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Twenty Years at Hull House by Jane Addams
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Twenty Years at Hull House (1910)

by Jane Addams

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Written in the early 1900s, this is the story of the beginnings of Social Services in America. Jane Addams tells not only about her experiment with Hull House, but about her philosophy of what social service is or can be, the need for it and some of the episodes with the people she helped. It is quite dry, more of an intellectual observation than a personal story. I admire her for trying to stay clear of being identified with or owned by other social movements of the times. Still, I couldn't finish this book. More my problem than a problem with the book, but it didn't involve me in it, too much observation and not enough personal experiences I suppose. I quit reading about half way through. ( )
  MrsLee | Dec 16, 2014 |
The opening chapters about her life filled me with some hope but the main bulk was a bit more stiff and stilted. It seemed an equal mixture of antedoctes and theory and they didn't always mesh well. She mostly served to downplay her own role, which I'm guessing was fairly substanial. Perhaps a bio of her would tell me more of what I wanted to know.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
Jane Addams was one of those remarkable rare creatures, a true citizen of the world. She used her intelligence and humanity to assist disadvantaged people in Chicago to develop intellectually, artistically, intellectually, physically, and emotionally. As a social scientist she formulated ideas and plans then was always ready to change them when new information about people and societies showed the need. You could say she was for the underdog, but not just for the underdog, because she realized the underdog could sometimes act on ideas that were not beneficial to society. This put her on the bad side of some underdogs. She tolerated and supported all religions at her settlement, which put her on the bad side of many religious people. She supported people who were wrongly accused of anarchism this put her on the bad side of many politically conservative people. In fact she said that rather than ignoring human rights in order to prosecute anarchists the government should show how the government assisted people through the support of their political and human rights. She encouraged play, pleasure and humor saying that drudgery and hard work could not be all humans had to look forward to. Above all, she knew the necessity of community, the way the individual could thrive only by assisting community in whatever individual way he or she could. If there were such a thing as a secular saint, I'd nominate Jane Addams. I would encourage everyone to read this book before they vote. ( )
1 vote Citizenjoyce | Mar 14, 2012 |
Wow. Jane Adams is truly one of my heroes now. So inspiring for the work I want to do in the world. ( )
  plantapickle | Feb 26, 2008 |
Showing 4 of 4
Originally published in 1910, this was Jane Addams' most successful book. Now regarded as a classic of American social history, this first annotated edition is issued on the occasion of the Hull-House centennial. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
added by Citizenjoyce | editBook News, Inc.
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jane Addamsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Commager, Henry SteelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Commager, Henry SteeleForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hamilton, NorahIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451527399, Mass Market Paperback)

While on a trip to East London in 1883, Jane Addams witnessed a distressing scene late one night: masses of poor people were bidding on rotten vegetables that were unsalable anywhere else.

Their pale faces were dominated by that most unlovely of human expressions, the cunning and shrewdness of the bargain-hunter who starves if he cannot make a successful trade, and yet the final impression was not of ragged, tawdry clothing nor of pinched and sallow faces, but of myriads of hands, empty, pathetic, nerveless, and workworn, showing white in the uncertain light of the street, and clutching forward for food which was already unfit to eat.

This scene haunted Addams for the next two years as she traveled through Europe, and she hoped to find a way to ease such suffering. Five years later, she visited Toynbee Hall, a London settlement house, and resolved to replicate the experiment in the U.S. On September 18, 1889, Jane Addams and her friend Ellen Starr moved into the second floor of a rundown mansion in Chicago's West Side. From the outset, they imagined Hull-House as a "center for a higher civic and social life" in the industrial districts of the city. Addams, Starr, and several like-minded individuals lived and worked among the poor, establishing (among other things) art classes, discussion groups, cooperatives, a kindergarten, a coffee house, a lending library, and a gymnasium. In a time when many well-to-do Americans were beginning to feel threatened by immigrants, Hull-House embraced them, showed them the true meaning of democracy, and served as a center for philanthropic efforts throughout Chicago.

Hull-House also provided an outlet for the energies of the first generation of female college graduates, who were educated for work yet prevented from doing it. In some respects, however, Addams's impressive work, often hailed by historians as "revolutionary," was nothing of the sort. She embraced the sexual stereotypes of her day, and, though she was clearly an independent woman, soothed public fears by acting primarily in the traditional roles of nurturer and caregiver. Hull-House was a rousing success, and it inspired others to follow in Addams's footsteps.

Though Twenty Years at Hull-House is meant to be an autobiography, it is Hull-House itself that stands in the spotlight. Addams devotes the first third of the book to her upbringing and influences, but the remainder focuses on the organization she built--and the benefits accruing to those who work with the poor as well as to the poor themselves. At times Addams's prose is difficult to follow, but her ideals and her actions are truly inspiring. A classic work of history--and a model for today's would-be philanthropists. --Sunny Delaney

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:32 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The classic memoir of one of the Progressive Era's most important reformers and social activists. If it is natural to feed the hungry ... it is certainly natural to give pleasure to the young, comfort to the aged, and to minister to the deep-seated craving for social intercourse that all men feel. In 1889, Jane Addams and her partner, Ellen Starr, opened the first settlement house in the United States. On Chicago's West Side, Hull House was devoted to the city's poor and forgotten, from immigrants and unwed mothers to the elderly, homeless, and hungry. Its charter proclaimed its mission "to provide a center for higher civic and social life, to institute and maintain educational and philanthropic enterprises, and to investigate and improve the conditions in the industrial districts of Chicago." In Twenty Years at Hull House, Addams chronicles her revolutionary work from its conception in the Gilded Age through the dawn of the Progressive Era. A cofounder of the American Civil Liberties Union and the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Addams devoted her life to realizing a more noble vision of democracy. More than a personal memoir, Twenty Years at Hull-House is a landmark document of social theory and political history. This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.… (more)

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