humanity’s fundamental goodness, rekindling her hope for the world. The next day’s papers excoriated her, and she came under persistent attack. In a letter to The New York Times, war correspondent Richard Harding Davis claimed Addams had impugned every soldier. “Miss Addams denies him the credit of his sacrifice. She strips him of honor and courage,” Davis wrote, calling her remarks an insult “flung by a complacent and self-satisfied woman at men who gave their lives.” A Louisville paper termed Addams “a foolish, garrulous woman.” Another derided her as “a silly, vain, impertinent old maid…who is now meddling with matters far beyond her capacity.” The New York Times said women lacked the intellect to grasp the notion of war and the soldier’s role.
Reporters pressed Addams to respond, but she refused. “The story had struck athwart the popular and long-cherished perception of the nobility and heroism of the soldier,” she wrote later, observing that critics fixated on her as “a choice specimen of a woman’s sentimental nonsense.” In October 1915, she wrote an essay on pacifism for the New York Independent. Critics again distorted her meaning. Letter writers spewed abuse at her. Promoters canceled lectures when Addams did appear, she faced stony audiences or catcalls. Long-time allies shunned her. Friends like Justice Carter broke with her. “I do not suppose I shall ever be applauded in Chicago again,” Addams told an intimate.
Decades of popularity had not prepared Addams, 57, for censure. She experienced a crisis of confidence. “In the hours of self-doubt and self-distrust the question again and again arises, has the individual…the right to stand out against millions of his fellow countrymen?” she wrote. She slowly realized that she was but one target among many. The public at large and a war-hungry press were pummeling anyone identified with pacifism.
Addams pressed on. Through much of 1916, illness, perhaps stress-related, consumed her energies. That autumn, presidential candidates Roosevelt and Wilson both sought her endorsement, hoping her support would help capture ballots in Illinois and 11 other states that now allowed women to vote in presidential elections. Roosevelt, who had quit the Progressive Party, was a long shot for the Republican nomination. Addams, always generous to opponents, allowed the ex-president to visit her. Democrat Wilson, campaigning for a second term with the slogan “He kept us out of war,” sent Addams five dozen roses. That October, after deliberating, she came out for Wilson—but only his domestic policies. Wilson sent another bouquet.
Addams in 1925, six years before she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)
In late February 1917, Addams, now associated with the latest incarnation of pacifist thinking, the Emergency Peace Federation, met with the re-elected Wilson to discuss alternatives to war. To have a seat at peace talks, the president insisted, the United States had to join the fighting, and in April, the United States did. To muzzle pacifist criticism, Wilson proposed the Espionage Act. The bill’s ban on “disloyal speech” would make dissent a crime. Addams testified against the measure, to no avail. The Espionage Act and amendments known as the Sedition Act became law.
Jane Addams achieved personal peace amid public ire by hewing to what she called her “vision of the truth” and the “obligation to affirm it.” During the war years, Addams sometimes spoke publicly—always monitored by government officials—never directly criticizing the government but rather recommending peaceable solutions to conflict. She discussed the principle of honorable dissent and the definition of patriotism. Listeners were truculently silent or openly hostile some called for her arrest on charges of disloyalty, but no charges ever were brought.
Addams’s rehabilitation began even before the war had ended. In late 1917, American “food czar” Herbert Hoover recruited her as a spokeswoman for Wilson administration nutrition and conservation efforts. Addams toured the country urging Americans to rethink their eating habits, talking about how feeding the hungry could unleash “a new and powerful force.” Months later, presaging the approach he would take during peace talks at Versailles, Wilson incorporated into his Fourteen Points speech ideas from the 1915 peace congress Addams had steered at The Hague.
The 1918 armistice accelerated Addams’s comeback. Once again, the peace movement regrouped, and the following year Addams again was elected president—this time of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, dedicated to international goodwill and gender equality. Addams spent the 1920s promoting these goals, in the decade’s latter years drawing fire for advocating defense budget reductions. In response, the DAR rescinded her honorary membership. “I had supposed at the time that had been for life but it was apparently only for good behavior,” Addams joked. Increasingly fragile health tethered her to Chicago.
