I was in Chicago in June, and discovered a wonderful historic site, the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. Jane Addams was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. She and her colleagues worked with immigrants and other people in need.
Jane was a contemporary of Theodore Roosevelt. She gave his seconding speech when he ran for President on the Progressive Party ticket, also known as the Bull Moose Party. She shared many of TR’s progressive ideas, such as minimum wage levels, child labor laws, worker compensation laws, and pure food and drug policies. Jane’s father was an Illinois state legislator and a colleague of Abraham Lincoln.
Note these comments from Sidney Milkis’ book, “Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive Party, and the Transformation of American Democracy:”
“Addams, whose seconding nomination of TR confirmed the Progressive Party’s collective identity, “was easily the most conspicuous figure present (at the Convention) save of course, Roosevelt.”
“Although Addams did not agree with TR on every issue, she saw him as indispensable to the Party’s reform objectives. Addams, in turn, captured the party’s devotion to women’s suffrage and social welfare reform.”
“Roosevelt himself admitted that Addams played an indispensable part in the new progressive movement. Roosevelt urged her to write some pieces for popular magazines, saying in his words, to write about ‘what the Progressives are striving for in the way of social justice, especially for the women and children and those men who have the hardest time in life.’ “
Jane Addams, in her seconding speech for TR, said “A great party has pledged itself to the protection of children, to the care of the aged, to the relief of overworked girls, to the safeguarding of burdened men.”
So as to make sure there would be no mistaking TR’s conversion to the strongest support possible for a constitutional amendment that would secure the right of women to vote, TR telegrammed Addams soon after the convention with these words: “without qualification or equivocation . . I am for woman suffrage . .. The Progressive Party is for woman suffrage . . and I believe within a half dozen years we shall have no one in the United States against it.”
The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum is a dynamic memorial to this social reformer. The Museum interprets the settlement house vision. The Museum has ongoing programs for research, education and social engagement.
It is located in two of the original settlement house buildings – the Hull Home, a National Historic Landmark, and the Residents’ Dining Hall, a beautiful Arts and Crafts building that has welcomed some of the world’s most important thinkers, artists and activists.
Hull-House was founded in 1889 as a social settlement. Addams and the residents helped pass critical legislation and influenced public policy on public health and education, free speech, fair labor practices, immigrants’ rights, recreation and public space, arts and philanthropy.
Hull-House has long been a center of Chicago’s political and cultural life, establishing Chicago’s first public playground and public art gallery, helping to desegregate the Chicago Public Schools, and influencing philanthropy and culture.
Hull-House is located near downtown Chicago and the University of Illinois. If you’re in Chicago, I recommend including Hull-House on your itinerary!
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