Author: Jane Addams

In 1931, Jane Addams (1860–1935) became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Born in Cedarsville, Illinois, she graduated as valedictorian from the Rockford Female Seminary in 1881. When she was 27, Addams and her friend Ellen G. Starr traveled to London, where they visited the Toynbee Hall settlement house. Inspired to open a similar house to serve underprivileged citizens in Chicago, Addams and Starr founded Hull House in 1889. At Hull House, the first settlement house in the United States, Addams brought women of different classes together to share knowledge and help alleviate the suffering of the city’s impoverished families. The House included a night school for adults, clubs and classes for children, a public kitchen, a coffeehouse, a drama group, and many discussion clubs; the House itself eventually expanded to a 13-building settlement complex. In 1910, Addams published Twenty Years at Hull-House, an autobiography recounting her experiences creating and running the settlement home. Addams’s Hull House closed in 2012.

Greatness and Commemoration

Jane Addams

In this speech, given in Chicago on February 23, 1903 to celebrate Washington’s Birthday, Jane Addams (1860–1935), social reformer, community organizer, and political activist, uses the occasion and the memory of Washington to inspire her listeners to what she calls “wise patriotism.”