In 1931, the Nobel Committee awarded Addams, 71, its Peace Prize—the first American woman so honored. “In honoring Miss Addams, we also pay homage to the work which women can do for the cause of peace and fraternity among nations,” the committee declared.
Jane Addams died on May 22, 1935 and was hailed in a New York Times obituary as “a priestess of understanding among neighbors and of peace among nations.” She is buried in Cedarville. The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom is still active. The institution she founded on Chicago’s west side in 1889 stayed relevant through the 20th century, meeting immigrants’ social and cultural needs. Closed as a settlement house in 2012, Hull House is now a museum.
Addams’ Testimony Before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs regarding H.R. 6921 & H.J. 32
On January 11, 1916, in conjunction with a national conference of the Women’s Peace Party in Washington, D.C., Addams, together with other party members, gives testimony before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives on the matter of war preparedness. Congress had taken up H.R. 6921, legislation that calls for major increases in defense spending. The bill is supported by foreign policy hardliners, who maintain that, if the United States is drawn into World War I, it would be susceptible to enemy attack in the absence of significant increases in the size of the Army and Navy.
An Alternative to War
Addams and her fellow members of the Women’s Peace Party call upon Congress to oppose war preparedness and instead support their proposal for an international conference of neutrals. Invoking the logic of the security dilemma, they maintain that a major increase in defense spending by the United States would increase mutual fears and suspicions between America and other countries and thus make both sides less secure. States Lucia Ames Mead: “The world is now beginning to see the futility of the old doctrine of force that you cannot get ahead of your neighbor without provoking that neighbor to rivalry, and finally to bring about such intolerable pressure and such an accumulation in the flow of munitions, that there is bound to be an explosion and a conflagration.” As an alternative to war, the women call for a conference of neutral countries, led by the United States, to draw the belligerent countries of the Great War into peace negotiations. The women argue that this conference will perhaps bring the war to an end and give rise to the creation of international organizations charged with keeping the peace among nations. Additionally, they say the Women’s Peace Party supports creating a world legislature, an international peace force, and an international court of arbitration. There is an alternative form of coercion to “bombarding…great cities,” declares Sophonisba Breckinridge, a professor at the University of Chicago and the first women to graduate from the University’s law school. She calls it “drastic nonintercourse,” as a “preliminary to the use of a joint police.” This alternative to war, which is spelled out in House Joint Resolution 32, includes economic embargos and sanctions and “cutting off all passports, copyrights, and patents” as well as “railroads and shipping connections” and “telegraph and postal connections.”
Addams underscores that the Women’s Peace Party has been behind the idea of a conference of neutral nations for some time and applauds the bill introduced by Representative London that urges the president to lead the charge for it. Addams summarizes her travels to European capitals in the weeks that followed the international women’s conference at The Hague, and relays to the committee the news that the leaders of nonaligned countries are on-board with the idea of a conference of neutrals, provided that the U.S. guarantees its participation. Additionally, Addams notes that the prime ministers of two warring countries had directly communicated to her their belief that such a conference might have the ultimate effect of convincing the belligerent countries to join them. Addams cites two potential benefits of a conference of neutrals. Even if it did not result in a larger conference involving the belligerent nations and a negotiated end to the war, the meeting of neutrals would at the very least serve as a “public forum where these peace measures could be discussed,” welcoming “all sorts of propositions for peace” and thereby functioning as a clearing house for ideas to end the war. Addams also believes that the “moral pressure of the neutral nations” might “bring [the belligerents] together,” and hasten an end to the war. The United States, Addams insists, is in a rather unique situation. Because it is “more outside than other nations,” it “would be safe [for the United States] to act without compromising itself and without in the least saying what the terms of peace would say.” Imagining herself as a spokesperson for the United States before the belligerent nations, Addams says: “’Here we are to serve you, and let you climb down, so to speak, with as much dignity as possible.’” 
