Born on September 6th,
1860 in Cedarville Illinois, Jane Addams was the daughter to a local political
leader and civil war officer by the name of John Huey Addams. Her mother,
however, died during pregnancy when Jane was only two years of age. As a young
adult, Jane graduated from Rockford College in 1881 and furthered her education
at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. After a few months of
schooling, she became sick and was forced to withdraw from medical school.
In 1883, Jane had visited Europe
for the first time, where she studied a multitude of subjects such as language,
art and history. As inspired by the social reforms in London, she came back to
America with the intention of finding the poorest neighborhood in Chicago. She
moved into Hull Mansion and offered instruction to the women and children of
the neighborhood. She believed that women should make their voices heard in
legislation and have the right to vote – she wanted them to seek opportunities. Hull House soon
became a social center where the troubled could unite and enjoy cultural events
including concerts, poetry readings and art exhibits. A majority of her time
was dedicated to helping these people.
Jane Addam’s immersion with the
Hull House helped in strengthening social ethics, which greatly influenced the
core values of the National Association of Social Workers. In addition, she
preached three “ethical principles”: teach by example, practice cooperation and
practice social democracy. These principles have been encouraged by our society
today as appropriate social etiquette. Addam’s work prompted women’s rights,
child labor laws and mediating during the 1910 Garment Workers’ Strike.
Under unfortunate circumstances,
Jane died in 1935 – her funeral being held at the courtyard of the Hull House.
Little did she know, the accomplishments she made during her lifetime had
opened several doors for social reform.