Jane Addams was the daughter of one of Illinois’ richest men, but instead of leading a life of leisure, she dedicated her life to aiding the urban poor. She struggled to make the ideal of civic equality embodied in the Declaration of Independence a reality. She sought to assimilate the immigrant poor into American society and became a pioneer social worker. In 1889, Addams and a friend, Ellen Starr, established Hull House in Chicago, Illinois. which offered classes in cooking, hygiene, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Addams’ example inspired more than 400 other settlement houses around the country.

From Hull House, Addams tirelessly campaigned for an end to sweat shops and a ban on child labor. She convinced many professors at the University of Chicago to produce empirical, social scientific data. She advocated an eight-hour day and legal protections for immigrants, and called for compulsory education, women’s suffrage, and improved sanitation. She also sought to organize unions for female workers, establish a state bureau to inspect factories, and create the nation’s first juvenile court. She helped create the career of the social worker. Her memoir, Twenty Years at Hull House, was a best seller when it appeared in 1910. But in 1915, public opinion began to turn against her when she founded the Women’s Peace Party, an international organization dedicated to waging “a women’s war against” World War I. Elected president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in 1919, she opposed the peace treaty ending the war as vindictive. In 1931, four years before her death, she won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Already have an account?

Please click here to login and access this page.

How to subscribe

Click here to get a free subscription if you are a K-12 educator or student, and here for more information on the Affiliate School Program, which provides even more benefits.

Otherwise, click here for information on a paid subscription for those who are not K-12 educators or students.

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Become an Affiliate School to have free access to the Gilder Lehrman site and all its features.

Click here to start your Affiliate School application today! You will have free access while your application is being processed.

Individual K-12 educators and students can also get a free subscription to the site by making a site account with a school-affiliated email address. Click here to do so now!

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Why Gilder Lehrman?

Your subscription grants you access to archives of rare historical documents, lectures by top historians, and a wealth of original historical material, while also helping to support history education in schools nationwide. Click here to see the kinds of historical resources to which you'll have access and here to read more about the Institute's educational programs.

Individual subscription: $25

Click here to sign up for an individual subscription to the Gilder Lehrman site.

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Upgrade your Account

We're sorry, but it looks as though you do not have access to the full Gilder Lehrman site.

All K-12 educators receive free subscriptions to the Gilder Lehrman site, and our Affiliate School members gain even more benefits!

How to Subscribe

K-12 educator or student? Click here to edit your profile and indicate this, giving you free access, and here for more information on the Affiliate School Program.

Not a educator or student? Click here for more information on purchasing a subscription to the Gilder Lehrman site.

Related Site Content