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´╗┐Title: Twenty Years at Hull House; with Autobiographical Notes
Author: Addams, Jane
Language: English
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deHTML from allhull.htm 1998 Apr 10 


[A Celebration of Women Writers]



TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE

WITH AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

BY JANE ADDAMS

HULL-HOUSE, CHICAGO

AUTHOR OF "DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL ETHICS," "NEWER IDEALS OF PEACE," "THE
SPIRIT OF YOUTH AND THE CITY STREETS," ETC.

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY
NORAH HAMILTON

HULL-HOUSE, CHICAGO



TO
THE MEMORY OF
MY FATHER



PREFACE



CONTENTS

Preface vii
I. EARLIEST IMPRESSIONS 1
II. INFLUENCE OF LINCOLN 23
III. BOARDING-SCHOOL IDEALS 43
IV. THE SNARE OF PREPARATION 65
V. FIRST DAYS AT HULL-HOUSE 89
VI. THE SUBJECTIVE NECESSITY FOR SOCIAL SETTLEMENTS 113
VII. SOME EARLY UNDERTAKINGS AT HULL-HOUSE 129
VIII. PROBLEMS OF POVERTY 154
IX. A DECADE OF ECONOMIC DISCUSSION 177
X. PIONEER LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 198
XI. IMMIGRANTS AND THEIR CHILDREN 231
XII. TOLSTOYISM 259
XIII. PUBLIC ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 281
XIV. CIVIC COOPERATION 310
XV. THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS 342
XVI. ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE 371
XVII. ECHOES OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 400
XVIII. SOCIALIZED EDUCATION 427



PLATES

Jane Addams, from a photograph taken in 1899 Frontispiece
John H. Addams, from a photograph taken in 1880 22
Ellen Gates Starr, from a photograph taken in 1906 64
A Hull-House Interior 88
A View from a Hull-House Window 112
A Spent Old Man 154
Sweatshop Workers 198
Chicago River at Halsted Street 258
Polk Street opposite Hull-House 280
Julia C. Lathrop 310
A Studio in Hull-House Court 370
A View between Hull-House Gymnasium and Theater 426



ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT

Birthplace, Jane Addams, Cedarville, Illinois 4
Jane Addams, aged Seven, from a Photograph of 1867 7
Mill at Cedarville, Illinois 10
Stream at Cedarville, Illinois 22
Old Abe 42
Rockford College, Rockford, Illinois 44
Porto del Popolo, Rome 76
View of St. Peter's 88
Polk Street opposite Hull-House 95
South Halsted Street opposite Hull-House 96
Consulting the Hull-House Bulletin Board, from a Photograph by
Lewis W. Hine 104
A Boy's Club Member 105
An Italian Woman with Grandchild 111
Portrait, Jane Addams, from a Charcoal Drawing by Alice Kellogg
Tyler of 1892 114
Main Entrance to Hull-House 128
Head of Slavic Woman 134
Head of Italian Woman 135
A Doorway in Hull-House Court 149
Woman and Child in Hull-House Reception Room 154
In a Tenement House, Sick Mother and Children 164
A Row of Nursery Babies 168
A Neighborhood Alley 181
Hull-House on Halsted Street, Apartment House in Foreground 197
An Italian Sweatshop Worker 208
Out of Work, from a Drawing by Alice Kellogg Tyler 220
Head of Immigrant Woman 226
Aniello 235
Irish Spinner in the Hull-House Labor Museum 238
Scandinavian Weaver in the Hull-House Labor Museum 239
Italian Spinner in the Hull-House Labor Museum 241
An Italian Grocery opposite Hull-House 258
Sketches of Tolstoy Mowing 271
Head of Russian Immigrant 275
Rear Tenement in Hull-House Neighborhood 282
An Alley near Hull-House 293
A View from Hull-House Window 314
Alley between Hull-House Buildings 321
A Window in the Hull-House Library 346
An Italian Mother and Child 354
Facade of Bowen Hall 363
A Club Child listening to a Story 367
In the Hull-House Studio, from a Photograph by Lewis W. Hine 374
Exterior Hull-House Music School 379
In the Hull-House Music School 383
Terrace in the Hull-House Court 398
South Halsted Street 401
Russian Immigrant on Halsted Street, from a Photograph by Lewis W. Hine 416
Entrance to Hull-House Courtyard 426
Boy at Forge, Hull-House Boy's Club, from a Photograph by Lewis W. Hine 439
Steps to Hull-House Terrace 447
Waiting in the Hull-House Hall 453

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This book has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK Initiative at the
Celebration of Women Writers through the combined work of: Adrienne
Fermoyle, Andrea Jeddi, David Cheezem, Diana Camden, Flo Carriere, Jill
Thoren, Judi Oswalt, Margaret Sylvia, Samantha M. Constant, Terri Perkins,
and Mary Mark Ockerbloom.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Preface." by Jane Addams (1860-1935)
From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with Autobiographical Notes. by Jane
Addams. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp. vii-ix.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]



PREFACE


Every preface is, I imagine, written after the book has been
completed and now that I have finished this volume I will state
several difficulties which may put the reader upon his guard
unless he too postpones the preface to the very last.

Many times during the writing of these reminiscences, I have
become convinced that the task was undertaken all too soon.
One's fiftieth year is indeed an impressive milestone at which
one may well pause to take an accounting, but the people with
whom I have so long journeyed have become so intimate a part of
my lot that they cannot be written of either in praise or blame;
the public movements and causes with which I am still identified
have become so endeared, some of them through their very
struggles and failures, that it is difficult to discuss them.

It has also been hard to determine what incidents and experiences
should be selected for recital, and I have found that I might
give an accurate report of each isolated event and yet give a
totally misleading impression of the whole, solely by the
selection of the incidents.  For these reasons and many others I
have found it difficult to make a [Page viii]  faithful record of
the years since the autumn of 1889 when without any preconceived
social theories or economic views, I came to live in an
industrial district of Chicago.

If the reader should inquire why the book was ever undertaken in
the face of so many difficulties, in reply I could instance two
purposes, only one of which in the language of organized charity,
is "worthy." Because Settlements have multiplied so easily in the
United States I hoped that a simple statement of an earlier
effort, including the stress and storm, might be of value in
their interpretation and possibly clear them of a certain charge
of superficiality.  The unworthy motive was a desire to start a
"backfire," as it were, to extinquish two biographies of myself,
one of which had been submitted to me in outline, that made life
in a Settlement all too smooth and charming.

The earlier chapters present influences and personal motives with
a detail which will be quite unpardonable if they fail to make
clear the personality upon whom various social and industrial
movements in Chicago reacted during a period of twenty years.  No
effort is made in the recital to separate my own history from
that of Hull-House during the years in which I was "launched deep
into the stormy intercourse of human life" for, so far as a mind
is pliant under the pressure of events and experiences, it
becomes hard to detach it.

It has unfortunately been necessary to abandon [Page ix]  the
chronological order in favor of the topical, for during the early
years at Hull-House, time seemed to afford a mere framework for
certain lines of activity and I have found in writing this book,
that after these activities have been recorded, I can scarcely
recall the scaffolding.

More than a third of the material in the book has appeared in The
American Magazine, one chapter of it in McClure's Magazine, and
earlier statements of the Settlement motive, published years ago,
have been utilized in chronological order because it seemed
impossible to reproduce their enthusiasm.

It is a matter of gratification to me that the book is
illustrated from drawings made by Miss Norah Hamilton of
Hull-House, and the cover designed by another resident, Mr. Frank
Hazenplug.  I am indebted for the making of the index and for
many other services to Miss Clara Landsberg, also of Hull-House.

If the conclusions of the whole matter are similar to those I have
already published at intervals during the twenty years at
Hull-House, I can only make the defense that each of the earlier
books was an attempt to set forth a thesis supported by
experience, whereas this volume endeavors to trace the experiences
through which various conclusions were forced upon me.


[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter I: Earliest Impressions." by Jane Addams (1860-1935)
From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with Autobiographical Notes. by Jane
Addams. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp. 1-22.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]



TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE



CHAPTER I

EARLIEST IMPRESSIONS


On the theory that our genuine impulses may be connected with our
childish experiences, that one's bent may be tracked back to that
"No-Man's Land" where character is formless but nevertheless
settling into definite lines of future development, I begin this
record with some impressions of my childhood.

All of these are directly connected with my father, although of
course I recall many experiences apart from him.  I was one of
the younger members of a large family and an eager participant in
the village life, but because my father was so distinctly the
dominant influence and because it is quite impossible to set
forth all of one's early impressions, it has seemed simpler to
string these first memories on that single cord.  Moreover, it
was this cord which not only held fast my supreme affections, but
also first drew me into the moral concerns of life, and later
afforded a clew there to which I somewhat wistfully clung in the
intricacy of its mazes.

It must have been from a very early period that I recall "horrid
nights" when I tossed about in my bed because I had told a lie. I
was held in the grip of a miserable dread of death, a double
fear, first, that I myself should die in my sins and go straight
to that fiery Hell which was never mentioned at home, but which I
had heard all about from other children, and, second, that my
father--representing the entire adult world which I had basely
deceived--should himself die before I had time to tell him.  My
only method of obtaining relief was to go downstairs to my
father's room and make full confession.  The high resolve to do
this would push me out of bed and carry me down the stairs
without a touch of fear.  But at the foot of the stairs I would
be faced by the awful necessity of passing the front door--which
my father, because of his Quaker tendencies, did not lock--and of
crossing the wide and black expanse of the living room in order
to reach his door.  I would invariably cling to the newel post
while I contemplated the perils of the situation, complicated by
the fact that the literal first step meant putting my bare foot
upon a piece of oilcloth in front of the door, only a few inches
wide, but lying straight in my path.  I would finally reach my
father's bedside perfectly breathless and having panted out the
history of my sin, invariable received the same assurance that if
he "had a little girl who told lies," he was very glad that she
"felt too bad to go to sleep afterward." No absolution was asked
for or received, but apparently the sense that the knowledge of
my wickedness was shared, or an obscure understanding of the
affection which underlay the grave statement, was sufficient, for
I always went back to bed as bold as a lion, and slept, if not
the sleep of the just, at least that of the comforted.

I recall an incident which must have occurred before I was seven
years old, for the mill in which my father transacted his business
that day was closed in 1867.  The mill stood in the neighboring
town adjacent to its poorest quarter.  Before then I had always
seen the little city of ten thousand people with the admiring eyes
of a country child, and it had never occurred to me that all its
streets were not as bewilderingly attractive as the one which
contained the glittering toyshop and the confectioner. On that day
I had my first sight of the poverty which implies squalor, and
felt the curious distinction between the ruddy poverty of the
country and that which even a small city presents in its shabbiest
streets.  I remember launching at my father the pertinent inquiry
why people lived in such horrid little houses so close together,
and that after receiving his explanation I declared with much
firmness when I grew up I should, of course, have a large house,
but it would not be built among the other large houses, but right
in the midst of horrid little houses like those.

That curious sense of responsibility for carrying on the world's
affairs which little children often exhibit because "the old man
clogs our earliest years," I remember in myself in a very absurd
manifestation.  I dreamed night after night that every one in the
world was dead excepting myself, and that upon me rested the
responsibility of making a wagon wheel.  The village street
remained as usual, the village blacksmith shop was "all there,"
even a glowing fire upon the forge and the anvil in its customary
place near the door, but no human being was within sight.  They
had all gone around the edge of the hill to the village cemetery,
and I alone remained alive in the deserted world.  I always stood
in the same spot in the blacksmith shop, darkly pondering as to
how to begin, and never once did I know how, although I fully
realized that the affairs of the world could not be resumed until
at least one wheel should be made and something started.  Every
victim of nightmare is, I imagine, overwhelmed by an excessive
sense of responsibility and the consciousness of a fearful
handicap in the effort to perform what is required; but perhaps
never were the odds more heavily against "a warder of the world"
than in these reiterated dreams of mine, doubtless compounded in
equal parts of a childish version of Robinson Crusoe and of the
end-of-the-world predictions of the Second Adventists, a few of
whom were found in the village.  The next morning would often
find me, a delicate little girl of six, with the further
disability of a curved spine, standing in the doorway of the
village blacksmith shop, anxiously watching the burly,
red-shirted figure at work.  I would store my mind with such
details of the process of making wheels as I could observe, and
sometimes I plucked up courage to ask for more.  "Do you always
have to sizzle the iron in water?" I would ask, thinking how
horrid it would be to do.  "Sure!" the good-natured blacksmith
would reply, "that makes the iron hard." I would sigh heavily and
walk away, bearing my responsibility as best I could, and this of
course I confided to no one, for there is something too
mysterious in the burden of "the winds that come from the fields
of sleep" to be communicated, although it is at the same time too
heavy a burden to be borne alone.

My great veneration and pride in my father manifested itself in
curious ways.  On several Sundays, doubtless occurring in two or
three different years, the Union Sunday School of the village was
visited by strangers, some of those "strange people" who live
outside a child's realm, yet constantly thrill it by their close
approach.  My father taught the large Bible class in the lefthand
corner of the church next to the pulpit, and to my eyes at least,
was a most imposing figure in his Sunday frock coat, his fine
head rising high above all the others.  I imagined that the
strangers were filled with admiration for this dignified person,
and I prayed with all my heart that the ugly, pigeon-toed little
girl, whose crooked back obliged her to walk with her head held
very much upon one side, would never be pointed out to these
visitors as the daughter of this fine man.  In order to lessen
the possibility of a connection being made, on these particular
Sundays I did not walk beside my father, although this walk was
the great event of the week, but attached myself firmly to the
side of my Uncle James Addams, in the hope that I should be
mistaken for his child, or at least that I should not remain so
conspicuously unattached that troublesome questions might
identify an Ugly Duckling with her imposing parent.  My uncle,
who had many children of his own, must have been mildly surprised
at this unwonted attention, but he would look down kindly at me,
and say, "So you are going to walk with me to-day?"  "Yes,
please, Uncle James," would be my meek reply.  He fortunately
never explored my motives, nor do I remember that my father ever
did, so that in all probability my machinations have been safe
from public knowledge until this hour.

It is hard to account for the manifestations of a child's adoring
affection, so emotional, so irrational, so tangled with the
affairs of the imagination.  I simply could not endure the
thought that "strange people" should know that my handsome father
owned this homely little girl.  But even in my chivalric desire
to protect him from his fate, I was not quite easy in the
sacrifice of my uncle, although I quieted my scruples with the
reflection that the contrast was less marked and that, anyway,
his own little girl "was not so very pretty." I do not know that
I commonly dwelt much upon my personal appearance, save as it
thrust itself as an incongruity into my father's life, and in
spite of unending evidence to the contrary, there were even black
moments when I allowed myself to speculate as to whether he might
not share the feeling.  Happily, however, this specter was laid
before it had time to grow into a morbid familiar by a very
trifling incident.  One day I met my father coming out of his
bank on the main street of the neighboring city which seemed to
me a veritable whirlpool of society and commerce.  With a playful
touch of exaggeration, he lifted his high and shining silk hat
and made me an imposing bow.  This distinguished public
recognition, this totally unnecessary identification among a mass
of "strange people" who couldn't possibly know unless he himself
made the sign, suddenly filled me with a sense of the absurdity
of the entire feeling.  It may not even then have seemed as
absurd as it really was, but at least it seemed enough so to
collapse or to pass into the limbo of forgotten specters.

I made still other almost equally grotesque attempts to express
this doglike affection.  The house at the end of the village in
which I was born, and which was my home until I moved to
Hull-House, in my earliest childhood had opposite to it--only
across the road and then across a little stretch of
greensward--two mills belonging to my father; one flour mill, to
which the various grains were brought by the neighboring farmers,
and one sawmill, in which the logs of the native timber were
sawed into lumber.  The latter offered the great excitement of
sitting on a log while it slowly approached the buzzing saw which
was cutting it into slabs, and of getting off just in time to
escape a sudden and gory death.  But the flouring mill was much
more beloved.  It was full of dusky, floury places which we
adored, of empty bins in which we might play house; it had a
basement, with piles of bran and shorts which were almost as good
as sand to play in, whenever the miller let us wet the edges of
the pile with water brought in his sprinkling pot from the
mill-race.

In addition to these fascinations was the association of the mill
with my father's activities, for doubtless at that time I
centered upon him all that careful imitation which a little girl
ordinarily gives to her mother's ways and habits.  My mother had
died when I was a baby and my father's second marriage did not
occur until my eighth year.

I had a consuming ambition to posses a miller's thumb, and would
sit contentedly for a long time rubbing between my thumb and
fingers the ground wheat as it fell from between the millstones,
before it was taken up on an endless chain of mysterious little
buckets to be bolted into flour.  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.  Somewhat discouraged by the slow process of
structural modification, I also took measures to secure on the
backs of my hands the tiny purple and red spots which are always
found on the hands of the miller who dresses millstones.  The
marks on my father's hands had grown faint, but were quite
visible when looked for, and seemed to me so desirable that they
must be procured at all costs.  Even when playing in our house or
yard, I could always tell when the millstones were being dressed,
because the rumbling of the mill then stopped, and there were few
pleasures I would not instantly forego, rushing at once to the
mill, that I might spread out my hands near the mill-stones in
the hope that the little hard flints flying form the miller's
chisel would light upon their backs and make the longed-for
marks.  I used hotly to accuse the German miller, my dear friend
Ferdinand, "of trying not to hit my hands," but he scornfully
replied that he could not hit them if he did try, and that they
were too little to be of use in a mill anyway. Although I hated
his teasing, I never had the courage to confess my real purpose.

This sincere tribute of imitation, which affection offers to its
adored object, had later, I hope, subtler manifestations, but
certainly these first ones were altogether genuine.  In this
case, too, I doubtless contributed my share to that stream of
admiration which our generation so generously poured forth for
the self-made man.  I was consumed by a wistful desire to
apprehend the hardships of my father's earlier life in that
faraway time when he had been a miller's apprentice.  I knew that
he still woke up punctually at three o'clock because for so many
years he had taken his turn at the mill in the early morning, and
if by chance I awoke at the same hour, as curiously enough I
often did, I imagined him in the early dawn in my uncle's old
mill reading through the entire village library, book after book,
beginning with the lives of the signers of the Declaration of
Independence.  Copies of the same books, mostly bound in
calfskin, were to be found in the library below, and I
courageously resolved that I too would read them all and try to
understand life as he did.  I did in fact later begin a course of
reading in the early morning hours, but I was caught by some
fantastic notion of chronological order and early legendary form.
Pope's translation of the "Iliad," even followed by Dryden's
"Virgil," did not leave behind the residuum of wisdom for which I
longed, and I finally gave them up for a thick book entitled "The
History of the World" as affording a shorter and an easier path.

Although I constantly confided my sins and perplexities to my
father, there are only a few occasions on which I remember having
received direct advice or admonition; it may easily be true,
however, that I have forgotten the latter, in the manner of many
seekers after advice who enjoyably set forth their situation but
do not really listen to the advice itself.  I can remember an
admonition on one occasion, however, when, as a little girl of
eight years, arrayed in a new cloak, gorgeous beyond anything I
had ever worn before, I stood before my father for his approval.
I was much chagrined by his remark that it was a very pretty
cloak--in fact so much prettier than any cloak the other little
girls in the Sunday School had, that he would advise me to wear
my old cloak, which would keep me quite as warm, with the added
advantage of not making the other little girls feel badly.  I
complied with the request but I fear without inner consent, and I
certainly was quite without the joy of self-sacrifice as I walked
soberly through the village street by the side of my counselor.
My mind was busy, however, with the old question eternally
suggested by the inequalities of the human lot.  Only as we
neared the church door did I venture to ask what could be done
about it, receiving the reply that it might never be righted so
far as clothes went, but that people might be equal in things
that mattered much more than clothes, the affairs of education
and religion, for instance, which we attended to when we went to
school and church, and that it was very stupid to wear the sort
of clothes that made it harder to have equality even there.

It must have been a little later when I held a conversation with
my father upon the doctrine of foreordination, which at one time
very much perplexed my childish mind.  After setting the
difficulty before him and complaining that I could not make it
out, although my best friend "understood it perfectly," I settled
down to hear his argument, having no doubt that he could make it
quite clear.  To my delighted surprise, for any intimation that
our minds were on an equality lifted me high indeed, he said that
he feared that he and I did not have the kind of mind that would
ever understand fore-ordination very well and advised me not to
give too much time to it; but he then proceeded to say other
things of which the final impression left upon my mind was, that
it did not matter much whether one understood foreordination or
not, but that it was very important not to pretend to understand
what you didn't understand and that you must always be honest
with yourself inside, whatever happened.  Perhaps on the whole as
valuable a lesson as the shorter catechism itself contains.

My memory merges this early conversation on religious doctrine
into one which took place years later when I put before my father
the situation in which I found myself at boarding school when
under great evangelical pressure, and once again I heard his
testimony in favor of "mental integrity above everything else."

At the time we were driving through a piece of timber in which
the wood choppers had been at work during the winter, and so
earnestly were we talking that he suddenly drew up the horses to
find that he did not know where he was.  We were both entertained
by the incident, I that my father had been "lost in his own
timber" so that various cords of wood must have escaped his
practiced eye, and he on his side that he should have become so
absorbed in this maze of youthful speculation.  We were in high
spirits as we emerged from the tender green of the spring woods
into the clear light of day, and as we came back into the main
road I categorically asked him:-

"What are you?  What do you say when people ask you?"

His eyes twinkled a little as he soberly replied:

"I am a Quaker."

"But that isn't enough to say," I urged.

"Very well," he added, "to people who insist upon details, as some
one is doing now, I add that I am a Hicksite Quaker"; and not
another word on the weighty subject could I induce him to utter.

These early recollections are set in a scene of rural beauty,
unusual at least for Illinois.  The prairie around the village
was broken into hills, one of them crowned by pine woods, grown
up from a bag full of Norway pine seeds sown by my father in
1844, the very year he came to Illinois, a testimony perhaps that
the most vigorous pioneers gave at least an occasional thought to
beauty.  The banks of the mill stream rose into high bluffs too
perpendicular to be climbed without skill, and containing caves
of which one at least was so black that it could not be explored
without the aid of a candle; and there was a deserted limekiln
which became associated in my mind with the unpardonable sin of
Hawthorne's "Lime-Burner." My stepbrother and I carried on games
and crusades which lasted week after week, and even summer after
summer, as only free-ranging country children can do.  It may be
in contrast to this that one of the most piteous aspects in the
life of city children, as I have seen it in the neighborhood of
Hull-House, is the constant interruption to their play which is
inevitable on the streets, so that it can never have any
continuity--the most elaborate "plan or chart" or "fragment from
their dream of human life" is sure to be rudely destroyed by the
passing traffic.  Although they start over and over again, even
the most vivacious become worn out at last and take to that
passive "standing 'round" varied by rude horseplay, which in time
becomes so characteristic of city children.

We had of course our favorite places and trees and birds and
flowers.  It is hard to reproduce the companionship which
children establish with nature, but certainly it is much too
unconscious and intimate to come under the head of aesthetic
appreciation or anything of the sort.  When we said that the
purple wind-flowers--the anemone patens--"looked as if the winds
had made them," we thought much more of the fact that they were
wind-born than that they were beautiful: we clapped our hands in
sudden joy over the soft radiance of the rainbow, but its
enchantment lay in our half belief that a pot of gold was to be
found at its farther end; we yielded to a soft melancholy when we
heard the whippoorwill in the early twilight, but while he
aroused in us vague longings of which we spoke solemnly, we felt
no beauty in his call.

We erected an altar beside the stream, to which for several years
we brought all the snakes we killed during our excursions, no
matter how long the toil--some journey which we had to make with
a limp snake dangling between two sticks.  I remember rather
vaguely the ceremonial performed upon this altar one autumn day,
when we brought as further tribute one out of every hundred of
the black walnuts which we had gathered, and then poured over the
whole a pitcher full of cider, fresh from the cider mill on the
barn floor.  I think we had also burned a favorite book or two
upon this pyre of stones.  The entire affair carried on with such
solemnity was probably the result of one of those imperative
impulses under whose compulsion children seek a ceremonial which
shall express their sense of identification with man's primitive
life and their familiar kinship with the remotest past.

Long before we had begun the study of Latin at the village
school, my brother and I had learned the Lord's Prayer in Latin
out of an old copy of the Vulgate, and gravely repeated it every
night in an execrable pronunciation because it seemed to us more
religious than "plain English."

When, however, I really prayed, what I saw before my eyes was a
most outrageous picture which adorned a song-book used in Sunday
School, portraying the Lord upon his throne, surrounded by tiers
and tiers of saints and angels all in a blur of yellow.  I am
ashamed to tell how old I was when that picture ceased to appear
before my eyes, especially when moments of terror compelled me to
ask protection from the heavenly powers.

I recall with great distinctness my first direct contact with
death when I was fifteen years old: Polly was an old nurse who
had taken care of my mother and had followed her to frontier
Illinois to help rear a second generation of children.  She had
always lived in our house, but made annual visits to her cousins
on a farm a few miles north of the village.  During one of those
visits, word came to us one Sunday evening that Polly was dying,
and for a number of reasons I was the only person able to go to
her.  I left the lamp-lit, warm house to be driven four miles
through a blinding storm which every minute added more snow to
the already high drifts, with a sense of starting upon a fateful
errand.  An hour after my arrival all of the cousin's family went
downstairs to supper, and I was left alone to watch with Polly.
The square, old-fashioned chamber in the lonely farmhouse was
very cold and still, with nothing to be heard but the storm
outside.  Suddenly the great change came.  I heard a feeble call
of "Sarah," my mother's name, as the dying eyes were turned upon
me, followed by a curious breathing and in place of the face
familiar from my earliest childhood and associated with homely
household cares, there lay upon the pillow strange, august
features, stern and withdrawn from all the small affairs of life.
That sense of solitude, of being unsheltered in a wide world of
relentless and elemental forces which is at the basis of
childhood's timidity and which is far from outgrown at fifteen,
seized me irresistibly before I could reach the narrow stairs and
summon the family from below.

As I was driven home in the winter storm, the wind through the
trees seemed laden with a passing soul and the riddle of life and
death pressed hard; once to be young, to grow old and to die,
everything came to that, and then a mysterious journey out into
the Unknown.  Did she mind faring forth alone?  Would the journey
perhaps end in something as familiar and natural to the aged and
dying as life is to the young and living?  Through all the drive
and indeed throughout the night these thoughts were pierced by
sharp worry, a sense of faithlessness because I had forgotten the
text Polly had confided to me long before as the one from which
she wished her funeral sermon to be preached.  My comfort as
usual finally came from my father, who pointed out what was
essential and what was of little avail even in such a moment as
this, and while he was much too wise to grow dogmatic upon the
great theme of death, I felt a new fellowship with him because we
had discussed it together.

Perhaps I may record here my protest against the efforts, so
often made, to shield children and young people from all that has
to do with death and sorrow, to give them a good time at all
hazards on the assumption that the ills of life will come soon
enough.  Young people themselves often resent this attitude on
the part of their elders; they feel set aside and belittled as if
they were denied the common human experiences. They too wish to
climb steep stairs and to eat their bread with tears, and they
imagine that the problems of existence which so press upon them
in pensive moments would be less insoluble in the light of these
great happenings.

An incident which stands out clearly in my mind as an exciting
suggestion of the great world of moral enterprise and serious
undertakings must have occurred earlier than this, for in 1872,
when I was not yet twelve years old, I came into my father's room
one morning to find him sitting beside the fire with a newspaper in
his hand, looking very solemn; and upon my eager inquiry what had
happened, he told me that Joseph Mazzini was dead.  I had never
even heard Mazzini's name, and after being told about him I was
inclined to grow argumentative, asserting that my father did not
know him, that he was not an American, and that I could not
understand why we should be expected to feel badly about him.  It
is impossible to recall the conversation with the complete
breakdown of my cheap arguments, but in the end I obtained that
which I have ever regarded as a valuable possession, a sense of the
genuine relationship which may exist between men who share large
hopes and like desires, even though they differ in nationality,
language, and creed; that those things count for absolutely nothing
between groups of men who are trying to abolish slavery in America
or to throw off Hapsburg oppression in Italy. At any rate, I was
heartily ashamed of my meager notion of patriotism, and I came out
of the room exhilarated with the consciousness that impersonal and
international relations are actual facts and not mere phrases.  I
was filled with pride that I knew a man who held converse with
great minds and who really sorrowed and rejoiced over happenings
across the sea.  I never recall those early conversations with my
father, nor a score of others like them, but there comes into my
mind a line from Mrs. Browning in which a daughter describes her
relations with her father:--

	"He wrapt me in his large
	Man's doublet, careless did it fit or no."


[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer David Cheezem.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter II: Influence of Lincoln." by Jane Addams (1860-1935)
From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with Autobiographical Notes. by
Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp. 23-43.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]



CHAPTER II

INFLUENCE OF LINCOLN


I suppose all the children who were born about the time of the
Civil War have recollections quite unlike those of the children
who are living now.  Although I was but four and a half years old
when Lincoln died, I distinctly remember the day when I found on
our two white gateposts American flags companioned with black.  I
tumbled down on the harsh gravel walk in my eager rush into the
house to inquire what they were "there for." To my amazement I
found my father in tears, something that I had never seen before,
having assumed, as all children do, that grown-up people never
cried.  The two flags, my father's tears, and his impressive
statement that the greatest man in the world had died, constituted
my initiation, my baptism, as it were, into the thrilling and
solemn interests of a world lying quite outside the two white
gateposts.  The great war touched children in many ways: I
remember an engraved roster of names, headed by the words "Addams'
Guard," and the whole surmounted by the insignia of the American
eagle clutching many flags, which always hung in the family
living-room.  As children we used to read this list of names again
and again.  We could reach it only by dint of putting the family
Bible on a chair and piling the dictionary on top of it; using the
Bible to stand on was always accompanied by a little thrill of
superstitious awe, although we carefully put the dictionary above
that our profane feet might touch it alone. Having brought the
roster within reach of our eager fingers,--fortunately it was
glazed,--we would pick out the names of those who "had fallen on
the field" from those who "had come back from the war," and from
among the latter those whose children were our schoolmates.  When
drives were planned, we would say, "Let us take this road," that
we might pass the farm where a soldier had once lived; if flowers
from the garden were to be given away, we would want them to go to
the mother of one of those heroes whose names we knew from the
"Addams' Guard." If a guest should become interested in the roster
on the wall, he was at once led by the eager children to a small
picture of Colonel Davis which hung next the opposite window, that
he might see the brave Colonel of the Regiment.  The introduction
to the picture of the one-armed man seemed to us a very solemn
ceremony, and long after the guest was tired of listening, we
would tell each other all about the local hero, who at the head of
his troops had suffered wounds unto death.  We liked very much to
talk to a gentle old lady who lived in a white farmhouse a mile
north of the village.  She was the mother of the village hero,
Tommy, and used to tell us of her long anxiety during the spring
of '62; how she waited day after day for the hospital to surrender
up her son, each morning airing the white homespun sheets and
holding the little bedroom in immaculate readiness. It was after
the battle of Fort Donelson that Tommy was wounded and had been
taken to the hospital at Springfield; his father went down to him
and saw him getting worse each week, until it was clear that he
was going to die; but there was so much red tape about the
department, and affairs were so confused, that his discharge could
not be procured.  At last the hospital surgeon intimated to his
father that he should quietly take him away; a man as sick as
that, it would be all right; but when they told Tommy, weak as he
was, his eyes flashed, and he said, "No, sir; I will go out of the
front door or I'll die here." Of course after that every man in
the hospital worked for it, and in two weeks he was honorably
discharged.  When he came home at last, his mother's heart was
broken to see him so wan and changed.  She would tell us of the
long quiet days that followed his return, with the windows open so
that the dying eyes might look over the orchard slope to the
meadow beyond where the younger brothers were mowing the early
hay.  She told us of those days when his school friends from the
Academy flocked in to see him, their old acknowledged leader, and
of the burning words of earnest patriotism spoken in the crowded
little room, so that in three months the Academy was almost
deserted and the new Company who marched away in the autumn took
as drummer boy Tommy's third brother, who was only seventeen and
too young for a regular.  She remembered the still darker days
that followed, when the bright drummer boy was in Andersonville
prison, and little by little she learned to be reconciled that
Tommy was safe in the peaceful home graveyard.

However much we were given to talk of war heroes, we always fell
silent as we approached an isolated farmhouse in which two old
people lived alone.  Five of their sons had enlisted in the Civil
War, and only the youngest had returned alive in the spring of
1865.  In the autumn of the same year, when he was hunting for
wild ducks in a swamp on the rough little farm itself, he was
accidently shot and killed, and the old people were left alone to
struggle with the half-cleared land as best they might.  When we
were driven past this forlorn little farm our childish voices
always dropped into speculative whisperings as to how the
accident could have happened to this remaining son out of all the
men in the world, to him who had escaped so many chances of
death!  Our young hearts swelled in first rebellion against that
which Walter Pater calls "the inexplicable shortcoming or
misadventure on the part of life itself"; we were overwhelmingly
oppressed by that grief of things as they are, so much more
mysterious and intolerable than those griefs which we think dimly
to trace to man's own wrongdoing.

It was well perhaps that life thus early gave me a hint of one of
her most obstinate and insoluble riddles, for I have sorely
needed the sense of universality thus imparted to that mysterious
injustice, the burden of which we are all forced to bear and with
which I have become only too familiar.

My childish admiration for Lincoln is closely associated with a
visit made to the war eagle, Old Abe, who, as we children well
knew, lived in the state capital of Wisconsin, only sixty-five
miles north of our house, really no farther than an eagle could
easily fly!  He had been carried by the Eighth Wisconsin Regiment
through the entire war, and now dwelt an honored pensioner in the
state building itself.

Many times, standing in the north end of our orchard, which was
only twelve miles from that mysterious line which divided
Illinois from Wisconsin, we anxiously scanned the deep sky,
hoping to see Old Abe fly southward right over our apple trees,
for it was clearly possible that he might at any moment escape
from his keeper, who, although he had been a soldier and a
sentinel, would have to sleep sometimes.  We gazed with thrilled
interest at one speck after another in the flawless sky, but
although Old Abe never came to see us, a much more incredible
thing happened, for we were at last taken to see him.

We started one golden summer's day, two happy children in the
family carriage, with my father and mother and an older sister to
whom, because she was just home from boarding school, we
confidently appealed whenever we needed information.  We were
driven northward hour after hour, past harvest fields in which
the stubble glinted from bronze to gold and the heavy-headed
grain rested luxuriously in rounded shocks, until we reached that
beautiful region of hills and lakes which surrounds the capital
city of Wisconsin.

But although Old Abe, sitting sedately upon his high perch, was
sufficiently like an uplifted ensign to remind us of a Roman
eagle, and although his veteran keeper, clad in an old army coat,
was ready to answer all our questions and to tell us of the
thirty-six battles and skirmishes which Old Abe had passed
unscathed, the crowning moment of the impressive journey came to
me later, illustrating once more that children are as quick to
catch the meaning of a symbol as they are unaccountably slow to
understand the real world about them.

The entire journey to the veteran war eagle had itself symbolized
that search for the heroic and perfect which so persistently
haunts the young; and as I stood under the great white dome of
Old Abe's stately home, for one brief moment the search was
rewarded.  I dimly caught a hint of what men have tried to say in
their world-old effort to imprison a space in so divine a line
that it shall hold only yearning devotion and high-hearted hopes.
 Certainly the utmost rim of my first dome was filled with the
tumultuous impression of soldiers marching to death for freedom's
sake, of pioneers streaming westward to establish self-government
in yet another sovereign state.  Only the great dome of St.
Peter's itself has ever clutched my heart as did that modest
curve which had sequestered from infinitude in a place small
enough for my child's mind, the courage and endurance which I
could not comprehend so long as it was lost in "the void of
unresponsible space" under the vaulting sky itself. But through
all my vivid sensations there persisted the image of the eagle in
the corridor below and Lincoln himself as an epitome of all that
was great and good.  I dimly caught the notion of the martyred
President as the standard bearer to the conscience of his
countrymen, as the eagle had been the ensign of courage to the
soldiers of the Wisconsin regiment.

Thirty-five years later, as I stood on the hill campus of the
University of Wisconsin with a commanding view of the capitol
building a mile directly across the city, I saw again the dome
which had so uplifted my childish spirit.  The University, which
was celebrating it's fiftieth anniversary, had honored me with a
doctor's degree, and in the midst of the academic pomp and the
rejoicing, the dome again appeared to me as a fitting symbol of the
state's aspiration even in its high mission of universal education.

Thousands of children in the sixties and seventies, in the
simplicity which is given to the understanding of a child, caught a
notion of imperishable heroism when they were told that brave men
had lost their lives that the slaves might be free.  At any moment
the conversation of our elders might turn upon these heroic events;
there were red-letter days, when a certain general came to see my
father, and again when Governor Oglesby, whom all Illinois children
called "Uncle Dick," spent a Sunday under the pine trees in our
front yard.  We felt on those days a connection with the great
world so much more heroic than the village world which surrounded
us through all the other days.  My father was a member of the state
senate for the sixteen years between 1854 and 1870, and even as a
little child I was dimly conscious of the grave march of public
affairs in his comings and goings at the state capital.

He was much too occupied to allow time for reminiscence, but I
remember overhearing a conversation between a visitor and himself
concerning the stirring days before the war, when it was by no
means certain that the Union men in the legislature would always
have enough votes to keep Illinois from seceding.  I heard with
breathless interest my father's account of the trip a majority of
the legislators had made one dark day to St. Louis, that there
might not be enough men for a quorum, and so no vote could be
taken on the momentous question until the Union men could rally
their forces.

My father always spoke of the martyred President as Mr. Lincoln,
and I never heard the great name without a thrill.  I remember
the day--it must have been one of comparative leisure, perhaps a
Sunday--when at my request my father took out of his desk a thin
packet marked "Mr. Lincoln's Letters," the shortest one of which
bore unmistakable traces of that remarkable personality.  These
letters began, "My dear Double-D'ed Addams," and to the inquiry
as to how the person thus addressed was about to vote on a
certain measure then before the legislature, was added the
assurance that he knew that this Addams "would vote according to
his conscience," but he begged to know in which direction the
same conscience "was pointing." As my father folded up the bits
of paper I fairly held my breath in my desire that he should go
on with the reminiscence of this wonderful man, whom he had known
in his comparative obscurity, or better still, that he should be
moved to tell some of the exciting incidents of the
Lincoln-Douglas debates.  There were at least two pictures of
Lincoln that always hung in my father's room, and one in our
old-fashioned upstairs parlor, of Lincoln with little Tad. For
one or all of these reasons I always tend to associate Lincoln
with the tenderest thoughts of my father.

I recall a time of great perplexity in the summer of 1894, when
Chicago was filled with federal troops sent there by the
President of the United States, and their presence was resented
by the governor of the state, that I walked the wearisome way
from Hull-House to Lincoln Park--for no cars were running
regularly at that moment of sympathetic strikes--in order to look
at and gain magnanimous counsel, if I might, from the marvelous
St. Gaudens statue which had been but recently been placed at the
entrance of the park.  Some of Lincoln's immortal words were cut
into the stone at his feet, and never did a distracted town more
sorely need the healing of "with charity towards all" than did
Chicago at that moment, and the tolerance of the man who had won
charity for those on both sides of "an irrepressible conflict."

Of the many things written of my father in that sad August in
1881, when he died, the one I cared for most was written by an old
political friend of his who was then editor of a great Chicago
daily.  He wrote that while there were doubtless many members of
the Illinois legislature who during the great contracts of the war
time and the demoralizing reconstruction days that followed, had
never accepted a bribe, he wished to bear testimony that he
personally had known but this one man who had never been offered a
bribe because bad men were instinctively afraid of him.

I feel now the hot chagrin with which I recalled this statement
during those early efforts of Illinois in which Hull- House
joined, to secure the passage of the first factory legislation. I
was told by the representatives of an informal association of
manufacturers that if the residents of Hull-House would drop this
nonsense about a sweatshop bill, of which they knew nothing,
certain business men would agree to give fifty thousand dollars
within two years to be used for any of the philanthropic
activities of the Settlement.  As the fact broke upon me that I
was being offered a bribe, the shame was enormously increased by
the memory of this statement.  What had befallen the daughter of
my father that such a thing could happen to her?  The salutary
reflection that it could not have occurred unless a weakness in
myself had permitted it, withheld me at least from an historic
display of indignation before the two men making the offer, and I
explained as gently as I could that we had no ambition to make
Hull-House "the largest institution on the West Side," but that we
were much concerned that our neighbors should be protected from
untoward conditions of work, and--so much heroics, youth must
permit itself--if to accomplish this the destruction of Hull-House
was necessary, that we would cheerfully sing a Te Deum on its
ruins.  The good friend who had invited me to lunch at the Union
League Club to meet two of his friends who wanted to talk over the
sweat shop bill here kindly intervened, and we all hastened to
cover the awkward situation by that scurrying away from ugly
morality which seems to be an obligation of social intercourse.

Of the many old friends of my father who kindly came to look up
his daughter in the first days of Hull-House, I recall none with
more pleasure than Lyman Trumbull, whom we used to point out to
members of the Young Citizen's Club as the man who had for days
held in his keeping the Proclamation of Emancipation until his
friend President Lincoln was ready to issue it.  I remember the
talk he gave at Hull-House on one of our early celebrations of
Lincoln's birthday, his assertion that Lincoln was no cheap
popular hero, that the "common people" would have to make an
effort if they would understand his greatness, as Lincoln
painstakingly made a long effort to understand the greatness of
the people.  There was something in the admiration of Lincoln's
contemporaries, or at least of those men who had known him
personally, which was quite unlike even the best of the devotion
and reverent understanding which has developed since.  In the
first place, they had so large a fund of common experience; they
too had pioneered in a western country, and had urged the
development of canals and railroads in order that the raw prairie
crops might be transported to market; they too had realized that
if this last tremendous experiment in self-government failed here,
it would be the disappointment of the centuries and that upon
their ability to organize self-government in state, county, and
town depended the verdict of history.  These men also knew, as
Lincoln himself did, that if this tremendous experiment was to
come to fruition, it must be brought about by the people
themselves; that there was no other capital fund upon which to
draw.  I remember an incident occurring when I was about fifteen
years old, in which the conviction was driven into my mind that
the people themselves were the great resource of the country.  My
father had made a little address of reminiscence at a meeting of
"the old settlers of Stephenson County," which was held every
summer in the grove beside the mill, relating his experiences in
inducing the farmers of the county to subscribe for stock in the
Northwestern Railroad, which was the first to penetrate the county
and make a connection with the Great Lakes at Chicago. Many of the
Pennsylvania German farmers doubted the value of "the whole
new-fangled business," and had no use for any railroad, much less
for one in which they were asked to risk their hard-earned
savings.  My father told of his despair in one farmers' community
dominated by such prejudice which did not in the least give way
under his argument, but finally melted under the enthusiasm of a
high-spirited German matron who took a share to be paid for "out
of butter and egg money." As he related his admiration of her, an
old woman's piping voice in the audience called out: "I'm here
to-day, Mr. Addams, and I'd do it again if you asked me." The old
woman, bent and broken by her seventy years of toilsome life, was
brought to the platform and I was much impressed by my father's
grave presentation of her as "one of the public-spirited pioneers
to whose heroic fortitude we are indebted for the development of
this country." I remember that I was at that time reading with
great enthusiasm Carlyle's "Heroes and Hero Worship," but on the
evening of "Old Settlers' Day," to my surprise, I found it
difficult to go on.  Its sonorous sentences and exaltation of the
man who "can" suddenly ceased to be convincing.  I had already
written down in my commonplace book a resolution to give at least
twenty-five copies of this book each year to noble young people of
my acquaintance.  It is perhaps fitting in this chapter that the
very first Christmas we spent at Hull-House, in spite of exigent
demands upon my slender purse for candy and shoes, I gave to a
club of boys twenty-five copies of the then new Carl Schurz's
"Appreciation of Abraham Lincoln."

In our early effort at Hull-House to hand on to our neighbors
whatever of help we had found for ourselves, we made much of
Lincoln.  We were often distressed by the children of immigrant
parents who were ashamed of the pit whence they were digged, who
repudiated the language and customs of their elders, and counted
themselves successful as they were able to ignore the past.
Whenever I held up Lincoln for their admiration as the greatest
American, I invariably pointed out his marvelous power to retain
and utilize past experiences; that he never forgot how the plain
people in Sangamon County thought and felt when he himself had
moved to town; that this habit was the foundation for his
marvelous capacity for growth; that during those distracting
years in Washington it enabled him to make clear beyond denial to
the American people themselves, the goal towards which they were
moving.  I was sometimes bold enough to add that proficiency in
the art of recognition and comprehension did not come without
effort, and that certainly its attainment was necessary for any
successful career in our conglomerate America.

An instance of the invigorating and clarifying power of Lincoln's
influence came to me many years ago in England.  I had spent two
days in Oxford under the guidance of Arnold Toynbee's old friend
Sidney Ball of St. John's College, who was closely associated
with the group of scholars we all identify with the beginnings of
the Settlement movement.  It was easy to claim the philosophy of
Thomas Hill Green, the road-building episode of Ruskin, the
experimental living in the east end by Frederick Maurice, the
London Workingman's College of Edward Dennison, as foundations
laid by university men for the establishment of Toynbee Hall.  I
was naturally much interested in the beginnings of the movement
whose slogan was "Back to the People," and which could doubtless
claim the Settlement as one of its manifestations.  Nevertheless
the processes by which so simple a conclusion as residence among
the poor in East London was reached, seemed to me very involved
and roundabout.  However inevitable these processes might be for
class-conscious Englishmen, they could not but seem artificial to
a western American who had been born in a rural community where
the early pioneer life had made social distinctions impossible.
Always on the alert lest American Settlements should become mere
echoes and imitations of the English movement, I found myself
assenting to what was shown me only with that part of my
consciousness which had been formed by reading of English social
movements, while at the same time the rustic American looked on
in detached comment.

Why should an American be lost in admiration of a group of Oxford
students because they went out to mend a disused road, inspired
thereto by Ruskin's teaching for the bettering of the common
life, when all the country roads in America were mended each
spring by self-respecting citizens, who were thus carrying out
the simple method devised by a democratic government for
providing highways.  No humor penetrated my high mood even as I
somewhat uneasily recalled certain spring thaws when I had been
mired in roads provided by the American citizen.  I continued to
fumble for a synthesis which I was unable to make until I
developed that uncomfortable sense of playing two roles at once.
It was therefore almost with a dual consciousness that I was
ushered, during the last afternoon of my Oxford stay, into the
drawingroom of the Master of Balliol.  Edward Caird's "Evolution
of Religion," which I had read but a year or two before, had been
of unspeakable comfort to me in the labyrinth of differing
ethical teachings and religious creeds which the many immigrant
colonies of our neighborhood presented.  I remember that I wanted
very much to ask the author himself how far it was reasonable to
expect the same quality of virtue and a similar standard of
conduct from these divers people.  I was timidly trying to apply
his method of study to those groups of homesick immigrants
huddled together in strange tenement houses, among whom I seemed
to detect the beginnings of a secular religion or at least of a
wide humanitarianism evolved out of the various exigencies of the
situation; somewhat as a household of children, whose mother is
dead, out of their sudden necessity perform unaccustomed offices
for each other and awkwardly exchange consolations, as children
in happier households never dream of doing.  Perhaps Mr. Caird
could tell me whether there was any religious content in this

	Faith to each other; this fidelity
	Of fellow wanderers in a desert place.

But when tea was over and my opportunity came for a talk with my
host, I suddenly remembered, to the exclusion of all other
associations, only Mr. Caird's fine analysis of Abraham Lincoln,
delivered in a lecture two years before.

The memory of Lincoln, the mention of his name, came like a
refreshing breeze from off the prairie, blowing aside all the
scholarly implications in which I had become so reluctantly
involved, and as the philosopher spoke of the great American "who
was content merely to dig the channels through which the moral life
of his countrymen might flow," I was gradually able to make a
natural connection between this intellectual penetration at Oxford
and the moral perception which is always necessary for the
discovery of new methods by which to minister to human needs.  In
the unceasing ebb and flow of justice and oppression we must all
dig channels as best we may, that at the propitious moment somewhat
of the swelling tide may be conducted to the barren places of life.

Gradually a healing sense of well-being enveloped me and a quick
remorse for my blindness, as I realized that no one among his own
countrymen had been able to interpret Lincoln's greatness more
nobly than this Oxford scholar had done, and that vision and
wisdom as well as high motives must lie behind every effective
stroke in the continuous labor for human equality; I remembered
that another Master of Balliol, Jowett himself, had said that it
was fortunate for society that every age possessed at least a few
minds, which, like Arnold Toynbee's, were "perpetually disturbed
over the apparent inequalities of mankind." Certainly both the
English and American settlements could unite in confessing to
that disturbance of mind.

Traces of this Oxford visit are curiously reflected in a paper I
wrote soon after my return at the request of the American Academy
of Political and Social Science.  It begins as follows:--

	The word "settlement," which we have borrowed from London,
	is apt to grate a little upon American ears.  It is not,
	after all, so long ago that Americans who settled were
	those who had adventured into a new country, where they
	were pioneers in the midst of difficult surroundings.  The
	word still implies migrating from one condition of life to
	another totally unlike it, and against this implication
	the resident of an American settlement takes alarm.

