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Laura Jane Addams (1860 - 1935) entered what was then Rockford Female Seminary in 1877 and became the first graduate to receive a B.A.degree from the newly accredited baccalaureate institution in 1882 (the school was renamed Rockford College in 1892). She would also eventually become one of the more well-known Rockford University graduates, and one of the most influential Americans of the early 20th century for her role as a social reformer. In recognition of her efforts to promote international peace and justice, she received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1931. At one point, then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover proclaimed Addams to be "the most dangerous woman in America," in part for her peace efforts.
Biographies of Jane Addams
Jane Addams was from Cedarville, near Freeport, Ill. Her father was a prominent businessman and a trustee of Rockford Female Seminary where Jane's two older sisters also attended.
Since 1963, Hull-House has been maintained as a museum by the University of Illinois at Chicago. However, the work begun by Jane Addams at Hull-House continues, carried on by the Hull-House Association through four community centers it maintains in needy Chicago neighborhoods.
Toynbee Hall in London, which Jane Addams visited in 1888, was the first "settlement house." It was the inspiration for her founding of Hull-House the following year.
The settlement house movement began in England as a way of meeting the needs of the poor at a time before government had accepted a role in social welfare. Until then, the poor, when they were considered at all, were often only considered subjects of charity. The settlement house movement helped give rise to social work as a profession.
Colleagues from Rockford University
Ellen Starr and Julia Lathrop met Jane Addams as students at Rockford Female Seminary. Starr went on to co-found Hull-House with Jane Addams. Lathrop joined them a short time later.
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
This organization was founded by Jane Addams with other peace activists in 1915. Her book, "Peace and Bread in Time of War," describes the birth of the organization. It was her work with the WILPF that earned her a Nobel Prize in 1931.
The Writings of Jane Addams
Jane Addams found time among her many other activities to author 11 books and numerous articles. A few are available in full-text online.
Modern reflections on Jane Addams
Addams remains a subject of discussion and scholarship almost 70 years
after her death. Use the journal index links below to search for journal
articles about Jane Addams. (login req. off-campus)
Important Figures in Jane's Life
- Samuel Barnett
- John Dewey
- Anna Peck Sill
- Florence Kelley
- Alice Hamilton
- Sophonishba Breckenridge
- Edith Abbott