Women are Expressing Themselves
Under questioning, Addams rejects the suggestion of Representative Henry Cooper that, according to some press reports, the women had been greeted with “ridicule” by some European government officials. “[W]e were received politely because we [are] ladies,” she responds. She recalls her interview with German chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg who, only several weeks before, had been informed of his son’s death in battle. Addams words are impassioned and prescient: “[The] Imperial Chancellor of Germany…was a solemn, sad, overwhelmed man, and to say that he received us lightly, or in a merely polite way as you bow ladies in and out, is perfectly absurd. If people only know how the men in those countries feel. This war is no light matter, and the men who are responsible for their government are not handing out complements to anybody. They are not doing anything lightly they are doing everything in the shadow of death and destruction.” To counter the notion that her meetings with European leaders – and the efforts of the other women peace delegates – had been a waste of time, Addams invokes the words of the pope, with whom she also met. “He said,” she recalls, “’For heaven’s sake, why do not women express themselves it is woman’s business to oppose war.’”
James Hay- Chairman of the Committee
Jane Addams Finds Her Calling
Returning to the U.S. in 1885, Addams and her stepmother spent summers in Cedarville and winters in Baltimore, Maryland, where Addams' stepbrother George Haldeman attended medical school.
Mrs. Addams expressed her fond hope that Jane and George would marry one day. George did have romantic feelings for Jane, but she didn't return the sentiment. Jane Addams was never known to have had a romantic relationship with any man.
While in Baltimore, Addams was expected to attend countless parties and social functions with her stepmother. She detested these obligations, preferring instead to visit the city's charitable institutions, such as shelters and orphanages.
Still uncertain of what role she could play, Addams decided to go abroad again, hoping to clear her mind. She traveled to Europe in 1887 with Ellen Gates Starr, a friend from the Rockford Seminary.
Eventually, inspiration did come to Addams when she visited Ulm Cathedral in Germany, where she felt a sense of unity. Addams envisioned creating what she called a "Cathedral of Humanity," a place where people in need could come not only for help with basic needs but also for cultural enrichment. *
Addams traveled to London, where she visited an organization that would serve as a model for her project—Toynbee Hall. Toynbee Hall was a "settlement house," where young, educated men lived in a poor community in order to get to know its residents and to learn how best to serve them.
Addams proposed that she would open such a center in an American city. Starr agreed to help her.
The social worker Jane Addams devoted her life to helping the poor and promoting world peace. She founded Hull House to serve needy immigrants in Chicago, Illinois. It was one of the first agencies of its kind in North America.
Jane Addams was born on September 6, 1860, in Cedarville, Illinois. She graduated from college in 1882 and then went to Europe. In a poor section of London, England, she visited Toynbee Hall. University graduates lived there and worked to improve life in the neighborhood. It was known as the world’s first social settlement. Addams took this idea back to the United States.
In 1889 Addams and a classmate, Ellen Gates Starr, rented a big house in Chicago. They moved in and opened the house to immigrants who were trying to succeed in their new country. Addams and Starr called their social settlement Hull House after its builder, Charles Hull. Hull House workers started a day care center, a kindergarten, a gymnasium, and an employment agency. They taught many kinds of classes and even set up a theater. All these programs eventually filled 13 buildings.
Addams became involved in many social causes. She worked to pass laws against child labor, to protect workers’ rights, and to win women the right to vote. Addams believed that countries should settle their disagreements peacefully. She spoke out against World War I even though her opinion made her less popular. In 1931 she won a share of the Nobel peace prize.
Addams lived at Hull House until her death on May 21, 1935. The original Hull mansion has been preserved as a museum that honors her.
Did You Know?
Jane Addams was involved in the founding of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920.
By Holley Snaith
Jane Addams has been called the Mother of Social Work. An innate servant with a vision, she opened her heart and the doors of Hull-House in Chicago to those identified by society as outcasts. Jane was also fervent in her fight against the issues created by urbanization and industrialization and passionately strove for a world of peace and equality. The little girl from the small village of Cedarville, Illinois became an invincible force during the American Progressive Era and would go down in history as Saint Jane.Jane Addams pictured in the late 1890s.
(Photo: Swarthmore College Peace Collection)
Jane was born the eighth of nine children on September 6, 1860. Her father was a state senator immersed in local politics her mother died after the birth of her ninth child when Jane was two. Young Jane was an outcast, unable to play with other children because of a congenital spinal defect. This disability marked the conception of her desire to help those who were also viewed as marginalized.