	We do not like to acknowledge that Americans are divided
	into two nations, as her prime minister once admitted of
	England.  We are not willing, openly and professedly, to
	assume that American citizens are broken up into classes,
	even if we make that assumption the preface to a plea that
	the superior class has duties to the inferior.  Our
	democracy is still our most precious possession, and we do
	well to resent any inroads upon it, even though they may
	be made in the name of philanthropy.

Is it not Abraham Lincoln who has cleared the title to our
democracy?  He made plain, once for all, that democratic
government, associated as it is with all the mistakes and
shortcomings of the common people, still remains the most valuable
contribution America has made to the moral life of the world.


[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Diana Camden.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter III: Boarding-School Ideals." by Jane Addams (1860-1935)
From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with Autobiographical Notes. by
Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp.
43-64.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]



CHAPTER III

BOARDING-SCHOOL IDEALS


As my three older sisters had already attended the seminary at
Rockford, of which my father was trustee, without any question I
entered there at seventeen, with such meager preparation in Latin
and algebra as the village school had afforded.  I was very
ambitious to go to Smith College, although I well knew that my
father's theory in regard to the education of his daughters
implied a school as near at home as possible, to be followed by
travel abroad in lieu of the wider advantages which the eastern
college is supposed to afford.  I was much impressed by the
recent return of my sister from a year in Europe, yet I was
greatly disappointed at the moment of starting to humdrum
Rockford.  After the first weeks of homesickness were over,
however, I became very much absorbed in the little world which
the boarding school in any form always offers to its students.

The school at Rockford in 1877 had not changed its name from
seminary to college, although it numbered, on its faculty and
among its alumnae, college women who were most eager that this
should be done, and who really accomplished it during the next
five years.  The school was one of the earliest efforts for
women's higher education in the Mississippi Valley, and from the
beginning was called "The Mount Holyoke of the West."

It reflected much of the missionary spirit of that pioneer
institution, and the proportion of missionaries among its early
graduates was almost as large as Mount Holyoke's own.  In
addition there had been thrown about the founders of the early
western school the glamour of frontier privations, and the first
students, conscious of the heroic self-sacrifice made in their
behalf, felt that each minute of the time thus dearly bought must
be conscientiously used.  This inevitably fostered an atmosphere
of intensity, a fever of preparation which continued long after
the direct making of it had ceased, and which the later girls
accepted, as they did the campus and the buildings, without
knowing that it could have been otherwise.

There was, moreover, always present in the school a larger or
smaller group of girls who consciously accepted this heritage and
persistently endeavored to fulfill its obligation.  We worked in
those early years as if we really believed the portentous
statement from Aristotle which we found quoted in Boswell's
Johnson and with which we illuminated the wall of the room
occupied by our Chess Club; it remained there for months, solely
out of reverence, let us hope, for the two ponderous names
associated with it; at least I have enough confidence in human
nature to assert that we never really believed that "There is the
same difference between the learned and the unlearned as there is
between the living and the dead." We were also too fond of quoting
Carlyle to the effect, "'Tis not to taste sweet things, but to do
noble and true things that the poorest son of Adam dimly longs."

As I attempt to reconstruct the spirit of my contemporary group
by looking over many documents, I find nothing more amusing than
a plaint registered against life's indistinctness, which I
imagine more or less reflected the sentiments of all of us.  At
any rate here it is for the entertainment of the reader if not
for his edification: "So much of our time is spent in
preparation, so much in routine, and so much in sleep, we find it
difficult to have any experience at all." We did not, however,
tamely accept such a state of affairs, for we made various and
restless attempts to break through this dull obtuseness.

At one time five of us tried to understand De Quincey's marvelous
"Dreams" more sympathetically, by drugging ourselves with opium.
We solemnly consumed small white powders at intervals during an
entire long holiday, but no mental reorientation took place, and
the suspense and excitement did not even permit us to grow
sleepy.  About four o'clock on the weird afternoon, the young
teacher whom we had been obliged to take into our confidence,
grew alarmed over the whole performance, took away our De Quincey
and all the remaining powders, administrated an emetic to each of
the five aspirants for sympathetic understanding of all human
experience, and sent us to our separate rooms with a stern
command to appear at family worship after supper "whether we were
able to or not."

Whenever we had a chance to write, we took, of course, large
themes, usually from the Greek because they were the most
stirring to the imagination.  The Greek oration I gave at our
Junior Exhibition was written with infinite pains and taken to
the Greek professor in Beloit College that there might be no
mistakes, even after the Rockford College teacher and the most
scholarly clergyman in town had both passed upon it.  The oration
upon Bellerophon and his successful fight with the Chimera
contended that social evils could only be overcome by him who
soared above them into idealism, as Bellerophon mounted upon the
winged horse Pegasus, had slain the earthy dragon.

There were practically no Economics taught in women's colleges--at
least in the fresh-water ones--thirty years ago, although we
painstakingly studied "Mental" and "Moral" Philosophy, which,
though far from dry in the classroom, became the subject of more
spirited discussion outside, and gave us a clew for animated
rummaging in the little college library.  Of course we read a
great deal of Ruskin and Browning, and liked the most abstruse
parts the best; but like the famous gentleman who talked prose
without knowing it, we never dreamed of connecting them with our
philosophy.  My genuine interest was history, partly because of a
superior teacher, and partly because my father had always insisted
upon a certain amount of historic reading ever since he had paid
me, as a little girl, five cents a "Life" for each Plutarch hero I
could intelligently report to him and twenty-five cents for every
volume of Irving's "Life of Washington."

When we started for the long vacations, a little group of five
would vow that during the summer we would read all of Motley's
"Dutch Republic" or, more ambitious still, all of Gibbon's
"Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." When we returned at the
opening of school and three of us announced we had finished the
latter, each became skeptical of the other two.  We fell upon
each other in a sort of rough-and-tumble examination, in which no
quarter was given or received; but the suspicion was finally
removed that anyone had skipped.  We took for a class motto the
early Saxon word for lady, translated into breadgiver, and we
took for our class color the poppy, because poppies grow among
the wheat, as if Nature knew that wherever there was hunger that
needed food there would be pain that needed relief.  We must have
found the sentiment in a book somewhere, but we used it so much
it finally seemed like an idea of our own, although of course
none of us had ever seen a European field, the only page upon
which Nature has written this particular message.

That this group of ardent girls, who discussed everything under
the sun with unabated interest, did not take it all out in talk
may be demonstrated by the fact that one of the class who married
a missionary founded a very successful school in Japan for the
children of the English and Americans living there; another of
the class became a medical missionary to Korea, and because of
her successful treatment of the Queen, was made court physician
at a time when the opening was considered of importance in the
diplomatic as well as in the missionary world; still another
became an unusually skilled teacher of the blind; and one of them
a pioneer librarian in that early effort to bring "books to the
people."

Perhaps this early companionship showed me how essentially
similar are the various forms of social effort, and curiously
enough, the actual activities of a missionary school are not
unlike many that are carried on in a Settlement situated in a
foreign quarter.  Certainly the most sympathetic and
comprehending visitors we have ever had at Hull-House have been
returned missionaries; among them two elderly ladies, who had
lived for years in India and who had been homesick and bewildered
since their return, declared that the fortnight at Hull-House had
been the happiest and most familiar they had had in America.

Of course in such an atmosphere a girl like myself, of serious
not to say priggish tendency, did not escape a concerted pressure
to push her into the "missionary field." During the four years it
was inevitable that every sort of evangelical appeal should have
been made to reach the comparatively few "unconverted" girls in
the school.  We were the subject of prayer at the daily chapel
exercise and the weekly prayer meeting, attendance upon which was
obligatory.

I was singularly unresponsive to all these forms of emotional
appeal, although I became unspeakably embarrassed when they were
presented to me at close range by a teacher during the "silent
hour," which we were all required to observe every evening, and
which was never broken into, even by a member of the faculty,
unless the errand was one of grave import.  I found these
occasional interviews on the part of one of the more serious
young teachers, of whom I was extremely fond, hard to endure, as
was a long series of conversations in my senior year conducted by
one of the most enthusiastic members of the faculty, in which the
desirability of Turkey as a field for missionary labor was
enticingly put before me.  I suppose I held myself aloof from all
these influences, partly owing to the fact that my father was not
a communicant of any church, and I tremendously admired his
scrupulous morality and sense of honor in all matters of personal
and public conduct, and also because the little group to which I
have referred was much given to a sort of rationalism, doubtless
founded upon an early reading of Emerson.  In this connection,
when Bronson Alcott came to lecture at the school, we all vied
with each other for a chance to do him a personal service because
he had been a friend of Emerson, and we were inexpressibly
scornful of our younger fellow-students who cared for him merely
on the basis of his grandfatherly relation to "Little Women." I
recall cleaning the clay of the unpaved streets off his heavy
cloth overshoes in a state of ecstatic energy.

But I think in my case there were other factors as well that
contributed to my unresponsiveness to the evangelical appeal.  A
curious course of reading I had marked out for myself in medieval
history, seems to have left me fascinated by an ideal of mingled
learning, piety and physical labor, more nearly exemplified by
the Port Royalists than by any others.

The only moments in which I seem to have approximated in my own
experience to a faint realization of the "beauty of holiness," as
I conceived it, was each Sunday morning between the hours of nine
and ten, when I went into the exquisitely neat room of the
teacher of Greek and read with her from a Greek testament.  We
did this every Sunday morning for two years.  It was not exactly
a lesson, for I never prepared for it, and while I was held
within reasonable bounds of syntax, I was allowed much more
freedom in translation than was permitted the next morning when I
read Homer; neither did we discuss doctrines, for although it was
with this same teacher that in our junior year we studied Paul's
Epistle to the Hebrews, committing all of it to memory and
analyzing and reducing it to doctrines within an inch of our
lives, we never allowed an echo of this exercise to appear at
these blessed Sunday morning readings.  It was as if the
disputations of Paul had not yet been, for we always read from
the Gospels.  The regime of Rockford Seminary was still very
simple in the 70's.  Each student made her own fire and kept her
own room in order.  Sunday morning was a great clearing up day,
and the sense of having made immaculate my own immediate
surroundings, the consciousness of clean linen, said to be close
to the consciousness of a clean conscience, always mingles in my
mind with these early readings.  I certainly bore away with me a
lifelong enthusiasm for reading the Gospels in bulk, a whole one
at a time, and an insurmountable distaste for having them cut up
into chapter and verse, or for hearing the incidents in that
wonderful Life thus referred to as if it were merely a record.

My copy of the Greek testament had been presented to me by the
brother of our Greek teacher, Professor Blaisdell of Beloit
College, a true scholar in "Christian Ethics," as his department
was called.  I recall that one day in the summer after I left
college--one of the black days which followed the death of my
father--this kindly scholar came to see me in order to bring such
comfort as he might and to inquire how far I had found solace in
the little book he had given me so long before.  When I suddenly
recall the village in which I was born, its steeples and roofs
look as they did that day from the hilltop where we talked
together, the familiar details smoothed out and merging, as it
were, into that wide conception of the universe, which for the
moment swallowed up my personal grief or at least assuaged it with
a realization that it was but a drop in that "torrent of sorrow
and aguish and terror which flows under all the footsteps of man."
This realization of sorrow as the common lot, of death as the
universal experience, was the first comfort which my bruised
spirit had received.  In reply to my impatience with the Christian
doctrine of "resignation," that it implied that you thought of
your sorrow only in its effect upon you and were disloyal to the
affection itself, I remember how quietly the Christian scholar
changed his phraseology, saying that sometimes consolation came to
us better in the words of Plato, and, as nearly as I can remember,
that was the first time I had ever heard Plato's sonorous argument
for the permanence of the excellent.

When Professor Blaisdell returned to his college, he left in my
hands a small copy of "The Crito." The Greek was too hard for me,
and I was speedily driven to Jowett's translation.  That
old-fashioned habit of presenting favorite books to eager young
people, although it degenerated into the absurdity of
"friendship's offerings," had much to be said for it, when it
indicated the wellsprings of literature from which the donor
himself had drawn waters of healing and inspiration.

Throughout our school years, we were always keenly conscious of
the growing development of Rockford Seminary into a college.  The
opportunity for our Alma Mater to take her place in the new
movement of full college education for women filled us with
enthusiasm, and it became a driving ambition with the
undergraduates to share in this new and glorious undertaking.  We
gravely decided that it was important that some of the students
should be ready to receive the bachelor's degree the very first
moment that the charter of the school should secure the right to
confer it.  Two of us, therefore, took a course in mathematics,
advanced beyond anything previously given in the school, from one
of those early young women working for a Ph.D., who was
temporarily teaching in Rockford that she might study more
mathematics in Leipsic.

My companion in all these arduous labors has since accomplished
more than any of us in the effort to procure the franchise for
women, for even then we all took for granted the righteousness of
that cause into which I at least had merely followed my father's
conviction.  In the old-fashioned spirit of that cause I might
cite the career of this companion as an illustration of the
efficacy of higher mathematics for women, for she possesses
singular ability to convince even the densest legislators of their
legal right to define their own electorate, even when they quote
against her the dustiest of state constitutions or city charters.

In line with this policy of placing a woman's college on an
equality with the other colleges of the state, we applied for an
opportunity to compete in the intercollegiate oratorical contest
of Illinois, and we succeeded in having Rockford admitted as the
first woman's college.  When I was finally selected as the
orator, I was somewhat dismayed to find that, representing not
only one school but college women in general, I could not resent
the brutal frankness with which my oratorical possibilities were
discussed by the enthusiastic group who would allow no personal
feeling to stand in the way of progress, especially the progress
of Woman's Cause.  I was told among other things that I had an
intolerable habit of dropping my voice at the end of a sentence
in the most feminine, apologetic and even deprecatory manner
which would probably lose Woman the first place.

Woman certainly did lose the first place and stood fifth, exactly
in the dreary middle, but the ignominious position may not have
been solely due to bad mannerisms, for a prior place was easily
accorded to William Jennings Bryan, who not only thrilled his
auditors with an almost prophetic anticipation of the cross of
gold, but with a moral earnestness which we had mistakenly
assumed would be the unique possession of the feminine orator.

I so heartily concurred with the decision of the judges of the
contest that it was with a care-free mind that I induced my
colleague and alternate to remain long enough in "The Athens of
Illinois," in which the successful college was situated, to visit
the state institutions, one for the Blind and one for the Deaf and
Dumb.  Dr Gillette was at that time head of the latter
institution; his scholarly explanation of the method of teaching,
his concern for his charges, this sudden demonstration of the care
the state bestowed upon its most unfortunate children, filled me
with grave speculations in which the first, the fifth, or the
ninth place in the oratorical contest seemed of little moment.

However, this brief delay between our field of Waterloo and our
arrival at our aspiring college turned out to be most
unfortunate, for we found the ardent group not only exhausted by
the premature preparations for the return of a successful orator,
but naturally much irritated as they contemplated their garlands
drooping disconsolately in tubs and bowls of water.  They did not
fail to make me realize that I had dealt the cause of woman's
advancement a staggering blow, and all my explanations of the
fifth place were haughtily considered insufficient before that
golden Bar of Youth, so absurdly inflexible!

To return to my last year of school, it was inevitable that the
pressure toward religious profession should increase as
graduating day approached.  So curious, however, are the paths of
moral development that several times during subsequent
experiences have I felt that this passive resistance of mine,
this clinging to an individual conviction, was the best moral
training I received at Rockford College.  During the first decade
of Hull-House, it was felt by propagandists of diverse social
theories that the new Settlement would be a fine coign of vantage
from which to propagate social faiths, and that a mere
preliminary step would be the conversion of the founders; hence I
have been reasoned with hours at a time, and I recall at least
three occasions when this was followed by actual prayer.  In the
first instance, the honest exhorter who fell upon his knees
before my astonished eyes, was an advocate of single tax upon
land values.  He begged, in that phraseology which is deemed
appropriate for prayer, that "the sister might see the beneficent
results it would bring to the poor who live in the awful
congested districts around this very house."

The early socialists used every method of attack,--a favorite one
being the statement, doubtless sometimes honestly made, that I
really was a socialist, but "too much of a coward to say so." I
remember one socialist who habitually opened a very telling
address he was in the habit of giving upon the street corners, by
holding me up as an awful example to his fellow socialists, as
one of their number "who had been caught in the toils of
capitalism." He always added as a final clinching of the
statement that he knew what he was talking about because he was a
member of the Hull-House Men's Club.  When I ventured to say to
him that not all of the thousands of people who belong to a class
or club at Hull-House could possibly know my personal opinions,
and to mildly inquire upon what he founded his assertions, he
triumphantly replied that I had once admitted to him that I had
read Sombart and Loria, and that anyone of sound mind must see
the inevitable conclusions of such master reasonings.

I could multiply these two instances a hundredfold, and possibly
nothing aided me to stand on my own feet and to select what
seemed reasonable from this wilderness of dogma, so much as my
early encounter with genuine zeal and affectionate solicitude,
associated with what I could not accept as the whole truth.

I do not wish to take callow writing too seriously, but I reproduce
from an oratorical contest the following bit of premature
pragmatism, doubtless due much more to temperament than to
perception, because I am still ready to subscribe to it, although
the grandiloquent style is, I hope, a thing of the past: "Those who
believe that Justice is but a poetical longing within us, the
enthusiast who thinks it will come in the form of a millennium,
those who see it established by the strong arm of a hero, are not
those who have comprehended the vast truths of life. The actual
Justice must come by trained intelligence, by broadened sympathies
toward the individual man or woman who crosses our path; one item
added to another is the only method by which to build up a
conception lofty enough to be of use in the world."

This schoolgirl recipe has been tested in many later experiences,
the most dramatic of which came when I was called upon by a
manufacturing company to act as one of three arbitrators in a
perplexing struggle between themselves, a group of
trade-unionists and a non-union employee of their establishment.
The non-union man who was the cause of the difficulty had ten
years before sided with his employers in a prolonged strike and
had bitterly fought the union.  He had been so badly injured at
that time, that in spite of long months of hospital care he had
never afterward been able to do a full day's work, although his
employers had retained him for a decade at full pay in
recognition of his loyalty.  At the end of ten years the once
defeated union was strong enough to enforce its demands for a
union shop and in spite of the distaste of the firm for the
arrangement, no obstacle to harmonious relations with the union
remained but for the refusal of the trade-unionists to receive as
one of their members the old crippled employee, whose spirit was
broken as last and who was now willing to join the union and to
stand with his old enemies for the sake of retaining his place.

But the union men would not receive "a traitor," the firm flatly
refused to dismiss so faithful an employee, the busy season was
upon them, and everyone concerned had finally agreed to abide
without appeal by the decision of the arbitrators.  The chairman
of our little arbitration committee, a venerable judge, quickly
demonstrated that it was impossible to collect trustworthy
evidence in regards to the events already ten years old which lay
at the bottom of this bitterness, and we soon therefore ceased to
interview the conflicting witnesses; the second member of the
committee sternly bade the men remember that the most ancient
Hebraic authority gave no sanction for holding even a just
resentment for more than seven years, and at last we all settled
down to that wearisome effort to secure the inner consent of all
concerned, upon which alone the "mystery of justice" as
Maeterlinck has told us, ultimately depends.  I am not quite sure
that in the end we administered justice, but certainly employers,
trade-unionists, and arbitrators were all convinced that justice
will have to be established in industrial affairs with the same
care and patience which has been necessary for centuries in order
to institute it in men's civic relationships, although as the
judge remarked the search must be conducted without much help
from precedent.  The conviction remained with me, that however
long a time might be required to establish justice in the new
relationships of our raw industrialism, it would never be stable
until it had received the sanction of those upon whom the present
situation presses so harshly.

Towards the end of our four years' course we debated much as to
what we were to be, and long before the end of my school days it
was quite settled in my mind that I should study medicine and
"live with the poor." This conclusion of course was the result of
many things, perhaps epitomized in my graduating essay on
"Cassandra" and her tragic fate "always to be in the right, and
always to be disbelieved and rejected."

This state of affairs, it may readily be guessed, the essay held
to be an example of the feminine trait of mind called intuition,
"an accurate perception of Truth and Justice, which rests
contented in itself and will make no effort to confirm itself or
to organize through existing knowledge." The essay then
proceeds--I am forced to admit, with overmuch conviction--with
the statement that women can only "grow accurate and intelligible
by the thorough study of at least one branch of physical science,
for only with eyes thus accustomed to the search for truth can
she detect all self-deceit and fancy in herself and learn to
express herself without dogmatism." So much for the first part of
the thesis.  Having thus "gained accuracy, would woman bring this
force to bear throughout morals and justice, then she must find
in active labor the promptings and inspirations that come from
growing insight." I was quite certain that by following these
directions carefully, in the end the contemporary woman would
find "her faculties clear and acute from the study of science,
and her hand upon the magnetic chain of humanity."

This veneration for science portrayed in my final essay was
doubtless the result of the statements the textbooks were then
making of what was called the theory of evolution, the acceptance
of which even thirty years after the publication of Darwin's
"Origin of Species" had about it a touch of intellectual
adventure. We knew, for instance, that our science teacher had
accepted this theory, but we had a strong suspicion that the
teacher of Butler's "Analogy" had not.  We chafed at the
meagerness of the college library in this direction, and I used
to bring back in my handbag books belonging to an advanced
brother-in-law who had studied medicine in Germany and who
therefore was quite emancipated.  The first gift I made when I
came into possession of my small estate the year after I left
school, was a thousand dollars to the library of Rockford
College, with the stipulation that it be spent for scientific
books.  In the long vacations I pressed plants, stuffed birds and
pounded rocks in some vague belief that I was approximating the
new method, and yet when my stepbrother who was becoming a real
scientist, tried to carry me along with him to the merest outskirts
of the methods of research, it at once became evident that I had
no aptitude and was unable to follow intelligently Darwin's
careful observations on the earthworm.  I made a heroic effort,
although candor compels me to state that I never would have
finished if I had not been pulled and pushed by my really ardent
companion, who in addition to a multitude of earthworms and a fine
microscope, possessed untiring tact with one of flagging zeal.

As our boarding-school days neared the end, in the consciousness
of approaching separation we vowed eternal allegiance to our
"early ideals," and promised each other we would "never abandon
them without conscious justification," and we often warned each
other of "the perils of self-tradition."

We believed, in our sublime self-conceit, that the difficulty of
life would lie solely in the direction of losing these precious
ideals of ours, of failing to follow the way of martyrdom and
high purpose we had marked out for ourselves, and we had no
notion of the obscure paths of tolerance, just allowance, and
self-blame wherein, if we held our minds open, we might learn
something of the mystery and complexity of life's purposes.

The year after I had left college I came back, with a classmate,
to receive the degree we had so eagerly anticipated.  Two of the
graduating class were also ready and four of us were dubbed B.A.
on the very day that Rockford Seminary was declared a college in
the midst of tumultuous anticipations.  Having had a year outside
of college walls in that trying land between vague hope and
definite attainment, I had become very much sobered in my desire
for a degree, and was already beginning to emerge from that
rose-colored mist with which the dream of youth so readily
envelops the future.

Whatever may have been the perils of self-tradition, I certainly
did not escape them, for it required eight years--from the time I
left Rockford in the summer of 1881 until Hull-House was opened
in the the autumn of 1889--to formulate my convictions even in
the least satisfactory manner, much less to reduce them to a plan
for action.  During most of that time I was absolutely at sea so
far as any moral purpose was concerned, clinging only to the
desire to live in a really living world and refusing to be content
with a shadowy intellectual or aesthetic reflection of it.



[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Diana Camden.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter IV: The Snare of Preparation." by Jane Addams
(1860-1935) From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with
Autobiographical Notes. by Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan
Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp. 65-88.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]



CHAPTER IV

THE SNARE OF PREPARATION


The winter after I left school was spent in the Woman's Medical
College of Philadelphia, but the development of the spinal
difficulty which had shadowed me from childhood forced me into Dr.
Weir Mitchell's hospital for the late spring, and the next winter I
was literally bound to a bed in my sister's house for six months.
In spite of its tedium, the long winter had its mitigations, for
after the first few weeks I was able to read with a luxurious
consciousness of leisure, and I remember opening the first volume
of Carlyle's "Frederick the Great" with a lively sense of gratitude
that it was not Gray's "Anatomy," having found, like many another,
that general culture is a much easier undertaking than professional
study.  The long illness inevitably put aside the immediate
prosecution of a medical course, and although I had passed my
examinations creditably enough in the required subjects for the
first year, I was very glad to have a physician's sanction for
giving up clinics and dissecting rooms and to follow his
prescription of spending the next two years in Europe.

Before I returned to America I had discovered that there were
other genuine reasons for living among the poor than that of
practicing medicine upon them, and my brief foray into the
profession was never resumed.

The long illness left me in a state of nervous exhaustion with
which I struggled for years, traces of it remaining long after
Hull-House was opened in 1889.  At the best it allowed me but a
limited amount of energy, so that doubtless there was much
nervous depression at the foundation of the spiritual struggles
which this chapter is forced to record.  However, it could not
have been all due to my health, for as my wise little notebook
sententiously remarked, "In his own way each man must struggle,
lest the moral law become a far-off abstraction utterly separated
from his active life."

It would, of course, be impossible to remember that some of these
struggles ever took place at all, were it not for these selfsame
notebooks, in which, however, I no longer wrote in moments of
high resolve, but judging from the internal evidence afforded by
the books themselves, only in moments of deep depression when
overwhelmed by a sense of failure.

One of the most poignant of these experiences, which occurred
during the first few months after our landing upon the other side
of the Atlantic, was on a Saturday night, when I received an
ineradicable impression of the wretchedness of East London, and
also saw for the first time the overcrowded quarters of a great
city at midnight.  A small party of tourists were taken to the
East End by a city missionary to witness the Saturday night sale
of decaying vegetables and fruit, which, owing to the Sunday laws
in London, could not be sold until Monday, and, as they were
beyond safe keeping, were disposed of at auction as late as
possible on Saturday night.  On Mile End Road, from the top of an
omnibus which paused at the end of a dingy street lighted by only
occasional flares of gas, we saw two huge masses of ill-clad
people clamoring around two hucksters' carts.  They were bidding
their farthings and ha'pennies for a vegetable held up by the
auctioneer, which he at last scornfully flung, with a gibe for
its cheapness, to the successful bidder. In the momentary pause
only one man detached himself from the groups.  He had bidden in
a cabbage, and when it struck his hand, he instantly sat down on
the curb, tore it with his teeth, and hastily devoured it,
unwashed and uncooked as it was.  He and his fellows were types
of the "submerged tenth," as our missionary guide told us, with
some little satisfaction in the then new phrase, and he further
added that so many of them could scarcely be seen in one spot
save at this Saturday night auction, the desire for cheap food
being apparently the one thing which could move them
simultaneously.  They were huddled into ill-fitting, cast-off
clothing, the ragged finery which one sees only in East London.
Their pale faces were dominated by that most unlovely of human
expressions, the cunning and shrewdness of the bargain-hunter who
starves if he cannot make a successful trade, and yet the final
impression was not of ragged, tawdry clothing nor of pinched and
sallow faces, but of myriads of hands, empty, pathetic, nerveless
and workworn, showing white in the uncertain light of the street,
and clutching forward for food which was already unfit to eat.

Perhaps nothing is so fraught with significance as the human
hand, this oldest tool with which man has dug his way from
savagery, and with which he is constantly groping forward.  I
have never since been able to see a number of hands held upward,
even when they are moving rhythmically in a calisthenic exercise,
or when they belong to a class of chubby children who wave them
in eager response to a teacher's query, without a certain revival
of this memory, a clutching at the heart reminiscent of the
despair and resentment which seized me then.

For the following weeks I went about London almost furtively,
afraid to look down narrow streets and alleys lest they disclose
again this hideous human need and suffering.  I carried with me
for days at a time that curious surprise we experience when we
first come back into the streets after days given over to sorrow
and death; we are bewildered that the world should be going on as
usual and unable to determine which is real, the inner pang or the
outward seeming.  In time all huge London came to seem unreal save
the poverty in its East End.  During the following two years on
the continent, while I was irresistibly drawn to the poorer
quarters of each city, nothing among the beggars of South Italy
nor among the salt miners of Austria carried with it the same
conviction of human wretchedness which was conveyed by this
momentary glimpse of an East London street. It was, of course, a
most fragmentary and lurid view of the poverty of East London, and
quite unfair.  I should have been shown either less or more, for I
went away with no notion of the hundreds of men and women who had
gallantly identified their fortunes with these empty-handed
people, and who, in church and chapel, "relief works," and
charities, were at least making an effort towards its mitigation.

Our visit was made in November, 1883, the very year when the Pall
Mall Gazette exposure started "The Bitter Cry of Outcast London,"
and the conscience of England was stirred as never before over
this joyless city in the East End of its capital.  Even then,
vigorous and drastic plans were being discussed, and a splendid
program of municipal reforms was already dimly outlined.  Of all
these, however, I had heard nothing but the vaguest rumor.

No comfort came to me then from any source, and the painful
impression was increased because at the very moment of looking
down the East London street from the top of the omnibus, I had
been sharply and painfully reminded of "The Vision of Sudden
Death" which had confronted De Quincey one summer's night as he
was being driven through rural England on a high mail coach.  Two
absorbed lovers suddenly appear between the narrow, blossoming
hedgerows in the direct path of the huge vehicle which is sure to
crush them to their death.  De Quincey tries to send them a
warning shout, but finds himself unable to make a sound because
his mind is hopelessly entangled in an endeavor to recall the
exact lines from the Iliad which describe the great cry with
which Achilles alarmed all Asia militant.  Only after his memory
responds is his will released from its momentary paralysis, and
he rides on through the fragrant night with the horror of the
escaped calamity thick upon him, but he also bears with him the
consciousness that he had given himself over so many years to
classic learning--that when suddenly called upon for a quick
decision in the world of life and death, he had been able to act
only through a literary suggestion.

This is what we were all doing, lumbering our minds with
literature that only served to cloud the really vital situation
spread before our eyes.  It seemed to me too preposterous that in
my first view of the horror of East London I should have recalled
De Quincey's literary description of the literary suggestion
which had once paralyzed him.  In my disgust it all appeared a
hateful, vicious circle which even the apostles of culture
themselves admitted, for had not one of the greatest among the
moderns plainly said that "conduct, and not culture is three
fourths of human life."

For two years in the midst of my distress over the poverty which,
thus suddenly driven into my consciousness, had become to me the
"Weltschmerz," there was mingled a sense of futility, of
misdirected energy, the belief that the pursuit of cultivation
would not in the end bring either solace or relief.  I gradually
reached a conviction that the first generation of college women
had taken their learning too quickly, had departed too suddenly
from the active, emotional life led by their grandmothers and
great-grandmothers; that the contemporary education of young
women had developed too exclusively the power of acquiring
knowledge and of merely receiving impressions; that somewhere in
the process of 'being educated' they had lost that simple and
almost automatic response to the human appeal, that old healthful
reaction resulting in activity from the mere presence of
suffering or of helplessness; that they are so sheltered and
pampered they have no chance even to make "the great refusal."

In the German and French pensions, which twenty-five years ago
were crowded with American mothers and their daughters who had
crossed the seas in search of culture, one often found the mother
making real connection with the life about her, using her
inadequate German with great fluency, gaily measuring the
enormous sheets or exchanging recipes with the German Hausfrau,
visiting impartially the nearest kindergarten and market, making
an atmosphere of her own, hearty and genuine as far as it went,
in the house and on the street.  On the other hand, her daughter
was critical and uncertain of her linguistic acquirements, and
only at ease when in the familiar receptive attitude afforded by
the art gallery and opera house.  In the latter she was swayed
and moved, appreciative of the power and charm of the music,
intelligent as to the legend and poetry of the plot, finding use
for her trained and developed powers as she sat "being
cultivated" in the familiar atmosphere of the classroom which
had, as it were, become sublimated and romanticized.

I remember a happy busy mother who, complacent with the knowledge
that her daughter daily devoted four hours to her music, looked up
from her knitting to say, "If I had had your opportunities when I
was young, my dear, I should have been a very happy girl. I always
had musical talent, but such training as I had, foolish little
songs and waltzes and not time for half an hour's practice a day."

The mother did not dream of the sting her words left and that the
sensitive girl appreciated only too well that her opportunities
were fine and unusual, but she also knew that in spite of some
facility and much good teaching she had no genuine talent and
never would fulfill the expectations of her friends. She looked
back upon her mother's girlhood with positive envy because it was
so full of happy industry and extenuating obstacles, with
undisturbed opportunity to believe that her talents were unusual.
The girl looked wistfully at her mother, but had not the courage
to cry out what was in her heart: "I might believe I had unusual
talent if I did not know what good music was; I might enjoy half
an hour's practice a day if I were busy and happy the rest of the
time.  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."

This, then, was the difficulty, this sweet dessert in the morning
and the assumption that the sheltered, educated girl has nothing
to do with the bitter poverty and the social maladjustment which
is all about her, and which, after all, cannot be concealed, for
it breaks through poetry and literature in a burning tide which
overwhelms her; it peers at her in the form of heavy-laden market
women and underpaid street laborers, gibing her with a sense of
her uselessness.

I recall one snowy morning in Saxe-Coburg, looking from the window
of our little hotel upon the town square, that we saw crossing and
recrossing it a single file of women with semicircular, heavy,
wooden tanks fastened upon their backs. They were carrying in this
primitive fashion to a remote cooling room these tanks filled with
a hot brew incident to one stage of beer making.  The women were
bent forward, not only under the weight which they were bearing,
but because the tanks were so high that it would have been
impossible for them to have lifted their heads.  Their faces and
hands, reddened in the cold morning air, showed clearly the white
scars where they had previously been scalded by the hot stuff which
splashed if they stumbled ever so little on their way. Stung into
action by one of those sudden indignations against cruel conditions
which at times fill the young with unexpected energy, I found
myself across the square, in company with mine host, interviewing
the phlegmatic owner of the brewery who received us with
exasperating indifference, or rather received me, for the innkeeper
mysteriously slunk away as soon as the great magnate of the town
began to speak.  I went back to a breakfast for which I had lost my
appetite, as I had for Gray's "Life of Prince Albert" and his
wonderful tutor, Baron Stockmar, which I had been reading late the
night before.  The book had lost its fascination; how could a good
man, feeling so keenly his obligation "to make princely the mind of
his prince," ignore such conditions of life for the multitude of
humble, hard-working folk. We were spending two months in Dresden
that winter, given over to much reading of "The History of Art" and
after such an experience I would invariably suffer a moral
revulsion against this feverish search after culture.  It was
doubtless in such moods that I founded my admiration for Albrecht
Durer, taking his wonderful pictures, however, in the most
unorthodox manner, merely as human documents.  I was chiefly
appealed to by his unwillingness to lend himself to a smooth and
cultivated view of life, by his determination to record its
frustrations and even the hideous forms which darken the day for
our human imagination and to ignore no human complications.  I
believed that his canvases intimated the coming religious and
social changes of the Reformation and the peasants' wars, that they
were surcharged with pity for the downtrodden, that his sad
knights, gravely standing guard, were longing to avert that
shedding of blood which is sure to occur when men forget how
complicated life is and insist upon reducing it to logical dogmas.

The largest sum of money that I ever ventured to spend in Europe
was for an engraving of his "St. Hubert," the background of which
was said to be from an original Durer plate.  There is little
doubt, I am afraid, that the background as well as the figures
"were put in at a later date," but the purchase at least
registered the high-water mark of my enthusiasm.

The wonder and beauty of Italy later brought healing and some
relief to the paralyzing sense of the futility of all artistic
and intellectual effort when disconnected from the ultimate test
of the conduct it inspired.  The serene and soothing touch of
history also aroused old enthusiasms, although some of their
manifestations were such as one smiles over more easily in
retrospection than at the moment.  I fancy that it was no smiling
matter to several people in our party, whom I induced to walk for
three miles in the hot sunshine beating down upon the Roman
Campagna, that we might enter the Eternal City on foot through
the Porta del Popolo, as pilgrims had done for centuries.  To be
sure, we had really entered Rome the night before, but the
railroad station and the hotel might have been anywhere else, and
we had been driven beyond the walls after breakfast and stranded
at the very spot where the pilgrims always said "Ecco Roma," as
they caught the first glimpse of St. Peter's dome. This
melodramatic entrance into Rome, or rather pretended entrance,
was the prelude to days of enchantment, and I returned to Europe
two years later in order to spend a winter there and to carry out
a great desire to systematically study the Catacombs. In spite of
my distrust of "advantages" I was apparently not yet so cured but
that I wanted more of them.

The two years which elapsed before I again found myself in Europe
brought their inevitable changes.  Family arrangements had so
come about that I had spent three or four months of each of the
intervening winters in Baltimore, where I seemed to have reached
the nadir of my nervous depression and sense of maladjustment, in
spite of my interest in the fascinating lectures given there by
Lanciani of Rome, and a definite course of reading under the
guidance of a Johns Hopkins lecturer upon the United Italy
movement.  In the latter I naturally encountered the influence of
Mazzini, which was a source of great comfort to me, although
perhaps I went too suddenly from a contemplation of his wonderful
ethical and philosophical appeal to the workingmen of Italy,
directly to the lecture rooms at Johns Hopkins University, for I
was certainly much disillusioned at this time as to the effect of
intellectual pursuits upon moral development.

The summers were spent in the old home in northern Illinois, and
one Sunday morning I received the rite of baptism and became a
member of the Presbyterian church in the village.  At this time
there was certainly no outside pressure pushing me towards such a
decision, and at twenty-five one does not ordinarily take such a
step from a mere desire to conform.  While I was not conscious of
any emotional "conversion," I took upon myself the outward
expressions of the religious life with all humility and
sincerity.  It was doubtless true that I was

	"Weary of myself and sick of asking
	What I am and what I ought to be,"

and that various cherished safeguards and claims to
self-dependence had been broken into by many piteous failures.
But certainly I had been brought to the conclusion that
"sincerely to give up one's conceit or hope of being good in
one's own right is the only door to the Universe's deeper
reaches." Perhaps the young clergyman recognized this as the test
of the Christian temper, at any rate he required little assent to
dogma or miracle, and assured me that while both the ministry and
the officers of his church were obliged to subscribe to doctrines
of well-known severity, the faith required to the laity was
almost early Christian in its simplicity.  I was conscious of no
change from my childish acceptance of the teachings of the
Gospels, but at this moment something persuasive within made me
long for an outward symbol of fellowship, some bond of peace,
some blessed spot where unity of spirit might claim right of way
over all differences.  There was also growing within me an almost
passionate devotion to the ideals of democracy, and when in all
history had these ideals been so thrillingly expressed as when
the faith of the fisherman and the slave had been boldly opposed
to the accepted moral belief that the well-being of a privileged
few might justly be built upon the ignorance and sacrifice of the
many?  Who was I, with my dreams of universal fellowship, that I
did not identify myself with the institutional statement of this
belief, as it stood in the little village in which I was born,
and without which testimony in each remote hamlet of Christendom
it would be so easy for the world to slip back into the doctrines
of selection and aristocracy?

In one of the intervening summers between these European journeys
I visited a western state where I had formerly invested a sum of
money in mortgages.  I was much horrified by the wretched
conditions among the farmers, which had resulted from a long
period of drought, and one forlorn picture was fairly burned into
my mind.  A number of starved hogs--collateral for a promissory
note--were huddled into an open pen.  Their backs were humped in a
curious, camel-like fashion, and they were devouring one of their
own number, the latest victim of absolute starvation or possibly
merely the one least able to defend himself against their
voracious hunger.  The farmer's wife looked on indifferently, a
picture of despair as she stood in the door of the bare, crude
house, and the two children behind her, whom she vainly tried to
keep out of sight, continually thrust forward their faces almost
covered by masses of coarse, sunburned hair, and their little bare
feet so black, so hard, the great cracks so filled with dust that
they looked like flattened hoofs.  The children could not be
compared to anything so joyous as satyrs, although they appeared
but half-human.  It seemed to me quite impossible to receive
interest from mortgages placed upon farms which might at any
season be reduced to such conditions, and with great inconvenience
to my agent and doubtless with hardship to the farmers, as
speedily as possible I withdrew all my investment.  But something
had to be done with the money, and in my reaction against unseen
horrors I bought a farm near my native village and also a flock of
innocent-looking sheep.  My partner in the enterprise had not
chosen the shepherd's lot as a permanent occupation, but hoped to
speedily finish his college course upon half the proceeds of our
venture.  This pastoral enterprise still seems to me to have been
essentially sound, both economically and morally, but perhaps one
partner depended too much upon the impeccability of her motives
and the other found himself too preoccupied with study to know
that it is not a real kindness to bed a sheepfold with straw, for
certainly the venture ended in a spectacle scarcely less harrowing
than the memory it was designed to obliterate.  At least the sight
of two hundred sheep with four rotting hoofs each, was not
reassuring to one whose conscience craved economic peace.  A
fortunate series of sales of mutton, wool, and farm enabled the
partners to end the enterprise without loss, and they passed on,
one to college and the other to Europe, if not wiser, certainly
sadder for the experience.

It was during this second journey to Europe that I attended a
meeting of the London match girls who were on strike and who met
daily under the leadership of well-known labor men of London. The
low wages that were reported at the meetings, the phossy jaw
which was described and occasionally exhibited, the appearance of
the girls themselves I did not, curiously enough, in any wise
connect with what was called the labor movement, nor did I
understand the efforts of the London trades-unionists, concerning
whom I held the vaguest notions.  But of course this impression
of human misery was added to the others which were already making
me so wretched.  I think that up to this time I was still filled
with the sense which Wells describes in one of his young
characters, that somewhere in Church or State are a body of
authoritative people who will put things to rights as soon as
they really know what is wrong.  Such a young person persistently
believes that behind all suffering, behind sin and want, must lie
redeeming magnanimity.  He may imagine the world to be tragic and
terrible, but it never for an instant occurs to him that it may
be contemptible or squalid or self-seeking. Apparently I looked
upon the efforts of the trades-unionists as I did upon those of
Frederic Harrison and the Positivists whom I heard the next
Sunday in Newton Hall, as a manifestation of "loyalty to
humanity" and an attempt to aid in its progress.  I was
enormously interested in the Positivists during these European
years; I imagined that their philosophical conception of man's
religious development might include all expressions of that for
which so many ages of men have struggled and aspired.  I vaguely
hoped for this universal comity when I stood in Stonehenge, on
the Acropolis in Athens, or in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.
But never did I so desire it as in the cathedrals of Winchester,
Notre Dame, Amiens.  One winter's day I traveled from Munich to
Ulm because I imagined from what the art books said that the
cathedral hoarded a medieval statement of the Positivists' final
synthesis, prefiguring their conception of a "Supreme Humanity."

In this I was not altogether disappointed.  The religious history
carved on the choir stalls at Ulm contained Greek philosophers as
well as Hebrew prophets, and among the disciples and saints stood
the discoverer of music and a builder of pagan temples.  Even then
I was startled, forgetting for the moment the religious revolutions
of south Germany, to catch sight of a window showing Luther as
he affixed his thesis on the door at Wittenberg, the picture
shining clear in the midst of the older glass of saint and symbol.

My smug notebook states that all this was an admission that "the
saints but embodied fine action," and it proceeds at some length
to set forth my hope for a "cathedral of humanity," which should
be "capacious enough to house a fellowship of common purpose,"
and which should be "beautiful enough to persuade men to hold
fast to the vision of human solidarity." It is quite impossible
for me to reproduce this experience at Ulm unless I quote pages
more from the notebook in which I seem to have written half the
night, in a fever of composition cast in ill-digested phrases
from Comte.  It doubtless reflected also something of the faith
of the Old Catholics, a charming group of whom I had recently met
in Stuttgart, and the same mood is easily traced in my early
hopes for the Settlement that it should unite in the fellowship
of the deed those of widely differing religious beliefs.

The beginning of 1887 found our little party of three in very
picturesque lodgings in Rome, and settled into a certain
student's routine.  But my study of the Catacombs was brought to
an abrupt end in a fortnight by a severe attack of sciatic
rheumatism, which kept me in Rome with a trained nurse during
many weeks, and later sent me to the Riviera to lead an invalid's
life once more.  Although my Catacomb lore thus remained
hopelessly superficial, it seemed to me a sufficient basis for a
course of six lectures which I timidly offered to a Deaconess's
Training School during my first winter in Chicago, upon the
simple ground that this early interpretation of Christianity is
the one which should be presented to the poor, urging that the
primitive church was composed of the poor and that it was they
who took the wonderful news to the more prosperous Romans.  The
open-minded head of the school gladly accepted the lectures,
arranging that the course should be given each spring to her
graduating class of Home and Foreign Missionaries, and at the end
of the third year she invited me to become one of the trustees of
the school.  I accepted and attended one meeting of the board,
but never another, because some of the older members objected to
my membership on the ground that "no religious instruction was
given at Hull-House." I remember my sympathy for the
embarrassment in which the head of the school was placed, but if
I needed comfort, a bit of it came to me on my way home from the
trustees' meeting when an Italian laborer paid my street-car
fare, according to the custom of our simpler neighbors.  Upon my
inquiry of the conductor as to whom I was indebted for the little
courtesy, he replied roughly enough, "I cannot tell one dago from
another when they are in a gang, but sure, any one of them would
do it for you as quick as they would for the Sisters."

It is hard to tell just when the very simple plan which afterward
developed into the Settlement began to form itself in my mind. It
may have been even before I went to Europe for the second time,
but I gradually became convinced that it would be a good thing to
rent a house in a part of the city where many primitive and
actual needs are found, in which young women who had been given
over too exclusively to study might restore a balance of activity
along traditional lines and learn of life from life itself; where
they might try out some of the things they had been taught and
put truth to "the ultimate test of the conduct it dictates or
inspires." I do not remember to have mentioned this plan to
anyone until we reached Madrid in April, 1888.

We had been to see a bull fight rendered in the most magnificent
Spanish style, where greatly to my surprise and horror, I found
that I had seen, with comparative indifference, five bulls and
many more horses killed.  The sense that this was the last
survival of all the glories of the amphitheater, the illusion
that the riders on the caparisoned horses might have been knights
of a tournament, or the matadore a slightly armed gladiator
facing his martyrdom, and all the rest of the obscure yet vivid
associations of an historic survival, had carried me beyond the
endurance of any of the rest of the party.  I finally met them in
the foyer, stern and pale with disapproval of my brutal
endurance, and but partially recovered from the faintness and
disgust which the spectacle itself had produced upon them.  I had
no defense to offer to their reproaches save that I had not
thought much about the bloodshed; but in the evening the natural
and inevitable reaction came, and in deep chagrin I felt myself
tried and condemned, not only by this disgusting experience but
by the entire moral situation which it revealed.  It was suddenly
made quite clear to me that I was lulling my conscience by a
dreamer's scheme, that a mere paper reform had become a defense
for continued idleness, and that I was making it a raison d'etre
for going on indefinitely with study and travel.  It is easy to
become the dupe of a deferred purpose, of the promise the future
can never keep, and I had fallen into the meanest type of
self-deception in making myself believe that all this was in
preparation for great things to come.  Nothing less than the
moral reaction following the experience at a bullfight had been
able to reveal to me that so far from following in the wake of a
chariot of philanthropic fire, I had been tied to the tail of the
veriest ox-cart of self-seeking.

I had made up my mind that next day, whatever happened, I would
begin to carry out the plan, if only by talking about it.  I can
well recall the stumbling and uncertainty with which I finally
set it forth to Miss Starr, my old-time school friend, who was
one of our party.  I even dared to hope that she might join in
carrying out the plan, but nevertheless I told it in the fear of
that disheartening experience which is so apt to afflict our most
cherished plans when they are at last divulged, when we suddenly
feel that there is nothing there to talk about, and as the golden
dream slips through our fingers we are left to wonder at our own
fatuous belief.  But gradually the comfort of Miss Starr's
companionship, the vigor and enthusiasm which she brought to bear
upon it, told both in the growth of the plan and upon the sense
of its validity, so that by the time we had reached the
enchantment of the Alhambra, the scheme had become convincing and
tangible although still most hazy in detail.

A month later we parted in Paris, Miss Starr to go back to Italy,
and I to journey on to London to secure as many suggestions as
possible from those wonderful places of which we had heard,
Toynbee Hall and the People's Palace.  So that it finally came
about that in June, 1888, five years after my first visit in East
London, I found myself at Toynbee Hall equipped not only with a
letter of introduction from Canon Fremantle, but with high
expectations and a certain belief that whatever perplexities and
discouragement concerning the life of the poor were in store for
me, I should at least know something at first hand and have the
solace of daily activity.  I had confidence that although life
itself might contain many difficulties, the period of mere
passive receptivity had come to an end, and I had at last
finished with the ever-lasting "preparation for life," however
ill-prepared I might be.

It was not until years afterward that I came upon Tolstoy's phrase
"the snare of preparation," which he insists we spread before the
feet of young people, hopelessly entangling them in a curious
inactivity at the very period of life when they are longing to
construct the world anew and to conform it to their own ideals.



