Winifred E. Wise had the full cooperation of her subject when she wrote Jane Addams of Hull House, a fact to which Addams attests in a letter that is reproduced in the book. In addition, Addams’ notes, publications, speeches, and diary were all used in compiling this work.
Jenny Addams, as she was referred to in her youth, became a highly educated woman at the Rockford Seminary. Her father had the money to send his daughters to school, which was considered proper for young ladies of the late 1800’s. The Addams home was well stocked with books, and the works of Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Robert Browning, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson were some of her favorites. Addams’ father, John, was a state legislator in Illinois, and there were always interesting people in the Addams house. One day, when Addams asked her father why he was crying, he responded: “President Lincoln is dead. He was a noble man.” As Addams grew older, Lincoln became her idol as well. Her contact with Susan B. Anthony also influenced her greatly.
Addams had high ideals, and she began to work for the poor. The Great Chicago Fire did not destroy a house on the corner of Halsted and Polk streets, a proud mansion built in 1856 by Charles Hull. It was at this residence that Addams and her friend Ellen Starr began the historic Hull-House on the west side of Chicago. Poor people began to trickle in and “tell around that the young lady treated them fine. Miss...
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