An intelligent young woman, Jane graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the Rockford Female Seminary in 1881. She dreamed of furthering her studies and focusing on medicine, but she was forced to leave school early because of her poor health. Contemplating what was next, Jane spent the next couple of years traveling across Europe with her friend, Ellen Gates Starr. During one pivotal trip to London, she and Ellen paid a visit to a settlement house called Toynbee Hall. Seeing Toynbee Hall confirmed for Addams what her heart was moving her to do: open a similar settlement house in an area of Chicago with a high percentage of immigrants struggling to acclimate. Less than two years later, Hull-House opened. Within that first year, around 2,000 people a week were coming through those doors.
From the onset, Jane was hands-on when it came to the daily operations at Hull-House. She actively fundraised, attended societal functions and spoke on the changes that needed to be made in Chicago neighborhoods, and then returned to Hull-House to care for the children and the sick. Within a couple of years, Hull-House had grown to host so many that a kitchen, gym, swimming pool, coffee house, art studio, library, and more were added to the premises. Jane worked to appeal to other women who were proponents of reform and enlisted their help. The list of responsibilities ranged from offering job training to running a daycare for the children of working mothers.Jane Addams reading to a group of children at Hull-House.
(Photo: Jane Addams Memorial Collection)
Jane’s work went far beyond the walls of Hull-House. As an ardent progressive, she pushed for the creation of a juvenile court system, advocated for protective labor legislation for women, and backed laws that would improve sanitation in urban areas, even going as far as serving as the official garbage inspector at the Nineteenth Ward.
The term “New Woman,” invented by writer Sarah Grand to describe women striving for both independence and sweeping change in legislation, adequately described Jane. Before the women’s suffrage movement began to take full effect in the U.S., she was vocalizing her belief that women should vote and strive to get involved in the political sphere. Jane herself served as the first female president of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections, and then invested her time in the National American Women’s Suffrage Association as an officer and columnist. In 1910, Yale University made Jane Addams the first female to receive an honorary degree from the esteemed Ivy League school.
Never one to follow the status quo, Jane’s personal life was vastly different from that of the women who grew up in her social class. She never married nor had children, and historians have speculated that she and Ellen Gates Starr were romantically involved. Eventually, their association ended and Jane entered a relationship with philanthropist and advocate, Mary Rozet Smith. Their partnership lasted over 30 years, ending with Smith’s death in 1934.Jane Addams and longtime partner, Mary Rozet Smith, around 1923.
(Photo: The History Chicks)
Although she was not shy in expressing her beliefs, Jane was first and foremost a proponent of peace, a reflection of her deep Christian upbringing. She wrote books on peace, gave lectures at universities, and even traveled to The Hague in 1913 to celebrate the building of the Peace Palace. Fervently against the U.S. entering World War I, Jane accepted the invitation to serve as chairwoman of the Women’s Peace Party, and later as the president of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
The press attacked her and the Daughters of the American Revolution found themselves disenchanted by her strong opposition to the war, going so far as to expel her from the organization. Not discouraged, she joined forces with Herbert Hoover and the Commission for Relief to distribute food and necessities to women and children living in enemy countries. After the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, Jane proclaimed that one day Germany would seek revenge she would not live to see her premonition come true.Jane Addams (right) marches for peace during the First World War
(Photo: Jane Addams Peace Association)
In 1926, Jane suffered a heart attack that sidelined much of her activist work, but even in declining health, she continued the fight for reform and peace. She was honored to receive the news that she would be the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in December of 1931, though she was unable to make the ceremony in Oslo.
On May 21, 1935, the stalwart woman who earned the nickname Saint Jane passed away after a brief cancer battle. Her funeral service took place at Hull-House, the product of her great vision.
Jane Addams blazed a path for female social reformers during the Progressive Era. She could have easily opted to settle into a comfortable, economically prosperous life in Chicago, but instead, she thrust all of her energy and attention into helping those less fortunate and advocating for a world of equality, justice, and peace. The legacy of Saint Jane lives on.
Jane Addams, The First Woman to Win the Nobel Peace Prize
Normally when people hear the name Addams they think of the Addams Family or our second First Family of the United States. Jane Addams is neither, but she certainly made a name for herself. Have you ever heard of Jane Addams, the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize?