[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Judi Oswalt.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter V: First Days at Hull-House." by Jane Addams (1860-1935)
From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with Autobiographical Notes. by
Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp.
89-112.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]



CHAPTER V

FIRST DAYS AT HULL-HOUSE


The next January found Miss Starr and myself in Chicago,
searching for a neighborhood in which we might put our plans into
execution.  In our eagerness to win friends for the new
undertaking, we utilized every opportunity to set forth the
meaning of the Settlement as it had been embodied at Toynbee
Hall, although in those days we made no appeal for money, meaning
to start with our own slender resources.  From the very first the
plan received courteous attention, and the discussion, while
often skeptical, was always friendly.  Professor Swing wrote a
commendatory column in the Evening Journal, and our early
speeches were reported quite out of proportion to their worth.  I
recall a spirited evening at the home of Mrs. Wilmarth, which was
attended by that renowned scholar, Thomas Davidson, and by a
young Englishman who was a member of the then new Fabian society
and to whom a peculiar glamour was attached because he had
scoured knives all summer in a camp of high-minded philosophers
in the Adirondacks.  Our new little plan met with criticism, not
to say disapproval, from Mr. Davidson, who, as nearly as I can
remember, called it "one of those unnatural attempts to
understand life through cooperative living."

It was in vain we asserted that the collective living was not an
essential part of the plan, that we would always scrupulously pay
our own expenses, and that at any moment we might decide to
scatter through the neighborhood and to live in separate
tenements; he still contended that the fascination for most of
those volunteering residence would lie in the collective living
aspect of the Settlement. His contention was, of course,
essentially sound; there is a constant tendency for the residents
to "lose themselves in the cave of their own companionship," as
the Toynbee Hall phrase goes, but on the other hand, it is
doubtless true that the very companionship, the give and take of
colleagues, is what tends to keep the Settlement normal and in
touch with "the world of things as they are." I am happy to say
that we never resented this nor any other difference of opinion,
and that fifteen years later Professor Davidson handsomely
acknowledged that the advantages of a group far outweighed the
weaknesses he had early pointed out.  He was at that later moment
sharing with a group of young men, on the East Side of New York,
his ripest conclusions in philosophy and was much touched by
their intelligent interest and absorbed devotion.  I think that
time has also justified our early contention that the mere
foothold of a house, easily accessible, ample in space,
hospitable and tolerant in spirit, situated in the midst of the
large foreign colonies which so easily isolate themselves in
American cities, would be in itself a serviceable thing for
Chicago.  I am not so sure that we succeeded in our endeavors "to
make social intercourse express the growing sense of the economic
unity of society and to add the social function to democracy".
But Hull-House was soberly opened on the theory that the
dependence of classes on each other is reciprocal; and that as
the social relation is essentially a reciprocal relation, it
gives a form of expression that has peculiar value.

In our search for a vicinity in which to settle we went about
with the officers of the compulsory education department, with
city missionaries, and with the newspaper reporters whom I recall
as a much older set of men than one ordinarily associates with
that profession, or perhaps I was only sent out with the older
ones on what they must all have considered a quixotic mission.
One Sunday afternoon in the late winter a reporter took me to
visit a so-called anarchist sunday school, several of which were
to be found on the northwest side of the city.  The young man in
charge was of the German student type, and his face flushed with
enthusiasm as he led the children singing one of Koerner's poems.
The newspaperman, who did not understand German, asked me what
abominable stuff they were singing, but he seemed dissatisfied
with my translation of the simple words and darkly intimated that
they were "deep ones," and had probably "fooled" me.  When I
replied that Koerner was an ardent German poet whose songs
inspired his countrymen to resist the aggressions of Napoleon,
and that his bound poems were found in the most respectable
libraries, he looked at me rather askance and I then and there
had my first intimation that to treat a Chicago man, who is
called an anarchist, as you would treat any other citizen, is to
lay yourself open to deep suspicion.

Another Sunday afternoon in the early spring, on the way to a
Bohemian mission in the carriage of one of its founders, we
passed a fine old house standing well back from the street,
surrounded on three sides by a broad piazza, which was supported
by wooden pillars of exceptionally pure Corinthian design and
proportion.  I was so attracted by the house that I set forth to
visit it the very next day, but though I searched for it then and
for several days after, I could not find it, and at length I most
reluctantly gave up the search.

Three weeks later, with the advice of several of the oldest
residents of Chicago, including the ex-mayor of the city, Colonel
Mason, who had from the first been a warm friend to our plans, we
decided upon a location somewhere near the junction of Blue
Island Avenue, Halsted Street, and Harrison Street.  I was
surprised and overjoyed on the very first day of our search for
quarters to come upon the hospitable old house, the quest for
which I had so recently abandoned.  The house was of course
rented, the lower part of it used for offices and storerooms in
connection with a factory that stood back of it.  However, after
some difficulties were overcome, it proved to be possible to
sublet the second floor and what had been a large drawing-room on
the first floor.

The house had passed through many changes since it had been built
in 1856 for the homestead of one of Chicago's pioneer citizens,
Mr. Charles J. Hull, and although battered by its vicissitudes,
was essentially sound. Before it had been occupied by the
factory, it had sheltered a second-hand furniture store, and at
one time the Little Sisters of the Poor had used it for a home
for the aged.  It had a half-skeptical reputation for a haunted
attic, so far respected by the tenants living on the second floor
that they always kept a large pitcher full of water on the attic
stairs.  Their explanation of this custom was so incoherent that
I was sure it was a survival of the belief that a ghost could not
cross running water, but perhaps that interpretation was only my
eagerness for finding folklore.

The fine old house responded kindly to repairs, its wide hall and
open fireplace always insuring it a gracious aspect.  Its
generous owner, Miss Helen Culver, in the following spring gave
us a free leasehold of the entire house.  Her kindness has
continued through the years until the group of thirteen
buildings, which at present comprises our equipment, is built
largely upon land which Miss Culver has put at the service of the
Settlement which bears Mr. Hull's name.  In those days the house
stood between an undertaking establishment and a saloon. "Knight,
Death and the Devil," the three were called by a Chicago wit, and
yet any mock heroics which might be implied by comparing the
Settlement to a knight quickly dropped away under the genuine
kindness and hearty welcome extended to us by the families living
up and down the street.

We furnished the house as we would have furnished it were it in
another part of the city, with the photographs and other
impedimenta we had collected in Europe, and with a few bits of
family mahogany.  While all the new furniture which was bought
was enduring in quality, we were careful to keep it in character
with the fine old residence. Probably no young matron ever placed
her own things in her own house with more pleasure than that with
which we first furnished Hull-House.  We believed that the
Settlement may logically bring to its aid all those adjuncts
which the cultivated man regards as good and suggestive of the
best of the life of the past.

On the 18th of September, 1889, Miss Starr and I moved into it,
with Miss Mary Keyser, who began performing the housework, but who
quickly developed into a very important factor in the life of the
vicinity as well as that of the household, and whose death five
years later was most sincerely mourned by hundreds of our neighbors.

In our enthusiasm over "settling," the first night we forgot not
only to lock but to close a side door opening on Polk Street, and
we were much pleased in the morning to find that we possessed a
fine illustration of the honesty and kindliness of our new neighbors.

Our first guest was an interesting young woman who lived in a
neighboring tenement, whose widowed mother aided her in the
support of the family by scrubbing a downtown theater every
night.  The mother, of English birth, was well bred and carefully
educated, but was in the midst of that bitter struggle which
awaits so many strangers in American cities who find that their
social position tends to be measured solely by the standards of
living they are able to maintain.  Our guest has long since
married the struggling young lawyer to whom she was then engaged,
and he is now leading his profession in an eastern city.  She
recalls that month's experience always with a sense of amusement
over the fact that the succession of visitors who came to see the
new Settlement invariably questioned her most minutely concerning
"these people" without once suspecting that they were talking to
one who had been identified with the neighborhood from childhood.
I at least was able to draw a lesson from the incident, and I
never addressed a Chicago audience on the subject of the
Settlement and its vicinity without inviting a neighbor to go
with me, that I might curb any hasty generalization by the
consciousness that I had an auditor who knew the conditions more
intimately than I could hope to do.

Halsted Street has grown so familiar during twenty years of
residence that it is difficult to recall its gradual changes,--the
withdrawal of the more prosperous Irish and Germans, and the slow
substitution of Russian Jews, Italians, and Greeks.  A description
of the street such as I gave in those early addresses still stands
in my mind as sympathetic and correct.

	Halsted Street is thirty-two miles long, and one of the
	great thoroughfares of Chicago; Polk Street crosses it
	midway between the stockyards to the south and the
	shipbuilding yards on the north branch of the Chicago
	River.  For the six miles between these two industries the
	street is lined with shops of butchers and grocers, with
	dingy and gorgeous saloons, and pretentious establishments
	for the sale of ready-made clothing.  Polk Street, running
	west from Halsted Street, grows rapidly more prosperous;
	running a mile east to State Street, it grows steadily
	worse, and crosses a network of vice on the corners of
	Clark Street and Fifth Avenue.  Hull-House once stood in
	the suburbs, but the city has steadily grown up around it
	and its site now has corners on three or four foreign
	colonies.  Between Halsted Street and the river live about
	ten thousand Italians--Neapolitans, Sicilians, and
	Calabrians, with an occasional Lombard or Venetian.  To
	the south on Twelfth Street are many Germans, and side
	streets are given over almost entirely to Polish and
	Russian Jews.  Still farther south, these Jewish colonies
	merge into a huge Bohemian colony, so vast that Chicago
	ranks as the third Bohemian city in the world.  To the
	northwest are many Canadian-French, clannish in spite of
	their long residence in America, and to the north are
	Irish and first-generation Americans.  On the streets
	directly west and farther north are well-to-do English
	speaking families, many of whom own their own houses and
	have lived in the neighborhood for years; one man is still
	living in his old farmhouse.

	The policy of the public authorities of never taking an
	initiative, and always waiting to be urged to do their
	duty, is obviously fatal in a neighborhood where there is
	little initiative among the citizens.  The idea underlying
	our self- government breaks down in such a ward.  The
	streets are inexpressibly dirty, the number of schools
	inadequate, sanitary legislation unenforced, the street
	lighting bad, the paving miserable and altogether lacking
	in the alleys and smaller streets, and the stables foul
	beyond description.  Hundreds of houses are unconnected
	with the street sewer.  The older and richer inhabitants
	seem anxious to move away as rapidly as they can afford
	it.  They make room for newly arrived immigrants who are
	densely ignorant of civic duties.  This substitution of
	the older inhabitants is accomplished industrially also,
	in the south and east quarters of the ward.  The Jews and
	Italians do the finishing for the great clothing
	manufacturers, formerly done by Americans, Irish, and
	Germans, who refused to submit to the extremely low prices
	to which the sweating system has reduced their successors.
	As the design of the sweating system is the elimination of
	rent from the manufacture of clothing, the "outside work"
	is begun after the clothing leaves the cutter.  An
	unscrupulous contractor regards no basement as too dark,
	no stable loft too foul, no rear shanty too provisional,
	no tenement room too small for his workroom, as these
	conditions imply low rental.  Hence these shops abound in
	the worst of the foreign districts where the sweater
	easily finds his cheap basement and his home finishers.

	The houses of the ward, for the most part wooden, were
	originally built for one family and are now occupied by
	several.  They are after the type of the inconvenient
	frame cottages found in the poorer suburbs twenty years
	ago. Many of them were built where they now stand; others
	were brought thither on rollers, because their previous
	sites had been taken by factories.  The fewer brick
	tenement buildings which are three or four stories high
	are comparatively new, and there are few large tenements.
	The little wooden houses have a temporary aspect, and for
	this reason, perhaps, the tenement-house legislation in
	Chicago is totally inadequate.  Rear tenements flourish;
	many houses have no water supply save the faucet in the
	back yard, there are no fire escapes, the garbage and
	ashes are placed in wooden boxes which are fastened to the
	street pavements.  One of the most discouraging features
	about the present system of tenement houses is that many
	are owned by sordid and ignorant immigrants.  The theory
	that wealth brings responsibility, that possession entails
	at length education and refinement, in these cases fails
	utterly.  The children of an Italian immigrant owner may
	"shine" shoes in the street, and his wife may pick rags
	from the street gutter, laboriously sorting them in a
	dingy court.  Wealth may do something for her
	self-complacency and feeling of consequence; it certainly
	does nothing for her comfort or her children's improvement
	nor for the cleanliness of anyone concerned.  Another
	thing that prevents better houses in Chicago is the
	tentative attitude of the real estate men.  Many unsavory
	conditions are allowed to continue which would be regarded
	with horror if they were considered permanent.  Meanwhile,
	the wretched conditions persist until at least two
	generations of children have been born and reared in them.

	In every neighborhood where poorer people live, because
	rents are supposed to be cheaper there, is an element
	which, although uncertain in the individual, in the
	aggregate can be counted upon.  It is composed of people
	of former education and opportunity who have cherished
	ambitions and prospects, but who are caricatures of what
	they meant to be--"hollow ghosts which blame the living
	men." There are times in many lives when there is a
	cessation of energy and loss of power.  Men and women of
	education and refinement come to live in a cheaper
	neighborhood because they lack the ability to make money,
	because of ill health, because of an unfortunate marriage,
	or for other reasons which do not imply criminality or
	stupidity.  Among them are those who, in spite of untoward
	circumstances, keep up some sort of an intellectual life;
	those who are "great for books," as their neighbors say.
	To such the Settlement may be a genuine refuge.

In the very first weeks of our residence Miss Starr started a
reading party in George Eliot's "Romola," which was attended by a
group of young women who followed the wonderful tale with
unflagging interest.  The weekly reading was held in our little
upstairs dining room, and two members of the club came to dinner
each week, not only that they might be received as guests, but
that they might help us wash the dishes afterwards and so make
the table ready for the stacks of Florentine photographs.

Our "first resident," as she gaily designated herself, was a
charming old lady who gave five consecutive readings from
Hawthorne to a most appreciative audience, interspersing the
magic tales most delightfully with recollections of the elusive
and fascinating author.  Years before she had lived at Brook Farm
as a pupil of the Ripleys, and she came to us for ten days
because she wished to live once more in an atmosphere where
"idealism ran high." We thus early found the type of class which
through all the years has remained most popular--a combination of
a social atmosphere with serious study.

Volunteers to the new undertaking came quickly; a charming young
girl conducted a kindergarten in the drawing room, coming
regularly every morning from her home in a distant part of the
North Side of the city.  Although a tablet to her memory has
stood upon a mantel shelf in Hull-House for five years, we still
associate her most vividly with the play of little children,
first in her kindergarten and then in her own nursery, which
furnished a veritable illustration of Victor Hugo's definition of
heaven--"a place where parents are always young and children
always little." Her daily presence for the first two years made
it quite impossible for us to become too solemn and
self-conscious in our strenuous routine, for her mirth and
buoyancy were irresistible and her eager desire to share the life
of the neighborhood never failed, although it was often put to a
severe test.  One day at luncheon she gaily recited her futile
attempt to impress temperance principles upon the mind of an
Italian mother, to whom she had returned a small daughter of five
sent to the kindergarten "in quite a horrid state of
intoxication" from the wine-soaked bread upon which she had
breakfasted.  The mother, with the gentle courtesy of a South
Italian, listened politely to her graphic portrayal of the
untimely end awaiting so immature a wine bibber; but long before
the lecture was finished, quite unconscious of the incongruity,
she hospitably set forth her best wines, and when her baffled
guest refused one after the other, she disappeared, only to
quickly return with a small dark glass of whisky, saying
reassuringly, "See, I have brought you the true American drink."
The recital ended in seriocomic despair, with the rueful
statement that "the impression I probably made on her darkened
mind was, that it was the American custom to breakfast children
on bread soaked in whisky instead of light Italian wine."

That first kindergarten was a constant source of education to us.
We were much surprised to find social distinctions even among its
lambs, although greatly amused with the neat formulation made by
the superior little Italian boy who refused to sit beside uncouth
little Angelina because "we eat our macaroni this way"--imitating
the movement of a fork from a plate to his mouth--"and she eat
her macaroni this way," holding his hand high in the air and
throwing back his head, that his wide-open mouth might receive an
imaginary cascade.  Angelina gravely nodded her little head in
approval of this distinction between gentry and peasant.  "But
isn't it astonishing that merely table manners are made such a
test all the way along--" was the comment of their democratic
teacher.  Another memory which refuses to be associated with
death, which came to her all too soon, is that of the young girl
who organized our first really successful club of boys, holding
their fascinated interest by the old chivalric tales, set forth
so dramatically and vividly that checkers and jackstraws were
abandoned by all the other clubs on Boys' Day, that their members
might form a listening fringe to "The Young Heros."

I met a member of the latter club one day as he flung himself out
of the House in the rage by which an emotional boy hopes to keep
from shedding tears.  "There is no use coming here any more,
Prince Roland is dead," he gruffly explained as we passed.  We
encouraged the younger boys in tournaments and dramatics of all
sorts, and we somewhat fatuously believed that boys who were
early interested in adventurers or explorers might later want to
know the lives of living statesmen and inventors.  It is needless
to add that the boys quickly responded to such a program, and
that the only difficulty lay in finding leaders who were able to
carry it out.  This difficulty has been with us through all the
years of growth and development in the Boys' Club until now, with
its five-story building, its splendid equipment of shops, of
recreation and study rooms, that group alone is successful which
commands the services of a resourceful and devoted leader.

The dozens of younger children who from the first came to Hull-
House were organized into groups which were not quite classes and
not quite clubs.  The value of these groups consisted almost
entirely in arousing a higher imagination and in giving the
children the opportunity which they could not have in the crowded
schools, for initiative and for independent social relationships.
The public schools then contained little hand work of any sort,
so that naturally any instruction which we provided for the
children took the direction of this supplementary work.  But it
required a constant effort that the pressure of poverty itself
should not defeat the educational aim.  The Italian girls in the
sewing classes would count the day lost when they could not carry
home a garment, and the insistence that it should be neatly made
seemed a super-refinement to those in dire need of clothing.

As these clubs have been continued during the twenty years they
have developed classes in the many forms of handicraft which the
newer education is so rapidly adapting for the delight of
children; but they still keep their essentially social character
and still minister to that large number of children who leave
school the very week they are fourteen years old, only too eager
to close the schoolroom door forever on a tiresome task that is
at last well over.  It seems to us important that these children
shall find themselves permanently attached to a House that offers
them evening clubs and classes with their old companions, that
merges as easily as possible the school life into the working
life and does what it can to find places for the bewildered young
things looking for work.  A large proportion of the delinquent
boys brought into the juvenile court in Chicago are the oldest
sons in large families whose wages are needed at home.  The
grades from which many of them leave school, as the records show,
are piteously far from the seventh and eighth where the very
first introduction in manual training is given, nor have they
been caught by any other abiding interest.

In spite of these flourishing clubs for children early
established at Hull-House, and the fact that our first organized
undertaking was a kindergarten, we were very insistent that the
Settlement should not be primarily for the children, and that it
was absurd to suppose that grown people would not respond to
opportunities for education and social life.  Our enthusiastic
kindergartner herself demonstrated this with an old woman of
ninety who, because she was left alone all day while her daughter
cooked in a restaurant, had formed such a persistent habit of
picking the plaster off the walls that one landlord after another
refused to have her for a tenant.  It required but a few week's
time to teach her to make large paper chains, and gradually she
was content to do it all day long, and in the end took quite as
much pleasure in adorning the walls as she had formally taken in
demolishing them.  Fortunately the landlord had never heard the
aesthetic principle that exposure of basic construction is more
desirable than gaudy decoration.  In course of time it was
discovered that the old woman could speak Gaelic, and when one or
two grave professors came to see her, the neighborhood was filled
with pride that such a wonder lived in their midst.  To mitigate
life for a woman of ninety was an unfailing refutation of the
statement that the Settlement was designed for the young.

On our first New Year's Day at Hull-House we invited the older
people in the vicinity, sending a carriage for the most feeble
and announcing to all of them that we were going to organize an
Old Settlers' Party.

Every New Year's Day since, older people in varying numbers have
come together at Hull-House to relate early hardships, and to take
for the moment the place in the community to which their pioneer
life entitles them.  Many people who were formerly residents of
the vicinity, but whom prosperity has carried into more desirable
neighborhoods, come back to these meetings and often confess to
each other that they have never since found such kindness as in
early Chicago when all its citizens came together in mutual
enterprises.  Many of these pioneers, so like the men and women of
my earliest childhood that I always felt comforted by their
presence in the house, were very much opposed to "foreigners,"
whom they held responsible for a depreciation of property and a
general lowering of the tone of the neighborhood. Sometimes we had
a chance for championship; I recall one old man, fiercely
American, who had reproached me because we had so many "foreign
views" on our walls, to whom I endeavored to set forth our hope
that the pictures might afford a familiar island to the immigrants
in a sea of new and strange impressions.  The old settler guest,
taken off his guard, replied, "I see; they feel as we did when we
saw a Yankee notion from Down East,"--thereby formulating the dim
kinship between the pioneer and the immigrant, both "buffeting the
waves of a new development." The older settlers as well as their
children throughout the years have given genuine help to our
various enterprises for neighborhood improvement, and from their
own memories of earlier hardships have made many shrewd
suggestions for alleviating the difficulties of that first sharp
struggle with untoward conditions.

In those early days we were often asked why we had come to live
on Halsted Street when we could afford to live somewhere else.  I
remember one man who used to shake his head and say it was "the
strangest thing he had met in his experience," but who was
finally convinced that it was "not strange but natural." In time
it came to seem natural to all of us that the Settlement should
be there.  If it is natural to feed the hungry and care for the
sick, it is certainly natural to give pleasure to the young,
comfort to the aged, and to minister to the deep-seated craving
for social intercourse that all men feel.  Whoever does it is
rewarded by something which, if not gratitude, is at least
spontaneous and vital and lacks that irksome sense of obligation
with which a substantial benefit is too often acknowledged.

In addition to the neighbors who responded to the receptions and
classes, we found those who were too battered and oppressed to
care for them.  To these, however, was left that susceptibility
to the bare offices of humanity which raises such offices into a
bond of fellowship.

From the first it seemed understood that we were ready to perform
the humblest neighborhood services.  We were asked to wash the
new-born babies, and to prepare the dead for burial, to nurse the
sick, and to "mind the children."

Occasionally these neighborly offices unexpectedly uncovered ugly
human traits.  For six weeks after an operation we kept in one of
our three bedrooms a forlorn little baby who, because he was born
with a cleft palate, was most unwelcome even to his mother, and
we were horrified when he died of neglect a week after he was
returned to his home; a little Italian bride of fifteen sought
shelter with us one November evening to escape her husband who
had beaten her every night for a week when he returned home from
work, because she had lost her wedding ring; two of us officiated
quite alone at the birth of an illegitimate child because the
doctor was late in arriving, and none of the honest Irish matrons
would "touch the likes of her"; we ministered at the deathbed of
a young man, who during a long illness of tuberculosis had
received so many bottles of whisky through the mistaken kindness
of his friends, that the cumulative effect produced wild periods
of exultation, in one of which he died.

We were also early impressed with the curious isolation of many
of the immigrants; an Italian woman once expressed her pleasure
in the red roses that she saw at one of our receptions in
surprise that they had been "brought so fresh all the way from
Italy." She would not believe for an instant that they had been
grown in America.  She said that she had lived in Chicago for six
years and had never seen any roses, whereas in Italy she had seen
them every summer in great profusion.  During all that time, of
course, the woman had lived within ten blocks of a florist's
window; she had not been more than a five-cent car ride away from
the public parks; but she had never dreamed of faring forth for
herself, and no one had taken her.  Her conception of America had
been the untidy street in which she lived and had made her long
struggle to adapt herself to American ways.

But in spite of some untoward experiences, we were constantly
impressed with the uniform kindness and courtesy we received.
Perhaps these first days laid the simple human foundations which
are certainly essential for continuous living among the poor;
first, genuine preference for residence in an industrial quarter
to any other part of the city, because it is interesting and
makes the human appeal; and second, the conviction, in the words
of Canon Barnett, that the things that make men alike are finer
and better than the things that keep them apart, and that these
basic likenesses, if they are properly accentuated, easily
transcend the less essential differences of race, language,
creed, and tradition.

Perhaps even in those first days we made a beginning toward that
object which was afterwards stated in our charter: "To provide a
center for 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."


[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Diana Camden.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter VI: The Subjective Necessity for Social Settlements." by
Jane Addams (1860-1935) From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with
Autobiographical Notes. by Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan
Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp. 113-127.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]



CHAPTER VI

SUBJECTIVE NECESSITY FOR SOCIAL SETTLEMENTS

The Ethical Culture Societies held a summer school at Plymouth,
Massachusetts, in 1892, to which they invited several people
representing the then new Settlement movement, that they might
discuss with others the general theme of Philanthropy and Social
Progress.

I venture to produce here parts of a lecture I delivered in
Plymouth, both because I have found it impossible to formulate
with the same freshness those early motives and strivings, and
because, when published with other papers given that summer, it
was received by the Settlement people themselves as a
satisfactory statement.

I remember on golden summer afternoon during the sessions of the
summer school that several of us met on the shores of a pond in a
pine wood a few miles from Plymouth, to discuss our new movement.
The natural leader of the group was Robert A. Woods.  He had
recently returned from a residence in Toynbee Hall, London, to
open Andover House in Boston, and had just issued a book, "English
Social Movements," in which he had gathered together and focused
the many forms of social endeavor preceding and contemporaneous
with the English Settlements.  There were Miss Vida D. Scudder and
Miss Helena Dudley from the College Settlement Association, Miss
Julia C. Lathrop and myself from Hull-House.  Some of us had
numbered our years as far as thirty, and we all carefully avoided
the extravagance of statement which characterizes youth, and yet I
doubt if anywhere on the continent that summer could have been
found a group of people more genuinely interested in social
development or more sincerely convinced that they had found a clue
by which the conditions in crowded cities might be understood and
the agencies for social betterment developed.

We were all careful to avoid saying that we had found a "life
work," perhaps with an instinctive dread of expending all our
energy in vows of constancy, as so often happens; and yet it is
interesting to note that of all the people whom I have recalled as
the enthusiasts at that little conference have remained attached to
Settlements in actual residence for longer or shorter periods each
year during the eighteen years that have elapsed since then,
although they have also been closely identified as publicists or
governmental officials with movements outside.  It is as if they
had discovered that the Settlement was too valuable as a method as
a way of approach to the social question to abandoned, although
they had long since discovered it was not a "social movement" in
itself.  This, however, is anticipating the future, whereas the
following paper on "The Subjective Necessity for Social Settlements"
should have a chance to speak for itself. It is perhaps too
late in the day to express regret for its stilted title.

This paper is an attempt to analyze the motives which underlie a
movement based, not only upon conviction, but upon genuine
emotion, wherever educated young people are seeking an outlet for
that sentiment for universal brotherhood, which the best spirit of
our times is forcing from an emotion into a motive.  These young
people accomplish little toward the solution of this social
problem, and bear the brunt of being cultivated into unnourished,
oversensitive lives.  They have been shut off from the common
labor by which they live which is a great source of moral and
physical health.  They feel a fatal want of harmony between their
theory and their lives, a lack of coordination between thought and
action.  I think it is hard for us to realize how seriously many
of them are taking to the notion of human brotherhood, how eagerly
they long to give tangible expression to the democratic ideal.
These young men and women, longing to socialize their democracy,
are animated by certain hopes which may be thus loosely
formulated; that if in a democratic country nothing can be
permanently achieved save through the masses of the people, it
will be impossible to establish a higher political life than the
people themselves crave; that it is difficult to see how the
notion of a higher civic life can be fostered save through common
intercourse; that the blessings which we associate with a life of
refinement and cultivation can be made universal and must be made
universal if they are to be permanent; that the good we secure for
ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air,
until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common
life.  It is easier to state these hopes than to formulate the
line of motives, which I believe to constitute the trend of the
subjective pressure toward the Settlement.  There is something
primordial about these motives, but I am perhaps overbold in
designating them as a great desire to share the race life.  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 and to use but half our faculties.  We have
all had longings for a fuller life which should include the use of
these faculties.  These longings are the physical complement of
the "Intimations of Immortality," on which no ode has yet been
written.  To portray these would be the work of a poet, and it is
hazardous for any but a poet to attempt it.

You may remember the forlorn feeling which occasionally seizes
you when you arrive early in the morning a stranger in a great
city: the stream of laboring people goes past you as you gaze
through the plate-glass window of your hotel; you see hard
working men lifting great burdens; you hear the driving and
jostling of huge carts and your heart sinks with a sudden sense
of futility.  The door opens behind you and you turn to the man
who brings you in your breakfast with a quick sense of human
fellowship.  You find yourself praying that you may never lose
your hold on it all.  A more poetic prayer would be that the
great mother breasts of our common humanity, with its labor and
suffering and its homely comforts, may never be withheld from
you.  You turn helplessly to the waiter and feel that it would be
almost grotesque to claim from him the sympathy you crave because
civilization has placed you apart, but you resent your position
with a sudden sense of snobbery.  Literature is full of
portrayals of these glimpses: they come to shipwrecked men on
rafts; they overcome the differences of an incongruous multitude
when in the presence of a great danger or when moved by a common
enthusiasm.  They are not, however, confined to such moments, and
if we were in the habit of telling them to each other, the
recital would be as long as the tales of children are, when they
sit down on the green grass and confide to each other how many
times they have remembered that they lived once before. If these
childish tales are the stirring of inherited impressions, just so
surely is the other the striving of inherited powers.

"It is true that there is nothing after disease, indigence and a
sense of guilt, so fatal to health and to life itself as the want
of a proper outlet for active faculties." I have seen young girls
suffer and grow sensibly lowered in vitality in the first years
after they leave school.  In our attempt then to give a girl
pleasure and freedom from care we succeed, for the most part, in
making her pitifully miserable.  She finds "life" so different
from what she expected it to be.  She is besotted with innocent
little ambitions, and does not understand this apparent waste of
herself, this elaborate preparation, if no work is provided for
her.  There is a heritage of noble obligation which young people
accept and long to perpetuate.  The desire for action, the wish
to right wrong and alleviate suffering haunts them daily. Society
smiles at it indulgently instead of making it of value to itself.
The wrong to them begins even farther back, when we restrain the
first childish desires for "doing good", and tell them that they
must wait until they are older and better fitted. We intimate
that social obligation begins at a fixed date, forgetting that it
begins at birth itself.  We treat them as children who, with
strong-growing limbs, are allowed to use their legs but not their
arms, or whose legs are daily carefully exercised that after a
while their arms may be put to high use.  We do this in spite of
the protest of the best educators, Locke and Pestalozzi.  We are
fortunate in the meantime if their unused members do not weaken
and disappear. They do sometimes.  There are a few girls who, by
the time they are "educated", forget their old childish desires
to help the world and to play with poor little girls "who haven't
playthings".  Parents are often inconsistent: they deliberately
expose their daughters to knowledge of the distress in the world;
they send them to hear missionary addresses on famines in India
and China; they accompany them to lectures on the suffering in
Siberia; they agitate together over the forgotten region of East
London.  In addition to this, from babyhood the altruistic
tendencies of these daughters are persistently cultivated.  They
are taught to be self-forgetting and self-sacrificing, to
consider the good of the whole before the good of the ego.  But
when all this information and culture show results, when the
daughter comes back from college and begins to recognize her
social claim to the "submerged tenth", and to evince a
disposition to fulfill it, the family claim is strenuously
asserted; she is told that she is unjustified, ill-advised in her
efforts.  If she persists, the family too often are injured and
unhappy unless the efforts are called missionary and the
religious zeal of the family carry them over their sense of
abuse.  When this zeal does not exist, the result is perplexing.
It is a curious violation of what we would fain believe a
fundamental law--that the final return of the deed is upon the
head of the doer.  The deed is that of exclusiveness and caution,
but the return, instead of falling upon the head of the exclusive
and cautious, falls upon a young head full of generous and
unselfish plans.  The girl loses something vital out of her life
to which she is entitled.  She is restricted and unhappy; her
elders meanwhile, are unconscious of the situation and we have
all the elements of a tragedy.

We have in America a fast-growing number of cultivated young
people who have no recognized outlet for their active faculties.
They hear constantly of the great social maladjustment, but no way
is provided for them to change it, and their uselessness hangs
about them heavily.  Huxley declares that the sense of uselessness
is the severest shock which the human system can sustain, and that
if persistently sustained, it results in atrophy of function.
These young people have had advantages of college, of European
travel, and of economic study, but they are sustaining this shock
of inaction.  They have pet phrases, and they tell you that the
things that make us all alike are stronger than the things that
make us different.  They say that all men are united by needs and
sympathies far more permanent and radical than anything that
temporarily divides them and sets them in opposition to each
other.  If they affect art, they say that the decay in artistic
expression is due to the decay in ethics, that art when shut away
from the human interests and from the great mass of humanity is
self-destructive.  They tell their elders with all the bitterness
of youth that if they expect success from them in business or
politics or in whatever lines their ambition for them has run,
they must let them consult all of humanity; that they must let
them find out what the people want and how they want it.  It is
only the stronger young people, however, who formulate this.  Many
of them dissipate their energies in so-called enjoyment.  Others
not content with that, go on studying and go back to college for
their second degrees; not that they are especially fond of study,
but because they want something definite to do, and their powers
have been trained in the direction of mental accumulation.  Many
are buried beneath this mental accumulation with lowered vitality
and discontent. Walter Besant says they have had the vision that
Peter had when he saw the great sheet let down from heaven,
wherein was neither clean nor unclean.  He calls it the sense of
humanity.  It is not philanthropy nor benevolence, but a thing
fuller and wider than either of these.

This young life, so sincere in its emotion and good phrases and
yet so undirected, seems to me as pitiful as the other great mass
of destitute lives.  One is supplementary to the other, and some
method of communication can surely be devised.  Mr. Barnett, who
urged the first Settlement,--Toynbee Hall, in East
London,--recognized this need of outlet for the young men of
Oxford and Cambridge, and hoped that the Settlement would supply
the communication.  It is easy to see why the Settlement movement
originated in England, where the years of education are more
constrained and definite than they are here, where class
distinctions are more rigid.  The necessity of it was greater
there, but we are fast feeling the pressure of the need and
meeting the necessity for Settlements in America.  Our young
people feel nervously the need of putting theory into action, and
respond quickly to the Settlement form of activity.

Other motives which I believe make toward the Settlement are the
result of a certain renaissance going forward in Christianity.
The impulse to share the lives of the poor, the desire to make
social service, irrespective of propaganda, express the spirit of
Christ, is as old as Christianity itself.  We have no proof from
the records themselves that the early Roman Christians, who
strained their simple art to the point of grotesqueness in their
eagerness to record a "good news" on the walls of the catacombs,
considered this good news a religion.  Jesus had no set of truths
labeled Religious.  On the contrary, his doctrine was that all
truth is one, that the appropriation of it is freedom.  His
teaching had no dogma to mark it off from truth and action in
general.  He himself called it a revelation--a life.  These early
Roman Christians received the Gospel message, a command to love
all men, with a certain joyous simplicity.  The image of the Good
Shepherd is blithe and gay beyond the gentlest shepherd of Greek
mythology; the hart no longer pants, but rushes to the water
brooks.  The Christians looked for the continuous revelation, but
believed what Jesus said, that this revelation, to be retained
and made manifest, must be put into terms of action; that action
is the only medium man has for receiving and appropriating truth;
that the doctrine must be known through the will.

That Christianity has to be revealed and embodied in the line of
social progress is a corollary to the simple proposition, that
man's action is found in his social relationships in the way in
which he connects with his fellows; that his motives for action
are the zeal and affection with which he regards his fellows.  By
this simple process was created a deep enthusiasm for humanity;
which regarded man as at once the organ and the object of
revelation; and by this process came about the wonderful
fellowship, the true democracy of the early Church, that so
captivates the imagination.  The early Christians were
preeminently nonresistant.  They believed in love as a cosmic
force.  There was no iconoclasm during the minor peace of the
Church.  They did not yet denounce nor tear down temples, nor
preach the end of the world.  They grew to a mighty number, but
it never occurred to them, either in their weakness or in their
strength, to regard other men for an instant as their foes or as
aliens.  The spectacle of the Christians loving all men was the
most astounding Rome had ever seen.  They were eager to sacrifice
themselves for the weak, for children, and for the aged; they
identified themselves with slaves and did not avoid the plague;
they longed to share the common lot that they might receive the
constant revelation.  It was a new treasure which the early
Christians added to the sum of all treasures, a joy hitherto
unknown in the world--the joy of finding the Christ which lieth
in each man, but which no man can unfold save in fellowship.  A
happiness ranging from the heroic to the pastoral enveloped them.
They were to possess a revelation as long as life had new meaning
to unfold, new action to propose.

I believe that there is a distinct turning among many young men
and women toward this simple acceptance of Christ's message. They
resent the assumption that Christianity is a set of ideas which
belong to the religious consciousness, whatever that may be.
They insist that it cannot be proclaimed and instituted apart
from the social life of the community and that it must seek a
simple and natural expression in the social organism itself. The
Settlement movement is only one manifestation of that wider
humanitarian movement which throughout Christendom, but
pre-eminently in England, is endeavoring to embody itself, not in
a sect, but in society itself.

I believe that this turning, this renaissance of the early
Christian humanitarianism, is going on in America, in Chicago, if
you please, without leaders who write or philosophize, without
much speaking, but with a bent to express in social service and in
terms of action the spirit of Christ.  Certain it is that
spiritual force is found in the Settlement movement, and it is
also true that this force must be evoked and must be called into
play before the success of any Settlement is assured.  There must
be the overmastering belief that all that is noblest in life is
common to men as men, in order to accentuate the likenesses and
ignore the differences which are found among the people whom the
Settlement constantly brings into juxtaposition.  It may be true,
as the Positivists insist, that the very religious fervor of man
can be turned into love for his race, and his desire for a future
life into content to live in the echo of his deeds; Paul's formula
of seeking for the Christ which lieth in each man and founding our
likenesses on him, seems a simpler formula to many of us.

In a thousand voices singing the Hallelujah Chorus in Handel's
"Messiah," it is possible to distinguish the leading voices, but
the differences of training and cultivation between them and the
voices in the chorus, are lost in the unity of purpose and in the
fact that they are all human voices lifted by a high motive.
This is a weak illustration of what a Settlement attempts to do.
It aims, in a measure, to develop whatever of social life its
neighborhood may afford, to focus and give form to that life, to
bring to bear upon it the results of cultivation and training;
but it receives in exchange for the music of isolated voices the
volume and strength of the chorus.  It is quite impossible for me
to say in what proportion or degree the subjective necessity
which led to the opening of Hull-House combined the three trends:
first, the desire to interpret democracy in social terms;
secondly, the impulse beating at the very source of our lives,
urging us to aid in the race progress; and, thirdly, the
Christian movement toward humanitarianism.  It is difficult to
analyze a living thing; the analysis is at best imperfect.  Many
more motives may blend with the three trends; possibly the desire
for a new form of social success due to the nicety of
imagination, which refuses worldly pleasures unmixed with the
joys of self-sacrifice; possibly a love of approbation, so vast
that it is not content with the treble clapping of delicate
hands, but wishes also to hear the bass notes from toughened
palms, may mingle with these.

The Settlement then, is an experimental effort to aid in the
solution of the social and industrial problems which are
engendered by the modern conditions of life in a great city.  It
insists that these problems are not confined to any one portion of
a city.  It is an attempt to relieve, at the same time, the
overaccumulation at one end of society and the destitution at the
other; but it assumes that this overaccumulation and destitution
is most sorely felt in the things that pertain to social and
educational privileges.  From its very nature it can stand for no
political or social propaganda.  It must, in a sense, give the
warm welcome of an inn to all such propaganda, if perchance one of
them be found an angel.  The only thing to be dreaded in the
Settlement is that it lose its flexibility, its power of quick
adaptation, its readiness to change its methods as its environment
may demand. It must be open to conviction and must have a deep and
abiding sense of tolerance.  It must be hospitable and ready for
experiment.  It should demand from its residents a scientific
patience in the accumulation of facts and the steady holding of
their sympathies as one of the best instruments for that
accumulation.  It 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.  Its residents must be emptied of
all conceit of opinion and all self-assertion, and ready to arouse
and interpret the public opinion of their neighborhood. They must
be content to live quietly side by side with their neighbors,
until they grow into a sense of relationship and mutual interests.
 Their neighbors are held apart by differences of race and
language which the residents can more easily overcome.  They are
bound to see the needs of their neighborhood as a whole, to
furnish data for legislation, and to use their influence to secure
it.  In short, residents are pledged to devote themselves to the
duties of good citizenship and to the arousing of the social
energies which too largely lie dormant in every neighborhood given
over to industrialism.  They are bound to regard the entire life
of their city as organic, to make an effort to unify it, and to
protest against its over-differentiation.

It is always easy to make all philosophy point one particular
moral and all history adorn one particular tale; but I may be
forgiven the reminder that the best speculative philosophy sets
forth the solidarity of the human race; that the highest moralists
have taught that without the advance and improvement of the whole,
no man can hope for any lasting improvement in his own moral or
material individual condition; and that the subjective necessity
for Social Settlements is therefore identical with that necessity,
which urges us on toward social and individual salvation.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers. Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Diana Camden.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter VII: Some Early Undertakings at Hull-House." by Jane
Addams (1860-1935) From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with
Autobiographical Notes. by Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan
Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp. 128-153.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]



CHAPTER VII

SOME EARLY UNDERTAKINGS AT HULL-HOUSE


If the early American Settlements stood for a more exigent
standard in philanthropic activities, insisting that each new
undertaking should be preceded by carefully ascertained facts,
then certainly Hull-House held to this standard in the opening of
our new coffee-house first started as a public kitchen.  An
investigation of the sweatshops had disclosed the fact, that
sewing women during the busy season paid little attention to the
feeding of their families, for it was only by working steadily
through the long day that the scanty pay of five, seven, or nine
cents for finishing a dozen pairs of trousers could be made into
a day's wage; and they bought from the nearest grocery the canned
goods that could be most quickly heated, or gave a few pennies to
the children with which they might secure a lunch from a
neighboring candy shop.

One of the residents made an investigation, at the instance of
the United States Department of Agriculture, into the food values
of the dietaries of the various immigrants, and this was followed
by an investigation made by another resident, for the United
States Department of Labor, into the foods of the Italian colony,
on the supposition that the constant use of imported products
bore a distinct relation to the cost of living. I recall an
Italian who, coming into Hull-House one day as we were sitting at
the dinner table, expressed great surprise that Americans ate a
variety of food, because he believed that they partook only of
potatoes and beer.  A little inquiry showed that this conclusion
was drawn from the fact that he lived next to an Irish saloon and
had never seen anything but potatoes going in and beer coming
out.

At that time the New England kitchen was comparatively new in
Boston, and Mrs. Richards, who was largely responsible for its
foundation, hoped that cheaper cuts of meat and simpler
vegetables, if they were subjected to slow and thorough processes
of cooking, might be made attractive and their nutritive value
secured for the people who so sadly needed more nutritious food.
It was felt that this could be best accomplished in public
kitchens, where the advantage of scientific training and careful
supervision could be secured.  One of the residents went to
Boston for a training under Mrs. Richards, and when the
Hull-House kitchen was fitted under her guidance and direction,
our hopes ran high for some modification of the food of the
neighborhood. We did not reckon, however, with the wide diversity
in nationality and inherited tastes, and while we sold a certain
amount of the carefully prepared soups and stews in the neigh-
boring factories--a sale which has steadily increased throughout
the years--and were also patronized by a few households, perhaps
the neighborhood estimate was best summed up by the woman who
frankly confessed, that the food was certainly nutritious, but
that she didn't like to eat what was nutritious, that she liked
to eat "what she'd ruther."

If the dietetics were appreciated but slowly, the social value of
the coffee-house and the gymnasium, which were in the same
building, were quickly demonstrated.  At that time the saloon
halls were the only places in the neighborhood where the immigrant
could hold his social gatherings, and where he could celebrate
such innocent and legitimate occasions as weddings and christenings.

These halls were rented very cheaply with the understanding that
various sums of money should be "passed across the bar," and it
was considered a mean host or guest who failed to live up to this
implied bargain.  The consequence was that many a reputable party
ended with a certain amount of disorder, due solely to the fact
that the social instinct was traded upon and used as a basis for
money making by an adroit host.  From the beginning the young
people's clubs had asked for dancing, and nothing was more
popular than the increased space for parties offered by the
gymnasium, with the chance to serve refreshments in the room
below.  We tried experiments with every known "soft drink," from
those extracted from an expensive soda water fountain to slender
glasses of grape juice, but so far as drinks were concerned we
never became a rival to the saloon, nor indeed did anyone imagine
that we were trying to do so.  I remember one man who looked
about the cozy little room and said, "This would be a nice place
to sit in all day if one could only have beer." But the
coffee-house gradually performed a mission of its own and became
something of a social center to the neighborhood as well as a
real convenience.  Business men from the adjacent factories and
school teachers from the nearest public schools, used it
increasingly.  The Hull-House students and club members supped
together in little groups or held their reunions and social
banquets, as, to a certain extent, did organizations from all
parts of the town.  The experience of the coffee-house taught us
not to hold to preconceived ideas of what the neighborhood ought
to have, but to keep ourselves in readiness to modify and adapt
our undertakings as we discovered those things which the
neighborhood was ready to accept.

Better food was doubtless needed, but more attractive and safer
places for social gatherings were also needed, and the
neighborhood was ready for one and not for the other.  We had no
hint then in Chicago of the small parks which were to be
established fifteen years later, containing the halls for dancing
and their own restaurants in buildings where the natural desire
of the young for gayety and social organization, could be safely
indulged.  Yet even in that early day a member of the Hull-House
Men's Club who had been appointed superintendent of Douglas Park
had secured there the first public swimming pool, and his fellow
club members were proud of the achievement.

There was in the earliest undertakings at Hull-House a touch of
the artist's enthusiasm when he translates his inner vision
through his chosen material into outward form.  Keenly conscious
of the social confusion all about us and the hard economic
struggle, we at times believed that the very struggle itself
might become a source of strength.  The devotion of the mothers
to their children, the dread of the men lest they fail to provide
for the family dependent upon their daily exertions, at moments
seemed to us the secret stores of strength from which society is
fed, the invisible array of passion and feeling which are the
surest protectors 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.

Of course there was always present the harrowing consciousness of
the difference in economic condition between ourselves and our
neighbors.  Even if we had gone to live in the most wretched
tenement, there would have always been an essential difference
between them and ourselves, for we should have had a sense of
security in regard to illness and old age and the lack of these
two securities are the specters which most persistently haunt the
poor.  Could we, in spite of this, make their individual efforts
more effective through organization and possibly complement them
by small efforts of our own?

Some such vague hope was in our minds when we started the
Hull-House Cooperative Coal Association, which led a vigorous
life for three years, and developed a large membership under the
skillful advice of its one paid officer, an English workingman
who had had experience in cooperative societies at "'ome." Some
of the meetings of the association, in which people met to
consider together their basic dependence upon fire and warmth,
had a curious challenge of life about them.  Because the
cooperators knew what it meant to bring forth children in the
midst of privation and to see the tiny creatures struggle for
life, their recitals cut a cross section, as it were, in that
world-old effort--the "dying to live" which so inevitably
triumphs over poverty and suffering.  And yet their very
familiarity with hardship may have been responsible for that
sentiment which traditionally ruins business, for a vote of the
cooperators that the basket buyers be given one basket free out
of every six, that the presentation of five purchase tickets
should entitle the holders to a profit in coal instead of stock
"because it would be a shame to keep them waiting for the
dividend," was always pointed to by the conservative
quarter-of-a-ton buyers as the beginning of the end.  At any
rate, at the close of the third winter, although the Association
occupied an imposing coal yard on the southeast corner of the
Hull-House block and its gross receipts were between three and
four hundred dollars a day, it became evident that the concern
could not remain solvent if it continued its philanthropic
policy, and the experiment was terminated by the cooperators
taking up their stock in the remaining coal.

Our next cooperative experiment was much more successful, perhaps
because it was much more spontaneous.

At a meeting of working girls held at Hull-House during a strike
in a large shoe factory, the discussions made it clear that the
strikers who had been most easily frightened, and therefore first
to capitulate, were naturally those girls who were paying board
and were afraid of being put out if they fell too far behind.
After a recital of a case of peculiar hardship one of them
exclaimed: "Wouldn't it be fine if we had a boarding club of our
own, and then we could stand by each other in a time like this?"
After that events moved quickly.  We read aloud together Beatrice
Potter's little book on "Cooperation," and discussed all the
difficulties and fascinations of such an undertaking, and on the
first of May, 1891, two comfortable apartments near Hull-House
were rented and furnished.  The Settlement was responsible for
the furniture and paid the first month's rent, but beyond that
the members managed the club themselves.  The undertaking
"marched," as the French say, from the very first, and always on
its own feet.  Although there were difficulties, none of them
proved insurmountable, which was a matter for great satisfaction
in the face of a statement made by the head of the United States
Department of Labor, who, on a visit to the club when it was but
two years old, said that his department had investigated many
cooperative undertakings, and that none founded and managed by
women had ever succeeded.  At the end of the third year the club
occupied all of the six apartments which the original building
contained, and numbered fifty members.

