(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In Twenty Years at Hull-House, Jane Addams tells of the poverty and abuses that existed during the Industrial Revolution in the United States. The book includes eighteen chapters, illustrations, an index, and photographs. Addams begins with some personal background. She was a sickly child, and she was greatly influenced by her wealthy father, a strong admirer and supporter of Abraham Lincoln. Addams attended all-female Rockford College and left there determined to study medicine and help the poor. Her ill health returned, however, and she was unable to complete her medical studies. Her desire to help the poor remained. She spent several years traveling in the United States and Europe, where she was introduced to poverty and suffering in many places. She lived for a time in London, among the needy and suffering.

Upon her return to the United States, she and Ellen Starr founded Hull-House in the slums of Chicago in January, 1889. The search for the perfect location was lengthy, and Hull-House was named for the original owner of the large home.

The rest of the book details the activities of Addams and the people who inhabited and relied upon Hull-House. Addams was an active lecturer, and there are many quotes from her writings and lectures in the book. She concentrated not on the day-to-day running of Hull-House but on the larger issues of the times. Hull-House founded a kindergarten and day nursery. Addams actively campaigned for labor laws,...

(The entire section is 468 words.)