Jane Addams (1860-1935)

Jane Addams was a social activist who struck at the roots of social injustice through astute, persistent, thoughtful action during the first decades of the twentieth century.  Addams worked tirelessly for reforms in child labor law, sanitation, housing conditions and work conditions for nearly four decades.  Firmly grounded in the Chicago immigrant neighborhood surrounding Hull House–the settlement house she founded with Ellen Gates Starr in 1899–her vision went far beyond its boundaries.

In 1915, Jane Addams and women pacifists from around the world founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). She served as its first President.  In 1931, she was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Our gratitude to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection and the University of Illinois at Chicago for the use of photographs of Jane Addams. And a very special thanks to the Swarthmore College for their vital work preserving the voices and stories of many tireless, and often invisible women who worked, and some who are working still, for a just and peaceful world.

Hull House circ 1890’s

A Selection of Books By & About Jane Addams

Louise Knight has written two biographies of Jane Addams:Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle For Democracy (2005), about Addams’s formative years, and Jane Addams: Spirit in Action (2010), the first full life biography of Addams in 37 years.

American Heroine by Allen F Davis. Oxford University Press, 1973.

Twenty Years at Hull-House: With Autobiographical Notes by Jane Addams. Macmillan, 1910.

The Jane Addams Reader. Edited by Jean Bethke Elshtain.  Basic Books, 2002.

Women at the Hague: The International Peace Congress of 1915 (Classics in Women’s Studies) by Jane Addams, Emily Greene Balch, Alice Hamilton, and Mary Jo Deegan. Garland, 1972.