It was in connection with our efforts to secure a building for the
Jane Club, that we first found ourselves in the dilemma between
the needs of our neighbors and the kind-hearted response upon
which we had already come to rely for their relief.  The adapted
apartments in which the Jane Club was housed were inevitably more
or less uncomfortable, and we felt that the success of the club
justified the erection of a building for its sole use.

Up to that time, our history had been as the minor peace of the
early Church.  We had had the most generous interpretation of our
efforts.  Of course, many people were indifferent to the idea of
the Settlement; others looked on with tolerant and sometimes
cynical amusement which we would often encounter in a good story
related at our expense; but all this was remote and unreal to us,
and we were sure that if the critics could but touch "the life of
the people," they would understand.

The situation changed markedly after the Pullman strike, and our
efforts to secure factory legislation later brought upon us a
certain amount of distrust and suspicion; until then we had been
considered merely a kindly philanthropic undertaking whose new
form gave us a certain idealistic glamour.  But sterner tests
were coming, and one of the first was in connection with the new
building for the Jane Club.  A trustee of Hull-House came to see
us one day with the good news that a friend of his was ready to
give twenty thousand dollars with which to build the desired new
clubhouse.  When, however, he divulged the name of his generous
friend, it proved to be that of a man who was notorious for
underpaying the girls in his establishment and concerning whom
there were even darker stories.  It seemed clearly impossible to
erect a clubhouse for working girls with such money and we at
once said that we must decline the offer. The trustee of
Hull-House was put in the most embarrassing situation; he had, of
course, induced the man to give the money and had had no thought
but that it would be eagerly received; he would now be obliged to
return with the astonishing, not to say insulting, news that the
money was considered unfit.

In the long discussion which followed, it gradually became clear
to all of us that such a refusal could be valuable only as it
might reveal to the man himself and to others, public opinion in
regard to certain methods of money-making, but that from the very
nature of the case our refusal of this money could not be made
public because a representative of Hull-House had asked for it.
However, the basic fact remained that we could not accept the
money, and of this the trustee himself was fully convinced.  This
incident occurred during a period of much discussion concerning
"tainted money" and is perhaps typical of the difficulty of
dealing with it.  It is impossible to know how far we may blame
the individual for doing that which all of his competitors and
his associates consider legitimate; at the same time, social
changes can only be inaugurated by those who feel the
unrighteousness of contemporary conditions, and the expression of
their scruples may be the one opportunity for pushing forward
moral tests into that dubious area wherein wealth is accumulated.

In the course of time a new clubhouse was built by an old friend of
Hull-House much interested in working girls, and this has been
occupied for twelve years by the very successful cooperating Jane
Club.  The incident of the early refusal is associated in my mind
with a long talk upon the subject of questionable money I held with
the warden of Toynbee Hall, whom I visited at Bristol where he was
then canon in the Cathedral.  By way of illustration he showed me a
beautiful little church which had been built by the last
slave-trading merchant in Bristol, who had been much disapproved of
by his fellow townsmen and had hoped by this transmutation of
ill-gotten money into exquisite Gothic architecture to reconcile
himself both to God and man.  His impulse to build may have been
born from his own scruples or from the quickened consciences of his
neighbors who saw that the world-old iniquity of enslaving men must
at length come to an end. The Abolitionists may have regarded this
beautiful building as the fruit of a contrite heart, or they may
have scorned it as an attempt to magnify the goodness of a slave
trader and thus perplex the doubting citizens of Bristol in regard
to the entire moral issue.

Canon Barnett did not pronounce judgment on the Bristol merchant.
He was, however, quite clear upon the point that a higher moral
standard for industrial life must be embodied in legislation as
rapidly as possible, that it may bear equally upon all, and that
an individual endeavoring to secure this legislation must forbear
harsh judgment.  This was doubtless a sound position, but during
all the period of hot discussion concerning tainted money I never
felt clear enough on the general principle involved, to accept the
many invitations to write and speak upon the subject, although I
received much instruction in the many letters of disapproval sent
to me by radicals of various schools because I was a member of the
university extension staff of the then new University of Chicago,
the righteousness of whose foundation they challenged.

A little incident of this time illustrated to me the confusion in
the minds of a least many older men between religious teaching
and advancing morality.  One morning I received a letter from the
head of a Settlement in New York expressing his perplexity over
the fact that his board of trustees had asked money from a man
notorious for his unscrupulous business methods.  My
correspondent had placed his resignation in the hands of his
board, that they might accept it at any time when they felt his
utterances on the subject of tainted money were offensive, for he
wished to be free to openly discuss a subject of such grave moral
import.  The very morning when my mind was full of the questions
raised by this letter, I received a call from the daughter of the
same business man whom my friend considered so unscrupulous.  She
was passing through Chicago and came to ask me to give her some
arguments which she might later use with her father to confute
the charge that Settlements were irreligious.  She said, "You
see, he has been asked to give money to our Settlement and would
like to do it, if his conscience was only clear; he disapproves
of Settlements because they give no religious instruction; he has
always been a very devout man."

I remember later discussing the incident with Washington Gladden
who was able to parallel it from his own experience.  Now that
this discussion upon tainted money has subsided, it is easy to
view it with a certain detachment impossible at the moment, and
it is even difficult to understand why the feeling should have
been so intense, although it doubtless registered genuine moral
concern.

There was room for discouragement in the many unsuccessful
experiments in cooperation which were carried on in Chicago
during the early nineties; a carpenter shop on Van Buren Street
near Halsted, a labor exchange started by the unemployed, not so
paradoxical an arrangement as it seems, and a very ambitious plan
for a country colony which was finally carried out at Ruskin,
Tennessee.  In spite of failures, cooperative schemes went on,
some of the same men appearing in one after another with
irrepressible optimism.  I remember during a cooperative
congress, which met at Hull-House in the World's Fair summer that
Mr. Henry D. Lloyd, who collected records of cooperative
experiments with the enthusiasm with which other men collect
coins or pictures, put before the congress some of the remarkable
successes in Ireland and North England, which he later embodied
in his book on "Copartnership." One of the old-time cooperators
denounced the modern method as "too much like cut-throat
business" and declared himself in favor of "principles which may
have failed over and over again, but are nevertheless as sound as
the law of gravitation." Mr. Lloyd and I agreed that the fiery
old man presented as fine a spectacle of devotion to a lost cause
as either of us had ever seen, although we both possessed
memories well stored with such romantic attachments.

And yet 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 face of the earth.  Five years later
in the same Hull-House hall in which the cooperative congress was
held, an Italian senator told a large audience of his fellow
countrymen of the successful system of cooperative banks in north
Italy and of their cooperative methods of selling produce to the
value of millions of francs annually; still later Sir Horace
Plunkett related the remarkable successes in cooperation in
Ireland.

I have seldom been more infected by enthusiasm than I once was in
Dulwich at a meeting of English cooperators where I was fairly
overwhelmed by the fervor underlying the businesslike proceedings
of the congress, and certainly when I served as a juror in the
Paris Exposition of 1900, nothing in the entire display in the
department of Social Economy was so imposing as the building
housing the exhibit, which had been erected by cooperative
trades-unions without the assistance of a single contractor.

And so one's faith is kept alive as one occasionally meets a
realized ideal of better human relations.  At least traces of
successful cooperation are found even in individualistic America.
I recall my enthusiasm on the day when I set forth to lecture at
New Harmony, Indiana, for I had early been thrilled by the tale
of Robert Owen, as every young person must be who is interested
in social reform; I was delighted to find so much of his spirit
still clinging to the little town which had long ago held one of
his ardent experiments, although the poor old cooperators, who
for many years claimed friendship at Hull-House because they
heard that we "had once tried a cooperative coal association,"
might well have convinced me of the persistency of the
cooperative ideal.

Many experiences in those early years, although vivid, seemed to
contain no illumination; nevertheless they doubtless permanently
affected our judgments concerning what is called crime and vice.
I recall a series of striking episodes on the day when I took the
wife and child, as well as the old godfather, of an Italian
convict to visit him in the State Penitentiary.  When we
approached the prison, the sight of its heavy stone walls and
armed sentries threw the godfather into a paroxysm of rage; he
cast his hat upon the ground and stamped upon it, tore his hair,
and loudly fulminated in weird Italian oaths, until one of the
guards, seeing his strange actions, came to inquire if "the
gentleman was having a fit." When we finally saw the convict, his
wife, to my extreme distress, talked of nothing but his striped
clothing, until the poor man wept with chagrin.  Upon our return
journey to Chicago, the little son aged eight presented me with
two oranges, so affectionately and gayly that I was filled with
reflections upon the advantage of each generation making a fresh
start, when the train boy, finding the stolen fruit in my lap,
violently threatened to arrest the child.  But stranger than any
episode was the fact itself that neither the convict, his wife,
nor his godfather for a moment considered him a criminal.  He had
merely gotten excited over cards and had stabbed his adversary
with a knife.  "Why should a man who took his luck badly be kept
forever from the sun?" was their reiterated inquiry.

I recall our perplexity over the first girls who had "gone
astray"--the poor, little, forlorn objects, fifteen and sixteen
years old, with their moral natures apparently untouched and
unawakened; one of them whom the police had found in a
professional house and asked us to shelter for a few days until
she could be used as a witness, was clutching a battered doll
which she had kept with her during her six months of an "evil
life." Two of these prematurely aged children came to us one day
directly from the maternity ward of the Cook County hospital,
each with a baby in her arms, asking for protection, because they
did not want to go home for fear of "being licked." For them were
no jewels nor idle living such as the storybooks portrayed.  The
first of the older women whom I knew came to Hull-House to ask
that her young sister, who was about to arrive from Germany,
might live near us; she wished to find her respectable work and
wanted her to have the "decent pleasures" that Hull-House
afforded.  After the arrangement had been completed and I had in
a measure recovered from my astonishment at the businesslike way
in which she spoke of her own life, I ventured to ask her
history. In a very few words she told me that she had come from
Germany as a music teacher to an American family.  At the end of
two years, in order to avoid a scandal involving the head of the
house, she had come to Chicago where her child was born, but when
the remittances ceased after its death, finding herself without
home and resources, she had gradually become involved in her
present mode of life.  By dint of utilizing her family
solicitude, we finally induced her to move into decent lodgings
before her sister arrived, and for a difficult year she supported
herself by her exquisite embroidery.  At the end of that time,
she gave up the struggle, the more easily as her young sister,
well established in the dressmaking department of a large shop,
had begun to suspect her past life.

But discouraging as these and other similar efforts often were,
nevertheless the difficulties were infinitely less in those days
when we dealt with "fallen girls" than in the years following
when the "white slave traffic" became gradually established and
when agonized parents, as well as the victims themselves, were
totally unable to account for the situation.  In the light of
recent disclosures, it seems as if we were unaccountably dull not
to have seen what was happening, especially to the Jewish girls
among whom "the home trade of the white slave traffic" was first
carried on and who were thus made to break through countless
generations of chastity.  We early encountered the difficulties
of that old problem of restoring the woman, or even the child,
into the society she has once outraged.  I well remember our
perplexity when we attempted to help two girls straight from a
Virginia tobacco factory, who had been decoyed into a
disreputable house when innocently seeking a lodging on the late
evening of their arrival.  Although they had been rescued
promptly, the stigma remained, and we found it impossible to
permit them to join any of the social clubs connected with
Hull-House, not so much because there was danger of
contamination, as because the parents of the club members would
have resented their presence most hotly.  One of our trustees
succeeded in persuading a repentant girl, fourteen years old,
whom we tried to give a fresh start in another part of the city,
to attend a Sunday School class of a large Chicago church.  The
trustee hoped that the contact with nice girls, as well as the
moral training, would help the poor child on her hard road.  But
unfortunately tales of her shortcomings reached the
superintendent who felt obliged, in order to protect the other
girls, to forbid her the school.  She came back to tell us about
it, defiant as well as discouraged, and had it not been for the
experience with our own clubs, we could easily have joined her
indignation over a church which "acted as if its Sunday School
was a show window for candy kids."

In spite of poignant experiences or, perhaps, because of them,
the memory of the first years at Hull-House is more or less
blurred with fatigue, for we could of course become accustomed
only gradually to the unending activity and to the confusion of a
house constantly filling and refilling with groups of people.
The little children who came to the kindergarten in the morning
were followed by the afternoon clubs of older children, and those
in turn made way for the educational and social organizations of
adults, occupying every room in the house every evening.  All
one's habits of living had to be readjusted, and any student's
tendency to sit with a book by the fire was of necessity
definitely abandoned.

To thus renounce "the luxury of personal preference" was,
however, a mere trifle compared to our perplexity over the
problems of an industrial neighborhood situated in an unorganized
city.  Life pressed hard in many directions and yet it has always
seemed to me rather interesting that when we were so distressed
over its stern aspects and so impressed with the lack of
municipal regulations, the first building erected for Hull-House
should have been designed for an art gallery, for although it
contained a reading-room on the first floor and a studio above,
the largest space on the second floor was carefully designed and
lighted for art exhibits, which had to do only with the
cultivation of that which appealed to the powers of enjoyment as
over against a wage-earning capacity.  It was also significant
that a Chicago business man, fond of pictures himself, responded
to this first appeal of the new and certainly puzzling
undertaking called a Settlement.

The situation was somewhat complicated by the fact that at the time
the building was erected in 1891, our free lease of the land upon
which Hull-House stood expired in 1895.  The donor of the building,
however, overcame the difficulty by simply calling his gift a
donation of a thousand dollars a year.  This restriction of course
necessitated the simplest sort of a structure, although I remember
on the exciting day when the new building was promised to us, that
I looked up my European notebook which contained the record of my
experience in Ulm, hoping that I might find a description of what I
then thought "a Cathedral of Humanity" ought to be.  The
description was "low and widespreading as to include all men in
fellowship and mutual responsibility even as the older pinnacles
and spires indicated communion with God." The description did not
prove of value as an architectural motive I am afraid, although the
architects, who have remained our friends through all the years,
performed marvels with a combination of complicated demands and
little money.  At the moment when I read this girlish outbreak it
gave me much comfort, for in those days in addition to our other
perplexities Hull-House was often called irreligious.

These first buildings were very precious to us and it afforded us
the greatest pride and pleasure as one building after another was
added to the Hull-House group.  They clothed in brick and mortar
and made visible to the world that which we were trying to do;
they stated to Chicago that education and recreation ought to be
extended to the immigrants.  The boys came in great numbers to
our provisional gymnasium fitted up in a former saloon, and it
seemed to us quite as natural that a Chicago man, fond of
athletics, should erect a building for them, as that the boys
should clamor for more room.

I do not wish to give a false impression, for we were often
bitterly pressed for money and worried by the prospect of unpaid
bills, and we gave up one golden scheme after another because we
could not afford it; we cooked the meals and kept the books and
washed the windows without a thought of hardship if we thereby
saved money for the consummation of some ardently desired
undertaking.

But in spite of our financial stringency, I always believed that
money would be given when we had once clearly reduced the
Settlement idea to the actual deed.  This chapter, therefore,
would be incomplete if it did not record a certain theory of
nonresistance or rather universal good will which I had worked
out in connection with the Settlement idea and which was later so
often and so rudely disturbed.  At that time I had come to
believe that if the activities of Hull-House were ever
misunderstood, it would be either because there was not time to
fully explain or because our motives had become mixed, for I was
convinced that disinterested action was like truth or beauty in
its lucidity and power of appeal.

But more gratifying than any understanding or response from
without could possibly be, was the consciousness that a growing
group of residents was gathering at Hull-House, held together in
that soundest of all social bonds, the companionship of mutual
interests.  These residents came primarily because they were
genuinely interested in the social situation and believed that
the Settlement was valuable as a method of approach to it.  A
house in which the men residents lived was opened across the
street, and at the end of the first five years the Hull-House
residential force numbered fifteen, a majority of whom still
remain identified with the Settlement.

Even in those early years we caught glimpses of the fact that
certain social sentiments, which are "the difficult and
cumulating product of human growth" and which like all higher
aims live only by communion and fellowship, are cultivated most
easily in the fostering soil of a community life.

Occasionally I obscurely felt as if a demand were being made upon
us for a ritual which should express and carry forward the hope
of the social movement.  I was constantly bewildered by the
number of requests I received to officiate at funeral services
and by the curious confessions made to me by total strangers.
For a time I accepted the former and on one awful occasion
furnished "the poetic part" of a wedding ceremony really
performed by a justice of the peace, but I soon learned to
steadfastly refuse such offices, although I saw that for many
people without church affiliations the vague humanitarianism the
Settlement represented was the nearest approach they could find
to an expression of their religious sentiments.

These hints of what the Settlement might mean to at least a few
spirits among its contemporaries became clear to me for the first
time one summer's day in rural England, when I discussed with John
Trevor his attempts to found a labor church and his desire to turn
the toil and danger attached to the life of the workingman into
the means of a universal fellowship.  That very year a papyrus
leaf brought to the British Museum from Egypt, containing among
other sayings of Jesus, "Raise the stone, and there thou shalt
find me; cleave the wood and I am there," was a powerful reminder
to all England of the basic relations between daily labor and
Christian teaching.

In those early years at Hull-House we were, however, in no danger
of losing ourselves in mazes of speculation or mysticism, and there
was shrewd penetration in a compliment I received from one of our
Scotch neighbors.  He came down Polk Street as I was standing near
the foundations of our new gymnasium, and in response to his
friendly remark that "Hull-House was spreading out," I replied that
"Perhaps we were spreading out too fast." "Oh, no," he rejoined,
"you can afford to spread out wide, you are so well planted in the
mud," giving the compliment, however, a practical turn, as he
glanced at the deep mire on the then unpaved street.  It was this
same condition of Polk Street which had caused the crown prince of
Belgium when he was brought upon a visit to Hull-House to shake his
head and meditatively remark, "There is not such a street--no, not
one--in all the territory of Belgium."

At the end of five years the residents of Hull-House published
some first found facts and our reflections thereon in a book
called "Hull-House Maps and Papers." The maps were taken from
information collected by one of the residents for the United
States Bureau of Labor in the investigation into "the slums of
great cities" and the papers treated of various neighborhood
matters with candor and genuine concern if not with skill.  The
first edition became exhausted in two years, and apparently the
Boston publisher did not consider the book worthy of a second.



[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Jill Thoren.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter VIII: Problems of Poverty." by Jane Addams (1860-1935)
From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with Autobiographical Notes. by
Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp.
154-176.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]



CHAPTER VII

PROBLEMS OF POVERTY


That neglected and forlorn old age is daily brought to the
attention of a Settlement which undertakes to bear its share of
the neighborhood burden imposed by poverty, was pathetically
clear to us during our first months of residence at Hull-House.
One day a boy of ten led a tottering old lady into the House,
saying that she had slept for six weeks in their kitchen on a bed
made up next to the stove; that she had come when her son died,
although none of them had ever seen her before; but because her
son had "once worked in the same shop with Pa she thought of him
when she had nowhere to go." The little fellow concluded by
saying that our house was so much bigger than theirs that he
thought we would have more roomfor beds.  The old woman herself
said absolutely nothing, but looking on with that gripping fear
of the poorhouse in her eyes, she was a living embodiment of that
dread which is so heartbreaking that the occupants of the County
Infirmary themselves seem scarcely less wretched than those who
are making their last stand against it.

This look was almost more than I could bear for only a few days
before some frightened women had bidden me come quickly to the
house of an old German woman, whom two men from the country
agent's office were attempting to remove to the County Infirmary.
The poor old creature had thrown herself bodily upon a small and
battered chest of drawers and clung there, clutching it so firmly
that it would have been impossible to remove her without also
taking the piece of furniture .  She did not weep nor moan nor
indeed make any human sound, but between her broken gasps for
breath she squealed shrilly like a frightened animal caught in a
trap.  The little group of women and children gathered at her
door stood aghast at this realization of the black dread which
always clouds the lives of the very poor when work is slack, but
which constantly grows more imminent and threatening as old age
approaches.  The neighborhood women and I hastened to make all
sorts of promises as to the support of the old woman and the
country officials, only too glad to be rid of their unhappy duty,
left her to our ministrations.  This dread of the poorhouse, the
result of centuries of deterrent Poor Law administration, seemed
to me not without some justification one summer when I found
myself perpetually distressed by the unnecessary idleness and
forlornness of the old women in the Cook County Infirmary, many
of whom I had known in the years when activity was still a
necessity, and when they yet felt bustlingly important.  To take
away from an old woman whose life has been spent in household
cares all the foolish little belongings to which her affections
cling and to which her very fingers have become accustomed, is to
take away her last incentive to activity, almost to life itself.
To give an old woman only a chair and a bed, to leave her no
cupboard in which her treasures may be stowed, not only that she
may take them out when she desires occupation, but that their
mind may dwell upon them in moments of revery, is to reduce
living almost beyond the limit of human endurance.

The poor creature who clung so desperately to her chest of
drawers was really clinging to the last remnant of normal
living--a symbol of all she was asked to renounce.  For several
years after this summer I invited five or six old women to take a
two weeks' vacation from the poorhouse which was eagerly and even
gayly accepted.  Almost all the old men in the County Infirmary
wander away each summer taking their chances for finding food or
shelter and return much refreshed by the little "tramp," but the
old women cannot do this unless they have some help from the
outside, and yet the expenditure of a very little money secures
for them the coveted vacation.  I found that a few pennies paid
their car fare into town, a dollar a week procured lodging with
an old acquaintance; assured of two good meals a day in the
Hull-House coffee-house they could count upon numerous cups of
tea among old friends to whom they would airily state that they
had "come out for a little change" and hadn't yet made up their
minds about "going in again for the winter." They thus enjoyed a
two weeks' vacation to the top of their bent and returned with
wondrous tales of their adventures, with which they regaled the
other paupers during the long winter.

The reminiscences of these old women, their shrewd comments upon
life, their sense of having reached a point where they may at
last speak freely with nothing to lose because of their
frankness, makes them often the most delightful of companions.  I
recall one of my guests, the mother of many scattered children,
whose one bright spot through all the dreary years had been the
wedding feast of her son Mike,--a feast which had become
transformed through long meditation into the nectar and ambrosia
of the very gods.  As a farewell fling before she went "in"
again, we dined together upon chicken pie, but it did not taste
like the "the chicken pie at Mike's wedding" and she was
disappointed after all.

Even death itself sometimes fails to bring the dignity and
serenity which one would fain associate with old age.  I recall
the dying hour of one old Scotchwoman whose long struggle to
"keep respectable" had so embittered her that her last words were
gibes and taunts for those who were trying to minister to her.
"So you came in yourself this morning, did you?  You only sent
things yesterday.  I guess you knew when the doctor was coming.
Don't try to warm my feet with anything but that old jacket that
I've got there; it belonged to my boy who was drowned at sea nigh
thirty years ago, but it's warmer yet with human feelings than
any of your damned charity hot-water bottles." Suddenly the harsh
gasping voice was stilled in death and I awaited the doctor's
coming shaken and horrified.

The lack of municipal regulation already referred to was, in the
early days of Hull-House, parallelled by the inadequacy of the
charitable efforts of the city and an unfounded optimism that
there was no real poverty among us.  Twenty years ago there was no
Charity Organization Society in Chicago and the Visiting Nurse
Association had not yet begun its beneficial work, while the
relief societies, although conscientiously administered, were
inadequate in extent and antiquated in method.

As social reformers gave themselves over to discussion of general
principles, so the poor invariably accused poverty itself of their
destruction.  I recall a certain Mrs. Moran, who was returning one
rainy day from the office of the county agent with her arms full of
paper bags containing beans and flour which alone lay between her
children and starvation.  Although she had no money she boarded a
street car in order to save her booty from complete destruction by
the rain, and as the burst bags dropped "flour on the ladies'
dresses" and ""beans all over the place," she was sharply
reprimanded by the conductor, who was the further exasperated when
he discovered she had no fare.  He put her off, as she had hoped he
would, almost in front of Hull-House.  She related to us her state
of mind as she stepped off the car and saw the last of her wares
disappearing; she admitted she forgot the proprieties and "cursed a
little," but, curiously enough, she pronounced her malediction, not
against the rain nor the conductor, nor yet against the worthless
husband who had been set up to the city prison, but, true to the
Chicago spirit of the moment, went to the root of the matter and
roundly "cursed poverty."

This spirit of generalization and lack of organization among the
charitable forces of the city was painfully revealed in that
terrible winter after the World's Fair, when the general
financial depression throughout the country was much intensified
in Chicago by the numbers of unemployed stranded at the close of
the exposition.  When the first cold weather came the police
stations and the very corridors of the city hall were crowded by
men who could afford no other lodging.  They made huge
demonstrations on the lake front, reminding one of the London
gatherings in Trafalgar Square.

It was the winter in which Mr. Stead wrote his indictment of
Chicago.  I can vividly recall his visits to Hull-House, some of
them between eleven and twelve o'clock at night, when he would
come in wet and hungry from an investigation of the levee
district, and while he was drinking hot chocolate before an open
fire, would relate in one of his curious monologues, his
experience as an out-of-door laborer standing in line without an
overcoat for two hours in the sleet, that he might have a chance
to sweep the streets; or his adventures with a crook, who mistook
him for one of this own kind and offered him a place as an agent
for a gambling house, which he promptly accepted.  Mr. Stead was
much impressed with the mixed goodness in Chicago, the lack of
rectitude in many high places, the simple kindness of the most
wretched to each other. Before he published "If Christ Came to
Chicago" he made his attempt to rally the diverse moral forces of
the city in a huge mass meeting, which resulted in a temporary
organization, later developing into the Civic Federation.  I was
a member of the committee of five appointed to carry out the
suggestions made in this remarkable meeting, and or first concern
was to appoint a committee to deal with the unemployed.  But when
has a committee ever dealt satisfactorily with the unemployed?
Relief stations were opened in various part of the city,
temporary lodging houses were established, Hull-House undertaking
to lodge the homeless women who could be received nowhere else;
employment stations were opened giving sewing to the women, and
street sweeping for the men was organized.  It was in connection
with the latter that the perplexing question of the danger of
permanently lowering wages at such a crisis, in the praiseworthy
effort to bring speedy relief, was brought home to me.  I
insisted that it was better to have the men work half a day for
seventy-five cents than a whole day for a dollar, better that
they should earn three dollars in two days than in three days.  I
resigned from the street-cleaning committee in despair of making
the rest of the committee understand that, as our real object was
not street cleaning but the help of the unemployed, we must treat
the situation in such wise that the men would not be worse off
when they returned to their normal occupations.  The discussion
opened up situations new to me and carried me far afield in
perhaps the most serious economic reading I have ever done.

A beginning also was then made toward a Bureau of Organized
Charities, the main office being put in charge of a young man
recently come from Boston, who lived at Hull-House.  But to
employ scientific methods for the first time at such a moment
involved difficulties, and the most painful episode of the winter
came for me from an attempt on my part to conform to carefully
received instructions.  A shipping clerk whom I had known for a
long time had lost his place, as so many people had that year,
and came to the relief station established at Hull-House four or
five times to secure help for his family.  I told him one day of
the opportunity for work on the drainage canal and intimated that
if any employment were obtainable, he ought to exhaust that
possibility before asking for help.  The man replied that he had
always worked indoors and that he could not endure outside work
in winter.  I am grateful to remember that I was too uncertain to
be severe, although I held to my instructions.  He did not come
again for relief, but worked for two days digging on the canal,
where he contracted pneumonia and died a week later.  I have
never lost trace of the two little children he left behind him,
although I cannot see them without a bitter consciousness that it
was at their expense I learned that 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; and that to treat an isolated episode is
almost sure to invite blundering.

It was also during this winter that I became permanently
impressed with the kindness of the poor to each other; the woman
who lives upstairs will willingly share her breakfast with the
family below because she knows they "are hard up"; the man who
boarded with them last winter will give a month's rent because he
knows the father of the family is out of work; the baker across
the street who is fast being pushed to the wall by his downtown
competitors, will send across three loaves of stale bread because
he has seen the children looking longingly into his window and
suspects they are hungry.  There are also the families who,
during times of business depression, are obliged to seek help
from the county or some benevolent society, but who are
themselves most anxious not to be confounded with the pauper
class, with whom indeed they do not in the least belong.  Charles
Booth, in his brilliant chapter on the unemployed, expresses
regret that the problems of the working class are so often
confounded with the problems of the inefficient and the idle,
that although working people live in the same street with those
in need of charity, to thus confound two problems is to render
the solution of both impossible.

I remember one family in which the father had been out of work
for this same winter, most of the furniture had been pawned, and
as the worn-out shoes could not be replaced the children could
not go to school.  The mother was ill and barely able to come for
the supplies and medicines.  Two years later she invited me to
supper one Sunday evening in the little home which had been
completely restored, and she gave as a reason for the invitation
that she couldn't bear to have me remember them as they had been
during that one winter, which she insisted had been unique in her
twelve years of married life.  She said that it was as if she had
met me, not as I am ordinarily, but as I should appear misshapen
with rheumatism or with a face distorted by neuralgic pain; that
it was not fair to judge poor people that way.  She perhaps
unconsciously illustrated the difference between the
relief-station relation to the poor and the Settlement relation
to its neighbors, the latter wishing to know them through all the
varying conditions of life, to stand by when they are in
distress, but by no means to drop intercourse with them when
normal prosperity has returned, enabling the relation to become
more social and free from economic disturbance.

Possibly something of the same effort has to be made within the
Settlement itself to keep its own sense of proportion in regard
to the relation of the crowded city quarter to the rest of the
country.  It was in the spring following this terrible winter,
during a journey to meet lecture engagements in California, that
I found myself amazed at the large stretches of open country and
prosperous towns through which we passed day by day, whose
existence I had quite forgotten.

In the latter part of the summer of 1895, I served as a member on
a commission appointed by the mayor of Chicago, to investigate
conditions in the county poorhouse, public attention having
become centered on it through one of those distressing stories,
which exaggerates the wrong in a public institution while at the
same time it reveals conditions which need to be rectified.
However necessary publicity is for securing reformed
administration, however useful such exposures may be for
political purposes, the whole is attended by such a waste of the
most precious human emotions, by such a tearing of living tissue,
that it can scarcely be endured.  Every time I entered Hull-House
during the days of the investigation, I would find waiting for me
from twenty to thirty people whose friends and relatives were in
the suspected institution, all in such acute distress of mind
that to see them was to look upon the victims of deliberate
torture.  In most cases my visitor would state that it seemed
impossible to put their invalids in any other place, but if these
stories were true, something must be done.  Many of the patients
were taken out only to be returned after a few days or weeks to
meet the sullen hostility of their attendants and with their own
attitude changed from confidence to timidity and alarm.

This piteous dependence of the poor upon the good will of public
officials was made clear to us in an early experience with a
peasant woman straight from the fields of Germany, whom we met
during our first six months at Hull-House.  Her four years in
America had been spent in patiently carrying water up and down
two flights of stairs, and in washing the heavy flannel suits of
iron foundry workers.  For this her pay had averaged thirty-five
cents a day.  Three of her daughters had fallen victims to the
vice of the city.  The mother was bewildered and distressed, but
understood nothing.  We were able to induce the betrayer of one
daughter to marry her; the second, after a tedious lawsuit,
supported his child; with the third we were able to do nothing.
This woman is now living with her family in a little house
seventeen miles from the city.  She has made two payments on her
land and is a lesson to all beholders as she pastures her cow up
and down the railroad tracks and makes money from her ten acres.
She did not need charity for she had an immense capacity for hard
work, but she sadly needed the service of the State's attorney
office, enforcing the laws designed for the protection of such
girls as her daughters.

We early found ourselves spending many hours in efforts to secure
support for deserted women, insurance for bewildered widows,
damages for injured operators, furniture from the clutches of the
installment store.  The Settlement is valuable as an information
and interpretation bureau.  It constantly acts between the
various institutions of the city and the people for whose benefit
these institutions were erected.  The hospitals, the county
agencies, and State asylums are often but vague rumors to the
people who need them most.  Another function of the Settlement to
its neighborhood resembles that of the big brother whose mere
presence on the playground protects the little one from bullies.

We early learned to know the children of hard-driven mothers who
went out to work all day, sometimes leaving the little things in
the casual care of a neighbor, but often locking them into their
tenement rooms.  The first three crippled children we encountered
in the neighborhood had all been injured while their mothers were
at work: one had fallen out of a third-story window, another had
been burned, and the third had a curved spine due to the fact that
for three years he had been tied all day long to the leg of the
kitchen table, only released at noon by his older brother who
hastily ran in from a neighboring factory to share his lunch with
him.  When the hot weather came the restless children could not
brook the confinement of the stuffy rooms, and, as it was not
considered safe to leave the doors open because of sneak thieves,
many of the children were locked out. During our first summer an
increasing number of these poor little mites would wander into the
cool hallway of Hull-House.  We kept them there and fed them at
noon, in return for which we were sometimes offered a hot penny
which had been held in a tight little fist "ever since mother left
this morning, to buy something to eat with." Out of kindergarten
hours our little guests noisily enjoyed the hospitality of our
bedrooms under the so-called care of any resident who volunteered
to keep an eye on them, but later they were moved into a
neighboring apartment under more systematic supervision.

Hull-House was thus committed to a day nursery which we sustained
for sixteen years first in a little cottage on a side street and
then in a building designed for its use called the Children's
House.  It is now carried on by the United Charities of Chicago
in a finely equipped building on our block, where the immigrant
mothers are cared for as well as the children, and where they are
taught the things which will make life in America more possible.
Our early day nursery brought us into natural relations with the
poorest women of the neighborhood, many of whom were bearing the
burden of dissolute and incompetent husbands in addition to the
support of their children.  Some of them presented an impressive
manifestation of that miracle of affection which outlives abuse,
neglect, and crime,--the affection which cannot be plucked from
the heart where it has lived, although it may serve only to
torture and torment.  "Has your husband come back?" you inquire
of Mrs. S., whom you have known for eight years as an overworked
woman bringing her three delicate children every morning to the
nursery; she is bent under the double burden of earning the money
which supports them and giving them the tender care which alone
keeps them alive.  The oldest two children have at last gone to
work, and Mrs. S. has allowed herself the luxury of staying at
home two days a week.  And now the worthless husband is back
again--the "gentlemanly gambler" type who, through all
vicissitudes, manages to present a white shirtfront and a gold
watch to the world, but who is dissolute, idle and extravagant.
You dread to think how much his presence will increase the drain
upon the family exchequer, and you know that he stayed away until
he was certain that the children were old enough to earn money
for his luxuries.  Mrs. S. does not pretend to take his return
lightly, but she replies in all seriousness and simplicity, "You
know my feeling for him has never changed.  You may think me
foolish, but I was always proud of his good looks and educated
appearance.  I was lonely and homesick during those eight years
when the children were little and needed so much doctoring, but I
could never bring myself to feel hard toward him, and I used to
pray the good Lord to keep him from harm and bring him back to
us; so, of course, I'm thankful now." She passes on with a
dignity which gives one a new sense of the security of affection.

I recall a similar case of a woman who had supported her three
children for five years, during which time her dissolute husband
constantly demanded money for drink and kept her perpetually
worried and intimidated.  One Saturday, before the "blessed
Easter," he came back from a long debauch, ragged and filthy, but
in a state of lachrymose repentance.  The poor wife received him
as a returned prodigal, believed that his remorse would prove
lasting, and felt sure that if she and the children went to
church with him on Easter Sunday and he could be induced to take
the pledge before the priest, all their troubles would be ended.
After hours of vigorous effort and the expenditure of all her
savings, he finally sat on the front doorstep the morning of
Easter Sunday, bathed, shaved and arrayed in a fine new suit of
clothes.  She left him sitting there in the reluctant spring
sunshine while she finished washing and dressing the children.
When she finally opened the front door with the three shining
children that they might all set forth together, the returned
prodigal had disappeared, and was not seen again until midnight,
when he came back in a glorious state of intoxication from the
proceeds of his pawned clothes and clad once more in the dingiest
attire.  She took him in without comment, only to begin again the
wretched cycle.  There were of course instances of the criminal
husband as well as of the merely vicious.  I recall one woman
who, during seven years, never missed a visiting day at the
penitentiary when she might see her husband, and whose little
children in the nursery proudly reported the messages from father
with no notion that he was in disgrace, so absolutely did they
reflect the gallant spirit of their mother.

While one was filled with admiration for these heroic women,
something was also to be said for some of the husbands, for the
sorry men who, for one reason or another, had failed in the
struggle of life.  Sometimes this failure was purely economic and
the men were competent to give the children, whom they were not
able to support, the care and guidance and even education which
were of the highest value.  Only a few months ago I met upon the
street one of the early nursery mothers who for five years had
been living in another part of the city, and in response to my
query as to the welfare of her five children, she bitterly
replied, "All of them except Mary have been arrested at one time
or another, thank you." In reply to my remark that I thought her
husband had always had such admirable control over them, she
burst out, "That has been the whole trouble.  I got tired taking
care of him and didn't believe that his laziness was all due to
his health, as he said, so I left him and said that I would
support the children, but not him.  From that minute the trouble
with the four boys began.  I never knew what they were doing, and
after every sort of a scrape I finally put Jack and the twins
into institutions where I pay for them. Joe has gone to work at
last, but with a disgraceful record behind him.  I tell you I
ain't so sure that because a woman can make big money that she
can be both father and mother to her children."

As I walked on, I could but wonder in which particular we are
most stupid--to judge a man's worth so solely by his wage-earning
capacity that a good wife feels justified in leaving him, or in
holding fast to that wretched delusion that a woman can both
support and nurture her children.

One of the most piteous revelations of the futility of the latter
attempt came to me through the mother of "Goosie," as the
children for years called a little boy who, because he was
brought to the nursery wrapped up in his mother's shawl, always
had his hair filled with the down and small feathers from the
feather brush factory where she worked.  One March morning,
Goosie's mother was hanging out the washing on a shed roof before
she left for the factory.  Five-year-old Goosie was trotting at
her heels handing her clothes pins, when he was suddenly blown
off the roof by the high wind into the alley below.  His neck was
broken by the fall, and as he lay piteous and limp on a pile of
frozen refuse, his mother cheerily called him to "climb up
again," so confident do overworked mothers become that their
children cannot get hurt.  After the funeral, as the poor mother
sat in the nursery postponing the moment when she must go back to
her empty rooms, I asked her, in a futile effort to be of
comfort, if there was anything more we could do for her.  The
overworked, sorrow-stricken woman looked up and replied, "If you
could give me my wages for to-morrow, I would not go to work in
the factory at all.  I would like to stay at home all day and
hold the baby.  Goosie was always asking me to take him and I
never had any time." This statement revealed the condition of
many nursery mothers who are obliged to forego the joys and
solaces which belong to even the most poverty-stricken. The long
hours of factory labor necessary for earning the support of a
child leave no time for the tender care and caressing which may
enrich the life of the most piteous baby.

With all of 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!  It is curiously inconsistent that with the emphasis which
this generation has placed upon the mother and upon the
prolongation of infancy, we constantly allow the waste of this
most precious material.  I cannot recall without indignation a
recent experience.  I was detained late one evening in an office
building by a prolonged committee meeting of the Board of
Education.  As I came out at eleven o'clock, I met in the
corridor of the fourteenth floor a woman whom I knew, on her
knees scrubbing the marble tiling.  As she straightened up to
greet me, she seemed so wet from her feet up to her chin, that I
hastily inquired the cause.  Her reply was that she left home at
five o'clock every night and had no opportunity for six hours to
nurse her baby.  Her mother's milk mingled with the very water
with which she scrubbed the floors until she should return at
midnight, heated and exhausted, to feed her screaming child with
what remained within her breasts.

These are only a few of the problems connected with the lives of
the poorest people with whom the residents in a Settlement are
constantly brought in contact.

I cannot close this chapter without a reference to that gallant
company of men and women among whom my acquaintance is so large,
who are fairly indifferent to starvation itself because of their
preoccupation with higher ends.  Among them are visionaries and
enthusiasts, unsuccessful artists, writers, and reformers.  For
many years at Hull-House, we knew a well-bred German woman who was
completely absorbed in the experiment of expressing musical
phrases and melodies by means of colors.  Because she was small
and deformed, she stowed herself into her trunk every night, where
she slept on a canvas stretched hammock-wise from the four corners
and her food was of the meagerest; nevertheless if a visitor left
an offering upon her table, it was largely spent for apparatus or
delicately colored silk floss, with which to pursue the
fascinating experiment.  Another sadly crippled old woman, the
widow of a sea captain, although living almost exclusively upon
malted milk tablets as affording a cheap form of prepared food,
was always eager to talk of the beautiful illuminated manuscripts
she had sought out in her travels and to show specimens of her own
work as an illuminator.  Still another of these impressive old
women was an inveterate inventor. Although she had seen prosperous
days in England, when we knew her, she subsisted largely upon the
samples given away at the demonstration counters of the department
stores, and on bits of food which she cooked on a coal shovel in
the furnace of the apartment house whose basement back room she
occupied.  Although her inventions were not practicable, various
experts to whom they were submitted always pronounced them
suggestive and ingenious. I once saw her receive this
complimentary verdict--"this ribbon to stick in her coat"--with
such dignity and gravity that the words of condolence for her
financial disappointment, died upon my lips.

These indomitable souls are but three out of many whom I might
instance to prove that those who are handicapped in the race for
life's goods, sometimes play a magnificent trick upon the jade,
life herself, by ceasing to know whether or not they possess any
of her tawdry goods and chattels.



[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Flo Carrierre.

"I am a full-time staff at University, continuing my studies on a
part-time basis.  I volunteer in the community, and thank you for
giving me the opportunity to make a difference in the Celebration
of Women Writers by contributing time to enter book
chapters."--Flo Carrierre.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter IX: A Decade of Economic Discussion." by Jane Addams
(1860-1935) From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with
Autobiographical Notes. by Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan
Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp. 177-197.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]



CHAPTER IX

A DECADE OF ECONOMIC DISCUSSION


The Hull-House residents were often bewildered by the desire for
constant discussion which characterized Chicago twenty years ago,
for although the residents in the early Settlements were in many
cases young persons who had sought relief from the consciousness
of social maladjustment in the "anodyne of work" afforded by
philanthropic and civic activities, their former experiences had
not thrown them into company with radicals.  The decade between
1890-1900 was, in Chicago, a period of propaganda as over against
constructive social effort; the moment for marching and carrying
banners, for stating general principles and making a
demonstration, rather than the time for uncovering the situation
and for providing the legal measures and the civic organization
through which new social hopes might make themselves felt.

When Hull-House was established in 1889, the events of the
Haymarket riot were already two years old, but during that time
Chicago had apparently gone through the first period of
repressive measures, and in the winter of 1889-1890, by the
advice and with the active participation of its leading citizens,
the city had reached the conclusion that the only cure for the
acts of anarchy was free speech and an open discussion of the
ills of which the opponents of government complained.  Great open
meetings were held every Sunday evening in the recital hall of
the then new auditorium, presided over by such representative
citizens as Lyman Gage, and every possible shade of opinion was
freely expressed.  A man who spoke constantly at these meetings
used to be pointed out to the visiting stranger as one who had
been involved with the group of convicted anarchists, and who
doubtless would have been arrested and tried, but for the
accident of his having been in Milwaukee when the explosion
occurred.  One cannot imagine such meetings being held in Chicago
to-day, nor that such a man should be encouraged to raise his
voice in a public assemblage presided over by a leading banker.
It is hard to tell just what change has come over our philosophy
or over the minds of those citizens who were then convinced that
if these conferences had been established earlier, the Haymarket
riot and all its sensational results might have been avoided.

At any rate, there seemed a further need for smaller clubs, where
men who differed widely in their social theories might meet for
discussion, where representatives of the various economic schools
might modify each other, and at least learn tolerance and the
futility of endeavoring to convince all the world of the truth of
one position.  Fanaticism is engendered only when men, finding no
contradiction to their theories, at last believe that the very
universe lends itself as an exemplification of one point of view.
"The Working People's Social Science Club" was organized at
Hull-House in the spring of 1890 by an English workingman, and
for seven years it held a weekly meeting.  At eight o'clock every
Wednesday night the secretary called to order from forty to one
hundred people; a chairman for the evening was elected, a speaker
was introduced who was allowed to talk until nine o'clock; his
subject was then thrown open to discussion and a lively debate
ensued until ten o'clock, at which hour the meeting was declared
adjourned.  The enthusiasm of this club seldom lagged.  Its zest
for discussion was unceasing, and any attempt to turn it into a
study or reading club always met with the strong disapprobation
of the members.

In these weekly discussions in the Hull-House drawing room
everything was thrown back upon general principles and all
discussion save that which "went to the root of things," was
impatiently discarded as an unworthy, halfway measure.  I recall
one evening in this club when an exasperated member had thrown out
the statement that "Mr. B. believes that socialism will cure the
toothache."  Mr. B. promptly rose to his feet and said that it
certainly would, that when every child's teeth were systematically
cared for from the beginning, toothaches would disappear from the
face of the earth, belonging, as it did, to the extinct
competitive order, as the black plague had disappeared from the
earth with the ill-regulated feudal regime of the Middle Ages.
"But," he added, "why do we spend time discussing trifles like the
toothache when great social changes are to be considered which
will of themselves reform these minor ills?"  Even the man who had
been humorous fell into the solemn tone of the gathering.  It was,
perhaps, here that the socialist surpassed everyone else in the
fervor of economic discussion.  He was usually a German or a
Russian, with a turn for logical presentation, who saw in the
concentration of capital and the growth of monopolies an
inevitable transition to the socialist state.  He pointed out that
the concentration of capital in fewer hands but increased the mass
of those whose interests were opposed to a maintenance of its
power, and vastly simplified its final absorption by the
community; that monopoly "when it is finished doth bring forth
socialism." Opposite to him, springing up in every discussion was
the individualist, or, as the socialist called him, the anarchist,
who insisted that we shall never secure just human relations until
we have equality of opportunity; that the sole function of the
state is to maintain the freedom of each, guarded by the like
freedom of all, in order that each man may be able to work out the
problems of his own existence.

That first winter was within three years of the Henry George
campaign in New York, when his adherents all over the country
were carrying on a successful and effective propaganda.  When
Henry George himself came to Hull-House one Sunday afternoon, the
gymnasium which was already crowded with men to hear Father
Huntington's address on "Why should a free thinker believe in
Christ," fairly rocked on its foundations under the enthusiastic
and prolonged applause which greeted this great leader and
constantly interrupted his stirring address, filled, as all of
his speeches were, with high moral enthusiasm and humanitarian
fervor.  Of the remarkable congresses held in connection with the
World's Fair, perhaps those inaugurated by the advocates of
single tax exceeded all others in vital enthusiasm.  It was
possibly significant that all discussions in the department of
social science had to be organized by partisans in separate
groups.  The very committee itself on social science composed of
Chicago citizens, of whom I was one, changed from week to week,
as partisan members had their feelings hurt because their cause
did not receive "due recognition." And yet in the same building
adherents of the most diverse religious creeds, eastern and
western, met in amity and good fellowship.  Did it perhaps
indicate that their presentation of the eternal problems of life
were cast in an older and less sensitive mold than this
presentation in terms of social experience, or was it rather that
the new social science was not yet a science at all but merely a
name under cover of which we might discuss the perplexing
problems of the industrial situation?  Certainly the difficulties
of our committee were not minimized by the fact that the then new
science of sociology had not yet defined its own field.  The
University of Chicago, opened only the year before the World's
Fair, was the first great institution of learning to institute a
department of sociology.

In the meantime the Hull-House Social Science Club grew in
numbers and fervor as various distinguished people who were
visiting the World's Fair came to address it.  I recall a
brilliant Frenchwoman who was filled with amazement because one
of the shabbiest men reflected a reading of Schopenhauer.  She
considered the statement of another member most remarkable--that
when he saw a carriage driving through the streets occupied by a
capitalist who was no longer even an entrepreneur, he felt quite
as sure that his days were numbered and that his very lack of
function to society would speedily bring him to extinction, as he
did when he saw a drunkard reeling along the same street.

The club at any rate convinced the residents that no one so
poignantly realizes the failures in the social structure as the
man at the bottom, who has been most directly in contact with
those failures and has suffered most.  I recall the shrewd
comments of a certain sailor who had known the disinherited in
every country; of a Russian who had served his term in Siberia;
of an old Irishman who called himself an atheist but who in
moments of excitement always blamed the good Lord for "setting
supinely" when the world was so horribly out of joint.

It was doubtless owing largely to this club that Hull-House
contracted its early reputation for radicalism.  Visitors refused
to distinguish between the sentiments expressed by its members in
the heat of discussion and the opinions held by the residents
themselves.  At that moment in Chicago the radical of every shade
of opinion was vigorous and dogmatic; of the sort that could not
resign himself to the slow march of human improvement; of the
type who knew exactly "in what part of the world Utopia standeth."

During this decade Chicago seemed divided into two classes; those
who held that "business is business" and who were therefore
annoyed at the very notion of social control, and the radicals,
who claimed that nothing could be done to really moralize the
industrial situation until society should be reorganized.

