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Happy Belated Septeenth, Or St. Jane’s Day

September 19, 2007


Yesterday marked the 118th anniversary of the founding of Hull-House by Jane Addams. In his 1960 Foreword to Addams’s semi-autobiographical work, Twenty Years at Hull-House, Henry Steele Commager suggested that Chicago ought to commemorate the event. Well, it doesn’t—so far as I know. But if it did, what would be remembered? I suggest the following as still relevant themes for annual celebrations of Addams’s Chicago-style settlement house:

– Alien acculturation;
– Poverty awareness;
– Public health;
– The importance of social work;
– Women’s contributions to public works; and
– The intellectual life of women.

What should we add? Check out the Hull-House Museum site for ideas. – TL

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3 Comments
  1. Mike N. permalink

    How about we add social control, heavy handed Americanization, and an inability to truly recognize the depth of poverty at the time and that her “solutions” were at best band-aids when much more drastic action needed to be taken. Sorry. I'm just not fond of capitalists.

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  2. MikeN: Addams was what we could call today a Christian socialist; she was decidedly not a capitalist. Perhaps we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. – TL

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  3. Mike N. permalink

    Sure, as always. But unless she tried to remove the means of production from private ownership and place the means of production in the hands of the state, she was no socialist.

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