Bullets #1 –2 In 1888, American Jane Addams visited Toynbee Hall in London, a “university settlement” where some students from Oxford and Cambridge would spend their summer break working to help the poor in the area. Inspired by this example, Addams returned to her native Chicago and along with her friend Ellen Gates Starr founded the first “settlement house” in America. As she later wrote, Addams viewed a “settlement” as “an experimental effort to aid in the solution of the social and industrial problems which are engendered by the modern conditions of life in a great city.” Addams and Starr rented an abandoned mansion that had formerly belonged to wealthy businessman Charles Hull. The neighborhood around what became known as “Hull House” was populated primarily by poor immigrants, mainly from Italy and Germany. Though Addams and Starr began by offering cultural events at Hull House, they soon found out that the community desperately needed facilities for child care and education. Hull House opened a kindergarten; its spaces filled up almost immediately, with dozens of others put on a waiting list. Bullet #3 Hull House gradually began to provide more group activities for children, including a boys’ club and sewing classes. Addams, however, did not want Hull House to focus strictly on children, so she created more and more activities for adults. Eventually, these activities included a coffeehouse/public kitchen, a gymnasium, classes on hygiene, cooking demonstrations, academic lectures, concerts, and nights devoted to German and Italian food, music, and culture. Hull House also began to attract the attention of social reformers, including Socialist Labor Party activist Florence Kelley. Kelley helped bring a larger social and political consciousness to Addams’s and Starr’s efforts, and Hull House soon hosted a weekly “Workingman’s Discussion Club” and also developed a dedicated cadre of reformers devoted to supporting working-class causes such as trade unions and better working conditions. Settlement houses soon spread to other cities, and Hull House itself grew until it ultimately included 13 buildings that occupied an entire block. Addams went on to become a leader in other reform efforts, including the suffrage movement and the NAACP (of which she was a founder). She also led a pacifist movement in the U.S. during World War I.
Jane Addams and Hull House
“ Settlement” houses/ Hull House
Provided activities and services for poor immigrants