Jane Addams
Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2006


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Jane Addams, Social Worker and Reformer

Born, September 6, 1960, Cedarville, Illinois, USA, 03:40 AM, LMT. (Source: Sabian Symbols) Died, May 21, 1935, Chicago, Illinois.

(Speculative Ascendant, Leo; with Sun in Virgo with Mercury and Saturn are also in Virgo; Moon in Taurus with Pluto also in Taurus; Venus in Leo with Jupiter also in Leo; Mars in Capricorn; Uranus in Gemini conjunct Ceres, also in Gemini; Neptune in Pisces; Chiron in Aquarius conjunct the speculative DSC; NN in Aquarius.


America's future will be determined by the home and the school. The child becomes largely what he is taught; hence we must watch what we teach, and how we live.  

Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself.  

The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself.  

  ... life cannot be administered by definite rules and regulations; that wisdom to deal with a man’s difficulties comes only through some knowledge of his life and habits as a whole ...

Hospitality still survives among foreigners, although it is buried under false pride among the poorest Americans.

We all bear traces of the starvation struggle which for so long made up the life of the race. Our very organism holds memories and glimpses of that long life of our ancestors which still goes on among so many of our contemporaries. Nothing so deadens the sympathies and shrivels the power of enjoyment as the persistent keeping away from the great opportunities for helpfulness and a continual ignoring of the starvation struggle which makes up the life of at least half the race. To shut one’s self away from that half of the race life is to shut one’s self away from the most vital part of it; it is to live out but half the humanity to which we have been born heir.

From a lecture, “The Subjective Necessity for Social Settlements,” delivered in 1892 at a summer school run by the Ethical Culture Society.

A Settlement is above all a place for enthusiasms, a spot to which those who have a passion for the equalization of human joys and opportunities are early attracted.

... this dream that men shall cease to waste strength in competition and shall come to pool their powers of production is coming to pass all over the earth.

... social advance depends quite as much upon an increase in moral sensibility as it does upon a sense of duty ...

With all the efforts made by modern society to nurture and educate the young, how stupid it is to permit the mothers of young children to spend themselves in the coarser work of the world!

We fatuously hoped that we might pluck from the human tragedy itself a consciousness of a common destiny which should bring its own healing, that we might extract from life’s very misfortunes a power of cooperation which should be effective against them.

Addams, the white middle-class cofounder twenty-one years earlier of the first American “Settlement House”—Hull-House—in a Chicago tenement district, was recalling her and her colleagues’ idealistic, naive early expectations.
(Chiron on Descendant. Jupiter in Leo conjunct Ascendant)

[The Settlement House] must be grounded in a philosophy whose foundation is on the solidarity of the human race, a philosophy which will not waver when the race happens to be represented by a drunken woman or an idiot boy.

... if the Settlement seeks its expression through social activity, it must learn the difference between mere social unrest and spiritual impulse.

If the underdog were always right, one might quite easily try to defend him. The trouble is that very often he is but obscurely right, sometimes only partially right, and often quite wrong; but perhaps he is never so altogether wrong and pig-headed and utterly reprehensible as he is represented to be by those who add the possession of prejudices to the other almost insuperable difficulties of understanding him.

... the task of youth is not only its own salvation but the salvation of those against whom it rebels, but in that case there must be something vital to rebel against and if the elderly stiffly refuse to put up a vigorous front of their own, it leaves the entire situation in a mist.

I have come to believe ... that the stage may do more than teach, that much of our current moral instruction will not endure the test of being cast into a lifelike mold, and when presented in dramatic form will reveal itself as platitudinous and effete. That which may have sounded like righteous teaching when it was remote and wordy will be challenged afresh when it is obliged to simulate life itself.

I had a consuming ambition to possess a miller’s thumb. I believe I have never since wanted anything more desperately than I wanted my right thumb to be flattened as my father’s had become, during his earlier years of a miller’s life.
{Of her early-childhood yearning to be like her father, her mother having died when she was a baby.}

... of all the aspects of social misery nothing is so heartbreaking as unemployment ...

I dreamed night after night that everyone in the world was dead excepting myself, and that upon me rested the responsibility of making a wagon wheel.
Describing an experience that she had at age six, in her hometown of Cedarville, Illinois.

