Jane Addams: Pioneer of Humane Urbanism

Monday, February 24, 2020 - 12:20pm
U-Mass Geosciences
Morrill 129

Jane Addams (1860-1935) – co-founder of Chicago’s Hull House, revered humanitarian, matriarch of American Progressivism and 1931 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate – may be the most important American woman barely known to people today. As advocate for the voiceless and oppressed, Addams and her allies struggled for economic and social justice, public health, immigrants, workplace safety, democracy and international peace. Addams helped to found the NAACP, ACLU and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Hull House residents and allies comprised a Who’s Who of Progressive-Era reformers, including Florence Kelley, Julia Lathrop, Alice Hamilton, John Dewey, Henry Demarest Lloyd, Ida B. Wells, Mary Simkhovitch, Oswald Garrison Villard, Robert A. Woods and Lillian Wald. Two Hull House associates became New Deal cabinet members: Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes and Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins. Eleanor Roosevelt would assume Addams’s commitment to civil rights, immigration and internationalism – replacing her, in the words of Allen F. Davis, as “the most loved and most hated woman in America.”

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