Born on September 6th,1860 in Cedarville Illinois, Jane Addams was the daughter to a local politicalleader 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 youngadult, Jane graduated from Rockford College in 1881 and furthered her educationat the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. After a few months ofschooling, she became sick and was forced to withdraw from medical school. In 1883, Jane had visited Europefor 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 toAmerica with the intention of finding the poorest neighborhood in Chicago. Shemoved into Hull Mansion and offered instruction to the women and children ofthe neighborhood. She believed that women should make their voices heard inlegislation and have the right to vote – she wanted them to seek opportunities. Hull House soonbecame a social center where the troubled could unite and enjoy cultural eventsincluding concerts, poetry readings and art exhibits.
A majority of her timewas dedicated to helping these people. Jane Addam’s immersion with theHull House helped in strengthening social ethics, which greatly influenced thecore values of the National Association of Social Workers. In addition, shepreached three “ethical principles”: teach by example, practice cooperation andpractice social democracy. These principles have been encouraged by our societytoday 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 hadopened several doors for social reform.