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Biographies Unit Biographies

Jane Addams 1860–1935
Social Reformer

As a girl in Illinois, Jane Addams learned about the importance of helping others. Her father worked in the Illinois government. He taught her that people in a community have a responsibility to help one another.

In the 1880s, Addams and her friend Ellen Starr visited London. They saw a place where students helped people who needed food and shelter. This place was called a settlement house. Addams and Starr decided to open a settlement house in Chicago, Illinois. In 1889, they opened Hull House. They offered hot lunches, childcare, and English classes to immigrants who had just moved to the United States. Hull House grew very quickly. Addams and Starr began to help people with jobs, housing, and education.

Jane Addams kept working to help people living in poverty. She made speeches about fair laws. For example, she wanted women to have the right to vote. She also thought there should be laws for better conditions for workers. Addams always believed one person could make a difference. With all that she did, she proved this to be true.

Comprehension Check

Why did Jane Addams open Hull House?

Critical Thinking

In what way could you help your community?