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.  It is this type of mind which
is in itself so often obnoxious to the man of conquering business
faculty, to whom the practical world of affairs seems so supremely
rational that he would never vote to change the type of it even if
he could.  The man of social enthusiasm is to him an annoyance and
an affront.  He does not like to hear him talk and considers him
per se "unsafe." Such a business man would admit, as an abstract
proposition, that society is susceptible of modification and would
even agree that all human institutions imply progressive
development, but at the same time he deeply distrusts those who
seek to reform existing conditions.  There is a certain
common-sense foundation for this distrust, for too often the
reformer is the rebel who defies things as they are, because of
the restraints which they impose upon his individual desires
rather than because of the general defects of the system. When
such a rebel poses for a reformer, his shortcomings are heralded
to the world, and his downfall is cherished as an awful warning to
those who refuse to worship "the god of things as they are."

And yet as I recall the members of this early club, even those
who talked the most and the least rationally, seem to me to have
been particularly kindly and "safe." The most pronounced
anarchist among them has long since become a convert to a
religious sect, holding Buddhistic tenets which imply little food
and a distrust of all action; he has become a wraith of his
former self but he still retains his kindly smile.

In the discussion of these themes, Hull-House was of course quite
as much under the suspicion of one side as the other.  I remember
one night when I addressed a club of secularists, which met at the
corner of South Halsted and Madison streets, a rough-looking man
called out: "You are all right now, but, mark my words, when you
are subsidized by the millionaires, you will be afraid to talk like
this." The defense of free speech was a sensitive point with me,
and I quickly replied that while I did not intend to be subsidized
by millionaires, neither did I propose to be bullied by workingmen,
and that I should state my honest opinion without consulting either
of them.  To my surprise, the audience of radicals broke into
applause, and the discussion turned upon the need of resisting
tyranny wherever found, if democratic institutions were to endure.
This desire to bear independent witness to social righteousness
often resulted in a sense of compromise difficult to endure, and at
many times it seemed to me that we were destined to alienate
everybody.  I should have been most grateful at that time to accept
the tenets of socialism, and I conscientiously made my effort, both
by reading and by many discussions with the comrades.  I found that
I could easily give an affirmative answer to the heated question
"Don't you see that just as the hand mill created a society with a
feudal lord, so the steam mill creates a society with an industrial
capitalist?" But it was a little harder to give an affirmative
reply to the proposition that the social relation thus established
proceeds to create principles, ideas and categories as merely
historical and transitory products.

Of course I use the term "socialism" technically and do not wish
to confuse it with the growing sensitiveness which recognizes
that no personal comfort, nor individual development can
compensate a man for the misery of his neighbors, nor with the
increasing conviction that social arrangements can be transformed
through man's conscious and deliberate effort.  Such a definition
would not have been accepted for a moment by the Russians, who
then dominated the socialist party in Chicago and among whom a
crude interpretation of the class conflict was the test of faith.

During those first years on Halsted Street nothing was more
painfully clear than the fact that pliable human nature is
relentlessly pressed upon by its physical environment.  I saw
nowhere a more devoted effort to understand and relieve that
heavy pressure than the socialists were making, and I should have
been glad to have had the comradeship of that gallant company had
they not firmly insisted that fellowship depends upon identity of
creed.  They repudiated similarity of aim and social sympathy as
tests which were much too loose and wavering as they did that
vague socialism which for thousands has come to be a philosophy
or rather religion embodying the hope of the world and the
protection of all who suffer.

I also longed for the comfort of a definite social creed, which
should afford at one and the same time an explanation of the
social chaos and the logical steps towards its better ordering. I
came to have an exaggerated sense of responsibility for the
poverty in the midst of which I was living and which the
socialists constantly forced me to defend.  My plight was not
unlike that which might have resulted in my old days of
skepticism regarding foreordination, had I then been compelled to
defend the confusion arising from the clashing of free wills as
an alternative to an acceptance of the doctrine.  Another
difficulty in the way of accepting this economic determinism, so
baldly dependent upon the theory of class consciousness,
constantly arose when I lectured in country towns and there had
opportunities to read human documents of prosperous people as
well as those of my neighbors who were crowded into the city. The
former were stoutly unconscious of any classes in America, and
the class consciousness of the immigrants was fast being broken
into by the necessity for making new and unprecedented
connections in the industrial life all about them.

In the meantime, although many men of many minds met constantly
at our conferences, it was amazing to find the incorrigible good
nature which prevailed.  Radicals are accustomed to hot
discussion and sharp differences of opinion and take it all in
the day's work.  I recall that the secretary of the Hull-House
Social Science Club at the anniversary of the seventh year of its
existence read a report in which he stated that, so far as he
could remember, but twice during that time had a speaker lost his
temper, and in each case it had been a college professor who
"wasn't accustomed to being talked back to."

He also added that but once had all the club members united in
applauding the same speaker; only Samuel Jones, who afterwards
became the "golden rule" mayor of Toledo, had been able to
overcome all their dogmatic differences, when he had set forth a
plan of endowing a group of workingmen with a factory plant and a
working capital for experimentation in hours and wages, quite as
groups of scholars are endowed for research.

Chicago continued to devote much time to economic discussion and
remained in a state of youthful glamour throughout the nineties.
I recall a young Methodist minister who, in order to free his
denomination from any entanglement in his discussion of the
economic and social situation, moved from his church building
into a neighboring hall.  The congregation and many other people
followed him there, and he later took to the street corners
because he found that the shabbiest men liked that best.
Professor Herron filled to overflowing a downtown hall every noon
with a series of talks entitled "Between Caesar and Jesus"--an
attempt to apply the teachings of the Gospel to the situations of
modern commerce.  A half dozen publications edited with some
ability and much moral enthusiasm have passed away, perhaps
because they represented pamphleteering rather than journalism
and came to a natural end when the situation changed.  Certainly
their editors suffered criticism and poverty on behalf of the
causes which they represented.

Trades-unionists, unless they were also socialists, were not
prominent in those economic discussions, although they were
steadily making an effort to bring order into the unnecessary
industrial confusion.  They belonged to the second of the two
classes into which Mill divides all those who are dissatisfied
with human life as it is, and whose feelings are wholly identified
with its radical amendment.  He states that the thoughts of one
class are in the region of ultimate aims, of "the highest ideals
of human life," while the thoughts of the other are in the region
of the "immediately useful, and practically attainable."

The meetings of our Social Science Club were carried on by men of
the former class, many of them with a strong religious bias who
constantly challenged the Church to assuage the human spirit thus
torn and bruised "in the tumult of a time disconsolate." These
men were so serious in their demand for religious fellowship, and
several young clergymen were so ready to respond to the appeal,
that various meetings were arranged at Hull-House, in which a
group of people met together to consider the social question, not
in a spirit of discussion, but in prayer and meditation.  These
clergymen were making heroic efforts to induce their churches to
formally consider the labor situation, and during the years which
have elapsed since then, many denominations of the Christian
Church have organized labor committees; but at that time there
was nothing of the sort beyond the society in the established
Church of England "to consider the conditions of labor."

During that decade even the most devoted of that pioneer church
society failed to formulate the fervid desire for juster social
conditions into anything more convincing than a literary statement,
and the Christian Socialists, at least when the American branch
held its annual meeting at Hull-House, afforded but a striking
portrayal of that "between-age mood" in which so many of our
religious contemporaries are forced to live.  I remember that I
received the same impression when I attended a meeting called by
the canon of an English cathedral to discuss the relation of the
Church to labor.  The men quickly indicted the cathedral for its
uselessness, and the canon asked them what in their minds should be
its future.  The men promptly replied that any new social order
would wish, of course, to preserve beautiful historic buildings,
that although they would dismiss the bishop and all the clergy,
they would want to retain one or two scholars as custodians and
interpreters.  "And what next?" the imperturbable ecclesiastic
asked.  "We would democratize it," replied the men.  But when it
came to a more detailed description of such an undertaking, the
discussion broke down into a dozen bits, although illuminated by
much shrewd wisdom and affording a clue, perhaps as to the
destruction of the bishop's palace by the citizens of this same
town, who had attacked it as a symbol of swollen prosperity during
the bread riots of the earlier part of the century.

On the other hand the workingmen who continue to demand help from
the Church thereby acknowledge their kinship, as does the son who
continues to ask bread from the father who gives him a stone.  I
recall an incident connected with a prolonged strike in Chicago
on the part of the typographical unions for an eight-hour day.
The strike had been conducted in a most orderly manner and the
union men, convinced of the justice of their cause, had felt
aggrieved because one of the religious publishing houses in
Chicago had constantly opposed them.  Some of the younger
clergymen of the denominations who were friendly to the strikers'
cause came to a luncheon at Hull-House, where the situation was
discussed by the representatives of all sides.  The clergymen,
becoming much interested in the idealism with which an officer of
the State Federation of Labor presented the cause, drew from him
the story of his search for fraternal relation: he said that at
fourteen years of age he had joined a church, hoping to find it
there; he had later become a member of many fraternal
organizations and mutual benefit societies, and, although much
impressed by their rituals, he was disappointed in the actual
fraternity.  He had finally found, so it seemed to him, in the
cause of organized labor, what these other organizations had
failed to give him--an opportunity for sacrificial effort.

Chicago thus took a decade to discuss the problems inherent in
the present industrial organization and to consider what might be
done, not so much against deliberate aggression as against brutal
confusion and neglect; quite as the youth of promise passed
through a mist of rose-colored hope before he settles in the land
of achievement where he becomes all too dull and literal minded.
And yet as I hastily review the decade in Chicago which followed
this one given over to discussion, the actual attainment of these
early hopes, so far as they have been realized at all, seem to
have come from men of affairs rather than from those given to
speculation.  Was the whole decade of discussion an illustration
of that striking fact which has been likened to the changing of
swords in Hamlet; that the abstract minds at length yield to the
inevitable or at least grow less ardent in their propaganda,
while the concrete minds, dealing constantly with daily affairs,
in the end demonstrate the reality of abstract notions?

I remember when Frederick Harrison visited Hull-House that I was
much disappointed to find that the Positivists had not made their
ardor for humanity a more potent factor in the English social
movement, as I was surprised during a visit from John Morley to
find that he, representing perhaps the type of man whom political
life seemed to have pulled away from the ideals of his youth, had
yet been such a champion of democracy in the full tide of
reaction.  My observations were much too superficial to be of
value and certainly both men were well grounded in philosophy and
theory of social reform and had long before carefully formulated
their principles, as the new English Labor Party, which is
destined to break up the reactionary period, is now being created
by another set of theorists.  There were certainly moments during
the heated discussions of this decade when nothing seemed so
important as right theory: this was borne in upon me one brilliant
evening at Hull-House when Benjamin Kidd, author of the much-read
"Social Evolution," was pitted against Victor Berger of Milwaukee,
even then considered a rising man in the Socialist Party.

At any rate the residents of Hull-House discovered that while
their first impact with city poverty allied them to groups given
over to discussion of social theories , their sober efforts to
heal neighborhood ills allied them to general public movements
which were without challenging creeds.  But while we discovered
that we most easily secured the smallest of much-needed
improvements by attaching our efforts to those of organized
bodies, nevertheless these very organizations would have been
impossible, had not the public conscience been aroused and the
community sensibility quickened by these same ardent theorists.

As I review these very first impressions of the workers in
unskilled industries, living in a depressed quarter of the city,
I realize how easy it was for us to see exceptional cases of
hardship as typical of the average lot, and yet, in spite of
alleviating philanthropy and labor legislation, the indictment of
Tolstoy applied to Moscow thirty years ago still fits every
American city: "Wherever we may live, if we draw a circle around
us of a hundred thousand, or a thousand, or even of ten miles
circumference, and look at the lives of those men and women who
are inside our circle, we shall find half-starved children, old
people, pregnant women, sick and weak persons, working beyond
their strength, who have neither food nor rest enough to support
them, and who, for this reason, die before their time; we shall
see others, full grown, who are injured and needlessly killed by
dangerous and hurtful tasks."

As the American city is awakening to self-consciousness, it
slowly perceives the civic significance of these industrial
conditions, and perhaps Chicago has been foremost in the effort
to connect the unregulated overgrowth of the huge centers of
population, with the astonishingly rapid development of
industrial enterprises; quite as Chicago was foremost to carry on
the preliminary discussion through which a basis was laid for
likemindedness and the coordination of diverse wills.  I remember
an astute English visitor, who had been a guest in a score of
American cities, observed that it was hard to understand the
local pride he constantly encountered; for in spite of the
boasting on the part of leading citizens in the western, eastern,
and southern towns, all American cities seemed to him essentially
alike and all equally the results of an industry totally
unregulated by well-considered legislation.

I am inclined to think that perhaps all this general discussion
was inevitable in connection with the early Settlements, as they
in turn were the inevitable result of theories of social reform,
which in their full enthusiasm reached America by way of England,
only in the last decade of the century.  There must have been
tough fiber somewhere; for, although the residents of Hull-House
were often baffled by the radicalism within the Social Science
Club and harassed by the criticism from outside, we still
continued to believe that such discussion should be carried on,
for if the Settlement seeks its expression through social
activity, it must learn the difference between mere social unrest
and spiritual impulse.

The group of Hull-House residents, which by the end of the decade
comprised twenty-five, differed widely in social beliefs, from the
girl direct from the country who looked upon all social unrest as
mere anarchy, to the resident, who had become a socialist when a
student in Zurich, and who had long before translated from the
German Engel's "Conditions of the Working Class in England,"
although at this time she had been read out of the Socialist Party
because the Russian and German Impossibilists suspected her fluent
English, as she always lightly explained. Although thus diversified
in social beliefs, the residents became solidly united through our
mutual experience in an industrial quarter, and we became not only
convinced of the need for social control and protective legislation
but also of the value of this preliminary argument.

This decade of discussion between 1890 and 1900 already seems
remote from the spirit of Chicago of to-day.  So far as I have been
able to reproduce this earlier period, it must reflect the
essential provisionality of everything; "the perpetual moving on to
something future which shall supersede the present," that paramount
impression of life itself, which affords us at one and the same
time, ground for despair and for endless and varied anticipation.



[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Diana Camden.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration ofWomen Writers]

"Chapter X: Pioneer Labor Legislation in Illinois by Jane Addams
(1860-1935)

From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with Autobiographical Notes. by
Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp.
198-230.

[Editor:  Mary MarkOckerbloom]



CHAPTER X

PIONEER LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS


Our very first Christmas at Hull-House, when we as yet knew
nothing of child labor, a number of little girls refused the
candy which was offered them as part of the Christmas good cheer,
saying simply that they "worked in a candy factory and could not
bear the sight of it." We discovered that for six weeks they had
worked from seven in the morning until nine at night, and they
were exhausted as well as satiated.  The sharp consciousness of
stern economic conditions was thus thrust upon us in the midst of
the season of good will.

During the same winter three boys from a Hull-House club were
injured at one machine in a neighboring factory for lack of a
guard which would have cost but a few dollars.  When the injury of
one of these boys resulted in his death, we felt quite sure that
the owners of the factory would share our horror and remorse, and
that they would do everything possible to prevent the recurrence
of such a tragedy.  To our surprise they did nothing whatever, and
I made my first acquaintance then with those pathetic documents
signed by the parents of working children, that they will make no
claim for damages resulting from "carelessness."

The visits we made in the neighborhood constantly discovered
women sewing upon sweatshop work, and often they were assisted by
incredibly small children.  I remember a little girl of four who
pulled out basting threads hour after hour, sitting on a stool at
the feet of her Bohemian mother, a little bunch of human misery.
But even for that there was no legal redress, for the only
child-labor law in Illinois, with any provision for enforcement,
had been secured by the coal miners' unions, and was confined to
children employed in mines.

We learned to know many families in which the working children
contributed to the support of their parents, not only because
they spoke English better than the older immigrants and were
willing to take lower wages, but because their parents gradually
found it easy to live upon their earnings.  A South Italian
peasant who has picked olives and packed oranges from his
toddling babyhood cannot see at once the difference between the
outdoor healthy work which he had performed in the varying
seasons, and the long hours of monotonous factory life which his
child encounters when he goes to work in Chicago.  An Italian
father came to us in great grief over the death of his eldest
child, a little girl of twelve, who had brought the largest wages
into the family fund.  In the midst of his genuine sorrow he
said: "She was the oldest kid I had.  Now I shall have to go back
to work again until the next one is able to take care of me." The
man was only thirty-three and had hoped to retire from work at
least during the winters.  No foreman cared to have him in a
factory, untrained and unintelligent as he was.  It was much
easier for his bright, English-speaking little girl to get a
chance to paste labels on a box than for him to secure an
opportunity to carry pig iron.  The effect on the child was what
no one concerned thought about, in the abnormal effort she made
thus prematurely to bear the weight of life.  Another little girl
of thirteen, a Russian-Jewish child employed in a laundry at a
heavy task beyond her strength, committed suicide, because she
had borrowed three dollars from a companion which she could not
repay unless she confided the story to her parents and gave up an
entire week's wages--but what could the family live upon that
week in case she did!  Her child mind, of course, had no sense of
proportion, and carbolic acid appeared inevitable.

While we found many pathetic cases of child labor and hard-driven
victims of the sweating system who could not possibly earn enough
in the short busy season to support themselves during the rest of
the year, it became evident that we must add carefully collected
information to our general impression of neighborhood conditions
if we would make it of any genuine value.

There was at that time no statistical information on Chicago
industrial conditions, and Mrs. Florence Kelley, an early
resident of Hull-House, suggested to the Illinois State Bureau of
Labor that they investigate the sweating system in Chicago with
its attendant child labor.  The head of the Bureau adopted this
suggestion and engaged Mrs. Kelley to make the investigation.
When the report was presented to the Illinois Legislature, a
special committee was appointed to look into the Chicago
conditions.  I well recall that on the Sunday the members of this
commission came to dine at Hull-House, our hopes ran high, and we
believed that at last some of the worst ills under which our
neighbors were suffering would be brought to an end.

As a result of its investigations, this committee recommended to
the Legislature the provisions which afterward became those of the
first factory law of Illinois, regulating the sanitary conditions
of the sweatshop and fixing fourteen as the age at which a child
might be employed.  Before the passage of the law could be
secured, it was necessary to appeal to all elements of the
community, and a little group of us addressed the open meetings of
trades-unions and of benefit societies, church organizations, and
social clubs literally every evening for three months.  Of course
the most energetic help as well as intelligent understanding came
from the trades-unions.  The central labor body of Chicago, then
called the Trades and Labor Assembly, had previously appointed a
committee of investigation to inquire into the sweating system.
This committee consisted of five delegates from the unions and
five outside their membership. Two of the latter were residents of
Hull-House, and continued with the unions in their well-conducted
campaign until the passage of Illinois's first Factory Legislation
was secured, a statute which has gradually been built upon by many
public-spirited citizens until Illinois stands well among the
States, at least in the matter of protecting her children.  The
Hull-House residents that winter had their first experience in
lobbying.  I remember that I very much disliked the word and still
more the prospect of the lobbying itself, and we insisted that
well-known Chicago women should accompany this first little group
of Settlement folk who with trades-unionists moved upon the state
capitol in behalf of factory legislation.  The national or, to use
its formal name, The General Federation of Woman's Clubs had been
organized in Chicago only the year before this legislation was
secured.  The Federation was then timid in regard to all
legislation because it was anxious not to frighten its new
membership, although its second president, Mrs. Henrotin, was most
untiring in her efforts to secure this law.

It was, perhaps, a premature effort, though certainly founded
upon a genuine need, to urge that a clause limiting the hours of
all women working in factories or workshops to eight a day, or
forty-eight a week, should be inserted in the first factory
legislation of the State.  Although we had lived at Hull-House
but three years when we urged this legislation, we had known a
large number of young girls who were constantly exhausted by
night work; for whatever may be said in defense of night work for
men, few women are able to endure it.  A man who works by night
sleeps regularly by day, but a woman finds it impossible to put
aside the household duties which crowd upon her, and a
conscientious girl finds it hard to sleep with her mother washing
and scrubbing within a few feet of her bed.  One of the most
painful impressions of those first years is that of pale,
listless girls, who worked regularly in a factory of the vicinity
which was then running full night time.  These girls also
encountered a special danger in the early morning hours as they
returned from work, debilitated and exhausted, and only too
easily convinced that a drink and a little dancing at the end of
the balls in the saloon dance halls, was what they needed to
brace them.  One of the girls whom we then knew, whose name,
Chloe, seemed to fit her delicate charm, craving a drink to
dispel her lassitude before her tired feet should take the long
walk home, had thus been decoyed into a saloon, where the soft
drink was followed by an alcoholic one containing "knockout
drops," and she awoke in a disreputable rooming house--too
frightened and disgraced to return to her mother.

Thus confronted by that old conundrum of the interdependence of
matter and spirit, the conviction was forced upon us that long and
exhausting hours of work are almost sure to be followed by lurid
and exciting pleasures; that the power to overcome temptation
reaches its limit almost automatically with that of physical
resistance.  The eight-hour clause in this first factory law met
with much less opposition in the Legislature than was anticipated,
and was enforced for a year before it was pronounced
unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Illinois.  During the
halcyon months when it was a law, a large and enthusiastic
Eight-Hour Club of working women met at Hull-House, to read the
literature on the subject and in every way to prepare themselves
to make public sentiment in favor of the measure which meant so
much to them.  The adverse decision in the test case, the progress
of which they had most intelligently followed, was a matter of
great disappointment.  The entire experience left on my mind a
mistrust of all legislation which was not preceded by full
discussion and understanding.  A premature measure may be carried
through a legislature by perfectly legitimate means and still fail
to possess vitality and a sense of maturity.  On the other hand,
the administration of an advanced law acts somewhat as a
referendum.  The people have an opportunity for two years to see
the effects of its operation.  If they choose to reopen the matter
at the next General Assembly, it can be discussed with experience
and conviction; the very operation of the law has performed the
function of the "referendum" in a limited use of the term.

Founded upon some such compunction, the sense that the passage of
the child labor law would in many cases work hardship, was never
absent from my mind during the earliest years of its operation. I
addressed as many mothers' meetings and clubs among working women
as I could, in order to make clear the object of the law and the
ultimate benefit to themselves as well as to their children.  I
am happy to remember that I never met with lack of understanding
among the hard-working widows, in whose behalf many prosperous
people were so eloquent.  These widowed mothers would say, "Why,
of course, that is what I am working for--to give the children a
chance.  I want them to have more education than I had"; or
another, "That is why we came to America, and I don't want to
spoil his start, even although his father is dead"; or "It's
different in America.  A boy gets left if he isn't educated."
There was always a willingness, even among the poorest women, to
keep on with the hard night scrubbing or the long days of washing
for the children's sake.

The bitterest opposition to the law came from the large glass
companies, who were so accustomed to use the labor of children
that they were convinced the manufacturing of glass could not be
carried on without it.

Fifteen years ago the State of Illinois, as well as Chicago,
exhibited many characteristics of the pioneer country in which
untrammeled energy and an "early start" were still the most
highly prized generators of success.  Although this first labor
legislation was but bringing Illinois into line with the nations
in the modern industrial world, which "have long been obliged for
their own sakes to come to the aid of the workers by which they
live--that the child, the young person and the woman may be
protected from their own weakness and necessity?" nevertheless
from the first it ran counter to the instinct and tradition,
almost to the very religion of the manufacturers of the state,
who were for the most part self-made men.

This first attempt in Illinois for adequate factory legislation
also was associated in the minds of businessmen with radicalism,
because the law was secured during the term of Governor Altgeld
and was first enforced during his administration.  While nothing
in its genesis or spirit could be further from "anarchy" than
factory legislation, and while the first law in Illinois was still
far behind Massachusetts and New York, the fact that Governor
Altgeld pardoned from the state's prison the anarchists who had
been sentenced there after the Haymarket riot, gave the opponents
of this most reasonable legislation a quickly utilized opportunity
to couple it with that detested word; the State document which
accompanied Governor Altgeld's pardon gave these ungenerous
critics a further opportunity, because a magnanimous action was
marred by personal rancor, betraying for the moment the infirmity
of a noble mind.  For all of these reasons this first modification
of the undisturbed control of the aggressive captains of industry
could not be enforced without resistance marked by dramatic
episodes and revolts.  The inception of the law had already become
associated with Hull-House, and when its ministration was also
centered there, we inevitably received all the odium which these
first efforts entailed.  Mrs. Kelley was appointed the first
factory inspector with a deputy and a force of twelve inspectors
to enforce the law.  Both Mrs. Kelley and her assistant, Mrs.
Stevens, lived at Hull-House; the office was on Polk Street
directly opposite, and one of the most vigorous deputies was the
president of the Jane Club.  In addition, one of the early men
residents, since dean of a state law school, acted as prosecutor
in the cases brought against the violators of the law.

Chicago had for years been notoriously lax in the administration
of law, and the enforcement of an unpopular measure was resented
equally by the president of a large manufacturing concern and by
the former victim of a sweatshop who had started a place of his
own.  Whatever the sentiments toward the new law on the part of
the employers, there was no doubt of its enthusiastic reception
by the trades-unions, as the securing of the law had already come
from them, and through the years which have elapsed since, the
experience of the Hull-House residents would coincide with that
of an English statesman who said that "a common rule for the
standard of life and the condition of labor may be secured by
legislation, but it must be maintained by trades unionism."

This special value of the trades-unions first became clear to the
residents of Hull-House in connection with the sweating system.
We early found that the women in the sewing trades were sorely in
need of help.  The trade was thoroughly disorganized, Russian and
Polish tailors competing against English-speaking tailors,
unskilled Bohemian and Italian women competing against both.
These women seem to have been best helped through the use of the
label when unions of specialized workers in the trade are strong
enough to insist that the manufacturers shall "give out work"
only to those holding union cards.  It was certainly impressive
when the garment makers themselves in this way finally succeeded
in organizing six hundred of the Italian women in our immediate
vicinity, who had finished garments at home for the most wretched
and precarious wages.  To be sure, the most ignorant women only
knew that "you couldn't get clothes to sew" from the places where
they paid the best, unless "you had a card," but through the
veins of most of them there pulsed the quickened blood of a new
fellowship, a sense of comfort and aid which had been laid out to
them by their fellow-workers.

During the fourth year of our residence at Hull-House we found
ourselves in a large mass meeting ardently advocating the passage
of a Federal measure called the Sulzer Bill.  Even in our short
struggle with the evils of the sweating system it did not seem
strange that the center of the effort had shifted to Washington,
for by that time we had realized that the sanitary regulation of
sweatshops by city officials, and a careful enforcement of factory
legislation by state factory inspectors will not avail, unless
each city and State shall be able to pass and enforce a code of
comparatively uniform legislation.  Although the Sulzer Act failed
to utilize the Interstate Commerce legislation for its purpose,
many of the national representatives realized for the first time
that only by federal legislation could their constituents in
remote country places be protected from contagious diseases raging
in New York or Chicago, for many country doctors testify as to the
outbreak of scarlet fever in rural neighborhoods after the
children have begun to wear the winter overcoats and cloaks which
have been sent from infected city sweatshops.

Through our efforts to modify the sweating system, the Hull-House
residents gradually became committed to the fortunes of the
Consumers' League, an organization which for years has been
approaching the question of the underpaid sewing woman from the
point of view of the ultimate responsibility lodged in the
consumer.  It becomes more reasonable to make the presentation of
the sweatshop situation through this League, as it is more
effectual to work with them for the extension of legal provisions
in the slow upbuilding of that code of legislation which is alone
sufficient to protect the home from the dangers incident to the
sweating system.

The Consumers' League seems to afford the best method of approach
for the protection of girls in department stores; I recall a
group of girls from a neighboring "emporium" who applied to
Hull-House for dancing parties on alternate Sunday afternoons.
In reply to our protest they told us they not only worked late
every evening, in spite of the fact that each was supposed to
have "two nights a week off," and every Sunday morning, but that
on alternate Sunday afternoons they were required "to sort the
stock." Over and over again, meetings called by the Clerks Union
and others have been held at Hull-House protesting against these
incredibly long hours. Little modification has come about,
however, during our twenty years of residence, although one large
store in the Bohemian quarter closes all day on Sunday and many
of the others for three nights a week.  In spite of the Sunday
work, these girls prefer the outlying department stores to those
downtown; there is more social intercourse with the customers,
more kindliness and social equality between the saleswomen and
the managers, and above all the girls have the protection
naturally afforded by friends and neighbors and they are free
from that suspicion which so often haunts the girls downtown,
that their fellow workers may not be "nice girls."

In the first years of Hull-House we came across no trades-unions
among the women workers, and I think, perhaps, that only one
union, composed solely of women, was to be found in Chicago
then--that of the bookbinders.  I easily recall the evening when
the president of this pioneer organization accepted an invitation
to take dinner at Hull-House.  She came in rather a recalcitrant
mood, expecting to be patronized, and so suspicious of our
motives that it was only after she had been persuaded to become a
guest of the house for several weeks in order to find out about
us for herself, that she was convinced of our sincerity and of
the ability of "outsiders" to be of any service to working women.
 She afterward became closely identified with Hull-House, and her
hearty cooperation was assured until she moved to Boston and
became a general organizer for the American Federation of Labor.

The women shirt makers and the women cloak makers were both
organized at Hull-House as was also the Dorcas Federal Labor
Union, which had been founded through the efforts of a working
woman, then one of the residents.  The latter union met once a
month in our drawing room.  It was composed of representatives
from all the unions in the city which included women in their
membership and also received other women in sympathy with
unionism.  It was accorded representation in the central labor
body of the city, and later it joined its efforts with those of
others to found the Woman's Union Label League.  In what we
considered a praiseworthy effort to unite it with other
organizations, the president of a leading Woman's Club applied
for membership.  We were so sure of her election that she stood
just outside of the drawing-room door, or, in trades-union
language, "the wicket gate," while her name was voted upon.  To
our chagrin, she did not receive enough votes to secure her
admission, not because the working girls, as they were careful to
state, did not admire her, but because she "seemed to belong to
the other side." Fortunately, the big-minded woman so thoroughly
understood the vote and her interest in working women was so
genuine that it was less than a decade afterward when she was
elected to the presidency of the National Woman's Trades Union
League.  The incident and the sequel registers, perhaps, the
change in Chicago toward the labor movement, the recognition of
the fact that it is a general social movement concerning all
members of society and not merely a class struggle.

Some such public estimate of the labor movement was brought home
to Chicago during several conspicuous strikes; at least labor
legislation has twice been inaugurated because its need was thus
made clear.  After the Pullman strike various elements in the
community were unexpectedly brought together that they might
soberly consider and rectify the weakness in the legal structure
which the strike had revealed.  These citizens arranged for a
large and representative convention to be held in Chicago on
Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration.  I served as secretary
of the committee from the new Civic Federation having the matter
in charge, and our hopes ran high when, as a result of the
agitation, the Illinois legislature passed a law creating a State
Board of Conciliation and Arbitration.  But even a state board
cannot accomplish more than public sentiment authorizes and
sustains, and we might easily have been discouraged in those
early days could we have foreseen some of the industrial
disturbances which have since disgraced Chicago. This law
embodied the best provisions of the then existing laws for the
arbitration of industrial disputes.  At the time the word
arbitration was still a word to conjure with, and many Chicago
citizens were convinced, not only of the danger and futility
involved in the open warfare of opposing social forces, but
further believed that the search for justice and righteousness in
industrial relations was made infinitely more difficult thereby.

The Pullman strike afforded much illumination to many Chicago
people.  Before it, there had been nothing in my experience to
reveal that distinct cleavage of society, which a general strike
at least momentarily affords.  Certainly, during all those dark
days of the Pullman strike, the growth of class bitterness was
most obvious.  The fact that the Settlement maintained avenues of
intercourse with both sides seemed to give it opportunity for
nothing but a realization of the bitterness and division along
class lines.  I had known Mr. Pullman and had seen his genuine
pride and pleasure in the model town he had built with so much
care; and I had an opportunity to talk to many of the Pullman
employees during the strike when I was sent from a so-called
"Citizens' Arbitration Committee" to their first meetings held in
a hall in the neighboring village of Kensington, and when I was
invited to the modest supper tables laid in the model houses.
The employees then expected a speedy settlement and no one
doubted but that all the grievances connected with the "straw
bosses" would be quickly remedied and that the benevolence which
had built the model town would not fail them.  They were sure
that the "straw bosses" had misrepresented the state of affairs,
for this very first awakening to class consciousness bore many
traces of the servility on one side and the arrogance on the
other which had so long prevailed in the model town.  The entire
strike demonstrated how often the outcome of far-reaching
industrial disturbances is dependent upon the personal will of
the employer or the temperament of a strike leader.  Those
familiar with strikes know only too well how much they are
influenced by poignant domestic situations, by the troubled
consciences of the minority directors, by the suffering women and
children, by the keen excitement of the struggle, by the
religious scruples sternly suppressed but occasionally asserting
themselves, now on one side and now on the other, and by that
undefined psychology of the crowd which we understand so little.
All of these factors also influence the public and do much to
determine popular sympathy and judgment.  In the early days of
the Pullman strike, as I was coming down in the elevator of the
Auditorium hotel from one of the futile meetings of the
Arbitration Committee, I met an acquaintance, who angrily said
"that the strikers ought all to be shot." As I had heard nothing
so bloodthirsty as this either from the most enraged capitalist
or from the most desperate of the men, and was interested to find
the cause of such a senseless outbreak, I finally discovered that
the first ten thousand dollars which my acquaintance had ever
saved, requiring, he said, years of effort from the time he was
twelve years old until he was thirty, had been lost as the result
of a strike; he clinched his argument that he knew what he was
talking about, with the statement that "no one need expect him to
have any sympathy with strikers or with their affairs."

A very intimate and personal experience revealed, at least to
myself, my constant dread of the spreading ill will.  At the
height of the sympathetic strike my oldest sister, who was
convalescing from a long illness in a hospital near Chicago,
became suddenly very much worse.  While I was able to reach her
at once, every possible obstacle of a delayed and blocked
transportation system interrupted the journey of her husband and
children who were hurrying to her bedside from a distant state.
As the end drew nearer and I was obliged to reply to my sister's
constant inquiries that her family had not yet come, I was filled
with a profound apprehension lest her last hours should be
touched with resentment toward those responsible for the delay;
lest her unutterable longing should at the very end be tinged
with bitterness.  She must have divined what was in my mind, for
at last she said each time after the repetition of my sad news:
"I don't blame any one, I am not judging them." My heart was
comforted and heavy at the same time; but how many more such
moments of sorrow and death were being made difficult and lonely
throughout the land, and how much would these experiences add to
the lasting bitterness, that touch of self-righteousness which
makes the spirit of forgiveness well-nigh impossible.

When I returned to Chicago from the quiet country I saw the
Federal troops encamped about the post office; almost everyone on
Halsted Street wearing a white ribbon, the emblem of the
strikers' side; the residents at Hull-House divided in opinion as
to the righteousness of this or that measure; and no one able to
secure any real information as to which side was burning the
cars.  After the Pullman strike I made an attempt to analyze in a
paper which I called The Modern King Lear the inevitable revolt
of human nature against the plans Mr. Pullman had made for his
employees, the miscarriage of which appeared to him such black
ingratitude.  It seemed to me unendurable not to make some effort
to gather together the social implications of the failure of this
benevolent employer and its relation to the demand for a more
democratic administration of industry.  Doubtless the paper
represented a certain "excess of participation," to use a gentle
phrase of Charles Lamb's in preference to a more emphatic one
used by Mr. Pullman himself.  The last picture of the Pullman
strike which I distinctly recall was three years later when one
of the strike leaders came to see me.  Although out of work for
most of the time since the strike, he had been undisturbed for
six months in the repair shops of a street-car company, under an
assumed name, but he had at that moment been discovered and
dismissed.  He was a superior type of English workingman, but as
he stood there, broken and discouraged, believing himself so
black-listed that his skill could never be used again, filled
with sorrow over the loss of his wife who had recently died after
an illness with distressing mental symptoms, realizing keenly the
lack of the respectable way of living he had always until now
been able to maintain, he seemed to me an epitome of the wretched
human waste such a strike implies.  I fervently hoped that the
new arbitration law would prohibit in Chicago forever more such
brutal and ineffective methods of settling industrial disputes.
And yet even as early as 1896, we found the greatest difficulty
in applying the arbitration law to the garment workers' strike,
although it was finally accomplished after various mass meetings
had urged it.  The cruelty and waste of the strike as an
implement for securing the most reasonable demands came to me at
another time, during the long strike of the clothing cutters.
They had protested, not only against various wrongs of their own,
but against the fact that the tailors employed by the custom
merchants were obliged to furnish their own workshops and thus
bore a burden of rent which belonged to the employer.  One of the
leaders in this strike, whom I had known for several years as a
sober, industrious, and unusually intelligent man, I saw
gradually break down during the many trying weeks and at last
suffer a complete moral collapse.

He was a man of sensitive organization under the necessity, as is
every leader during a strike, to address the same body of men day
after day with an appeal sufficiently emotional to respond to
their sense of injury; to receive callers at any hour of the day
or night; to sympathize with all the distress of the strikers who
see their families daily suffering; he must do it all with the
sickening sense of the increasing privation in his own home, and
in this case with the consciousness that failure was approaching
nearer each day.  This man, accustomed to the monotony of his
workbench and suddenly thrown into a new situation, showed every
sign of nervous fatigue before the final collapse came.  He
disappeared after the strike and I did not see him for ten years,
but when he returned he immediately began talking about the old
grievances which he had repeated so often that he could talk of
nothing else.  It was easy to recognize the same nervous symptoms
which the broken-down lecturer exhibits who has depended upon the
exploitation of his own experiences to keep himself going.  One
of his stories was indeed pathetic.  His employer, during the
busy season, had met him one Sunday afternoon in Lincoln Park
whither he had taken his three youngest children, one of whom had
been ill.  The employer scolded him for thus wasting his time and
roughly asked why he had not taken home enough work to keep
himself busy through the day.  The story was quite credible
because the residents of Hull-House have had many opportunities
to see the worker driven ruthlessly during the season and left in
idleness for long weeks afterward.  We have slowly come to
realize that periodical idleness as well as the payment of wages
insufficient for maintenance of the manual worker in full
industrial and domestic efficiency, stand economically on the
same footing with the "sweated" industries, the overwork of
women, and employment of children.

But of all the aspects of social misery nothing is so
heartbreaking as unemployment, and it was inevitable that we
should see much of it in a neighborhood where low rents attracted
the poorly paid worker and many newly arrived immigrants who were
first employed in gangs upon railroad extensions and similar
undertakings.  The sturdy peasants eager for work were either the
victims of the padrone who fleeced them unmercifully, both in
securing a place to work and then in supplying them with food, or
they became the mere sport of unscrupulous employment agencies.
Hull-House made an investigation both of the padrone and of the
agencies in our immediate vicinity, and the outcome confirming
what we already suspected, we eagerly threw ourselves into a
movement to procure free employment bureaus under State control
until a law authorizing such bureaus and giving the officials
intrusted with their management power to regulate private
employment agencies, passed the Illinois Legislature in 1899. The
history of these bureaus demonstrates the tendency we all have to
consider a legal enactment in itself an achievement and to grow
careless in regard to its administration and actual results; for
an investigation into the situation ten years later discovered
that immigrants were still shamefully imposed upon. A group of
Bulgarians were found who had been sent to work in Arkansas where
their services were not needed; they walked back to Chicago only
to secure their next job in Oklahoma and to pay another railroad
fare as well as another commission to the agency.  Not only was
there no method by which the men not needed in Arkansas could
know that there was work in Oklahoma unless they came back to
Chicago to find it out, but there was no certainty that they
might not be obliged to walk back from Oklahoma because the
Chicago agency had already sent out too many men.

This investigation of the employment bureau resources of Chicago
was undertaken by the League for the Protection of Immigrants,
with whom it is possible for Hull-House to cooperate whenever an
investigation of the immigrant colonies in our immediate
neighborhood seems necessary, as was recently done in regard to
the Greek colonies of Chicago.  The superintendent of this
League, Miss Grace Abbott, is a resident of Hull-House and all of
our later attempts to secure justice and opportunity for
immigrants are much more effective through the League, and when
we speak before a congressional committee in Washington
concerning the needs of Chicago immigrants, we represent the
League as well as our own neighbors.

It is in connection with the first factory employment of newly
arrived immigrants and the innumerable difficulties attached to
their first adjustment that some of the most profound industrial
disturbances in Chicago have come about.  Under any attempt at
classification these strikes belong more to the general social
movement than to the industrial conflict, for the strike is an
implement used most rashly by unorganized labor who, after they
are in difficulties, call upon the trades-unions for organization
and direction.  They are similar to those strikes which are
inaugurated by the unions on behalf of unskilled labor. In
neither case do the hastily organized unions usually hold after
the excitement of the moment has subsided, and the most valuable
result of such strikes is the expanding consciousness of the
solidarity of the workers.  This was certainly the result of the
Chicago stockyard strike in 1905, inaugurated on behalf of the
immigrant laborers and so conspicuously carried on without
violence that, although twenty-two thousand workers were idle
during the entire summer, there were fewer arrests in the
stockyards district than the average summer months afford.
However, the story of this strike should not be told from
Hull-House, but from the University of Chicago Settlement, where
Miss Mary McDowell performed such signal public service during
that trying summer.  It would be interesting to trace how much of
the subsequent exposure of conditions and attempts at
governmental control of this huge industry had their genesis in
this first attempt of the unskilled workers to secure a higher
standard of living.  Certainly the industrial conflict when
epitomized in a strike, centers public attention on conditions as
nothing else can do.  A strike is one of the most exciting
episodes in modern life, and as it assumes the characteristics of
a game, the entire population of a city becomes divided into two
cheering sides.  In such moments the fair-minded public, who
ought to be depended upon as a referee, practically disappears.
Anyone who tries to keep the attitude of nonpartisanship, which
is perhaps an impossible one, is quickly under suspicion by both
sides.  At least that was the fate of a group of citizens
appointed by the mayor of Chicago to arbitrate during the stormy
teamsters' strike which occurred in 1905.  We sat through a long
Sunday afternoon in the mayor's office in the City Hall, talking
first with the labor men and then with the group of capitalists.
The undertaking was the more futile in that we were all
practically the dupes of a new type of "industrial conspiracy"
successfully inaugurated in Chicago by a close compact between
the coal teamsters' union and the coal team owners' association,
who had formed a kind of monopoly hitherto new to a
monopoly-ridden public.

The stormy teamsters' strike, ostensibly undertaken in defense of
the garment workers, but really arising from causes so obscure
and dishonorable that they have never yet been made public, was
the culmination of a type of trades-unions which had developed in
Chicago during the preceding decade in which corruption had
flourished almost as openly as it had previously done in the City
Hall.  This corruption sometimes took the form of grafting after
the manner of Samuel Parks in New York; sometimes that of
political deals in the "delivery of the labor vote"; and
sometimes that of a combination between capital and labor hunting
together.  At various times during these years the better type of
trades-unionists had made a firm stand against this corruption
and a determined effort to eradicate it from the labor movement,
not unlike the general reform effort of many American cities
against political corruption.  This reform movement in the
Chicago Federation of Labor had its martyrs, and more than one
man nearly lost his life through the "slugging" methods employed
by the powerful corruptionists.  And yet even in the midst of
these things were found touching examples of fidelity to the
earlier principles of brotherhood totally untouched by the
corruption.  At one time the scrubwomen in the downtown office
buildings had a union of their own affiliated with the elevator
men and the janitors.  Although the union was used merely as a
weapon in the fight of the coal teamsters against the use of
natural gas in downtown buildings, it did not prevent the women
from getting their first glimpse into the fellowship and the
sense of protection which is the great gift of trades-unionism to
the unskilled, unbefriended worker.  I remember in a meeting held
at Hull-House one Sunday afternoon, that the president of a
"local" of scrubwomen stood up to relate her experience.  She
told first of the long years in which the fear of losing her job
and the fluctuating pay were harder to bear than the hard work
itself, when she had regarded all the other women who scrubbed in
the same building merely as rivals and was most afraid of the
most miserable, because they offered to work for less and less as
they were pressed harder and harder by debt.  Then she told of
the change that had come when the elevator men and even the
lordly janitors had talked to her about an organization and had
said that they must all stand together.  She told how gradually
she came to feel sure of her job and of her regular pay, and she
was even starting to buy a house now that she could "calculate"
how much she "could have for sure." Neither she nor any of the
other members knew that the same combination which had organized
the scrubwomen into a union later destroyed it during a strike
inaugurated for their own purposes.

That a Settlement is drawn into the labor issues of its city can
seem remote to its purpose only to those who fail to realize that
so far as the present industrial system thwarts our ethical
demands, not only for social righteousness but for social order,
a Settlement is committed to an effort to understand and, as far
as possible, to alleviate it.  That in this effort it should be
drawn into fellowship with the local efforts of trades-unions is
most obvious.  This identity of aim apparently commits the
Settlement in the public mind to all the faiths and works of
actual trades-unions.  Fellowship has so long implied similarity
of creed that the fact that the Settlement often differs widely
from the policy pursued by trades-unionists and clearly expresses
that difference does not in the least change public opinion in
regard to its identification.  This is especially true in periods
of industrial disturbance, although it is exactly at such moments
that the trades-unionists themselves are suspicious of all but
their "own kind." It is during the much longer periods between
strikes that the Settlement's fellowship with trades-unions is
most satisfactory in the agitation for labor legislation and
similar undertakings.  The first officers of the Chicago Woman's
Trades Union League were residents of Settlements, although they
can claim little share in the later record the League made in
securing the passage of the Illinois Ten-Hour Law for Women and
in its many other fine undertakings.

Nevertheless the reaction of strikes upon Chicago Settlements
affords an interesting study in social psychology.  For whether
Hull-House is in any wise identified with the strike or not,
makes no difference.  When "Labor" is in disgrace we are always
regarded as belonging to it and share the opprobrium.  In the
public excitement following the Pullman strike Hull-House lost
many friends; later the teamsters' strike caused another such
defection, although my office in both cases had been solely that
of a duly appointed arbitrator.

There is, however, a certain comfort in the assumption I have
often encountered that wherever one's judgment might place the
justice of a given situation, it is understood that one's
sympathy is not alienated by wrongdoing, and that through this
sympathy one is still subject to vicarious suffering.  I recall
an incident during a turbulent Chicago strike which brought me
much comfort.  On the morning of the day of a luncheon to which I
had accepted an invitation, the waitress, whom I did not know,
said to my prospective hostess that she was sure I could not
come. Upon being asked for her reason she replied that she had
seen in the morning paper that the strikers had killed a "scab"
and she was sure that I would feel quite too badly about such a
thing to be able to keep a social engagement.  In spite of the
confused issues, she evidently realized my despair over the
violence in a strike quite as definitely as if she had been told
about it.  Perhaps that sort of suffering and the attempt to
interpret opposing forces to each other will long remain a
function of the Settlement, unsatisfactory and difficult as the
role often becomes.

There has gradually developed between the various Settlements of
Chicago a warm fellowship founded upon a like-mindedness
resulting from similar experiences, quite as identity of interest
and endeavor develop an enduring relation between the residents
of the same Settlement.  This sense of comradeship is never
stronger than during the hardships and perplexities of a strike
of unskilled workers revolting against the conditions which drag
them even below the level of their European life.  At such time
the residents in various Settlements are driven to a standard of
life argument running somewhat in this wise--that as the very
existence of the State depends upon the character of its
citizens, therefore if certain industrial conditions are forcing
the workers below the standard of decency, it becomes possible to
deduce the right of State regulation.  Even as late as the
stockyard strike this line of argument was denounced as
"socialism" although it has since been confirmed as wise
statesmanship by a decision of the Supreme Court of the United
States which was apparently secured through the masterly argument
of the Brandeis brief in the Oregon ten-hour case.

In such wise the residents of an industrial neighborhood
gradually comprehend the close connection of their own
difficulties with national and even international movements. The
residents in the Chicago Settlements became pioneer members in
the American branch of the International League for Labor
Legislation, because their neighborhood experiences had made them
only too conscious of the dire need for protective legislation.
In such a league, with its ardent members in every industrial
nation of Europe, with its encouraging reports of the abolition
of all night work for women in six European nations, with its
careful observations on the results of employer's liability
legislation and protection of machinery, one becomes identified
with a movement of world-wide significance and manifold
manifestation.



[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Terri Perkins.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration ofWomen Writers]

"Chapter XI: Immigrants and Their Children. by Jane Addams
(1860-1935) From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with
Autobiographical Notes. by Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan
Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp. 230-258.

[Editor:  Mary MarkOckerbloom]



CHAPTER XI

IMMIGRANTS AND THEIR CHILDREN


From our very first months at Hull-House we found it much easier
to deal with the first generation of crowded city life than with
the second or third, because it is more natural and cast in a
simpler mold.  The Italian and Bohemian peasants who live in
Chicago still put on their bright holiday clothes on a Sunday and
go to visit their cousins.  They tramp along with at least a
suggestion of having once walked over plowed fields and breathed
country air.  The second generation of city poor too often have
no holiday clothes and consider their relations a "bad lot." I
have heard a drunken man in a maudlin stage babble of his good
country mother and imagine he was driving the cows home, and I
knew that his little son who laughed loud at him would be drunk
earlier in life and would have no pastoral interlude to his
ravings. Hospitality still survives among foreigners, although it
is buried under false pride among the poorest Americans.  One
thing seemed clear in regard to entertaining immigrants; to
preserve and keep whatever of value their past life contained and
to bring them in contact with a better type of Americans.  For
several years, every Saturday evening the entire families of our
Italian neighbors were our guests.  These evenings were very
popular during our first winters at Hull-House.  Many educated
Italians helped us, and the house became known as a place where
Italians were welcome and where national holidays were observed.
They come to us with their petty lawsuits, sad relics of the
vendetta, with their incorrigible boys, with their hospital
cases, with their aspirations for American clothes, and with
their needs for an interpreter.