The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain - until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life."
(Uranus in 10th house)

Action indeed is the sole medium of expression for ethics.

You do not know what life means when all the difficulties are removed! I am simply smothered and sickened with advantages. It is like eating a sweet dessert the first thing in the morning.

The new growth in the plant swelling against the sheath, which at the same time imprisons and protects it, must still be the truest type of progress.

Old-fashioned ways which no longer apply to changed conditions are a snare in which the feet of women have always become readily entangled.

Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation.”
I am not one of those who believe - broadly speaking - that women are better than men. We have not wrecked railroads, nor corrupted legislatures, nor done many unholy things that men have done; but then we must remember that we have not had the chance.


(Laura) Jane Addams was born September 6, 1860, and died May 21, 1935. She won worldwide recognition in the first third of the twentieth century as a pioneer social worker in America, as a feminist, internationalist, philosopher and reformer. She was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.Jane Addams was an ardent feminist by philosophy. In those days before women's suffrage she believed that women should make their voices heard in legislation and therefore should have the right to vote, but more comprehensively, she thought that women should generate aspirations and search out opportunities to realize them.

Addams was born in Cedarville, Illinois, the eighth of nine children. Her father was a prosperous miller and local political leader who served for sixteen years as a state senator and fought as an officer in the Civil War; he was a friend of Abraham Lincoln . Because of a congenital spinal defect, Jane was not physically vigorous when young nor truly robust even later in life, but her spinal difficulty was remedied by surgery.

Jane grew up in the small community. Her mother was kind and gracious, but died when Jane was two. Her father remarried and her new stepmother brought two new step-brothers to the already large family. Jane was devoted to her father, who taught her tolerance, philanthropy, and a strong work ethic. He encouraged her to pursue higher education, but not at the expense of losing her femininity and the prospect of marriage and motherhood.

Jane excelled in her studies and developed strong leadership traits, which were admired by her classmates. In 1881 she was graduated from the Rockford Female Seminary, the valedictorian of a class of seventeen, but was granted the bachelor's degree only after the school became accredited the next year as Rockford College for Women.

She decided to pursue a degree in medicine and this caused a stir in the Addams household. Her parents felt that she had had enough education and were concerned that she would never marry. Jane became despondent. She wanted more in life. If her brothers could have careers in medicine and science, why couldn't she? Besides, she disliked household duties and the prospect of raising children held no appeal.

Jane's parents decided that the best course was to take Jane and her friends on a grand tour of Europe for a year or two. Jane began to show signs of serious illness during this time. There was the pressure to do her parents' bidding, and inner turmoil over whether or not to disobey them and choose a career.

Her father died upon her return. This set Jane into a deeper depression and a sense of guilt that somehow she had upset him with her insistence upon a vocation. Her illness grew to the proportion of "invalid." She could barely walk or move without great pain. Jane did have a slight curvature of the spine and for this she sought treatment. Eventually, she had surgery and was strapped into a back harness from which she could not move for about a year. This year gave her time to think.

In the course of the next six years she began the study of medicine but left because of poor health. She was hospitalized intermittently, traveled and studied in Europe for twenty-one months, and then spent almost two years in reading and writing and in considering her future objectives.

At the age of twenty-seven, during a second tour to Europe with her friend Ellen Starr, she visited a settlement house, Toynbee Hall, in London's East End. This visit helped to finalize the idea then current in her mind, that of opening a similar house in an underprivileged area of Chicago. In 1889 she and Miss Starr leased a large home and moved in. Their purpose being "to provide a center for a 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".

At its height, Hull House was visited each week by around two thousand people. Its facilities included a night school for adults; kindergarten classes; clubs for older children; a public kitchen; an art gallery; a coffeehouse; a gymnasium; a girls club; a swimming pool; a book bindery; a music school; a drama group; a library; and labor-related divisions. Miss Addams and Miss Starr made speeches about the needs of the neighborhood, raised money, convinced young women of well-to-do families to help, took care of children, nursed the sick, listened to outpourings from troubled people.