Jane was born on September 6th, 1860 in the small town of Cedarville, Illinois. Out of her nine siblings, Jane and four others were the only ones to survive to adulthood. Her father, John Huy, was one of the wealthiest men in town. Her mother, Sarah Weber Addams, died in childbirth when Jane was 2 years old. Huy owned a mill, fought in the Civil War, and considered Abraham Lincoln one of his closest friends. As a child, Jane dealt with a congenital spine defect, but it was later corrected through surgery.
In 1881, Jane graduated from Rockford Female Seminary at the top of her class. She was part of a new generation of college-educated women called “New Women”. Her religious zeal started to wane (sounds like a lot of us eh?) she still wanted to help the greater good and started to study medicine.
Sadly, her own health derailed her studies, but she found her true calling in London in 1888. While visiting with her friend Ellen Gates Starr at Toynbee Hall, Addams vowed to bring the same kind of home back to the States. Toynbee Hall was known for providing services to poor industrial workers. Fun fact: Ellen Starr leased the home built by Charles Hull at the corner of Halsted and Polk Streets.
Hull House, 1908
In 1889, both Addams and Starr founded Hull House in Chicago’s West End. The goal of the house was to bring educated women together to share knowledge from medicine and basic skills to arts and literature with the poorer folk of the neighborhood. They also envisioned these women to live in the house among the people they helped.
These services included kindergarten and day-care for working mothers job training English language teaching acculturation classes for immigrants a gym an art gallery among other things. Addams gave speeches nationally and wrote articles to provide information about Hull House and gather support across the country.
Her Work Over the Years
Addams didn’t just start Hull House she was also an active advocate in politics and legislation. In 1905, she was appointed to the Chicago’s Board of Education and made chairman of the School Management Committee. In 1908, she participated in the founding of the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy. In 1909, she became the first woman president of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections.
Jane Addams speaking to a crowd
As a progressive reformer, Addams lobbied for the establishment of a juvenile court system a protective labor legislature for women better urban sanitation and factory laws, and even led investigations on midwifery, narcotics consumption, milk supplies. Her involvement went so far, she even accepted the post of garbage inspector of the Nineteenth Ward of Chicago. Talk about a driven woman! In 1910, she was awarded the first honorary degree to a woman at Yale University.
How Did She Become the First Woman to Win the Nobel Peace Prize?
In the early 1900s, Addams kept going like a freight train booking it across the Plains. In 1906 she gave a course of lectures at the University of Wisconsin which she then published in a book the next year: Newer Ideals of Peace. She continued her talks of peace at a ceremony commemorating the building of the Peace Palace at The Hague in 1913. In the next two years, she spoke as a lecturer sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation against America joining World War I. Well, we all know that didn’t work.
In January 1915, she accepted the chairmanship of the Women’s Peace Party and then the presidency of the International Congress of Women convened at The Hague. After that congress convened, she served as president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom until 1929.
International Congress of Women, 1915
She did have her setbacks though. Since she opposed the war, she was kicked out of the Daughters of the American Revolution but that didn’t stop her from becoming an assistant to Herbert Hoover in providing relief supplies of food to women and children of enemy nations.
And the worst part? She suffered a heart attack in 1926. On December 10th, 1931, the day she was to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, she was admitted to a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1935, she died three days after surgery that revealed she had cancer.
Jane’s funeral was held at Hull House and is buried in Chicago. Sadly, the construction of the University of Illinois’ Chicago campus forced Hull House to move and the original buildings were destroyed in 1963. Today, the actual Hull House building (which luckily wasn’t destroyed) serves as a monument honoring Addams.
Pretty cool huh? See girls? Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t do something, because you dang well can.
Biography.com Editors, “Jane Addams Biography.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television. Wed. 16 Sep 2020. https://www.biography.com/activist/jane-addams
Jane Addams – Biographical. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2020. Wed. 16 Sep 2020. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1931/addams/biographical/
Michals, Debra. “Jane Addams.” National Women’s History Museum, 2017. Wed. 16 Sep 2020. https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/jane-addams
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