An editor of an Italian paper made a genuine connection between
us and the Italian colony, not only with the Neapolitans and the
Sicilians of the immediate neighborhood, but with the educated
connazionali throughout the city, until he went south to start an
agricultural colony in Alabama, in the establishment of which
Hull-House heartily cooperated.

Possibly the South Italians more than any other immigrants
represent the pathetic stupidity of agricultural people crowded
into city tenements, and we were much gratified when thirty
peasant families were induced to move upon the land which they
knew so well how to cultivate.  The starting of this colony,
however, was a very expensive affair in spite of the fact that
the colonists purchased the land at two dollars an acre; they
needed much more than raw land, and although it was possible to
collect the small sums necessary to sustain them during the hard
time of the first two years, we were fully convinced that
undertakings of this sort could be conducted properly only by
colonization societies such as England has established, or,
better still, by enlarging the functions of the Federal
Department of Immigration.

An evening similar in purpose to the one devoted to the Italians
was organized for the Germans, in our first year.  Owing to the
superior education of our Teutonic guests and the clever leading
of a cultivated German woman, these evenings reflected something
of that cozy social intercourse which is found in its perfection
in the fatherland.  Our guests sang a great deal in the tender
minor of the German folksong or in the rousing spirit of the
Rhine, and they slowly but persistently pursued a course in
German history and literature, recovering something of that
poetry and romance which they had long since resigned with other
good things.  We found strong family affection between them and
their English-speaking children, but their pleasures were not in
common, and they seldom went out together.  Perhaps the greatest
value of the Settlement to them was in placing large and pleasant
rooms with musical facilities at their disposal, and in reviving
their almost forgotten enthusiams.  I have seen sons and
daughters stand in complete surprise as their mother's knitting
needles softly beat time to the song she was singing, or her worn
face turned rosy under the hand-clapping as she made an
old-fashioned curtsy at the end of a German poem.  It was easy to
fancy a growing touch of respect in her children's manner to her,
and a rising enthusiasm for German literature and reminiscence on
the part of all the family, an effort to bring together the old
life and the new, a respect for the older cultivation, and not
quite so much assurance that the new was the best.

This tendency upon the part of the older immigrants to lose the
amenities of European life without sharing those of America has
often been deplored by keen observers from the home countries.
When Professor Masurek of Prague gave a course of lectures in the
University of Chicago, he was much distressed over the
materialism into which the Bohemians of Chicago had fallen.  The
early immigrants had been so stirred by the opportunity to own
real estate, an appeal perhaps to the Slavic land hunger, and
their energies had become so completely absorbed in money-making
that all other interests had apparently dropped away.  And yet I
recall a very touching incident in connection with a lecture
Professor Masurek gave at Hull-House, in which he had appealed to
his countrymen to arouse themselves from this tendency to fall
below their home civilization and to forget the great enthusiasm
which had united them into the Pan-Slavic Movement.  A Bohemian
widow who supported herself and her two children by scrubbing,
hastily sent her youngest child to purchase, with the twenty-five
cents which was to have supplied them with food the next day, a
bunch of red roses which she presented to the lecturer in
appreciation of his testimony to the reality of the things of the
spirit.

An overmastering desire to reveal the humbler immigrant parents
to their own children lay at the base of what has come to be
called the Hull-House Labor Museum.  This was first suggested to
my mind one early spring day when I saw an old Italian woman, her
distaff against her homesick face, patiently spinning a thread by
the simple stick spindle so reminiscent of all southern Europe. I
was walking down Polk Street, perturbed in spirit, because it
seemed so difficult to come into genuine relations with the
Italian women and because they themselves so often lost their
hold upon their Americanized children.  It seemed to me that
Hull-House ought to be able to devise some educational enterprise
which should build a bridge between European and American
experiences in such wise as to give them both more meaning and a
sense of relation.  I meditated that perhaps the power to see
life as a whole is more needed in the immigrant quarter of a
large city than anywhere else, and that the lack of this power is
the most fruitful source of misunderstanding between European
immigrants and their children, as it is between them and their
American neighbors; and why should that chasm between fathers and
sons, yawning at the feet of each generation, be made so
unnecessarily cruel and impassable to these bewildered
immigrants?  Suddenly I looked up and saw the old woman with her
distaff, sitting in the sun on the steps of a tenement house. She
might have served as a model for one of Michelangelo's Fates, but
her face brightened as I passed and, holding up her spindle for
me to see, she called out that when she had spun a little more
yarn, she would knit a pair of stockings for her goddaughter.
The occupation of the old woman gave me the clue that was needed.
Could we not interest the young people working in the
neighborhood factories in these older forms of industry, so that,
through their own parents and grandparents, they would find a
dramatic representation of the inherited resources of their daily
occupation.  If these young people could actually see that the
complicated machinery of the factory had been evolved from simple
tools, they might at least make a beginning toward that education
which Dr. Dewey defines as "a continuing reconstruction of
experience." They might also lay a foundation for reverence of
the past which Goethe declares to be the basis of all sound
progress.

My exciting walk on Polk Street was followed by many talks with
Dr. Dewey and with one of the teachers in his school who was a
resident at Hull-House.  Within a month a room was fitted up to
which we might invite those of our neighbors who were possessed
of old crafts and who were eager to use them.

We found in the immediate neighborhood at least four varieties of
these most primitive methods of spinning and three distinct
variations of the same spindle in connection with wheels.  It was
possible to put these seven into historic sequence and order and
to connect the whole with the present method of factory spinning.
The same thing was done for weaving, and on every Saturday
evening a little exhibit was made of these various forms of labor
in the textile industry.  Within one room a Syrian woman, a
Greek, an Italian, a Russian, and an Irishwoman enabled even the
most casual observer to see that there is no break in orderly
evolution if we look at history from the industrial standpoint;
that industry develops similarly and peacefully year by year
among the workers of each nation, heedless of differences in
language, religion, and political experiences.

And then we grew ambitious and arranged lectures upon industrial
history.  I remember that after an interesting lecture upon the
industrial revolution in England and a portrayal of the appalling
conditions throughout the weaving districts of the north, which
resulted from the hasty gathering of the weavers into the new
towns, a Russian tailor in the audience was moved to make a
speech.  He suggested that whereas time had done much to
alleviate the first difficulties in the transition of weaving
from hand work to steam power, that in the application of steam
to sewing we are still in our first stages, illustrated by the
isolated woman who tries to support herself by hand needlework at
home until driven out by starvation, as many of the hand weavers
had been.

The historical analogy seemed to bring a certain comfort to the
tailor, as did a chart upon the wall showing the infinitesimal
amount of time that steam had been applied to manufacturing
processes compared to the centuries of hand labor.  Human
progress is slow and perhaps never more cruel than in the advance
of industry, but is not the worker comforted by knowing that
other historical periods have existed similar to the one in which
he finds himself, and that the readjustment may be shortened and
alleviated by judicious action; and is he not entitled to the
solace which an artistic portrayal of the situation might give
him?  I remember the evening of the tailor's speech that I felt
reproached because no poet or artist has endeared the sweaters'
victim to us as George Eliot has made us love the belated weaver,
Silas Marner.  The textile museum is connected directly with the
basket weaving, sewing, millinery, embroidery, and dressmaking
constantly being taught at Hull-House, and so far as possible
with the other educational departments; we have also been able to
make a collection of products, of early implements, and of
photographs which are full of suggestion.  Yet far beyond its
direct educational value, we prize it because it so often puts
the immigrants into the position of teachers, and we imagine that
it affords them a pleasant change from the tutelage in which all
Americans, including their own children, are so apt to hold them.
 I recall a number of Russian women working in a sewing room near
Hull-House, who heard one Christmas week that the House was going
to give a party to which they might come.  They arrived one
afternoon, when, unfortunately, there was no party on hand and,
although the residents did their best to entertain them with
impromptu music and refreshments, it was quite evident that they
were greatly disappointed.  Finally it was suggested that they be
shown the Labor Museum--where gradually the thirty sodden, tired
women were transformed.  They knew how to use the spindles and
were delighted to find the Russian spinning frame.  Many of them
had never seen the spinning wheel, which has not penetrated to
certain parts of Russia, and they regarded it as a new and
wonderful invention.  They turned up their dresses to show their
homespun petticoats; they tried the looms; they explained the
difficulty of the old patterns; in short, from having been
stupidly entertained, they themselves did the entertaining.
Because of a direct appeal to former experiences, the immigrant
visitors were able for the moment to instruct their American
hostesses in an old and honored craft, as was indeed becoming to
their age and experience.

In some such ways as these have the Labor Museum and the shops
pointed out the possibilities which Hull-House has scarcely begun
to develop, of demonstrating that culture is an understanding of
the long-established occupations and thoughts of men, of the arts
with which they have solaced their toil.  A yearning to recover
for the household arts something of their early sanctity and
meaning arose strongly within me one evening when I was attending
a Passover Feast to which I had been invited by a Jewish family
in the neighborhood, where the traditional and religious
significance of the woman's daily activity was still retained.
The kosher food the Jewish mother spread before her family had
been prepared according to traditional knowledge and with
constant care in the use of utensils; upon her had fallen the
responsibility to make all ready according to Mosaic instructions
that the great crisis in a religious history might be fittingly
set forth by her husband and son.  Aside from the grave religious
significance in the ceremony, my mind was filled with shifting
pictures of woman's labor with which travel makes one familiar;
the Indian women grinding grain outside of their huts as they
sing praises to the sun and rain; a file of white-clad Moorish
women whom I had once seen waiting their turn at a well in
Tangiers; south Italian women kneeling in a row along the stream
and beating their wet clothes against the smooth white stones;
the milking, the gardening, the marketing in thousands of
hamlets, which are such direct expressions of the solicitude and
affection at the basis of all family life.

There has been some testimony that the Labor Museum has revealed
the charm of woman's primitive activities.  I recall a certain
Italian girl who came every Saturday evening to a cooking class
in the same building in which her mother spun in the Labor Museum
exhibit; and yet Angelina always left her mother at the front
door while she herself went around to a side door because she did
not wish to be too closely identified in the eyes of the rest of
the cooking class with an Italian woman who wore a kerchief over
her head, uncouth boots, and short petticoats.  One evening,
however, Angelina saw her mother surrounded by a group of
visitors from the School of Education who much admired the
spinning, and she concluded from their conversation that her
mother was "the best stick-spindle spinner in America." When she
inquired from me as to the truth of this deduction, I took
occasion to describe the Italian village in which her mother had
lived, something of her free life, and how, because of the
opportunity she and the other women of the village had to drop
their spindles over the edge of a precipice, they had developed a
skill in spinning beyond that of the neighboring towns.  I
dilated somewhat on the freedom and beauty of that life--how hard
it must be to exchange it all for a two-room tenement, and to
give up a beautiful homespun kerchief for an ugly department
store hat.  I intimated it was most unfair to judge her by these
things alone, and that while she must depend on her daughter to
learn the new ways, she also had a right to expect her daughter
to know something of the old ways.

That which I could not convey to the child, but upon which my own
mind persistently dwelt, was that her mother's whole life had
been spent in a secluded spot under the rule of traditional and
narrowly localized observances, until her very religion clung to
local sanctities--to the shrine before which she had always
prayed, to the pavement and walls of the low vaulted church--and
then suddenly she was torn from it all and literally put out to
sea, straight away from the solid habits of her religious and
domestic life, and she now walked timidly but with poignant
sensibility upon a new and strange shore.

It was easy to see that the thought of her mother with any other
background than that of the tenement was new to Angelina, and at
least two things resulted; she allowed her mother to pull out of
the big box under the bed the beautiful homespun garments which
had been previously hidden away as uncouth; and she openly came
into the Labor Museum by the same door as did her mother, proud
at least of the mastery of the craft which had been so much
admired.

A club of necktie workers formerly meeting at Hull-House
persistently resented any attempt on the part of their director
to improve their minds.  The president once said that she
"wouldn't be caught dead at a lecture," that she came to the club
"to get some fun out of it," and indeed it was most natural that
she should crave recreation after a hard day's work.  One evening
I saw the entire club listening to quite a stiff lecture in the
Labor Museum and to my rather wicked remark to the president that
I was surprised to see her enjoying a lecture, she replied that
she did not call this a lecture, she called this "getting next to
the stuff you work with all the time." It was perhaps the
sincerest tribute we have ever received as to the success of the
undertaking.

The Labor Museum continually demanded more space as it was
enriched by a fine textile exhibit lent by the Field Museum, and
later by carefully selected specimens of basketry from the
Philippines.  The shops have finally included a group of three or
four women, Irish, Italian, Danish, who have become a permanent
working force in the textile department which has developed into
a self-supporting industry through the sale of its homespun
products.

These women and a few men, who come to the museum to utilize
their European skill in pottery, metal, and wood, demonstrate
that immigrant colonies might yield to our American life
something very valuable, if their resources were intelligently
studied and developed.  I recall an Italian, who had decorated
the doorposts of his tenement with a beautiful pattern he had
previously used in carving the reredos of a Neapolitan church,
who was "fired" by his landlord on the ground of destroying
property.  His feelings were hurt, not so much that he had been
put out of his house, as that his work had been so disregarded;
and he said that when people traveled in Italy they liked to look
at wood carvings but that in America "they only made money out of
you."

Sometimes the suppression of the instinct of workmanship is
followed by more disastrous results.  A Bohemian whose little
girl attended classes at Hull-House, in one of his periodic
drunken spells had literally almost choked her to death, and
later had committed suicide when in delirium tremens. His poor
wife, who stayed a week at Hull-House after the disaster until a
new tenement could be arranged for her, one day showed me a gold
ring which her husband had made for their betrothal.  It
exhibited the most exquisite workmanship, and she said that
although in the old country he had been a goldsmith, in America
he had for twenty years shoveled coal in a furnace room of a
large manufacturing plant; that whenever she saw one of his
"restless fits," which preceded his drunken periods, "coming on,"
if she could provide him with a bit of metal and persuade him to
stay at home and work at it, he was all right and the time passed
without disaster, but that "nothing else would do it." This story
threw a flood of light upon the dead man's struggle and on the
stupid maladjustment which had broken him down.  Why had we never
been told?  Why had our interest in the remarkable musical
ability of his child blinded us to the hidden artistic ability of
the father?  We had forgotten that a long-established occupation
may form the very foundations of the moral life, that the art
with which a man has solaced his toil may be the salvation of his
uncertain temperament.

There are many examples of touching fidelity to immigrant parents
on the part of their grown children; a young man who day after
day attends ceremonies which no longer express his religious
convictions and who makes his vain effort to interest his Russian
Jewish father in social problems; a daughter who might earn much
more money as a stenographer could she work from Monday morning
till Saturday night, but who quietly and docilely makes neckties
for low wages because she can thus abstain from work Saturdays to
please her father; these young people, like poor Maggie Tulliver,
through many painful experiences have reached the conclusion that
pity, memory, and faithfulness are natural ties with paramount
claims.

This faithfulness, however, is sometimes ruthlessly imposed upon
by immigrant parents who, eager for money and accustomed to the
patriarchal authority of peasant households, hold their children
in a stern bondage which requires a surrender of all their wages
and concedes no time or money for pleasures.

There are many convincing illustrations that this parental
harshness often results in juvenile delinquency.  A Polish boy of
seventeen came to Hull-House one day to ask a contribution of
fifty cents "towards a flower piece for the funeral of an old
Hull-House club boy." A few questions made it clear that the
object was fictitious, whereupon the boy broke down and
half-defiantly stated that he wanted to buy two twenty-five cent
tickets, one for his girl and one for himself, to a dance of the
Benevolent Social Twos; that he hadn't a penny of his own
although he had worked in a brass foundry for three years and had
been advanced twice, because he always had to give his pay
envelope unopened to his father; "just look at the clothes he
buys me" was his concluding remark.

Perhaps the girls are held even more rigidly.  In a recent
investigation of two hundred working girls it was found that only
five per cent had the use of their own money and that sixty-two
per cent turned in all they earned, literally every penny, to
their mothers.  It was through this little investigation that we
first knew Marcella, a pretty young German girl who helped her
widowed mother year after year to care for a large family of
younger children.  She was content for the most part although her
mother's old-country notions of dress gave her but an
infinitesimal amount of her own wages to spend on her clothes,
and she was quite sophisticated as to proper dressing because she
sold silk in a neighborhood department store.  Her mother
approved of the young man who was showing her various attentions
and agreed that Marcella should accept his invitation to a ball,
but would allow her not a penny toward a new gown to replace one
impossibly plain and shabby.  Marcella spent a sleepless night
and wept bitterly, although she well knew that the doctor's bill
for the children's scarlet fever was not yet paid.  The next day
as she was cutting off three yards of shining pink silk, the
thought came to her that it would make her a fine new waist to
wear to the ball.  She wistfully saw it wrapped in paper and
carelessly stuffed into the muff of the purchaser, when suddenly
the parcel fell upon the floor.  No one was looking and quick as
a flash the girl picked it up and pushed it into her blouse.  The
theft was discovered by the relentless department store detective
who, for "the sake of example," insisted upon taking the case
into court.  The poor mother wept bitter tears over this downfall
of her "frommes Madchen" and no one had the heart to tell her of
her own blindness.

I know a Polish boy whose earnings were all given to his father
who gruffly refused all requests for pocket money.  One Christmas
his little sisters, having been told by their mother that they
were too poor to have any Christmas presents, appealed to the big
brother as to one who was earning money of his own.  Flattered by
the implication, but at the same time quite impecunious, the
night before Christmas he nonchalantly walked through a
neighboring department store and stole a manicure set for one
little sister and a string of beads for the other.  He was caught
at the door by the house detective as one of those children whom
each local department store arrests in the weeks before Christmas
at the daily rate of eight to twenty.  The youngest of these
offenders are seldom taken into court but are either sent home
with a warning or turned over to the officers of the Juvenile
Protective Association.  Most of these premature law breakers are
in search of Americanized clothing and others are only looking
for playthings.  They are all distracted by the profusion and
variety of the display, and their moral sense is confused by the
general air of openhandedness.

These disastrous efforts are not unlike those of many younger
children who are constantly arrested for petty thieving because
they are too eager to take home food or fuel which will relieve
the distress and need they so constantly hear discussed.  The
coal on the wagons, the vegetables displayed in front of the
grocery shops, the very wooden blocks in the loosened street
paving are a challenge to their powers to help out at home.  A
Bohemian boy who was out on parole from the old detention home of
the Juvenile Court itself, brought back five stolen chickens to
the matron for Sunday dinner, saying that he knew the Committee
were "having a hard time to fill up so many kids and perhaps
these fowl would help out." The honest immigrant parents, totally
ignorant of American laws and municipal regulations, often send a
child to pick up coal on the railroad tracks or to stand at three
o'clock in the morning before the side door of a restaurant which
gives away broken food, or to collect grain for the chickens at
the base of elevators and standing cars.  The latter custom
accounts for the large number of boys arrested for breaking the
seals on grain freight cars.  It is easy for a child thus trained
to accept the proposition of a junk dealer to bring him bars of
iron stored in freight yards.  Four boys quite recently had thus
carried away and sold to one man two tons of iron.

Four fifths of the children brought into the Juvenile Court in
Chicago are the children of foreigners.  The Germans are the
greatest offenders, Polish next.  Do their children suffer from
the excess of virtue in those parents so eager to own a house and
lot?  One often sees a grasping parent in the court, utterly
broken down when the Americanized youth who has been brought to
grief clings as piteously to his peasant father as if he were
still a frightened little boy in the steerage.

Many of these children have come to grief through their premature
fling into city life, having thrown off parental control as they
have impatiently discarded foreign ways.  Boys of ten and twelve
will refuse to sleep at home, preferring the freedom of an old
brewery vault or an empty warehouse to the obedience required by
their parents, and for days these boys will live on the milk and
bread which they steal from the back porches after the early
morning delivery.  Such children complain that there is "no fun"
at home.  One little chap who was given a vacant lot to cultivate
by the City Garden Association insisted upon raising only popcorn
and tried to present the entire crop to Hull-House "to be used
for the parties," with the stipulation that he would have "to be
invited every single time." Then there are little groups of
dissipated young men who pride themselves upon their ability to
live without working and who despise all the honest and sober
ways of their immigrant parents.  They are at once a menace and a
center of demoralization.  Certainly the bewildered parents,
unable to speak English and ignorant of the city, whose children
have disappeared for days or weeks, have often come to
Hull-House, evincing that agony which fairly separates the marrow
from the bone, as if they had discovered a new type of suffering,
devoid of the healing in familiar sorrows.  It is as if they did
not know how to search for the children without the assistance of
the children themselves.  Perhaps the most pathetic aspect of
such cases is their revelation of the premature dependence of the
older and wiser upon the young and foolish, which is in itself
often responsible for the situation because it has given the
children an undue sense of their own importance and a false
security that they can take care of themselves.

On the other hand, an Italian girl who has had lessons in cooking
at the public school will help her mother to connect the entire
family with American food and household habits.  That the mother
has never baked bread in Italy--only mixed it in her own house
and then taken it out to the village oven--makes all the more
valuable her daughter's understanding of the complicated cooking
stove. The same thing is true of the girl who learns to sew in
the public school, and more than anything else, perhaps, of the
girl who receives the first simple instruction in the care of
little children--that skillful care which every tenement-house
baby requires if he is to be pulled through his second summer. As
a result of this teaching I recall a young girl who carefully
explained to her Italian mother that the reason the babies in
Italy were so healthy and the babies in Chicago were so sickly,
was not, as her mother had firmly insisted, because her babies in
Italy had goat's milk and her babies in America had cow's milk,
but because the milk in Italy was clean and the milk in Chicago
was dirty.  She said that when you milked your own goat before
the door, you knew that the milk was clean, but when you bought
milk from the grocery store after it had been carried for many
miles in the country, you couldn't tell whether it was fit for
the baby to drink until the men from the City Hall who had
watched it all the way said that it was all right.

Thus through civic instruction in the public schools, the Italian
woman slowly became urbanized in the sense in which the word was
used by her own Latin ancestors, and thus the habits of her
entire family were modified.  The public schools in the immigrant
colonies deserve all the praise as Americanizing agencies which
can be bestowed upon them, and there is little doubt that the
fast-changing curriculum in the direction of the vacation-school
experiments will react more directly upon such households.

It is difficult to write of the relation of the older and most
foreign-looking immigrants to the children of other people--the
Italians whose fruit-carts are upset simply because they are
"dagoes," or the Russian peddlers who are stoned and sometimes
badly injured because it has become a code of honor in a gang of
boys to thus express their derision.  The members of a Protective
Association of Jewish Peddlers organized at Hull-House related
daily experiences in which old age had been treated with such
irreverence, cherished dignity with such disrespect, that a
listener caught the passion of Lear in the old texts, as a
platitude enunciated by a man who discovers in it his own
experience thrills us as no unfamiliar phrases can possibly do.
The Greeks are filled with amazed rage when their very name is
flung at them as an opprobrious epithet.  Doubtless these
difficulties would be much minimized in America, if we faced our
own race problem with courage and intelligence, and these very
Mediterranean immigrants might give us valuable help.  Certainly
they are less conscious than the Anglo-Saxon of color
distinctions, perhaps because of their traditional familiarity
with Carthage and Egypt.  They listened with respect and
enthusiasm to a scholarly address delivered by Professor Du Bois
at Hull-House on a Lincoln's birthday, with apparently no
consciousness of that race difference which color seems to
accentuate so absurdly, and upon my return from various
conferences held in the interest of "the advancement of colored
people," I have had many illuminating conversations with my
cosmopolitan neighbors.

The celebration of national events has always been a source of
new understanding and companionship with the members of the
contiguous foreign colonies not only between them and their
American neighbors but between them and their own children.  One
of our earliest Italian events was a rousing commemoration of
Garibaldi's birthday, and his imposing bust, presented to
Hull-House that evening, was long the chief ornament of our front
hall.  It called forth great enthusiasm from the connazionali
whom Ruskin calls, not the "common people" of Italy, but the
"companion people" because of their power for swift sympathy.

A huge Hellenic meeting held at Hull-House, in which the
achievements of the classic period were set forth both in Greek
and English by scholars of well-known repute, brought us into a
new sense of fellowship with all our Greek neighbors.  As the
mayor of Chicago was seated upon the right hand of the dignified
senior priest of the Greek Church and they were greeted
alternately in the national hymns of America and Greece, one felt
a curious sense of the possibility of transplanting to new and
crude Chicago some of the traditions of Athens itself, so deeply
cherished in the hearts of this group of citizens.

The Greeks indeed gravely consider their traditions as their most
precious possession and more than once in meetings of protest
held by the Greek colony against the aggressions of the
Bulgarians in Macedonia, I have heard it urged that the
Bulgarians are trying to establish a protectorate, not only for
their immediate advantage, but that they may claim a glorious
history for the "barbarous country." It is said that on the basis
of this protectorate, they are already teaching in their schools
that Alexander the Great was a Bulgarian and that it will be but
a short time before they claim Aristotle himself, an indignity
the Greeks will never suffer!

To me personally the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of
Mazzini's birth was a matter of great interest.  Throughout the
world that day Italians who believed in a United Italy came
together.  They recalled the hopes of this man who, with all his
devotion to his country was still more devoted to humanity and
who dedicated to the workingmen of Italy, an appeal so
philosophical, so filled with a yearning for righteousness, that
it transcended all national boundaries and became a bugle call
for "The Duties of Man." A copy of this document was given to
every school child in the public schools of Italy on this one
hundredth anniversary, and as the Chicago branch of the Society
of Young Italy marched into our largest hall and presented to
Hull-House an heroic bust of Mazzini, I found myself devoutly
hoping that the Italian youth, who have committed their future to
America, might indeed become "the Apostles of the fraternity of
nations" and that our American citizenship might be built without
disturbing these foundations which were laid of old time.


[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Terri Perkins.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration ofWomen Writers]

"Chapter XII: Tolstoyism." by by Jane Addams (1860-1935) From:
Twenty Years at Hull-House with Autobiographical Notes. by Jane
Addams. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp.
259-280.

[Editor:  Mary MarkOckerbloom]



CHAPTER XII

TOLSTOYISM


The administration of charity in Chicago during the winter
following the World's Fair had been of necessity most difficult,
for, although large sums had been given to the temporary relief
organization which endeavored to care for the thousands of
destitute strangers stranded in the city, we all worked under a
sense of desperate need and a paralyzing consciousness that our
best efforts were most inadequate to the situation.

During the many relief visits I paid that winter in tenement
houses and miserable lodgings, I was constantly shadowed by a
certain sense of shame that I should be comfortable in the midst
of such distress.  This resulted at times in a curious reaction
against all the educational and philanthropic activities in which
I had been engaged.  In the face of the desperate hunger and
need, these could not but seem futile and superficial.  The hard
winter in Chicago had turned the thoughts of many of us to these
stern matters.  A young friend of mine who came daily to
Hull-House consulted me in regard to going into the paper
warehouse belonging to her father that she might there sort rags
with the Polish girls; another young girl took a place in a
sweatshop for a month, doing her work so simply and thoroughly
that the proprietor had no notion that she had not been driven
there by need; still two others worked in a shoe factory;--and
all this happened before such adventures were undertaken in order
to procure literary material.  It was in the following winter
that the pioneer effort in this direction, Walter Wyckoff's
account of his vain attempt to find work in Chicago, compelled
even the sternest businessman to drop his assertion that "any man
can find work if he wants it."

The dealing directly with the simplest human wants may have been
responsible for an impression which I carried about with me
almost constantly for a period of two years and which culminated
finally in a visit to Tolstoy--that the Settlement, or Hull-House
at least, was a mere pretense and travesty of the simple impulse
"to live with the poor," so long as the residents did not share
the common lot of hard labor and scant fare.

Actual experience had left me in much the same state of mind I
had been in after reading Tolstoy's "What to Do," which is a
description of his futile efforts to relieve the unspeakable
distress and want in the Moscow winter of 1881, and his
inevitable conviction that only he who literally shares his own
shelter and food with the needy can claim to have served them.

Doubtless it is much easier to see "what to do" in rural Russia,
where all the conditions tend to make the contrast as broad as
possible between peasant labor and noble idleness, than it is to
see "what to do" in the interdependencies of the modern
industrial city.  But for that very reason perhaps, Tolstoy's
clear statement is valuable for that type of conscientious person
in every land who finds it hard, not only to walk in the path of
righteousness, but to discover where the path lies.

I had read the books of Tolstoy steadily all the years since "My
Religion" had come into my hands immediately after I left
college.  The reading of that book had made clear that men's poor
little efforts to do right are put forth for the most part in the
chill of self-distrust; I became convinced that if the new social
order ever came, it would come by gathering to itself all the
pathetic human endeavor which had indicated the forward
direction.  But I was most eager to know whether Tolstoy's
undertaking to do his daily share of the physical labor of the
world, that labor which is "so disproportionate to the
unnourished strength" of those by whom it is ordinarily
performed, had brought him peace!

I had time to review carefully many things in my mind during the
long days of convalescence following an illness of typhoid fever
which I suffered in the autumn of 1895.  The illness was so
prolonged that my health was most unsatisfactory during the
following winter, and the next May I went abroad with my friend,
Miss Smith, to effect if possible a more complete recovery.

The prospect of seeing Tolstoy filled me with the hope of finding
a clue to the tangled affairs of city poverty.  I was but one of
thousands of our contemporaries who were turning toward this
Russian, not as to a seer--his message is much too confused and
contradictory for that--but as to a man who has had the ability
to lift his life to the level of his conscience, to translate his
theories into action.

Our first few weeks in England were most stimulating.  A dozen
years ago London still showed traces of "that exciting moment in
the life of the nation when its youth is casting about for new
enthusiasms," but it evinced still more of that British capacity
to perform the hard work of careful research and self-examination
which must precede any successful experiments in social reform.
Of the varied groups and individuals whose suggestions remained
with me for years, I recall perhaps as foremost those members of
the new London County Council whose far-reaching plans for the
betterment of London could not but enkindle enthusiasm.  It was a
most striking expression of that effort which would place beside
the refinement and pleasure of the rich, a new refinement and a
new pleasure born of the commonwealth and the common joy of all
the citizens, that at this moment they prized the municipal
pleasure boats upon the Thames no less than the extensive schemes
for the municipal housing of the poorest people.  Ben Tillet, who
was then an alderman, "the docker sitting beside the duke," took
me in a rowboat down the Thames on a journey made exciting by the
hundreds of dockers who cheered him as we passed one wharf after
another on our way to his home at Greenwich; John Burns showed us
his wonderful civic accomplishments at Battersea, the plant
turning street sweepings into cement pavements, the technical
school teaching boys brick laying and plumbing, and the public
bath in which the children of the Board School were receiving a
swimming lesson--these measures anticipating our achievements in
Chicago by at least a decade and a half.  The new Education Bill
which was destined to drag on for twelve years before it
developed into the children's charter, was then a storm center in
the House of Commons.  Miss Smith and I were much pleased to be
taken to tea on the Parliament terrace by its author, Sir John
Gorst, although we were quite bewildered by the arguments we
heard there for church schools versus secular.

We heard Keir Hardie before a large audience of workingmen
standing in the open square of Canning Town outline the great
things to be accomplished by the then new Labor Party, and we
joined the vast body of men in the booming hymn

	When wilt Thou save the people,
	O God of Mercy, when!

finding it hard to realize that we were attending a political
meeting.  It seemed that moment as if the hopes of democracy were
more likely to come to pass on English soil than upon our own.
Robert Blatchford's stirring pamphlets were in everyone's hands,
and a reception given by Karl Marx's daughter, Mrs. Aveling, to
Liebknecht before he returned to Germany to serve a prison term
for his lese majeste speech in the Reichstag, gave us a glimpse
of the old-fashioned orthodox Socialist who had not yet begun to
yield to the biting ridicule of Bernard Shaw although he flamed
in their midst that evening.

Octavia Hill kindly demonstrated to us the principles upon which
her well-founded business of rent collecting was established, and
with pardonable pride showed us the Red Cross Square with its
cottages marvelously picturesque and comfortable, on two sides,
and on the third a public hall and common drawing room for the
use of all the tenants; the interior of the latter had been
decorated by pupils of Walter Crane with mural frescoes
portraying the heroism in the life of the modern workingman.

While all this was warmly human, we also had opportunities to see
something of a group of men and women who were approaching the
social problem from the study of economics; among others Mr. and
Mrs. Sidney Webb who were at work on their Industrial Democracy; Mr.
John Hobson who was lecturing on the evolution of modern capitalism.

We followed factory inspectors on a round of duties performed with
a thoroughness and a trained intelligence which were a revelation
of the possibilities of public service.  When it came to visiting
Settlements, we were at least reassured that they were not falling
into identical lines of effort.  Canon Ingram, who has since
become Bishop of London, was then warden of Oxford House and in
the midst of an experiment which pleased me greatly, the more
because it was carried on by a churchman.  Oxford House had hired
all the concert halls--vaudeville shows we later called them in
Chicago--which were found in Bethnal Green, for every Saturday
night.  The residents had censored the programs, which they were
careful to keep popular, and any workingman who attended a show in
Bethnal Green on a Saturday night, and thousands of them did,
heard a program the better for this effort.

One evening in University Hall Mrs. Humphry Ward, who had just
returned from Italy, described the effect of the Italian salt tax
in a talk which was evidently one in a series of lectures upon the
economic wrongs which pressed heaviest upon the poor; at Browning
House, at the moment, they were giving prizes to those of their
costermonger neighbors who could present the best cared-for
donkeys, and the warden, Herbert Stead, exhibited almost the
enthusiasm of his well-known brother, for that crop of kindliness
which can be garnered most easily from the acreage where human
beings grow the thickest; at the Bermondsey Settlement they were
rejoicing that their University Extension students had
successfully passed the examinations for the University of London.
 The entire impression received in England of research, of
scholarship, of organized public spirit, was in marked contrast to
the impressions of my next visit in 1900, when the South African
War had absorbed the enthusiasm of the nation and the wrongs at
"the heart of the empire" were disregarded and neglected.

London, of course, presented sharp differences to Russia where
social conditions were written in black and white with little
shading, like a demonstration of the Chinese proverb, "Where one
man lives in luxury, another is dying of hunger."

The fair of Nijni-Novgorod seemed to take us to the very edge of
civilization so remote and eastern that the merchants brought
their curious goods upon the backs of camels or on strange craft
riding at anchor on the broad Volga.  But even here our letter of
introduction to Korolenko, the novelist, brought us to a
realization of that strange mingling of a remote past and a
self-conscious present which Russia presents on every hand.  This
same contrast was also shown by the pilgrims trudging on pious
errands to monasteries, to tombs, and to the Holy Land itself,
with their bleeding feet bound in rags and thrust into bast
sandals, and, on the other hand, by the revolutionists even then
advocating a Republic which should obtain not only in political
but also in industrial affairs.

We had letters of introduction to Mr. and Mrs. Aylmer Maude of
Moscow, since well known as the translators of "Resurrection" and
other of Tolstoy's later works, who at that moment were on the eve
of leaving Russia in order to form an agricultural colony in South
England where they might support themselves by the labor of their
hands.  We gladly accepted Mr. Maude's offer to take us to Yasnaya
Polyana and to introduce us to Count Tolstoy, and never did a
disciple journey toward his master with more enthusiasm than did
our guide.  When, however, Mr. Maude actually presented Miss Smith
and myself to Count Tolstoy, knowing well his master's attitude
toward philanthropy, he endeavored to make Hull-House appear much
more noble and unique than I should have ventured to do.

Tolstoy, standing by clad in his peasant garb, listened gravely
but, glancing distrustfully at the sleeves of my traveling gown
which unfortunately at that season were monstrous in size, he
took hold of an edge and pulling out one sleeve to an
interminable breadth, said quite simply that "there was enough
stuff on one arm to make a frock for a little girl," and asked me
directly if I did not find "such a dress" a "barrier to the
people." I was too disconcerted to make a very clear explanation,
although I tried to say that monstrous as my sleeves were they
did not compare in size with those of the working girls in
Chicago and that nothing would more effectively separate me from
"the people" than a cotton blouse following the simple lines of
the human form; even if I had wished to imitate him and "dress as
a peasant," it would have been hard to choose which peasant among
the thirty-six nationalities we had recently counted in our ward.
 Fortunately the countess came to my rescue with a recital of her
former attempts to clothe hypothetical little girls in yards of
material cut from a train and other superfluous parts of her best
gown until she had been driven to a firm stand which she advised
me to take at once.  But neither Countess Tolstoy nor any other
friend was on hand to help me out of my predicament later, when I
was asked who "fed" me, and how did I obtain "shelter"? Upon my
reply that a farm a hundred miles from Chicago supplied me with
the necessities of life, I fairly anticipated the next scathing
question: "So you are an absentee landlord?  Do you think you
will help the people more by adding yourself to the crowded city
than you would by tilling your own soil?" This new sense of
discomfort over a failure to till my own soil was increased when
Tolstoy's second daughter appeared at the five-o'clock tea table
set under the trees, coming straight from the harvest field where
she had been working with a group of peasants since five o'clock
in the morning, not pretending to work but really taking the
place of a peasant woman who had hurt her foot.  She was plainly
much exhausted, but neither expected nor received sympathy from
the members of a family who were quite accustomed to see each
other carry out their convictions in spite of discomfort and
fatigue.  The martyrdom of discomfort, however, was obviously
much easier to bear than that to which, even to the eyes of the
casual visitor, Count Tolstoy daily subjected himself, for his
study in the basement of the conventional dwelling, with its
short shelf of battered books and its scythe and spade leaning
against the wall, had many times lent itself to that ridicule
which is the most difficult form of martyrdom.

That summer evening as we sat in the garden with a group of
visitors from Germany, from England and America, who had traveled
to the remote Russian village that they might learn of this man,
one could not forbear the constant inquiry to one's self, as to
why he was so regarded as sage and saint that this party of
people should be repeated each day of the year.  It seemed to me
then that we were all attracted by this sermon of the deed,
because Tolstoy had made the one supreme personal effort, one
might almost say the one frantic personal effort, to put himself
into right relations with the humblest people, with the men who
tilled his soil, blacked his boots, and cleaned his stables.
Doubtless the heaviest burden of our contemporaries is a
consciousness of a divergence between our democratic theory on
the one hand, that working people have a right to the
intellectual resources of society, and the actual fact on the
other hand, that thousands of them are so overburdened with toil
that there is no leisure nor energy left for the cultivation of
the mind.  We constantly suffer from the strain and indecision of
believing this theory and acting as if we did not believe it, and
this man who years before had tried "to get off the backs of the
peasants," who had at least simplified his life and worked with
his hands, had come to be a prototype to many of his generation.

Doubtless all of the visitors sitting in the Tolstoy garden that
evening had excused themselves from laboring with their hands
upon the theory that they were doing something more valuable for
society in other ways.  No one among our contemporaries has
dissented from this point of view so violently as Tolstoy
himself, and yet no man might so easily have excused himself from
hard and rough work on the basis of his genius and of his
intellectual contributions to the world.  So far, however, from
considering his time too valuable to be spent in labor in the
field or in making shoes, our great host was too eager to know
life to be willing to give up this companionship of mutual labor.
 One instinctively found reasons why it was easier for a Russian
than for the rest of us to reach this conclusion; the Russian
peasants have a proverb which says: "Labor is the house that love
lives in," by which they mean that no two people nor group of
people can come into affectionate relations with each other
unless they carry on together a mutual task, and when the Russian
peasant talks of labor he means labor on the soil, or, to use the
phrase of the great peasant, Bondereff, "bread labor." Those
monastic orders founded upon agricultural labor, those
philosophical experiments like Brook Farm and many another have
attempted to reduce to action this same truth.  Tolstoy himself
has written many times his own convictions and attempts in this
direction, perhaps never more tellingly than in the description
of Lavin's morning spent in the harvest field, when he lost his
sense of grievance and isolation and felt a strange new
brotherhood for the peasants, in proportion as the rhythmic
motion of his scythe became one with theirs.

At the long dinner table laid in the garden were the various
traveling guests, the grown-up daughters, and the younger
children with their governess.  The countess presided over the
usual European dinner served by men, but the count and the
daughter, who had worked all day in the fields, ate only porridge
and black bread and drank only kvas, the fare of the hay-making
peasants.  Of course we are all accustomed to the fact that those
who perform the heaviest labor eat the coarsest and simplest fare
at the end of the day, but it is not often that we sit at the
same table with them while we ourselves eat the more elaborate
food prepared by someone else's labor.  Tolstoy ate his simple
supper without remark or comment upon the food his family and
guests preferred to eat, assuming that they, as well as he, had
settled the matter with their own consciences.

The Tolstoy household that evening was much interested in the fate
of a young Russian spy who had recently come to Tolstoy in the
guise of a country schoolmaster, in order to obtain a copy of
"Life," which had been interdicted by the censor of the press.
After spending the night in talk with Tolstoy, the spy had gone
away with a copy of the forbidden manuscript but, unfortunately for
himself, having become converted to Tolstoy's views he had later
made a full confession to the authorities and had been exiled to
Siberia.  Tolstoy, holding that it was most unjust to exile the
disciple while he, the author of the book, remained at large, had
pointed out this inconsistency in an open letter to one of the
Moscow newspapers.  The discussion of this incident, of course,
opened up the entire subject of nonresidence, and curiously enough
I was disappointed in Tolstoy's position in the matter.  It seemed
to me that he made too great a distinction between the use of
physical force and that moral energy which can override another's
differences and scruples with equal ruthlessness.

With that inner sense of mortification with which one finds one's
self at difference with the great authority, I recalled the
conviction of the early Hull-House residents; that whatever of
good the Settlement had to offer should be put into positive
terms, that we might live with opposition to no man, with
recognition of the good in every man, even the most wretched.  We
had often departed from this principle, but had it not in every
case been a confession of weakness, and had we not always found
antagonism a foolish and unwarrantable expenditure of energy?

The conversation at dinner and afterward, although conducted with
animation and sincerity, for the moment stirred vague misgivings
within me.  Was Tolstoy more logical than life warrants?  Could
the wrongs of life be reduced to the terms of unrequited labor and
all be made right if each person performed the amount necessary to
satisfy his own wants?  Was it not always easy to put up a strong
case if one took the naturalistic view of life? But what about the
historic view, the inevitable shadings and modifications which
life itself brings to its own interpretation? Miss Smith and I
took a night train back to Moscow in that tumult of feeling which
is always produced by contact with a conscience making one more of
those determined efforts to probe to the very foundations of the
mysterious world in which we find ourselves. A horde of perplexing
questions, concerning those problems of existence of which in
happier moments we catch but fleeting glimpses and at which we
even then stand aghast, pursued us relentlessly on the long
journey through the great wheat plains of South Russia, through
the crowded Ghetto of Warsaw, and finally into the smiling fields
of Germany where the peasant men and women were harvesting the
grain.  I remember that through the sight of those toiling
peasants, I made a curious connection between the bread labor
advocated by Tolstoy and the comfort the harvest fields are said
to have once brought to Luther when, much perturbed by many
theological difficulties, he suddenly forgot them all in a gush of
gratitude for mere bread, exclaiming, "How it stands, that golden
yellow corn, on its fine tapered stem; the meek earth, at God's
kind bidding, has produced it once again!" At least the toiling
poor had this comfort of bread labor, and perhaps it did not
matter that they gained it unknowingly and painfully, if only they
walked in the path of labor.  In the exercise of that curious
power possessed by the theorist to inhibit all experiences which
do not enhance his doctrine, I did not permit myself to recall
that which I knew so well--that exigent and unremitting labor
grants the poor no leisure even in the supreme moments of human
suffering and that "all griefs are lighter with bread."

I may have wished to secure this solace for myself at the cost of
the least possible expenditure of time and energy, for during the
next month in Germany, when I read everything of Tolstoy's that
had been translated into English, German, or French, there grew
up in my mind a conviction that what I ought to do upon my return
to Hull-House was to spend at least two hours every morning in
the little bakery which we had recently added to the equipment of
our coffeehouse.  Two hours' work would be but a wretched
compromise, but it was hard to see how I could take more time out
of each day.  I had been taught to bake bread in my childhood not
only as a household accomplishment, but because my father, true
to his miller's tradition, had insisted that each one of his
daughters on her twelfth birthday must present him with a
satisfactory wheat loaf of her own baking, and he was most
exigent as to the quality of this test loaf.  What could be more
in keeping with my training and tradition than baking bread?  I
did not quite see how my activity would fit in with that of the
German union baker who presided over the Hull-House bakery, but
all such matters were secondary and certainly could be arranged.
It may be that I had thus to pacify my aroused conscience before
I could settle down to hear Wagner's "Ring" at Beyreuth; it may
be that I had fallen a victim to the phrase, "bread labor"; but
at any rate I held fast to the belief that I should do this,
through the entire journey homeward, on land and sea, until I
actually arrived in Chicago when suddenly the whole scheme seemed
to me as utterly preposterous as it doubtless was.  The half
dozen people invariably waiting to see me after breakfast, the
piles of letters to be opened and answered, the demand of actual
and pressing wants--were these all to be pushed aside and asked
to wait while I saved my soul by two hours' work at baking bread?

Although my resolution was abandoned, this may be the best place
to record the efforts of more doughty souls to carry out Tolstoy's
conclusions.  It was perhaps inevitable that Tolstoy colonies
should be founded, although Tolstoy himself has always insisted
that each man should live his life as nearly as possible in the
place in which he was born.  The visit Miss Smith and I made a
year or two later to a colony in one of the southern States
portrayed for us most vividly both the weakness and the strange
august dignity of the Tolstoy position.  The colonists at
Commonwealth held but a short creed.  They claimed in fact that
the difficulty is not to state truth but to make moral conviction
operative upon actual life, and they announced it their intention
"to obey the teachings of Jesus in all matters of labor and the
use of property." They would thus transfer the vindication of
creed from the church to the open field, from dogma to experience.

The day Miss Smith and I visited the Commonwealth colony of
threescore souls, they were erecting a house for the family of a
one-legged man, consisting of a wife and nine children who had
come the week before in a forlorn prairie schooner from Arkansas.
As this was the largest family the little colony contained, the
new house was to be the largest yet erected.  Upon our surprise
at this literal giving "to him that asketh," we inquired if the
policy of extending food and shelter to all who applied, without
test of creed or ability, might not result in the migration of
all the neighboring poorhouse population into the colony.  We
were told that this actually had happened during the winter until
the colony fare of corn meal and cow peas had proved so
unattractive that the paupers had gone back, for even the poorest
of the southern poorhouses occasionally supplied bacon with the
pone if only to prevent scurvy from which the colonists
themselves had suffered.  The difficulty of the poorhouse people
had thus settled itself by the sheer poverty of the situation, a
poverty so biting that the only ones willing to face it were
those sustained by a conviction of its righteousness.  The fields
and gardens were being worked by an editor, a professor, a
clergyman, as well as by artisans and laborers, the fruit thereof
to be eaten by themselves and their families or by any other
families who might arrive from Arkansas. The colonists were very
conventional in matters of family relationship and had broken
with society only in regard to the conventions pertaining to
labor and property.  We had a curious experience at the end of
the day, when we were driven into the nearest town.  We had taken
with us as a guest the wife of the president of the colony,
wishing to give her a dinner at the hotel, because she had
girlishly exclaimed during a conversation that at times during
the winter she had become so eager to hear good music that it had
seemed to her as if she were actually hungry for it, almost as
hungry as she was for a beefsteak.  Yet as we drove away we had
the curious sensation that while the experiment was obviously
coming to an end, in the midst of its privations it yet embodied
the peace of mind which comes to him who insists upon the logic
of life whether it is reasonable or not--the fanatic's joy in
seeing his own formula translated into action.  At any rate, as
we reached the common-place southern town of workaday men and
women, for one moment its substantial buildings, its solid brick
churches, its ordered streets, divided into those of the rich and
those of the poor, seemed much more unreal to us than the little
struggling colony we had left behind.  We repeated to each other
that in all the practical judgments and decisions of life, we
must part company with logical demonstration; that if we stop for
it in each case, we can never go on at all; and yet, in spite of
this, when conscience does become the dictator of the daily life
of a group of men, it forces our admiration as no other modern
spectacle has power to do.  It seemed but a mere incident that
this group should have lost sight of the facts of life in their
earnest endeavor to put to the test the things of the spirit.