Hull House served as a women's sociological institution. Addams was a friend to the early members of the Chicago School of Sociology, influencing their thought through her work in applied sociology and, in 1893, co-authoring the Hull-House Maps and Papers that defined the interests and methodologies of the School. She worked with George H. Mead on social reform issues including women's rights, ending child-labor, and the 1910 Garment Workers' Strike in which she was a mediator.

Addams had a stellar reputation for her work with Hull House, and was respected as a committed humanitarian. In addition to her involvement in the American Anti-Imperialist League and the American Sociology Association, she was also a formative member of both the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Although academic sociologists of the time defined her work as "social work", Addams did not consider herself a social worker. She combined the central concepts of symbolic interactionism with the theories of cultural feminism and pragmatism to form her sociological ideas.

For her own aspiration to rid the world of war, Jane Addams created opportunities or seized those offered to her to advance the cause. In 1906 she gave a course of lectures at the University of Wisconsin summer session which she published the next year as a book, Newer Ideals of Peace. She spoke for peace in 1913 at a ceremony commemorating the building of the Peace Palace at The Hague and in the next two years, as a lecturer sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation, spoke against America's entry into the First World War.

In January, 1915, she accepted the chairmanship of the Women's Peace Party, an American organization, and four months later the presidency of the International Congress of Women convened at The Hague largely upon the initiative of Dr. Aletta Jacobs, a Dutch suffragist leader of many and varied talents. When this congress later founded the organization called the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Jane Addams served as president until 1929, as presiding officer of its six international conferences in those years, and as honorary president for the remainder of her life.

In 1911 she helped to establish the National Foundation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers and became its first president. She was also a leader in women's suffrage and pacifist movements, and took part in the creation of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in 1915.

Publicly opposed to America's entry into the war, Miss Addams was attacked in the press and expelled from the Daughters of the American Revolution, but she found an outlet for her humanitarian impulses as an assistant to Herbert Hoover in providing relief supplies of food to the women and children of the enemy nations, the story of which she told in her book Peace and Bread in Time of War (1922).

After sustaining a heart attack in 1926, Miss Addams never fully regained her health. She was admitted to a hospital on December 10, 1931, the day the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to her in Oslo. She did not deliver a Nobel lecture. Hospitalized at the time of the award ceremony in December, 1931, she later notified the Nobel Committee in April of 1932 that her doctors had decided it would be unwise for her to go abroad. She died in 1935 three days after an operation revealed unsuspected cancer.

Jane is portrayed as the selfless giver of ministrations to the poor, but was a dynamic force in labor reform for children and women.

All this led to the right to vote for women. Addams worked for Chicago municipal suffrage and became first vice-president of the National American Women Suffrage Association in 1911. She campaigned nationwide for Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Party in 1912.

She became a very controversial figure while working on behalf of economic reform. When horrible working conditions led to the Haymarket riot, Jane was personally attacked for her support of the workers. It resulted in a great loss of donor support for Hull House. She supplemented Hull House funding with revenue from lecture tours and article writing. She began to enjoy international acclaim. Her first book was published in 1910 and others followed biennially. Her biggest success in writing came with the release of the book, Twenty Years at Hull House. It became her autobiography and brought her wealth.

Addams foresaw World War I. In 1915, in an effort to avert war, she organized the Women's Peace Party and the International Congress of Women. This latter organization met at The Hague and made serious diplomatic attempts to thwart the war. When these efforts failed and the U.S. joined the war in 1917, criticism of Addams rose.

In 1919 she was elected first president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, a position she held until her death. She was founder of the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP. These positions earned her even more criticism than her pacifism. She was accused of being a socialist, an anarchist and a communist.

Hull House, however, continued to be successful. When the depression of the 1930's struck, Addams saw many of the things that she had advocated and fought for become policies under President Franklin Roosevelt.

She received numerous awards during this time including, in 1931, the Nobel Peace Prize. That year her health began to fail but she continued her work until her death in 1935.

Her many publications include: Democracy and social ethics, 1902; Children in American street trades, 1905; New ideals of peace, 1907; The Wage-earning Woman and the State, Boston. 1910; Twenty years at Hull-House 1910; Symposium: child labor on the stage, 1911.


Notice Virgo is reflected in the small mouth

the Leo may show in the slight bow at the top of the nose.

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