Jane Addams

1860-1935. Social reformer and intellectual. Born in Cedarville, Illinois, she was greatly influenced by the moral earnestness of her Quaker father. She attended Women's Medical College in Philadelphia, but poor health forced her to discontinue medical studies. She traveled and studied in Europe, and after a long period of dissatisfaction and uncertainty returned in 1889 with her friend Ellen Gates Starr to establish Hull House, a settlement house in a poor immigrant neighborhood in Chicago, patterned after Toynbee Hall in London. She worked tirelessly to serve the needs of people, identifying and attempting solutions to numerous problems encountered by poor city dwellers. She contributed to efforts to secure adequate welfare legislation, mothers' pensions, juvenile courts, tenement house codes, workmen's compensation, and improved sanitation. Although she was not an orthodox Christian, she inspired people of all kinds to become concerned about the lot of the poor. She participated in the women's suffrage movement which was committed to pacifism as a way of life. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Her books include Twenty Years at Hull House (1910) and Democracy and Social Ethics (1902).