I knew little about the colony started by Mr. Maude at Purleigh
containing several of Tolstoy's followers who were not permitted
to live in Russia, and we did not see Mr. Maude again until he
came to Chicago on his way from Manitoba, whither he had
transported the second group of Dukhobors, a religious sect who
had interested all of Tolstoy's followers because of their
literal acceptance of non-resistance and other Christian
doctrines which are so strenuously advocated by Tolstoy.  It was
for their benefit that Tolstoy had finished and published
"Resurrection," breaking through his long-kept resolution against
novel writing.  After the Dukhobors were settled in Canada, of
the five hundred dollars left from the "Resurrection" funds, one
half was given to Hull-House.  It seemed possible to spend this
fund only for the relief of the most primitive wants of food and
shelter on the part of the most needy families.


[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Terri Perkins.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter XIII: Public Activities and Investigations." by by Jane
Addams (1860-1935) From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with
Autobiographical Notes. by Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan
Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp. 281-309.

[Editor:  Mary MarkOckerbloom]



CHAPTER XIII

PUBLIC ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS


One of the striking features of our neighborhood twenty years
ago, and one to which we never became reconciled, was the
presence of huge wooden garbage boxes fastened to the street
pavement in which the undisturbed refuse accumulated day by day.
The system of garbage collecting was inadequate throughout the
city but it became the greatest menace in a ward such as ours,
where the normal amount of waste was much increased by the
decayed fruit and vegetables discarded by the Italian and Greek
fruit peddlers, and by the residuum left over from the piles of
filthy rags which were fished out of the city dumps and brought
to the homes of the rag pickers for further sorting and washing.

The children of our neighborhood twenty years ago played their
games in and around these huge garbage boxes.  They were the
first objects that the toddling child learned to climb; their
bulk afforded a barricade and their contents provided missiles in
all the battles of the older boys; and finally they became the
seats upon which absorbed lovers held enchanted converse.  We are
obliged to remember that all children eat everything which they
find and that odors have a curious and intimate power of
entwining themselves into our tenderest memories, before even the
residents of Hull-House can understand their own early enthusiasm
for the removal of these boxes and the establishment of a better
system of refuse collection.

It is easy for even the most conscientious citizen of Chicago to
forget the foul smells of the stockyards and the garbage dumps,
when he is living so far from them that he is only occasionally
made conscious of their existence but the residents of a
Settlement are perforce constantly surrounded by them.  During
our first three years on Halsted Street, we had established a
small incinerator at Hull-House and we had many times reported
the untoward conditions of the ward to the city hall.  We had
also arranged many talks for the immigrants, pointing out that
although a woman may sweep her own doorway in her native village
and allow the reuse to innocently decay in the open air and
sunshine, in a crowded city quarter, if the garbage is not
properly collected and destroyed, a tenement-house mother may see
her children sicken and die, and that the immigrants must
therefore not only keep their own houses clean, but must also
help the authorities to keep the city clean.

Possibly our efforts slightly modified the worst conditions, but
they still remained intolerable, and the fourth summer the
situation became for me absolutely desperate when I realized in a
moment of panic that my delicate little nephew for whom I was
guardian, could not be with me at Hull-House at all unless the
sickening odors were reduced.  I may well be ashamed that other
delicate children who were torn from their families, not into
boarding school but into eternity, had not long before driven me
to effective action.  Under the direction of the first man who
came as a resident to Hull-House we began a systematic
investigation of the city system of garbage collection, both as
to its efficiency in other wards and its possible connection with
the death rate in the various wards of the city.

The Hull-House Woman's Club had been organized the year before by
the resident kindergartner who had first inaugurated a mother's
meeting.  The new members came together, however, in quite a new
way that summer when we discussed with them the high death rate
so persistent in our ward.  After several club meetings devoted
to the subject, despite the fact that the death rate rose highest
in the congested foreign colonies and not in the streets in which
most of the Irish American club women lived, twelve of their
number undertook in connection with the residents, to carefully
investigate the conditions of the alleys.  During August and
September the substantiated reports of violations of the law sent
in from Hull-House to the health department were one thousand and
thirty-seven.  For the club woman who had finished a long day's
work of washing or ironing followed by the cooking of a hot
supper, it would have been much easier to sit on her doorstep
during a summer evening than to go up and down ill-kept alleys
and get into trouble with her neighbors over the condition of
their garbage boxes.  It required both civic enterprise and moral
conviction to be willing to do this three evenings a week during
the hottest and most uncomfortable months of the year.
Nevertheless, a certain number of women persisted, as did the
residents, and three city inspectors in succession were
transferred from the ward because of unsatisfactory services.
Still the death rate remained high and the condition seemed
little improved throughout the next winter.  In sheer
desperation, the following spring when the city contracts were
awarded for the removal of garbage, with the backing of two
well-known business men, I put in a bid for the garbage removal
of the nineteenth ward.  My paper was thrown out on a
technicality but the incident induced the mayor to appoint me the
garbage inspector of the ward.

The salary was a thousand dollars a year, and the loss of that
political "plum" made a great stir among the politicians.  The
position was no sinecure whether regarded from the point of view
of getting up at six in the morning to see that the men were
early at work; or of following the loaded wagons, uneasily
dropping their contents at intervals, to their dreary destination
at the dump; or of insisting that the contractor must increase
the number of his wagons from nine to thirteen and from thirteen
to seventeen, although he assured me that he lost money on every
one and that the former inspector had let him off with seven; or
of taking careless landlords into court because they would not
provide the proper garbage receptacles; or of arresting the
tenant who tried to make the garbage wagons carry away the
contents of his stable.

With the two or three residents who nobly stood by, we set up six
of those doleful incinerators which are supposed to burn garbage
with the fuel collected in the alley itself.  The one factory in
town which could utilize old tin cans was a window weight
factory, and we deluged that with ten times as many tin cans as
it could use--much less would pay for.  We made desperate
attempts to have the dead animals removed by the contractor who
was paid most liberally by the city for that purpose but who, we
slowly discovered, always made the police ambulances do the work,
delivering the carcasses upon freight cars for shipment to a soap
factory in Indiana where they were sold for a good price although
the contractor himself was the largest stockholder in the
concern.  Perhaps our greatest achievement was the discovery of a
pavement eighteen inches under the surface in a narrow street,
although after it was found we triumphantly discovered a record
of its existence in the city archives.  The Italians living on
the street were much interested but displayed little
astonishment, perhaps because they were accustomed to see buried
cities exhumed.  This pavement became the casus belli between
myself and the street commissioner when I insisted that its
restoration belonged to him, after I had removed the first eight
inches of garbage.  The matter was finally settled by the mayor
himself, who permitted me to drive him to the entrance of the
street in what the children called my "garbage phaeton" and who
took my side of the controversy.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, who had done some
excellent volunteer inspection in both Chicago and Pittsburg,
became my deputy and performed the work in a most thoroughgoing
manner for three years.  During the last two she was under the
regime of civil service for in 1895, to the great joy of many
citizens, the Illinois legislature made that possible.

Many of the foreign-born women of the ward were much shocked by
this abrupt departure into the ways of men, and it took a great
deal of explanation to convey the idea even remotely that if it
were a womanly task to go about in tenement houses in order to
nurse the sick, it might be quite as womanly to go through the
same district in order to prevent the breeding of so-called
"filth diseases." While some of the women enthusiastically
approved the slowly changing conditions and saw that their
housewifely duties logically extended to the adjacent alleys and
streets, they yet were quite certain that "it was not a lady's
job." A revelation of this attitude was made one day in a
conversation which the inspector heard vigorously carried on in a
laundry.  One of the employees was leaving and was expressing her
mind concerning the place in no measured terms, summing up her
contempt for it as follows: "I would rather be the girl who goes
about in the alleys than to stay here any longer!"

And yet the spectacle of eight hours' work for eight hours' pay,
the even-handed justice to all citizens irrespective of "pull,"
the dividing of responsibility between landlord and tenant, and
the readiness to enforce obedience to law from both, was,
perhaps, one of the most valuable demonstrations which could have
been made.  Such daily living on the part of the office holder is
of infinitely more value than many talks on civics for, after
all, we credit most easily that which we see.  The careful
inspection combined with other causes, brought about a great
improvement in the cleanliness and comfort of the neighborhood
and one happy day, when the death rate of our ward was found to
have dropped from third to seventh in the list of city wards and
was so reported to our Woman's Club, the applause which followed
recorded the genuine sense of participation in the result, and a
public spirit which had "made good." But the cleanliness of the
ward was becoming much too popular to suit our all-powerful
alderman and, although we felt fatuously secure under the regime
of civil service, he found a way to circumvent us by eliminating
the position altogether.  He introduced an ordinance into the
city council which combined the collection of refuse with the
cleaning and repairing of the streets, the whole to be placed
under a ward superintendent.  The office of course was to be
filled under civil service regulations but only men were eligible
to the examination.  Although this latter regulation was
afterwards modified in favor of one woman, it was retained long
enough to put the nineteenth ward inspector out of office.

Of course our experience in inspecting only made us more
conscious of the wretched housing conditions over which we had
been distressed from the first.  It was during the World's Fair
summer that one of the Hull-House residents in a public address
upon housing reform used as an example of indifferent landlordism
a large block in the neighborhood occupied by small tenements and
stables unconnected with a street sewer, as was much similar
property in the vicinity.  In the lecture the resident spared
neither a description of the property nor the name of the owner.
The young man who owned the property was justly indignant at this
public method of attack and promptly came to investigate the
condition of the property.  Together we made a careful tour of
the houses and stables and in the face of the conditions that we
found there, I could not but agree with him that supplying South
Italian peasants with sanitary appliances seemed a difficult
undertaking.  Nevertheless he was unwilling that the block should
remain in its deplorable state, and he finally cut through the
dilemma with the rash proposition that he would give a free lease
of the entire tract to Hull-House, accompanying the offer,
however, with the warning remark, that if we should choose to use
the income from the rents in sanitary improvements we should be
throwing our money away.

Even when we decided that the houses were so bad that we could
not undertake the task of improving them, he was game and stuck
to his proposition that we should have a free lease.  We finally
submitted a plan that the houses should be torn down and the
entire tract turned into a playground, although cautious advisers
intimated that it would be very inconsistent to ask for
subscriptions for the support of Hull-House when we were known to
have thrown away an income of two thousand dollars a year.  We,
however, felt that a spectacle of inconsistency was better than
one of bad landlordism and so the worst of the houses were
demolished, the best three were sold and moved across the street
under careful provision that they might never be used for junk-
shops or saloons, and a public playground was finally
established.  Hull-House became responsible for its management
for ten years, at the end of which time it was turned over to the
City Playground Commission although from the first the city
detailed a policeman who was responsible for its general order
and who became a valued adjunct of the House.

During fifteen years this public-spirited owner of the property
paid all the taxes, and when the block was finally sold he made
possible the playground equipment of a near-by schoolyard.  On
the other hand, the dispossessed tenants, a group of whom had to
be evicted by legal process before their houses could be torn
down, have never ceased to mourn their former estates.  Only the
other day I met upon the street an old Italian harness maker, who
said that he had never succeeded so well anywhere else nor found
a place that "seemed so much like Italy."

Festivities of various sorts were held on this early playground,
always a May day celebration with its Maypole dance and its May
queen.  I remember that one year that honor of being queen was
offered to the little girl who should pick up the largest number
of scraps of paper which littered all the streets and alleys. The
children that spring had been organized into a league, and each
member had been provided with a stiff piece of wire upon the
sharpened point of which stray bits of paper were impaled and
later soberly counted off into a large box in the Hull-House
alley.  The little Italian girl who thus won the scepter took it
very gravely as the just reward of hard labor, and we were all so
absorbed in the desire for clean and tidy streets that we were
wholly oblivious to the incongruity of thus selecting "the queen
of love and beauty."

It was at the end of the second year that we received a visit from
the warden of Toynbee Hall and his wife, as they were returning to
England from a journey around the world.  They had lived in East
London for many years, and had been identified with the public
movements for its betterment.  They were much shocked that, in a
new country with conditions still plastic and hopeful, so little
attention had been paid to experiments and methods of amelioration
which had already been tried; and they looked in vain through our
library for blue books and governmental reports which recorded
painstaking study into the conditions of English cities.

They were the first of a long line of English visitors to express
the conviction that many things in Chicago were untoward not
through paucity of public spirit but through a lack of political
machinery adapted to modern city life.  This was not all of the
situation but perhaps no casual visitor could be expected to see
that these matters of detail seemed unimportant to a city in the
first flush of youth, impatient of correction and convinced that
all would be well with its future.  The most obvious faults were
those connected with the congested housing of the immigrant
population, nine tenths of them from the country, who carried on
all sorts of traditional activities in the crowded tenements.
That a group of Greeks should be permitted to slaughter sheep in
a basement, that Italian women should be allowed to sort over
rags collected from the city dumps, not only within the city
limits but in a court swarming with little children, that
immigrant bakers should continue unmolested to bake bread for
their neighbors in unspeakably filthy spaces under the pavement,
appeared incredible to visitors accustomed to careful city
regulations.  I recall two visits made to the Italian quarter by
John Burns--the second, thirteen years after the first.  During
the latter visit it seemed to him unbelievable that a certain
house owned by a rich Italian should have been permitted to
survive.  He remembered with the greatest minuteness the
positions of the houses on the court, with the exact space
between the front and rear tenements, and he asked at once
whether we had been able to cut a window into a dark hall as he
had recommended thirteen years before.  Although we were obliged
to confess that the landlord would not permit the window to be
cut, we were able to report that a City Homes Association had
existed for ten years; that following a careful study of tenement
conditions in Chicago, the text of which had been written by a
Hull-House resident, the association had obtained the enactment
of a model tenement-house code, and that their secretary had
carefully watched the administration of the law for years so that
its operation might not be minimized by the granting of too many
exceptions in the city council.  Our progress still seemed slow
to Mr. Burns because in Chicago, the actual houses were quite
unchanged, embodying features long since declared illegal in
London.  Only this year could we have reported to him, had he
again come to challenge us, that the provisions of the law had at
last been extended to existing houses and that a conscientious
corps of inspectors under an efficient chief, were fast remedying
the most glaring evils, while a band of nurses and doctors were
following hard upon the "trail of the white hearse."

The mere consistent enforcement of existing laws and efforts for
their advance often placed Hull-House, at least temporarily, into
strained relations with its neighbors.  I recall a continuous
warfare against local landlords who would move wrecks of old
houses as a nucleus for new ones in order to evade the provisions
of the building code, and a certain Italian neighbor who was
filled with bitterness because his new rear tenement was
discovered to be illegal.  It seemed impossible to make him
understand that the health of the tenants was in any wise as
important as his undisturbed rents.

Nevertheless many evils constantly arise in Chicago from
congested housing which wiser cities forestall and prevent; the
inevitable boarders crowded into a dark tenement already too
small for the use of the immigrant family occupying it; the
surprisingly large number of delinquent girls who have become
criminally involved with their own fathers and uncles; the school
children who cannot find a quiet spot in which to read or study
and who perforce go into the streets each evening; the
tuberculosis superinduced and fostered by the inadequate rooms
and breathing spaces.  One of the Hull-House residents, under the
direction of a Chicago physician who stands high as an authority
on tuberculosis and who devotes a large proportion of his time to
our vicinity, made an investigation into housing conditions as
related to tuberculosis with a result as startling as that of the
"lung block" in New York.

It is these subtle evils of wretched and inadequate housing which
are often the most disastrous.  In the summer of 1902 during an
epidemic of typhoid fever in which our ward, although containing
but one thirty-sixth of the population of the city, registered
one sixth of the total number of deaths, two of the Hull-House
residents made an investigation of the methods of plumbing in the
houses adjacent to conspicuous groups of fever cases.  They
discovered among the people who had been exposed to the
infection, a widow who had lived in the ward for a number of
years, in a comfortable little house of her own.  Although the
Italian immigrants were closing in all around her, she was not
willing to sell her property and to move away until she had
finished the education of her children.  In the meantime she held
herself quite aloof from her Italian neighbors and could never be
drawn into any of the public efforts to secure a better code of
tenement-house sanitation.  Her two daughters were sent to an
eastern college.  One June when one of them had graduated and the
other still had two years before she took her degree, they came
to the spotless little house and their self-sacrificing mother
for the summer holiday.  They both fell ill with typhoid fever
and one daughter died because the mother's utmost efforts could
not keep the infection out of her own house.  The entire disaster
affords, perhaps, a fair illustration of the futility of the
individual conscience which would isolate a family from the rest
of the community and its interests.

The careful information collected concerning the juxtaposition of
the typhoid cases to the various systems of plumbing and
nonplumbing was made the basis of a bacteriological study by
another resident, Dr. Alice Hamilton, as to the possibility of
the infection having been carried by flies.  Her researches were
so convincing that they have been incorporated into the body of
scientific data supporting that theory, but there were also
practical results from the investigation.  It was discovered that
the wretched sanitary appliances through which alone the
infection could have become so widely spread, would not have been
permitted to remain, unless the city inspector had either been
criminally careless or open to the arguments of favored
landlords.

The agitation finally resulted in a long and stirring trial
before the civil service board of half of the employees in the
Sanitary Bureau, with the final discharge of eleven out of the
entire force of twenty-four.  The inspector in our neighborhood
was a kindly old man, greatly distressed over the affair, and
quite unable to understand why he should have not used his
discretion as to the time when a landlord should be forced to put
in modern appliances.  If he was "very poor," or "just about to
sell his place," or "sure that the house would be torn down to
make room for a factory," why should one "inconvenience" him? The
old man died soon after the trial, feeling persecuted to the very
last and not in the least understanding what it was all about.
We were amazed at the commercial ramifications which graft in the
city hall involved and at the indignation which interference with
it produced.  Hull-House lost some large subscriptions as the
result of this investigation, a loss which, if not easy to bear,
was at least comprehensible.  We also uncovered unexpected graft
in connection with the plumbers' unions, and but for the fearless
testimony of one of their members, could never have brought the
trial to a successful issue.

Inevitable misunderstanding also developed in connection with the
attempt on the part of Hull-House residents to prohibit the sale
of cocaine to minors, which brought us into sharp conflict with
many druggists.  I recall an Italian druggist living on the edge
of the neighborhood, who finally came with a committee of his
countryman to see what Hull-House wanted of him, thoroughly
convinced that no such effort could be disinterested.  One dreary
trial after another had been lost through the inadequacy of the
existing legislation and after many attempts to secure better
legal regulation of its sale, a new law with the cooperation of
many agencies was finally secured in 1907.  Through all this the
Italian druggist, who had greatly profited by the sale of cocaine
to boys, only felt outraged and abused.  And yet the thought of
this campaign brings before my mind with irresistible force, a
young Italian boy who died,--a victim of the drug at the age of
seventeen.  He had been in our kindergarten as a handsome merry
child, in our clubs as a vivacious boy, and then gradually there
was an eclipse of all that was animated and joyous and promising,
and when I at last saw him in his coffin, it was impossible to
connect that haggard shriveled body with what I had known before.

A midwife investigation, undertaken in connection with the
Chicago Medical Society, while showing the great need of further
state regulation in the interest of the most ignorant mothers and
helpless children, brought us into conflict with one of the most
venerable of all customs.  Was all this a part of the unending
struggle between the old and new, or were these oppositions so
unexpected and so unlooked for merely a reminder of that old bit
of wisdom that "there is no guarding against interpretations"?
Perhaps more subtle still, they were due to that very
super-refinement of disinterestedness which will not justify
itself, that it may feel superior to public opinion.  Some of our
investigations of course had no such untoward results, such as
"An Intensive Study of Truancy" undertaken by a resident of
Hull-House in connection with the compulsory education department
of the Board of Education and the Visiting Nurses Association.
The resident, Mrs. Britton, who, having had charge of our
children's clubs for many years, knew thousands of children in
the neighborhood, made a detailed study of three hundred families
tracing back the habitual truancy of the child to economic and
social causes.  This investigation preceded a most interesting
conference on truancy held under a committee of which I was a
member from the Chicago Board of Education.  It left lasting
results upon the administration of the truancy law as well as the
cooperation of volunteer bodies.

We continually conduct small but careful investigations at
Hull-House, which may guide us in our immediate doings such as two
recently undertaken by Mrs. Britton, one upon the reading of school
children before new books were bought for the children's club
libraries, and another on the proportion of tuberculosis among
school children, before we opened a little experimental outdoor
school on one of our balconies.  Some of the Hull-House
investigations are purely negative in result; we once made an
attempt to test the fatigue of factory girls in order to determine
how far overwork superinduced the tuberculosis to which such a
surprising number of them were victims.  The one scientific
instrument it seemed possible to use was an ergograph, a
complicated and expensive instrument kindly lent to us from the
physiological laboratory of the University of Chicago.  I remember
the imposing procession we made from Hull-House to the factory full
of working women, in which the proprietor allowed us to make the
tests; first there was the precious instrument on a hand truck
guarded by an anxious student and the young physician who was going
to take the tests every afternoon; then there was Dr. Hamilton the
resident in charge of the investigation, walking with a scientist
who was interested to see that the instrument was properly
installed; I followed in the rear to talk once more to the
proprietor of the factory to be quite sure that he would permit the
experiment to go on.  The result of all this preparation, however,
was to have the instrument record less fatigue at the end of the
day than at the beginning, not because the girls had not worked
hard and were not "dog tired" as they confessed, but because the
instrument was not fitted to find it out.

For many years we have administered a branch station of the federal
post office at Hull-House, which we applied for in the first
instance because our neighbors lost such a large percentage of the
money they sent to Europe, through the commissions to middle men.
The experience in the post office constantly gave us data for
urging the establishment of postal savings as we saw one perplexed
immigrant after another turning away in bewilderment when he was
told that the United States post office did not receive savings.

We find increasingly, however, that the best results are to be
obtained in investigations as in other undertakings, by combining
our researches with those of other public bodies or with the
State itself.  When all the Chicago Settlements found themselves
distressed over the condition of the newsboys who, because they
are merchants and not employees, do not come under the provisions
of the Illinois child labor law, they united in the investigation
of a thousand young newsboys, who were all interviewed on the
streets during the same twenty-four hours. Their school and
domestic status was easily determined later, for many of the boys
lived in the immediate neighborhoods of the ten Settlements which
had undertaken the investigation.  The report embodying the
results of the investigation recommended a city ordinance
containing features from the Boston and Buffalo regulations, and
although an ordinance was drawn up and a strenuous effort was
made to bring it to the attention of the aldermen, none of them
would introduce it into the city council without newspaper
backing.  We were able to agitate for it again at the annual
meeting of the National Child Labor Committee which was held in
Chicago in 1908, and which was of course reported in papers
throughout the entire country.  This meeting also demonstrated
that local measures can sometimes be urged most effectively when
joined to the efforts of a national body. Undoubtedly the best
discussions ever held upon the operation and status of the
Illinois law were those which took place then.  The needs of the
Illinois children were regarded in connection with the children
of the nation and advanced health measures for Illinois were
compared with those of other states.

The investigations of Hull-House thus tend to be merged with
those of larger organizations, from the investigation of the
social value of saloons made for the Committee of Fifty in 1896,
to the one on infant mortality in relation to nationality, made
for the American Academy of Science in 1909.  This is also true
of Hull-House activities in regard to public movements, some of
which are inaugurated by the residents of other Settlements, as
the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy, founded by the
splendid efforts of Dr. Graham Taylor for many years head of
Chicago Commons.  All of our recent investigations into housing
have been under the department of investigation of this school
with which several of the Hull-House residents are identified,
quite as our active measures to secure better housing conditions
have been carried on with the City Homes Association and through
the cooperation of one of our residents who several years ago was
appointed a sanitary inspector on the city staff.

Perhaps Dr. Taylor himself offers the best possible example of
the value of Settlement experience to public undertakings, in his
manifold public activities of which one might instance his work
at the moment upon a commission recently appointed by the
governor of Illinois to report upon the best method of Industrial
Insurance or Employer's Liability Acts, and his influence in
securing another to study into the subject of Industrial
Diseases.  The actual factory investigation under the latter is
in charge of Dr. Hamilton, of Hull-House, whose long residence in
an industrial neighborhood as well as her scientific attainment,
give her peculiar qualifications for the undertaking.

And so a Settlement is led along from the concrete to the
abstract, as may easily be illustrated.  Many years ago a tailors'
union meeting at Hull-House asked our cooperation in tagging the
various parts of a man's coat in such wise as to show the money
paid to the people who had made it; one tag for the cutting and
another for the buttonholes, another for the finishing and so on,
the resulting total to be compared with the selling price of the
coat itself.  It quickly became evident that we had no way of
computing how much of this larger balance was spent for salesmen,
commercial travelers, rent and management, and the poor tagged
coat was finally left hanging limply in a closet as if discouraged
with the attempt.  But the desire of the manual worker to know the
relation of his own labor to the whole is not only legitimate but
must form the basis of any intelligent action for his improvement.
 It was therefore with the hope of reform in the sewing trades
that the Hull-House residents testified before the Federal
Industrial Commission in 1900, and much later with genuine
enthusiasm joined with trades-unionists and other public-spirited
citizens in an industrial exhibit which made a graphic
presentation of the conditions and rewards of labor.  The large
casino building in which it was held was filled every day and
evening for two weeks, showing how popular such information is, if
it can be presented graphically. As an illustration of this same
moving from the smaller to the larger, I might instance the
efforts of Miss McDowell of the University of Chicago Settlement
and others in urging upon Congress the necessity for a special
investigation into the conditions of women and children in
industry because we had discovered the insuperable difficulties of
smaller investigations, notably one undertaken for the Illinois
Bureau of Labor by Mrs. Van der Vaart of Neighborhood House and by
Miss Breckinridge of the University of Chicago.  This
investigation made clear that it was as impossible to detach the
girls working in the stockyards from their sisters in industry as
it was to urge special legislation on their behalf.

In the earlier years of the American Settlements, the residents
were sometimes impatient with the accepted methods of charitable
administration and hoped, through residence in an industrial
neighborhood, to discover more cooperative and advanced methods
of dealing with the problems of poverty which are so dependent
upon industrial maladjustment.  But during twenty years, the
Settlements have seen the charitable people, through their very
knowledge of the poor, constantly approach nearer to those
methods formerly designated as radical.  The residents, so far
from holding aloof from organized charity, find testimony,
certainly in the National Conferences, that out of the most
persistent and intelligent efforts to alleviate poverty will in
all probability arise the most significant suggestions for
eradicating poverty.  In the hearing before a congressional
committee for the establishment of a Children's Bureau, residents
in American Settlements joined their fellow philanthropists in
urging the need of this indispensable instrument for collecting
and disseminating information which would make possible concerted
intelligent action on behalf of children.

Mr. Howells has said that we are all so besotted with our novel
reading that we have lost the power of seeing certain aspects of
life with any sense of reality because we are continually looking
for the possible romance.  The description might apply to the
earlier years of the American settlement, but certainly the later
years are filled with discoveries in actual life as romantic as
they are unexpected.  If I may illustrate one of these romantic
discoveries from my own experience, I would cite the indications
of an internationalism as sturdy and virile as it is unprecedented
which I have seen in our cosmopolitan neighborhood: when a South
Italian Catholic is forced by the very exigencies of the situation
to make friends with an Austrian Jew representing another
nationality and another religion, both of which cut into all his
most cherished prejudices, he finds it harder to utilize them a
second time and gradually loses them.  He thus modifies his
provincialism, for if an old enemy working by his side has turned
into a friend, almost anything may happen.  When, therefore, I
became identified with the peace movement both in its
International and National Conventions, I hoped that this
internationalism engendered in the immigrant quarters of American
cities might be recognized as an effective instrument in the cause
of peace.  I first set it forth with some misgiving before the
Convention held in Boston in 1904 and it is always a pleasure to
recall the hearty assent given to it by Professor William James.

I have always objected to the phrase "sociological laboratory"
applied to us, because Settlements should be something much more
human and spontaneous than such a phrase connotes, and yet it is
inevitable that the residents should know their own neighborhoods
more thoroughly than any other, and that their experiences there
should affect their convictions.

Years ago I was much entertained by a story told at the Chicago
Woman's Club by one of its ablest members in the discussion
following a paper of mine on "The Outgrowths of Toynbee Hall."
She said that when she was a little girl playing in her mother's
garden, she one day discovered a small toad who seemed to her
very forlorn and lonely, although she did not in the least know
how to comfort him, she reluctantly left him to his fate; later
in the day, quite at the other end of the garden, she found a
large toad, also apparently without family and friends. With a
heart full of tender sympathy, she took a stick and by exercising
infinite patience and some skill, she finally pushed the little
toad through the entire length of the garden into the company of
the big toad, when, to her inexpressible horror and surprise, the
big toad opened his mouth and swallowed the little one.  The
moral of the tale was clear applied to people who lived "where
they did not naturally belong," although I protested that was
exactly what we wanted--to be swallowed and digested, to
disappear into the bulk of the people.

Twenty years later I am willing to testify that something of the
sort does take place after years of identification with an
industrial community.


[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Adrienne Fermoyle.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter XIV: Civic Cooperation." by by Jane Addams (1860-1935)
From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with Autobiographical Notes. by
Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp.
310-341.

[Editor:  Mary MarkOckerbloom]



CHAPTER XIV

CIVIC COOPERATION


One of the first lessons we learned at Hull-House was that private
beneficence is totally inadequate to deal with the vast numbers of
the city's disinherited.  We also quickly came to realize that
there are certain types of wretchedness from which every private
philanthropy shrinks and which are cared for only in those wards
of the county hospital provided for the wrecks of vicious living
or in the city's isolation hospital for smallpox patients.

I have heard a broken-hearted mother exclaim when her erring
daughter came home at last too broken and diseased to be taken
into the family she had disgraced, "There is no place for her but
the top floor of the County Hospital; they will have to take her
there," and this only after every possible expedient had been
tried or suggested.  This aspect of governmental responsibility
was unforgettably borne in upon me during the smallpox epidemic
following the World's Fair, when one of the residents, Mrs.
Kelley, as State Factory Inspector, was much concerned in
discovering and destroying clothing which was being finished in
houses containing unreported cases of smallpox.  The deputy most
successful in locating such cases lived at Hull-House during the
epidemic because he did not wish to expose his own family.
Another resident, Miss Lathrop, as a member of the State Board of
Charities, went back and forth to the crowded pest house which
had been hastily constructed on a stretch of prairie west of the
city.  As Hull-House was already so exposed, it seemed best for
the special smallpox inspectors from the Board of Health to take
their meals and change their clothing there before they went to
their respective homes.  All of these officials had accepted
without question and as implicit in public office the obligation
to carry on the dangerous and difficult undertakings for which
private philanthropy is unfitted, as if the commonalty of
compassion represented by the State was more comprehending than
that of any individual group.

It was as early as our second winter on Halsted Street that one
of the Hull-House residents received an appointment from the Cook
County agent as a county visitor.  She reported at the agency
each morning, and all the cases within a radius of ten blocks
from Hull-House were given to her for investigation.  This gave
her a legitimate opportunity for knowing the poorest people in
the neighborhood and also for understanding the county method of
outdoor relief.  The commissioners were at first dubious of the
value of such a visitor and predicted that a woman would be a
perfect "coal chute" for giving away county supplies, but they
gradually came to depend upon her suggestion and advice.

In 1893 this same resident, Miss Julia C. Lathrop, was appointed
by the governor a member of the Illinois State Board of
Charities.  She served in this capacity for two consecutive terms
and was later reappointed to a third term.  Perhaps her most
valuable contribution toward the enlargement and reorganization
of the charitable institutions of the State came through her
intimate knowledge of the beneficiaries, and her experience
demonstrated that it is only through long residence among the
poor that an official could have learned to view public
institutions as she did, from the standpoint of the inmates
rather than from that of the managers.  Since that early day,
residents of Hull-House have spent much time in working for the
civil service methods of appointment for employees in the county
and State institutions; for the establishment of State colonies
for the care of epileptics; and for a dozen other enterprises
which occupy that borderland between charitable effort and
legislation.  In this borderland we cooperate in many civic
enterprises for I think we may claim that Hull-House has always
held its activities lightly, ready to hand them over to whosoever
would carry them on properly.

Miss Starr had early made a collection of framed photographs,
largely of the paintings studied in her art class, which became
the basis of a loan collection first used by the Hull-House
students and later extended to the public schools.  It may be
fair to suggest that this effort was the nucleus of the Public
School Art Society which was later formed in the city and of
which Miss Starr was the first president.

In our first two summers we had maintained three baths in the
basement of our own house for the use of the neighborhood, and
they afforded some experience and argument for the erection of
the first public bathhouse in Chicago, which was built on a
neighboring street and opened under the city Board of Health. The
lot upon which it was erected belonged to a friend of Hull-House
who offered it to the city without rent, and this enabled the
city to erect the first public bath from the small appropriation
of ten thousand dollars.  Great fear was expressed by the public
authorities that the baths would not be used, and the old story
of the bathtubs in model tenements which had been turned into
coal bins was often quoted to us.  We were supplied, however,
with the incontrovertible argument that in our adjacent third
square mile there were in 1892 but three bathtubs and that this
fact was much complained of by many of the tenement-house
dwellers.  Our contention was justified by the immediate and
overflowing use of the public baths, as we had before been
sustained in the contention that an immigrant population would
respond to opportunities for reading when the Public Library
Board had established a branch reading room at Hull-House.

We also quickly discovered that nothing brought us so absolutely
into comradeship with our neighbors as mutual and sustained
effort such as the paving of a street, the closing of a gambling
house, or the restoration of a veteran police sergeant.

Several of these earlier attempts at civic cooperation were
undertaken in connection with the Hull-House Men's Club, which
had been organized in the spring of 1893, had been incorporated
under a State charter of its own, and had occupied a club room in
the gymnasium building.  This club obtained an early success in
one of the political struggles in the ward and thus fastened upon
itself a specious reputation for political power.  It was at last
so torn by the dissensions of two political factions which
attempted to capture it that, although it is still an existing
organization, it has never regained the prestige of its first
five years.  Its early political success came in a campaign
Hull-House had instigated against a powerful alderman who has
held office for more than twenty years in the nineteenth ward,
and who, although notoriously corrupt, is still firmly intrenched
among his constituents.

Hull-House has had to do with three campaigns organized against
him.  In the first one he was apparently only amused at our
"Sunday School" effort and did little to oppose the election to
the aldermanic office of a member of the Hull-House Men's Club
who thus became his colleague in the city council. When
Hull-House, however, made an effort in the following spring
against the re-election of the alderman himself, we encountered
the most determined and skillful opposition.  In these campaigns
we doubtless depended too much upon the idealistic appeal for we
did not yet comprehend the element of reality always brought into
the political struggle in such a neighborhood where politics deal
so directly with getting a job and earning a living.

We soon discovered that approximately one out of every five
voters in the nineteenth ward at that time held a job dependent
upon the good will of the alderman.  There were no civil service
rules to interfere, and the unskilled voter swept the street and
dug the sewer, as secure in his position as the more
sophisticated voter who tended a bridge or occupied an office
chair in the city hall.  The alderman was even more fortunate in
finding places with the franchise-seeking corporations; it took
us some time to understand why so large a proportion of our
neighbors were street-car employees and why we had such a large
club composed solely of telephone girls.  Our powerful alderman
had various methods of entrenching himself.  Many people were
indebted to him for his kindly services in the police station and
the justice courts, for in those days Irish constituents easily
broke the peace, and before the establishment of the Juvenile
Court, boys were arrested for very trivial offenses; added to
these were hundreds of constituents indebted to him for personal
kindness, from the peddler who received a free license to the
businessman who had a railroad pass to New York.  Our third
campaign against him, when we succeeded in making a serious
impression upon his majority, evoked from his henchmen the same
sort of hostility which a striker so inevitably feels against the
man who would take his job, even sharpened by the sense that the
movement for reform came from an alien source.

Another result of the campaign was an expectation on the part of
our new political friends that Hull-House would perform like
offices for them, and there resulted endless confusion and
misunderstanding because in many cases we could not even attempt
to do what the alderman constantly did with a right good will.
When he protected a law breaker from the legal consequences of
his act, his kindness appeared, not only to himself but to all
beholders, like the deed of a powerful and kindly statesman. When
Hull-House on the other hand insisted that a law must be
enforced, it could but appear like the persecution of the
offender.  We were certainly not anxious for consistency nor for
individual achievement, but in a desire to foster a higher
political morality and not to lower our standards, we constantly
clashed with the existing political code.  We also unwittingly
stumbled upon a powerful combination of which our alderman was
the political head, with its banking, its ecclesiastical, and its
journalistic representatives, and as we followed up the clue and
naively told all we discovered, we of course laid the foundations
for opposition which has manifested itself in many forms; the
most striking expression of it was an attack upon Hull-House
lasting through weeks and months by a Chicago daily newspaper
which has since ceased publication.

During the third campaign I received many anonymous
letters--those from the men often obscene, those from the women
revealing that curious connection between prostitution and the
lowest type of politics which every city tries in vain to hide.
I had offers from the men in the city prison to vote properly if
released; various communications from lodging-house keepers as to
the prices of the vote they were ready to deliver; everywhere
appeared that animosity which is evoked only when a man feels
that his means of livelihood is threatened.

As I look back, I am reminded of the state of mind of Kipling's
newspapermen who witnessed a volcanic eruption at sea, in which
unbelievable deep-sea creatures were expelled to the surface,
among them an enormous white serpent, blind and smelling of musk,
whose death throes thrashed the sea into a fury.  With
professional instinct unimpaired, the journalists carefully
observed the uncanny creature never designed for the eyes of men;
but a few days later, when they found themselves in a comfortable
second-class carriage, traveling from Southampton to London
between trim hedgerows and smug English villages, they concluded
that the experience was too sensational to be put before the
British public, and it became improbable even to themselves.

Many subsequent years of living in kindly neighborhood fashion
with the people of the nineteenth ward has produced upon my
memory the soothing effect of the second-class railroad carriage
and many of these political experiences have not only become
remote but already seem improbable.  On the other hand, these
campaigns were not without their rewards; one of them was a
quickened friendship both with the more substantial citizens in
the ward and with a group of fine young voters whose devotion to
Hull-House has never since failed; another was a sense of
identification with public-spirited men throughout the city who
contributed money and time to what they considered a gallant
effort against political corruption.  I remember a young
professor from the University of Chicago who with his wife came
to live at Hull-House, traveling the long distance every day
throughout the autumn and winter that he might qualify as a
nineteenth-ward voter in the spring campaign.  He served as a
watcher at the polls and it was but a poor reward for his
devotion that he was literally set upon and beaten up, for in
those good old days such things frequently occurred. Many another
case of devotion to our standard so recklessly raised might be
cited, but perhaps more valuable than any of these was the sense
of identification we obtained with the rest of Chicago.

So far as a Settlement can discern and bring to local
consciousness neighborhood needs which are common needs, and can
give vigorous help to the municipal measures through which such
needs shall be met, it fulfills its most valuable function.  To
illustrate from our first effort to improve the street paving in
the vicinity, we found that when we had secured the consent of
the majority of the property owners on a given street for a new
paving, the alderman checked the entire plan through his kindly
service to one man who had appealed to him to keep the
assessments down.  The street long remained a shocking mass of
wet, dilapidated cedar blocks, where children were sometimes
mired as they floated a surviving block in the water which
speedily filled the holes whence other blocks had been extracted
for fuel.  And yet when we were able to demonstrate that the
street paving had thus been reduced into cedar pulp by the
heavily loaded wagons of an adjacent factory, that the expense of
its repaving should be borne from a general fund and not by the
poor property owners, we found that we could all unite in
advocating reform in the method of repaving assessments, and the
alderman himself was obliged to come into such a popular
movement.  The Nineteenth Ward Improvement Association which met
at Hull-House during two winters, was the first body of citizens
able to make a real impression upon the local paving situation.
They secured an expert to watch the paving as it went down to be
sure that their half of the paving money was well expended.  In
the belief that property values would be thus enhanced, the
common aim brought together the more prosperous people of the
vicinity, somewhat as the Hull-House Cooperative Coal Association
brought together the poorer ones.

I remember that during the second campaign against our alderman,
Governor Pingree of Michigan came to visit at Hull-House.  He said
that the stronghold of such a man was not the place in which to
start municipal regeneration; that good aldermen should be elected
from the promising wards first, until a majority of honest men in
the city council should make politics unprofitable for corrupt
men.  We replied that it was difficult to divide Chicago into good
and bad wards, but that a new organization called the Municipal
Voters' League was attempting to give to the well-meaning voter in
each ward throughout the city accurate information concerning the
candidates and their relation, past and present, to vital issues.
One of our trustees who was most active in inaugurating this
League always said that his nineteenth-ward experience had
convinced him of the unity of city politics, and that he
constantly used our campaign as a challenge to the unaroused
citizens living in wards less conspicuously corrupt.

Certainly the need for civic cooperation was obvious in many
directions, and in none more strikingly than in that organized
effort which must be carried on unceasingly if young people are to
be protected from the darker and coarser dangers of the city. The
cooperation between Hull-House and the Juvenile Protective
Association came about gradually, and it seems now almost
inevitably.  From our earliest days we saw many boys constantly
arrested, and I had a number of most enlightening experiences in
the police station with an Irish lad whose mother upon her
deathbed had begged me "to look after him." We were distressed by
the gangs of very little boys who would sally forth with an
enterprising leader in search of old brass and iron, sometimes
breaking into empty houses for the sake of the faucets or lead
pipe which they would sell for a good price to a junk dealer. With
the money thus obtained they would buy cigarettes and beer or even
candy, which could be conspicuously consumed in the alleys where
they might enjoy the excitement of being seen and suspected by the
"coppers." From the third year of Hull-House, one of the residents
held a semiofficial position in the nearest police station; at
least, the sergeant agreed to give her provisional charge of every
boy and girl under arrest for a trivial offense.

Mrs. Stevens, who performed this work for several years, became
the first probation officer of the Juvenile Court when it was
established in Cook County in 1899.  She was the sole probation
officer at first, but at the time of her death, which occurred at
Hull-House in 1900, she was the senior officer of a corps of six.
 Her entire experience had fitted her to deal wisely with wayward
children.  She had gone into a New England cotton mill at the age
of thirteen, where she had promptly lost the index finger of her
right hand, through "carelessness" she was told, and no one then
seemed to understand that freedom from care was the prerogative
of childhood.  Later she became a typesetter and was one of the
first women in America to become a member of the typographical
union, retaining her "card" through all the later years of
editorial work.  As the Juvenile Court developed, the committee
of public-spirited citizens who first supplied only Mrs. Stevens'
salary later maintained a corps of twenty-two such officers;
several of these were Hull-House residents who brought to the
house for many years a sad little procession of children
struggling against all sorts of handicaps. When legislation was
secured which placed the probation officers upon the payroll of
the county, it was a challenge to the efficiency of the civil
service method of appointment to obtain by examination men and
women fitted for this delicate human task. As one of five people
asked by the civil service commission to conduct this first
examination for probation officers, I became convinced that we
were but at the beginning of the nonpolitical method of selecting
public servants, but even stiff and unbending as the examination
may be, it is still our hope of political salvation.

In 1907, the Juvenile Court was housed in a model court building
of its own, containing a detention home and equipped with a
competent staff.  The committee of citizens largely responsible
for this result thereupon turned their attention to the
conditions which the records of the court indicated had led to
the alarming amount of juvenile delinquency and crime.  They
organized the Juvenile Protective Association, whose twenty-two
officers meet weekly at Hull-House with their executive committee
to report what they have found and to discuss city conditions
affecting the lives of children and young people.

The association discovers that there are certain temptations into
which children so habitually fall that it is evident that the
average child cannot withstand them.  An overwhelming mass of
data is accumulated showing the need of enforcing existing
legislation and of securing new legislation, but it also
indicates a hundred other directions in which the young people
who so gaily walk our streets, often to their own destruction,
need safeguarding and protection.

The effort of the association to treat the youth of the city with
consideration and understanding has rallied the most unexpected
forces to its standard.  Quite as the basic needs of life are
supplied solely by those who make money out of the business, so
the modern city has assumed that the craving for pleasure must be
ministered to only by the sordid.  This assumption, however, in a
large measure broke down as soon as the Juvenile Protective
Association courageously put it to the test. After persistent
prosecutions, but also after many friendly interviews, the
Druggists' Association itself prosecutes those of its members who
sell indecent postal cards; the Saloon Keepers' Protective
Association not only declines to protect members who sell liquor
to minors, but now takes drastic action to prevent such sales;
the Retail Grocers' Association forbids the selling of tobacco to
minors; the Association of Department Store Managers not only
increased the vigilance in their waiting rooms by supplying more
matrons, but as a body they have become regular contributors to
the association; the special watchmen in all the railroad yards
agree not to arrest trespassing boys but to report them to the
association; the firms manufacturing moving picture films not
only submit their films to a volunteer inspection committee, but
ask for suggestions in regard to new matter; and the Five-Cent
Theaters arrange for "stunts" which shall deal with the subject
of public health and morals, when the lecturers provided are
entertaining as well as instructive.

It is not difficult to arouse the impulse of protection for the
young, which would doubtless dictate the daily acts of many a
bartender and poolroom keeper if they could only indulge it
without giving their rivals an advantage.  When this difficulty
is removed by an even-handed enforcement of the law, that simple
kindliness which the innocent always evoke goes from one to
another like a slowly spreading flame of good will.  Doubtless
the most rewarding experience in any such undertaking as that of
the Juvenile Protective Association is the warm and intelligent
cooperation coming from unexpected sources--official and
commercial as well as philanthropic.  Upon the suggestion of the
association, social centers have been opened in various parts of
the city, disused buildings turned into recreation rooms, vacant
lots made into gardens, hiking parties organized for country
excursions, bathing beaches established on the lake front, and
public schools opened for social purposes.  Through the efforts
of public-spirited citizens a medical clinic and a Psychopathic
Institute have become associated with the Juvenile Court of
Chicago, in addition to which an exhaustive study of
court-records has been completed.  To this carefully collected
data concerning the abnormal child, the Juvenile Protective
Association hopes in time to add knowledge of the normal child
who lives under the most adverse city conditions.

It was not without hope that I might be able to forward in the
public school system the solution of some of these problems of
delinquency so dependent upon truancy and ill-adapted education
that I became a member of the Chicago Board of Education in July,
1905.  It is impossible to write of the situation as it became
dramatized in half a dozen strong personalities, but the entire
experience was so illuminating as to the difficulties and
limitations of democratic government that it would be unfair in a
chapter on Civic Cooperation not to attempt an outline.

Even the briefest statement, however, necessitates a review of
the preceding few years.  For a decade the Chicago school
teachers, or rather a majority of them who were organized into
the Teachers' Federation, had been engaged in a conflict with the
Board of Education both for more adequate salaries and for more
self-direction in the conduct of the schools.  In pursuance of
the first object, they had attacked the tax dodger along the
entire line of his defense, from the curbstone to the Supreme
Court. They began with an intricate investigation which uncovered
the fact that in 1899, $235,000,000 of value of public utility
corporations paid nothing in taxes.  The Teachers' Federation
brought a suit which was prosecuted through the Supreme Court of
Illinois and resulted in an order entered against the State Board
of Equalization, demanding that it tax the corporations mentioned
in the bill.  In spite of the fact that the defendant companies
sought federal aid and obtained an order which restrained the
payment of a portion of the tax, each year since 1900, the
Chicago Board of Education has benefited to the extent of more
than a quarter of a million dollars.  Although this result had
been attained through the unaided efforts of the teachers, to
their surprise and indignation their salaries were not increased.
The Teachers' Federation, therefore, brought a suit against the
Board of Education for the advance which had been promised them
three years earlier but never paid.  The decision of the lower
court was in their favor, but the Board of Education appealed the
case, and this was the situation when the seven new members
appointed by Mayor Dunne in 1905 took their seats.  The
conservative public suspected that these new members were merely
representatives of the Teachers' Federation.  This opinion was
founded upon the fact that Judge Dunne had rendered a favorable
decision in the teachers' suit and that the teachers had been
very active in the campaign which had resulted in his election as
mayor of the city.  It seemed obvious that the teachers had
entered into politics for the sake of securing their own
representatives on the Board of Education.  These suspicions
were, of course, only confirmed when the new board voted to
withdraw the suit of their predecessors from the Appellate Court
and to act upon the decision of the lower court.  The teachers,
on the other hand, defended their long effort in the courts, the
State Board of Equalization, and the Legislature against the
charge of "dragging the schools into politics," and declared that
the exposure of the indifference and cupidity of the politicians
was a well-deserved rebuke, and that it was the politicians who
had brought the schools to the verge of financial ruin; they
further insisted that the levy and collection of taxes, tenure of
office, and pensions to civil servants in Chicago were all
entangled with the traction situation, which in their minds at
least had come to be an example of the struggle between the
democratic and plutocratic administration of city affairs.  The
new appointees to the School Board represented no concerted
policy of any kind, but were for the most part adherents to the
new education.  The teachers, confident that their cause was
identical with the principles advocated by such educators as
Colonel Parker, were therefore sure that the plans of the "new
education" members would of necessity coincide with the plans of
the Teachers' Federation.  In one sense the situation was an
epitome of Mayor Dunne's entire administration, which was founded
upon the belief that if those citizens representing social ideals
and reform principles were but appointed to office, public
welfare must be established.

