Civic Housekeeping


Jane Addams is best known for her work with the poor and immigrants in the United States. She was born in 1860 in Cedarville, Illinois. Her father was a wealthy businessman and her mother was a homemaker. Jane’s early years were spent in comfort and privilege.

In 1881, Jane enrolled at Rockford Female Seminary (now Rockford University). It was there that she met Ellen Gates Starr. The two women became close friends and would eventually co-found Hull House.

After graduation, Jane traveled to Europe. Upon her return to the United States, she settled in Chicago and began working with the poor. In 1889, she and Ellen Gates Starr founded Hull House, a settlement house that provided social services to the poor and immigrants in the area.

More and more problems began to beset cities in the United States in the early 20th century. Specific challenges that cities were facing more frequently included poor sanitation and health concerns in tenement housing. In order for women to enter the public realm and establish themselves as individuals among men, Jane Addams proposed the concept of “civic housekeeping,” which would allow them to utilize their domestic skills to clean up issues in local tenement housing while also assisting residents with city hall administration.

Jane Addams, the founder of Hull House in Chicago, Illinois, was a driving force in the Progressive Era Settlement House Movement. Jane Addams and her close friend, Ellen Gates Starr decided to open Hull House in order to help with the Assimilation of poor European immigrants. Jane Addams believed that if women were to take on a more active role in society and be more involved in the public sphere they could create change.

Jane Addams was the daughter of a wealthy family that thrived during the Reconstruction era, fueled by her father’s political and commercial success. Jane was raised in a manner by her strong father, John Addams, who instilled in her a sense of leadership and pride. When John Addams died when Jane was only 21 years old, he left an indelible mark on her life. She never married because of him.)

Jane Addams was a woman ahead of her time who fought for social justice, founded Hull House, and is credited with coining the term “social work”. Jane Addams believed in what she called “civic housekeeping”, which was the idea that it was women’s role, as citizens, to clean up society just as they would their homes.

As a young woman, Jane Addams studied at many different colleges including: Rockford Female Seminary, Smith College, and eventually graduated from Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1881. After graduation, Addams traveled to Europe where she became interested in the Toynbee Hall Settlement House movement in England. The Settlement House movement was based on the idea of providing social and educational opportunities for the working class in order to uplift them out of poverty. Jane Addams was so inspired by this movement that upon her return to the United States, she and her friend Ellen Gates Starr founded Hull House in Chicago.

Hull House was one of the first settlement houses in the United States and Jane Addams ran it for over 40 years. At Hull House, Jane Addams and her team provided social services, educational opportunities, and cultural events for their neighbors in the surrounding working-class community. Jane Addams was a woman who believed in equal rights for all citizens, regardless of their social class or economic status. She fought for reform at Hull House and beyond, advocating for better working and living conditions for the poor, as well as for women’s suffrage and world peace. Jane Addams was a true visionary and her work has left a lasting legacy.

By the time she was in high school, it became clear to Jane that her father had been actively pursuing a divorce. Although their relationship was important to Jane for the rest of her life, she could not bring herself to break away from home until he died. Since women were not encouraged to pursue higher education during the post-Civil War era, Jane Addams went to Rockford Female Seminary after her father encouraged her.

Jane flourished in her studies, and after college she traveled Europe with a close friend. It was during this time that Jane began to develop her ideas about social reform.

Jane Addams eventually returned to the United States, and settled in Chicago where she met Ellen Gates Starr. The two women became close friends, and together they founded Hull House. Hull House was a settlement house that provided education and services to the immigrant community in Chicago. Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr were committed to helping those in need, and they worked tirelessly to provide for the residents of Hull House.

Jane Addams became a well-known figure in the social reform movement, and her work at Hull House earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Jane Addams was a committed advocate for the rights of all people, and her work continues to inspire social activists today.

It was not with love, however, but rather as part of John Addams’ attempt to display his power and wealth. Jane was a tremendous success at Rockford University, serving on her college debate team and taking many classes.

Jane’s education was interrupted by the death of her father in 1881, which left Jane and her family mourning for some time. Jane Addams eventually graduated from college in 1882 with a degree in history.

During Jane’s time at Rockford University, she met Ellen Gates Starr, who would become Jane’s lifelong friend and Hull House co-founder. Jane and Ellen were both interested in social reform and helping those less fortunate than them. After graduation, the two women traveled together to Europe, where they were exposed to different cultures and ways of life. This experience had a profound effect on Jane Addams, who decided that she wanted to help people in need in her own community back home.

In 1889, Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr founded Hull House, a settlement house in Chicago that provided services and assistance to immigrants and the poor. Jane Addams was the driving force behind Hull House, and she quickly became known as a leader in the social reform movement. She was an advocate for women’s rights, workers’ rights, and immigrant rights, among other causes. Jane Addams was also a prolific writer, penning numerous articles and books on social reform.

Jane Addams’ work with Hull House and her advocacy for social reform earned her many accolades, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Jane Addams died in 1935, but her legacy continues on through the work of Hull House and other organizations that strive to help those in need. Jane Addams was a true pioneer in the field of social work, and her dedication to helping others is an inspiration to us all.

Jane Addams changed the way we think about social reform and helped to pave the way for future generations of social workers.


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