During my tenure of office I many times talked to the officers of
the Teachers' Federation, but I was seldom able to follow their
suggestions and, although I gladly cooperated in their plans for
a better pension system and other matters, only once did I try to
influence the policy of the Federation.  When the withheld
salaries were finally paid to the representatives of the
Federation who had brought suit and were divided among the
members who had suffered both financially and professionally
during this long legal struggle, I was most anxious that the
division should voluntarily be extended to all of the teachers
who had experienced a loss of salary although they were not
members of the Federation.  It seemed to me a striking
opportunity to refute the charge that the Federation was
self-seeking and to put the whole long effort in the minds of the
public, exactly where it belonged, as one of devoted public
service.  But it was doubtless much easier for me to urge this
altruistic policy than it was for those who had borne the heat
and burden of the day to act upon it.

The second object of the Teachers' Federation also entailed much
stress and storm.  At the time of the financial stringency, and
largely as a result of it, the Board had made the first
substantial advance in a teacher's salary dependent upon a
so-called promotional examination, half of which was upon
academic subjects entailing a long and severe preparation.  The
teachers resented this upon two lines of argument: first, that
the scheme was unprofessional in that the teacher was advanced on
her capacity as a student rather than on her professional
ability; and, second, that it added an intolerable and
unnecessary burden to her already overfull day.  The
administration, on the other hand, contended with much justice
that there was a constant danger in a great public school system
that teachers lose pliancy and the open mind, and that many of
them had obviously grown mechanical and indifferent.  The
conservative public approved the promotional examinations as the
symbol of an advancing educational standard, and their sympathy
with the superintendent was increased because they continually
resented the affiliation of the Teachers' Federation with the
Chicago Federation of Labor, which had taken place several years
before the election of Mayor Dunne on his traction platform.

This much talked of affiliation between the teachers and the
trades-unionists had been, at least in the first instance, but
one more tactic in the long struggle against the tax-dodging
corporations.  The Teachers' Federation had won in their first
skirmish against that public indifference which is generated in
the accumulation of wealth and which has for its nucleus
successful commercial men.  When they found themselves in need of
further legislation to keep the offending corporations under
control, they naturally turned for political influence and votes
to the organization representing workingmen.  The affiliation had
none of the sinister meaning so often attached to it.  The
Teachers' Federation never obtained a charter from the American
Federation of Labor, and its main interest always centered in the
legislative committee.

And yet this statement of the difference between the majority of
the grade-school teachers and the Chicago School Board is totally
inadequate, for the difficulties were stubborn and lay far back
in the long effort of public school administration in America to
free itself from the rule and exploitation of politics.  In every
city for many years the politician had secured positions for his
friends as teachers and janitors; he had received a rake-off in
the contract for every new building or coal supply or adoption of
school-books.  In the long struggle against this political
corruption, the one remedy continually advocated was the transfer
of authority in all educational matters from the Board to the
superintendent.  The one cure for "pull" and corruption was the
authority of the "expert." The rules and records of the Chicago
Board of Education are full of relics of this long struggle
honestly waged by honest men, who unfortunately became content
with the ideals of an "efficient business administration." These
businessmen established an able superintendent with a large
salary, with his tenure of office secured by State law so that he
would not be disturbed by the wrath of the balked politician.
They instituted impersonal examinations for the teachers both as
to entrance into the system and promotion, and they proceeded "to
hold the superintendent responsible" for smooth-running schools.
All this, however, dangerously approximated the commercialistic
ideal of high salaries only for the management with the final
test of a small expense account and a large output.

In this long struggle for a quarter of a century to free the public
schools from political interference, in Chicago at least, the high
wall of defense erected around the school system in order "to keep
the rascals out" unfortunately so restricted the teachers inside
the system that they had no space in which to move about freely and
the more adventurous of them fairly panted for light and air.  Any
attempt to lower the wall for the sake of the teachers within was
regarded as giving an opportunity to the politicians without, and
they were often openly accused, with a show of truth, of being in
league with each other.  Whenever the Dunne members of the Board
attempted to secure more liberty for the teachers, we were warned
by tales of former difficulties with the politicians, and it seemed
impossible that the struggle so long the focus of attention should
recede into the dullness of the achieved and allow the energy of
the Board to be free for new effort.

The whole situation between the superintendent supported by a
majority of the Board and the Teachers' Federation had become an
epitome of the struggle between efficiency and democracy; on one
side a well-intentioned expression of the bureaucracy necessary in
a large system but which under pressure had become unnecessarily
self-assertive, and on the other side a fairly militant demand for
self-government made in the name of freedom. Both sides inevitably
exaggerated the difficulties of the situation, and both felt that
they were standing by important principles.

I certainly played a most inglorious part in this unnecessary
conflict; I was chairman of the School Management Committee
during one year when a majority of the members seemed to me
exasperatingly conservative, and during another year when they
were frustratingly radical, and I was of course highly
unsatisfactory to both.  Certainly a plan to retain the undoubted
benefit of required study for teachers in such wise as to lessen
its burden, and various schemes devised to shift the emphasis
from scholarship to professional work, were mostly impatiently
repudiated by the Teachers' Federation, and when one badly
mutilated plan finally passed the Board, it was most reluctantly
administered by the superintendent.

I at least became convinced that partisans would never tolerate
the use of stepping-stones.  They are much too impatient to look
on while their beloved scheme is unstably balanced, and they
would rather see it tumble into the stream at once than to have
it brought to dry land in any such half-hearted fashion. Before
my School Board experience, I thought that life had taught me at
least one hard-earned lesson, that existing arrangements and the
hoped for improvements must be mediated and reconciled to each
other, that the new must be dovetailed into the old as it were,
if it were to endure; but on the School Board I discerned that
all such efforts were looked upon as compromising and unworthy,
by both partisans.  In the general disorder and public excitement
resulting from the illegal dismissal of a majority of the "Dunne"
board and their reinstatement by a court decision, I found myself
belonging to neither party.  During the months following the
upheaval and the loss of my most vigorous colleagues, under the
regime of men representing the leading Commercial Club of the
city who honestly believed that they were rescuing the schools
from a condition of chaos, I saw one beloved measure after
another withdrawn.  Although the new president scrupulously gave
me the floor in the defense of each, it was impossible to
consider them upon their merits in the lurid light which at the
moment enveloped all the plans of the "uplifters." Thus the
building of smaller schoolrooms, such as in New York mechanically
avoid overcrowding, the extension of the truant rooms so
successfully inaugurated, the multiplication of school
playgrounds, and many another cherished plan was thrown out or at
least indefinitely postponed.

The final discrediting of Mayor Dunne's appointees to the School
Board affords a very interesting study in social psychology; the
newspapers had so constantly reflected and intensified the ideals
of a business Board, and had so persistently ridiculed various
administration plans for the municipal ownership of street
railways, that from the beginning any attempt the new Board made
to discuss educational matters only excited their derision and
contempt.  Some of these discussions were lengthy and disorderly
and deserved the discipline of ridicule, but others which were
well conducted and in which educational problems were seriously
set forth by men of authority were ridiculed quite as sharply.  I
recall the surprise and indignation of a University professor who
had consented to speak at a meeting arranged in the Board rooms,
when next morning his nonpartisan and careful disquisition had
been twisted into the most arrant uplift nonsense and so
connected with a fake newspaper report of a trial marriage
address delivered, not by himself, but by a colleague, that a
leading clergyman of the city, having read the newspaper account,
felt impelled to preach a sermon, calling upon all decent people
to rally against the doctrines which were being taught to the
children by an immoral School Board.  As the bewildered professor
had lectured in response to my invitation, I endeavored to find
the animus of the complication, but neither from editor in chief
nor from the reporter could I discover anything more sinister
than that the public expected a good story out of these School
Board "talk fests," and that any man who even momentarily allied
himself with a radical administration must expect to be ridiculed
by those papers which considered the traction policy of the
administration both foolish and dangerous.

As I myself was treated with uniform courtesy by the leading
papers, I may perhaps here record my discouragement over this
complicated difficulty of open discussion, for democratic
government is founded upon the assumption that differing policies
shall be freely discussed and that each party shall have an
opportunity for at least a partisan presentation of its
contentions.  This attitude of the newspapers was doubtless
intensified because the Dunne School Board had instituted a
lawsuit challenging the validity of the lease for the school
ground occupied by a newspaper building.  This suit has since
been decided in favor of the newspaper, and it may be that in
their resentment they felt justified in doing everything possible
to minimize the prosecuting School Board.  I am, however,
inclined to think that the newspapers but reflected an opinion
honestly held by many people, and that their constant and
partisan presentation of this opinion clearly demonstrates one of
the greatest difficulties of governmental administration in a
city grown too large for verbal discussions of public affairs.

It is difficult to close this chapter without a reference to the
efforts made in Chicago to secure the municipal franchise for
women.  During two long periods of agitation for a new city
charter, a representative body of women appealed to the public, to
the charter convention, and to the Illinois legislature for this
very reasonable provision.  During the campaign when I acted as
chairman of the federation of a hundred women's organizations,
nothing impressed me so forcibly as the fact that the response
came from bodies of women representing the most varied traditions.
 We were joined by a church society of hundreds of Lutheran women,
because Scandinavian women had exercised the municipal franchise
since the seventeenth century and had found American cities
strangely conservative; by organizations of working women who had
keenly felt the need of the municipal franchise in order to secure
for their workshops the most rudimentary sanitation and the
consideration which the vote alone obtains for workingmen; by
federations of mothers' meetings, who were interested in clean
milk and the extension of kindergartens; by property-owning women,
who had been powerless to protest against unjust taxation; by
organizations of professional women, of university students, and
of collegiate alumnae; and by women's clubs interested in municipal
reforms. There was a complete absence of the traditional women's
rights clamor, but much impressive testimony from busy and useful
women that they had reached the place where they needed the
franchise in order to carry on their own affairs.  A striking
witness as to the need of the ballot, even for the women who are
restricted to the most primitive and traditional activities,
occurred when some Russian women waited upon me to ask whether
under the new charter they could vote for covered markets and so
get rid of the shocking Chicago grime upon all their food; and
when some neighboring Italian women sent me word that they would
certainly vote for public washhouses if they ever had the chance
to vote at all.  It was all so human, so spontaneous, and so
direct that it really seemed as if the time must be ripe for
political expression of that public concern on the part of women
which had so long been forced to seek indirection.  None of these
busy women wished to take the place of men nor to influence them
in the direction of men's affairs, but they did seek an
opportunity to cooperate directly in civic life through the use of
the ballot in regard to their own affairs.

A Municipal Museum which was established in the Chicago public
library building several years ago, largely through the activity
of a group of women who had served as jurors in the departments
of social economy, of education, and of sanitation in the World's
Fair at St. Louis, showed nothing more clearly than that it is
impossible to divide any of these departments from the political
life of the modern city which is constantly forced to enlarge the
boundary of its activity.


[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Margaret Sylvia.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter XV: The Value of Social Clubs." by Jane Addams
(1860-1935) From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with
Autobiographical Notes. by Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan
Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp. 342-370.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]



CHAPTER XV

THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS


From the early days at Hull-House, social clubs composed of
English speaking American born young people grew apace.  So eager
were they for social life that no mistakes in management could
drive them away.  I remember one enthusiastic leader who read
aloud to a club a translation of "Antigone," which she had
selected because she believed that the great themes of the Greek
poets were best suited to young people.  She came into the club
room one evening in time to hear the president call the restive
members to order with the statement, "You might just as well keep
quiet for she is bound to finish it, and the quicker she gets to
reading, the longer time we'll have for dancing." And yet the
same club leader had the pleasure of lending four copies of the
drama to four of the members, and one young man almost literally
committed the entire play to memory.

On the whole we were much impressed by the great desire for
self-improvement, for study and debate, exhibited by many of the
young men.  This very tendency, in fact, brought one of the most
promising of our earlier clubs to an untimely end. The young men in
the club, twenty in number, had grown much irritated by the
frivolity of the girls during their long debates, and had finally
proposed that three of the most "frivolous" be expelled.  Pending a
final vote, the three culprits appealed to certain of their friends
who were members of the Hull-House Men's Club, between whom and the
debating young men the incident became the cause of a quarrel so
bitter that at length it led to a shooting. Fortunately the shot
missed fire, or it may have been true that it was "only intended
for a scare," but at any rate, we were all thoroughly frightened by
this manifestation of the hot blood which the defense of woman has
so often evoked.  After many efforts to bring about a
reconciliation, the debating club of twenty young men and the
seventeen young women, who either were or pretended to be sober
minded, rented a hall a mile west of Hull-House severing their
connection with us because their ambitious and right-minded efforts
had been unappreciated, basing this on the ground that we had not
urged the expulsion of the so-called "tough" members of the Men's
Club, who had been involved in the difficulty.  The seceding club
invited me to the first meeting in their new quarters that I might
present to them my version of the situation and set forth the
incident from the standpoint of Hull-House. The discussion I had
with the young people that evening has always remained with me as
one of the moments of illumination which life in a Settlement so
often affords.  In response to my position that a desire to avoid
all that was "tough" meant to walk only in the paths of smug
self-seeking and personal improvement leading straight into the pit
of self-righteousness and petty achievement and was exactly what
the Settlement did not stand for, they contended with much justice
that ambitious young people were obliged for their own reputation,
if not for their own morals, to avoid all connection with that
which bordered on the tough, and that it was quite another matter
for the Hull-House residents who could afford a more generous
judgment.  It was in vain I urged that life teaches us nothing more
inevitably than that right and wrong are most confusingly
confounded; that the blackest wrong may be within our own motives,
and that at the best, right will not dazzle us by its radiant
shining and can only be found by exerting patience and
discrimination.  They still maintained their wholesome bourgeois
position, which I am now quite ready to admit was most reasonable.

Of course there were many disappointments connected with these
clubs when the rewards of political and commercial life easily
drew the members away from the principles advocated in club
meetings.  One of the young men who had been a shining light in
the advocacy of municipal reform deserted in the middle of a
reform campaign because he had been offered a lucrative office in
the city hall; another even after a course of lectures on
business morality, "worked" the club itself to secure orders for
custom-made clothing from samples of cloth he displayed, although
the orders were filled by ready-made suits slightly refitted and
delivered at double their original price. But nevertheless, there
was much to cheer us as we gradually became acquainted with the
daily living of the vigorous young men and women who filled to
overflowing all the social clubs.

We have been much impressed during our twenty years, by the ready
adaptation of city young people to the prosperity arising from
their own increased wages or from the commercial success of their
families.  This quick adaptability is the great gift of the city
child, his one reward for the hurried changing life which he has
always led.  The working girl has a distinct advantage in the
task of transforming her whole family into the ways and
connections of the prosperous when she works down town and
becomes conversant with the manners and conditions of a
cosmopolitan community. Therefore having lived in a Settlement
twenty years, I see scores of young people who have successfully
established themselves in life, and in my travels in the city and
outside, I am constantly cheered by greetings from the rising
young lawyer, the scholarly rabbi, the successful teacher, the
prosperous young matron buying clothes for blooming children.
"Don't you remember me?  I used to belong to a Hull-House club."
I once asked one of these young people, a man who held a good
position on a Chicago daily, what special thing Hull-House had
meant to him, and he promptly replied, "It was the first house I
had ever been in where books and magazines just lay around as if
there were plenty of them in the world.  Don't you remember how
much I used to read at that little round table at the back of the
library?  To have people regard reading as a reasonable
occupation changed the whole aspect of life to me and I began to
have confidence in what I could do."

Among the young men of the social clubs a large proportion of the
Jewish ones at least obtain the advantages of a higher education.
The parents make every sacrifice to help them through the high
school after which the young men attend universities and
professional schools, largely through their own efforts.  From
time to time they come back to us with their honors thick upon
them; I remember one who returned with the prize in oratory from
a contest between several western State universities, proudly
testifying that he had obtained his confidence in our Henry Clay
Club; another came back with a degree from Harvard University
saying that he had made up his mind to go there the summer I read
Royce's "Aspects of Modern Philosophy" with a group of young men
who had challenged my scathing remark that Herbert Spencer was
not the only man who had ventured a solution of the riddles of
the universe.  Occasionally one of these learned young folk does
not like to be reminded he once lived in our vicinity, but that
happens rarely, and for the most part they are loyal to us in
much the same spirit as they are to their own families and
traditions.  Sometimes they go further and tell us that the
standards of tastes and code of manners which Hull-House has
enabled them to form, have made a very great difference in their
perceptions and estimates of the larger world as well as in their
own reception there.  Five out of one club of twenty-five young
men who had held together for eleven years, entered the
University of Chicago but although the rest of the Club called
them the "intellectuals," the old friendships still held.

In addition to these rising young people given to debate and
dramatics, and to the members of the public school alumni
associations which meet in our rooms, there are hundreds of others
who for years have come to Hull-House frankly in search of that
pleasure and recreation which all young things crave and which
those who have spent long hours in a factory or shop demand as a
right.  For these young people all sorts of pleasure clubs have
been cherished, and large dancing classes have been organized.
One supreme gayety has come to be an annual event of such
importance that it is talked of from year to year.  For six weeks
before St. Patrick's day, a small group of residents put their
best powers of invention and construction into preparation for a
cotillion which is like a pageant in its gayety and vigor. The
parents sit in the gallery, and the mothers appreciate more than
anyone else perhaps, the value of this ball to which an invitation
is so highly prized; although their standards of manners may
differ widely from the conventional, they know full well when the
companionship of the young people is safe and unsullied.

As an illustration of this difference in standard, I may instance
an early Hull-House picnic arranged by a club of young people,
who found at the last moment that the club director could not go
and accepted the offer of the mother of one of the club members
to take charge of them.  When they trooped back in the evening,
tired and happy, they displayed a photograph of the group wherein
each man's arm was carefully placed about a girl; no feminine
waist lacked an arm save that of the proud chaperon, who sat in
the middle smiling upon all.  Seeing that the photograph somewhat
surprised us, the chaperon stoutly explained, "This may look
queer to you, but there wasn't one thing about that picnic that
wasn't nice," and her statement was a perfectly truthful one.

Although more conventional customs are carefully enforced at our
many parties and festivities, and while the dancing classes are
as highly prized for the opportunity they afford for enforcing
standards as for their ostensible aim, the residents at
Hull-House, in their efforts to provide opportunities for clean
recreation, receive the most valued help from the experienced
wisdom of the older women of the neighborhood.  Bowen Hall is
constantly used for dancing parties with soft drinks established
in its foyer.  The parties given by the Hull-House clubs are by
invitation and the young people themselves carefully maintain
their standard of entrance so that the most cautious mother may
feel safe when her daughter goes to one of our parties.  No club
festivity is permitted without the presence of a director; no
young man under the influence of liquor is allowed; certain types
of dancing often innocently started are strictly prohibited; and
above all, early closing is insisted upon.  This standardizing of
pleasure has always seemed an obligation to the residents of
Hull-House, but we are, I hope, saved from that priggishness
which young people so heartily resent, by the Mardi Gras dance
and other festivities which the residents themselves arrange and
successfully carry out.

In spite of our belief that the standards of a ball may be almost
as valuable to those without as to those within, the residents
are constantly concerned for those many young people in the
neighborhood who are too hedonistic to submit to the discipline
of a dancing class or even to the claim of a pleasure club, but
who go about in freebooter fashion to find pleasure wherever it
may be cheaply on sale.

Such young people, well meaning but impatient of control, become
the easy victims of the worst type of public dance halls, and of
even darker places, whose purposes are hidden under music and
dancing.  We were thoroughly frightened when we learned that
during the year which ended last December, more than twenty-five
thousand young people under the age of twenty-five passed through
the Juvenile and Municipal Courts of Chicago--approximately one
out of every eighty of the entire population, or one out of every
fifty-two of those under twenty-five years of age.  One's heart
aches for these young people caught by the outside glitter of
city gayety, who make such a feverish attempt to snatch it for
themselves.  The young people in our clubs are comparatively
safe, but many instances come to the knowledge of Hull-House
residents which make us long for the time when the city, through
more small parks, municipal gymnasiums, and schoolrooms open for
recreation, can guard from disaster these young people who walk
so carelessly on the edge of the pit.

The heedless girls believe that if they lived in big houses and
possessed pianos and jewelry, the coveted social life would come
to them.  I know a Bohemian girl who surreptitiously saved her
overtime wages until she had enough money to hire for a week a
room with a piano in it where young men might come to call, as
they could not do in her crowded untidy home.  Of course she had
no way of knowing the sort of young men who quickly discover an
unprotected girl.

Another girl of American parentage who had come to Chicago to
seek her fortune, found at the end of a year that sorting
shipping receipts in a dark corner of a warehouse not only failed
to accumulate riches but did not even bring the "attentions"
which her quiet country home afforded.  By dint of long sacrifice
she had saved fifteen dollars; with five she bought an imitation
sapphire necklace, and the balance she changed into a ten dollar
bill.  The evening her pathetic little snare was set, she walked
home with one of the clerks in the establishment, told him that
she had come into a fortune, and was obliged to wear the heirloom
necklace to insure its safety, permitted him to see that she
carried ten dollars in her glove for carfare, and conducted him
to a handsome Prairie Avenue residence.  There she gayly bade him
good-by and ran up the steps shutting herself in the vestibule
from which she did not emerge until the dazzled and bewildered
young man had vanished down the street.

Then there is the ever-recurring difficulty about dress; the
insistence of the young to be gayly bedecked to the utter
consternation of the hardworking parents who are paying for a
house and lot.  The Polish girl who stole five dollars from her
employer's till with which to buy a white dress for a church
picnic was turned away from home by her indignant father who
replaced the money to save the family honor, but would harbor no
"thief" in a household of growing children who, in spite of the
sister's revolt, continued to be dressed in dark heavy clothes
through all the hot summer.  There are a multitude of working
girls who for hours carry hair ribbons and jewelry in their
pockets or stockings, for they can wear them only during the
journey to and from work.  Sometimes this desire to taste
pleasure, to escape into a world of congenial companionship takes
more elaborate forms and often ends disastrously.  I recall a
charming young girl, the oldest daughter of a respectable German
family, whom I first saw one spring afternoon issuing from a tall
factory.  She wore a blue print gown which so deepened the blue
of her eyes that Wordsworth's line fairly sung itself:

	The pliant harebell swinging in the breeze
	On some gray rock.

I was grimly reminded of that moment a year later when I heard
the tale of this seventeen-year-old girl, who had worked steadily
in the same factory for four years before she resolved "to see
life." In order not to arouse her parents' suspicions, she
borrowed thirty dollars from one of those loan sharks who require
no security from a pretty girl, so that she might start from home
every morning as if to go to work.  For three weeks she spent the
first part of each dearly bought day in a department store where
she lunched and unfortunately made some dubious acquaintances; in
the afternoon she established herself in a theater and sat
contentedly hour after hour watching the endless vaudeville until
the usual time for returning home.  At the end of each week she
gave her parents her usual wage, but when her thirty dollars was
exhausted it seemed unendurable that she should return to the
monotony of the factory.  In the light of her newly acquired
experience she had learned that possibility which the city ever
holds open to the restless girl.

That more such girls do not come to grief is due to those mothers
who understand the insatiable demand for a good time, and if all
of the mothers did understand, those pathetic statistics which
show that four fifths of all prostitutes are under twenty years
of age would be marvelously changed.  We are told that "the will
to live" is aroused in each baby by his mother's irresistible
desire to play with him, the physiological value of joy that a
child is born, and that the high death rate in institutions is
increased by "the discontented babies" whom no one persuades into
living.  Something of the same sort is necessary in that second
birth at adolescence.  The young people need affection and
understanding each one for himself, if they are to be induced to
live in an inheritance of decorum and safety and to understand
the foundations upon which this orderly world rests. No one
comprehends their needs so sympathetically as those mothers who
iron the flimsy starched finery of their grown-up daughters late
into the night, and who pay for a red velvet parlor set on the
installment plan, although the younger children may sadly need
new shoes.  These mothers apparently understand the sharp demand
for social pleasure and do their best to respond to it, although
at the same time they constantly minister to all the physical
needs of an exigent family of little children.  We often come to
a realization of the truth of Walt Whitman's statement, that one
of the surest sources of wisdom is the mother of a large family.

It is but natural, perhaps, that the members of the Hull-House
Woman's Club whose prosperity has given them some leisure and a
chance to remove their own families to neighborhoods less full of
temptations, should have offered their assistance in our attempt
to provide recreation for these restless young people.  In many
instances their experience in the club itself has enabled them to
perceive these needs.  One day a Juvenile Court officer told me
that a woman's club member, who has a large family of her own and
one boy sufficiently difficult, had undertaken to care for a ward
of the Juvenile Court who lived only a block from her house, and
that she had kept him in the path of rectitude for six months. In
reply to my congratulations upon this successful bit of reform to
the club woman herself, she said that she was quite ashamed that
she had not undertaken the task earlier for she had for years
known the boy's mother who scrubbed a downtown office building,
leaving home every evening at five and returning at eleven during
the very time the boy could most easily find opportunities for
wrongdoing.  She said that her obligation toward this boy had not
occurred to her until one day when the club members were making
pillowcases for the Detention Home of the Juvenile Court, it
suddenly seemed perfectly obvious that her share in the salvation
of wayward children was to care for this particular boy and she
had asked the Juvenile Court officer to commit him to her.  She
invited the boy to her house to supper every day that she might
know just where he was at the crucial moment of twilight, and she
adroitly managed to keep him under her own roof for the evening
if she did not approve of the plans he had made.  She concluded
with the remark that it was queer that the sight of the boy
himself hadn't appealed to her, but that the suggestion had come
to her in such a roundabout way.

She was, of course, reflecting upon a common trait in human
nature,--that we much more easily see the duty at hand when we
see it in relation to the social duty of which it is a part.
When she knew that an effort was being made throughout all the
large cities in the United States to reclaim the wayward boy, to
provide him with reasonable amusement, to give him his chance for
growth and development, and when she became ready to take her
share in that movement, she suddenly saw the concrete case which
she had not recognized before.

We are slowly learning that social advance depends quite as much
upon an increase in moral sensibility as it does upon a sense of
duty, and of this one could cite many illustrations.  I was at one
time chairman of the Child Labor Committee in the General
Federation of Woman's Clubs, which sent out a schedule asking each
club in the United States to report as nearly as possible all the
working children under fourteen living in its vicinity. A Florida
club filled out the schedule with an astonishing number of Cuban
children who were at work in sugar mills, and the club members
registered a complaint that our committee had sent the schedule
too late, for if they had realized the conditions earlier, they
might have presented a bill to the legislature which had now
adjourned.  Of course the children had been working in the sugar
mills for years, and had probably gone back and forth under the
very eyes of the club women, but the women had never seen them,
much less felt any obligation to protect them, until they joined a
club, and the club joined a Federation, and the Federation
appointed a Child Labor Committee who sent them a schedule.  With
their quickened perceptions they then saw the rescue of these
familiar children in the light of a social obligation.  Through
some such experiences the members of the Hull-House Woman's Club
have obtained the power of seeing the concrete through the general
and have entered into various undertakings.

Very early in its history the club formed what was called "A
Social Extension Committee." Once a month this committee gives
parties to people in the neighborhood who for any reason seem
forlorn and without much social pleasure.  One evening they
invited only Italian women, thereby crossing a distinct social
"gulf," for there certainly exists as great a sense of social
difference between the prosperous Irish-American women and the
South-Italian peasants as between any two sets of people in the
city of Chicago.  The Italian women, who were almost eastern in
their habits, all stayed at home and sent their husbands, and the
social extension committee entered the drawing room to find it
occupied by rows of Italian workingmen, who seemed to prefer to
sit in chairs along the wall.  They were quite ready to be
"socially extended," but plainly puzzled as to what it was all
about.  The evening finally developed into a very successful
party, not so much because the committee were equal to it, as
because the Italian men rose to the occasion.

Untiring pairs of them danced the tarantella; they sang
Neapolitan songs; one of them performed some of those wonderful
sleight-of-hand tricks so often seen on the streets of Naples;
they explained the coral finger of St. Januarius which they wore;
they politely ate the strange American refreshments; and when the
evening was over, one of the committee said to me, "Do you know I
am ashamed of the way I have always talked about 'dagos,' they
are quite like other people, only one must take a little more
pains with them.  I have been nagging my husband to move off M
Street because they are moving in, but I am going to try staying
awhile and see if I can make a real acquaintance with some of
them." To my mind at that moment the speaker had passed from the
region of the uncultivated person into the possibilities of the
cultivated person.  The former is bounded by a narrow outlook on
life, unable to overcome differences of dress and habit, and his
interests are slowly contracting within a circumscribed area;
while the latter constantly tends to be more a citizen of the
world because of his growing understanding of all kinds of people
with their varying experiences.  We send our young people to
Europe that they may lose their provincialism and be able to
judge their fellows by a more universal test, as we send them to
college that they may attain the cultural background and a larger
outlook; all of these it is possible to acquire in other ways, as
this member of the woman's club had discovered for herself.

This social extension committee under the leadership of an
ex-president of the Club, a Hull-House resident with a wide
acquaintance, also discover many of those lonely people of which
every city contains so large a number.  We are only slowly
apprehending the very real danger to the individual who fails to
establish some sort of genuine relation with the people who
surround him.  We are all more or less familiar with the results
of isolation in rural districts; the Bronte sisters have
portrayed the hideous immorality and savagery of the remote
dwellers on the bleak moorlands of northern England; Miss Wilkins
has written of the overdeveloped will of the solitary New
Englander; but tales still wait to be told of the isolated city
dweller.  In addition to the lonely young man recently come to
town, and the country family who have not yet made their
connections, are many other people who, because of temperament or
from an estimate of themselves which will not permit them to make
friends with the "people around here," or who, because they are
victims to a combination of circumstances, lead a life as lonely
and untouched by the city about them as if they were in remote
country districts.  The very fact that it requires an effort to
preserve isolation from the tenement-house life which flows all
about them, makes the character stiffer and harsher than mere
country solitude could do.

Many instances of this come into my mind; the faded, ladylike
hairdresser, who came and went to her work for twenty years,
carefully concealing her dwelling place from the "other people in
the shop," moving whenever they seemed too curious about it, and
priding herself that no neighbor had ever "stepped inside her
door," and yet when discovered through an asthma which forced her
to crave friendly offices, she was most responsive and even gay
in a social atmosphere.  Another woman made a long effort to
conceal the poverty resulting from her husband's inveterate
gambling and to secure for her children the educational
advantages to which her family had always been accustomed.  Her
five children, who are now university graduates, do not realize
how hard and solitary was her early married life when we first
knew her, and she was beginning to regret the isolation in which
her children were being reared, for she saw that their lack of
early companionship would always cripple their power to make
friends.  She was glad to avail herself of the social resources
of Hull-House for them, and at last even for herself.

The leader of the social extension committee has also been able,
through her connection with the vacant lot garden movement in
Chicago, to maintain a most flourishing "friendly club" largely
composed of people who cultivate these garden plots. During the
club evening at least, they regain something of the ease of the
man who is being estimated by the bushels per acre of potatoes he
has raised, and not by that flimsy city judgment so often based
upon store clothes.  Their jollity and enthusiasm are unbounded,
expressing itself in clog dances and rousing old songs often in
sharp contrast to the overworked, worn aspects of the members.

Of course there are surprising possibilities discovered through
other clubs, in one of Greek women or in the "circolo Italiano,"
for a social club often affords a sheltered space in which the
gentler social usages may be exercised, as the more vigorous
clubs afford a point of departure into larger social concerns.

The experiences of the Hull-House Woman's Club constantly react
upon the family life of the members.  Their husbands come with
them to the annual midwinter reception, to club concerts and
entertainments; the little children come to the May party, with
its dancing and games; the older children, to the day in June
when prizes are given to those sons and daughters of the members
who present a good school record as graduates either from the
eighth grade or from a high school.

It seemed, therefore, but a fit recognition of their efforts when
the president of the club erected a building planned especially
for their needs, with their own library and a hall large enough
for their various social undertakings, although of course Bowen
Hall is constantly put to many other uses.

It was under the leadership of this same able president that the
club achieved its wider purposes and took its place with the
other forces for city betterment.  The club had begun, as nearly
all women's clubs do, upon the basis of self-improvement,
although the foundations for this later development had been laid
by one of their earliest presidents, who was the first probation
officer of the Juvenile Court, and who had so shared her
experiences with the club that each member felt the truth as well
as the pathos of the lines inscribed on her memorial tablet
erected in their club library:-

	"As more exposed to suffering and distress
	Thence also more alive to tenderness."

Each woman had discovered opportunities in her own experience for
this same tender understanding, and under its succeeding
president, Mrs. Pelham, in its determination to be of use to the
needy and distressed, the club developed many philanthropic
undertakings from the humble beginnings of a linen chest kept
constantly filled with clothing for the sick and poor.  It
required, however, an adequate knowledge of adverse city
conditions so productive of juvenile delinquency and a sympathy
which could enkindle itself in many others of divers faiths and
training, to arouse the club to its finest public spirit.  This
was done by a later president, Mrs. Bowen, who, as head of the
Juvenile Protective Association, had learned that the moralized
energy of a group is best fitted to cope with the complicated
problems of a city; but it required ability of an unusual order
to evoke a sense of social obligation from the very knowledge of
adverse city conditions which the club members possessed, and to
connect it with the many civic and philanthropic organizations of
the city in such wise as to make it socially useful.  This
financial and representative connection with outside
organizations, is valuable to the club only as it expresses its
sympathy and kindliness at the same time in concrete form.  A
group of members who lunch with Mrs. Bowen each week at
Hull-House discuss, not only topics of public interest, sometimes
with experts whom they have long known through their mutual
undertakings, but also their own club affairs in the light of
this larger knowledge.

Thus the value of social clubs broadens out in one's mind to an
instrument of companionship through which many may be led from a
sense of isolation to one of civic responsibility, even as another
type of club provides recreational facilities for those who have
had only meaningless excitements, or, as a third type, opens new
and interesting vistas of life to those who are ambitious.

The entire organization of the social life at Hull-House, while it
has been fostered and directed by residents and others, has been
largely pushed and vitalized from within by the club members
themselves.  Sir Walter Besant once told me that Hull-House stood
in his mind more nearly for the ideal of the "Palace of Delight"
than did the "London People's Palace" because we had depended upon
the social resources of the people using it.  He begged me not to
allow Hull-House to become too educational.  He believed it much
easier to develop a polytechnic institute than a large recreational
center, but he doubted whether the former was as useful.

The social clubs form a basis of acquaintanceship for many people
living in other parts of the city.  Through friendly relations
with individuals, which is perhaps the sanest method of approach,
they are thus brought into contact, many of them for the first
time, with the industrial and social problems challenging the
moral resources of our contemporary life.  During our twenty
years hundreds of these non-residents have directed clubs and
classes, and have increased the number of Chicago citizens who
are conversant with adverse social conditions and conscious that
only by the unceasing devotion of each, according to his
strength, shall the compulsions and hardships, the stupidities
and cruelties of life be overcome.  The number of people thus
informed is constantly increasing in all our American cities, and
they may in time remove the reproach of social neglect and
indifference which has so long rested upon the citizens of the
new world.  I recall the experience of an Englishman who, not
only because he was a member of the Queen's Cabinet and bore a
title, but also because he was an able statesman, was entertained
with great enthusiasm by the leading citizens of Chicago.  At a
large dinner party he asked the lady sitting next to him what our
tenement-house legislation was in regard to the cubic feet of air
required for each occupant of a tenement bedroom; upon her
disclaiming any knowledge of the subject, the inquiry was put to
all the diners at the long table, all of whom showed surprise
that they should be expected to possess this information.  In
telling me the incident afterward, the English guest said that
such indifference could not have been found among the leading
citizens of London, whose public spirit had been aroused to
provide such housing conditions as should protect tenement
dwellers at least from wanton loss of vitality and lowered
industrial efficiency.  When I met the same Englishman in London
five years afterward, he immediately asked me whether Chicago
citizens were still so indifferent to the conditions of the poor
that they took no interest in their proper housing.  I was quick
with that defense which an American is obliged to use so often in
Europe, that our very democracy so long presupposed that each
citizen could care for himself that we are slow to develop a
sense of social obligation.  He smiled at the familiar phrases
and was still inclined to attribute our indifference to sheer
ignorance of social conditions.

The entire social development of Hull-House is so unlike what I
predicted twenty years ago, that I venture to quote from that
ancient writing as an end to this chapter.

	The social organism has broken down through large
	districts of our great cities.  Many of the people living
	there are very poor, the majority of them without leisure
	or energy for anything but the gain of subsistence.

	They live for the moment side by side, many of them
	without knowledge of each other, without fellowship,
	without local tradition or public spirit, without social
	organization of any kind.  Practically nothing is done to
	remedy this.  The people who might do it, who have the
	social tact and training, the large houses, and the
	traditions and customs of hospitality, live in other parts
	of the city.  The club houses, libraries, galleries, and
	semi-public conveniences for social life are also blocks
	away.  We find workingmen organized into armies of
	producers because men of executive ability and business
	sagacity have found it to their interests thus to organize
	them.  But these workingmen are not organized socially;
	although lodging in crowded tenement houses, they are
	living without a corresponding social contact. The chaos
	is as great as it would be were they working in huge
	factories without foremen or superintendent.  Their ideas
	and resources are cramped, and the desire for higher
	social pleasure becomes extinct.  They have no share in
	the traditions and social energy which make for progress.
	Too often their only place of meeting is a saloon, their
	only host a bartender; a local demagogue forms their
	public opinion.  Men of ability and refinement, of social
	power and university cultivation, stay away from them.
	Personally, I believe the men who lose most are those who
	thus stay away.  But the paradox is here; when cultivated
	people do stay away from a certain portion of the
	population, when all social advantages are persistently
	withheld, it may be for years, the result itself is
	pointed to as a reason and is used as an argument, for the
	continued withholding.

	It is constantly said that because the masses have never
	had social advantages, they do want them, that they are
	heavy and dull, and that it will take political or
	philanthropic machinery to change them.  This divides a
	city into rich and poor; into the favored, who express
	their sense of the social obligation by gifts of money,
	and into the unfavored, who express it by clamoring for a
	"share"--both of them actuated by a vague sense of justice.
	This division of the city would be more justifiable,
	however, if the people who thus isolate themselves on
	certain streets and use their social ability for each
	other, gained enough thereby and added sufficient to the
	sum total of social progress to justify the withholding of
	the pleasures and results of that progress from so many
	people who ought to have them.  But they cannot accomplish
	this for the social spirit discharges itself in many
	forms, and no one form is adequate to its total
	expression.



[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry, proof-reading, and html layout of this chapter were the
work of volunteer Adrienne Fermoyle.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter XVI: Arts at Hull-House." by Jane Addams (1860-1935)
From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with Autobiographical Notes. by
Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp.
371-400.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]



CHAPTER XVI

ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE


The first building erected for Hull-House contained an art gallery
well lighted for day and evening use, and our first exhibit of
loaned pictures was opened in June, 1891, by Mr. And Mrs. Barnett
of London.  It is always pleasant to associate their hearty
sympathy with that first exhibit, and thus to connect it with
their pioneer efforts at Toynbee Hall to secure for working people
the opportunity to know the best art, and with their establishment
of the first permanent art gallery in an industrial quarter.

We took pride in the fact that our first exhibit contained some of
the best pictures Chicago afforded, and we conscientiously insured
them against fire and carefully guarded them by night and day.

We had five of these exhibits during two years, after the gallery
was completed: two of oil paintings, one of old engravings and
etchings, one of water colors, and one of pictures especially
selected for use in the public schools.  These exhibits were
surprisingly well attended and thousands of votes were cast for the
most popular pictures.  Their value to the neighborhood of course
had to be determined by each one of us according to the value he
attached to beauty and the escape it offers from dreary reality
into the realm of the imagination. Miss Starr always insisted that
the arts should receive adequate recognition at Hull-House and
urged that one must always remember "the hungry individual soul
which without art will have passed unsolaced and unfed, followed by
other souls who lack the impulse his should have given."

The exhibits afforded pathetic evidence that the older immigrants
do not expect the solace of art in this country; an Italian
expressed great surprise when he found that we, although
Americans, still liked pictures, and said quite naively that he
didn't know that Americans cared for anything but dollars--that
looking at pictures was something people only did in Italy.

The extreme isolation of the Italian colony was demonstrated by the
fact that he did not know that there was a public art gallery in
the city nor any houses in which pictures were regarded as treasures.

A Greek was much surprised to see a photograph of the Acropolis
at Hull-House because he had lived in Chicago for thirteen years
and had never before met any Americans who knew about this
foremost glory of the world.  Before he left Greece he had
imagined that Americans would be most eager to see pictures of
Athens, and as he was a graduate of a school of technology, he
had prepared a book of colored drawings and had made a collection
of photographs which he was sure Americans would enjoy.  But
although from his fruit stand near one of the large railroad
stations he had conversed with many Americans and had often tried
to lead the conversation back to ancient Greece, no one had
responded, and he had at last concluded that "the people of
Chicago knew nothing of ancient times."

The loan exhibits were continued until the Chicago Art Institute
was opened free to the public on Sunday afternoons and parties
were arranged at Hull-House and conducted there by a guide.  In
time even these parties were discontinued as the galleries became
better known in all parts of the city and the Art Institute
management did much to make pictures popular.

From the first a studio was maintained at Hull-House which has
developed through the changing years under the direction of Miss
Benedict, one of the residents who is a member of the faculty in
the Art Institute.  Buildings on the Hull-House quadrangle
furnish studios for artists who find something of the same spirit
in the contiguous Italian colony that the French artist is
traditionally supposed to discover in his beloved Latin Quarter.
These artists uncover something of the picturesque in the foreign
colonies, which they have reproduced in painting, etching, and
lithography. They find their classes filled not only by young
people possessing facility and sometimes talent, but also by
older people to whom the studio affords the one opportunity of
escape from dreariness; a widow with four children who
supplemented a very inadequate income by teaching the piano, for
six years never missed her weekly painting lesson because it was
"her one pleasure"; another woman, whose youth and strength had
gone into the care of an invalid father, poured into her
afternoon in the studio once a week, all of the longing for
self-expression which she habitually suppressed.

Perhaps the most satisfactory results of the studio have been
obtained through the classes of young men who are engaged in the
commercial arts, and who are glad to have an opportunity to work
out their own ideas.  This is true of young engravers and
lithographers; of the men who have to do with posters and
illustrations in various ways.  The little pile of stones and the
lithographer's handpress in a corner of the studio have been used
in many an experiment, as has a set of beautiful type loaned to
Hull-House by a bibliophile.

The work of the studio almost imperceptibly merged into the
crafts and well within the first decade a shop was opened at
Hull-House under the direction of several residents who were also
members of the Chicago Arts and Crafts Society.  This shop is not
merely a school where people are taught and then sent forth to
use their teaching in art according to their individual
initiative and opportunity, but where those who have already been
carefully trained, may express the best they can in wood or
metal.  The Settlement soon discovers how difficult it is to put
a fringe of art on the end of a day spent in a factory.  We
constantly see young people doing overhurried work.  Wrapping
bars of soap in pieces of paper might at least give the pleasure
of accuracy and repetition if it could be done at a normal pace,
but when paid for by the piece, speed becomes the sole
requirement and the last suggestion of human interest is taken
away.  In contrast to this the Hull-House shop affords many
examples of the restorative power in the exercise of a genuine
craft; a young Russian who, like too many of his countrymen, had
made a desperate effort to fit himself for a learned profession,
and who had almost finished his course in a night law school,
used to watch constantly the work being done in the metal shop at
Hull-House.  One evening in a moment of sudden resolve, he took
off his coat, sat down at one of the benches, and began to work,
obviously as a very clever silversmith.  He had long concealed
his craft because he thought it would hurt his efforts as a
lawyer and because he imagined an office more honorable and "more
American" than a shop.  As he worked on during his two leisure
evenings each week, his entire bearing and conversation
registered the relief of one who abandons the effort he is not
fitted for and becomes a man on his own feet, expressing himself
through a familiar and delicate technique.

Miss Starr at length found herself quite impatient with her role
of lecturer on the arts, while all the handicraft about her was
untouched by beauty and did not even reflect the interest of the
workman.  She took a training in bookbinding in London under Mr.
Cobden-Sanderson and established her bindery at Hull-House in
which design and workmanship, beauty and thoroughness are taught
to a small number of apprentices.

From the very first winter, concerts which are still continued
were given every Sunday afternoon in the Hull-House drawing-room
and later, as the audiences increased, in the larger halls.  For
these we are indebted to musicians from every part of the city.
Mr. William Tomlins early trained large choruses of adults as his
assistants did of children, and the response to all of these
showed that while the number of people in our vicinity caring for
the best music was not large, they constituted a steady and
appreciative group.  It was in connection with these first
choruses that a public-spirited citizen of Chicago offered a
prize for the best labor song, competition to be open to the
entire country.  The responses to the offer literally filled
three large barrels and speaking at least for myself as one of
the bewildered judges, we were more disheartened by their quality
than even by their overwhelming bulk.  Apparently the workers of
America are not yet ready to sing, although I recall a creditable
chorus trained at Hull-House for a large meeting in sympathy with
the anthracite coal strike in which the swinging lines

	"Who was it made the coal?
	Our God as well as theirs."

seemed to relieve the tension of the moment.  Miss Eleanor Smith,
the head of the Hull-House Music School, who had put the words to
music, performed the same office for the "Sweatshop" of the
Yiddish poet, the translation of which presents so graphically
the bewilderment and tedium of the New York shop that it might be
applied to almost any other machinery industry as the first verse
indicates: --

	"The roaring of the wheels has filled my ears,
	  The clashing and the clamor shut me in,
	Myself, my soul, in chaos disappears,
	  I cannot think or feel amid the din."

It may be that this plaint explains the lack of labor songs in
this period of industrial maladjustment when the worker is
overmastered by his very tools.  In addition to sharing with our
neighborhood the best music we could procure, we have
conscientiously provided careful musical instruction that at
least a few young people might understand those old usages of
art; that they might master its trade secrets, for after all it
is only through a careful technique that artistic ability can
express itself and be preserved.

From the beginning we had classes in music, and the Hull-House
Music School, which is housed in quarters of its own in our
quieter court, was opened in 1893.  The school is designed to
give a thorough musical instruction to a limited number of
children. From the first lessons they are taught to compose and
to reduce to order the musical suggestions which may come to
them, and in this wise the school has sometimes been able to
recover the songs of the immigrants through their children.  Some
of these folk songs have never been committed to paper, but have
survived through the centuries because of a touch of undying
poetry which the world has always cherished; as in the song of a
Russian who is digging a post hole and finds his task dull and
difficult until he strikes a stratum of red sand, which in
addition to making digging easy, reminds him of the red hair of
his sweetheart, and all goes merrily as the song lifts into a
joyous melody.  I recall again the almost hilarious enjoyment of
the adult audience to whom it was sung by the children who had
revived it, as well as the more sober appreciation of the hymns
taken from the lips of the cantor, whose father before him had
officiated in the synagogue.

The recitals and concerts given by the school are attended by
large and appreciative audiences.  On the Sunday before Christmas
the program of Christmas songs draws together people of the most
diverging faiths.  In the deep tones of the memorial organ
erected at Hull-House, we realize that music is perhaps the most
potent agent for making the universal appeal and inducing men to
forget their differences.

Some of the pupils in the music school have developed during the
years into trained musicians and are supporting themselves in
their chosen profession.  On the other hand, we constantly see
the most promising musical ability extinguished when the young
people enter industries which so sap their vitality that they
cannot carry on serious study in the scanty hours outside of
factory work.  Many cases indisputably illustrate this: a
Bohemian girl, who, in order to earn money for pressing family
needs, first ruined her voice in a six months' constant
vaudeville engagement, returned to her trade working overtime in
a vain effort to continue the vaudeville income; another young
girl whom Hull-House had sent to the high school so long as her
parents consented, because we realized that a beautiful voice is
often unavailable through lack of the informing mind, later
extinguished her promise in a tobacco factory; a third girl who
had supported her little sisters since she was fourteen, eagerly
used her fine voice for earning money at entertainments held late
after her day's work, until exposure and fatigue ruined her
health as well as a musician's future; a young man whose
music-loving family gave him every possible opportunity, and who
produced some charming and even joyous songs during the long
struggle with tuberculosis which preceded his death, had made a
brave beginning, not only as a teacher of music but as a
composer.  In the little service held at Hull-House in his
memory, when the children sang his composition, "How Sweet is the
Shepherd's Sweet Lot," it was hard to realize that such an
interpretive pastoral could have been produced by one whose
childhood had been passed in a crowded city quarter.

Even that bitter experience did not prepare us for the sorrowful
year when six promising pupils out of a class of fifteen,
developed tuberculosis.  It required but little penetration to
see that during the eight years the class of fifteen school
children had come together to the music school, they had
approximately an even chance, but as soon as they reached the
legal working age only a scanty moiety of those who became
self-supporting could endure the strain of long hours and bad
air.  Thus the average human youth, "With all the sweetness of
the common dawn," is flung into the vortex of industrial life
wherein the everyday tragedy escapes us save when one of them
becomes conspicuously unfortunate.  Twice in one year we were
compelled

	"To find the inheritance of this poor child
	His little kingdom of a forced grave."

It has been pointed out many times that Art lives by devouring
her own offspring and the world has come to justify even that
sacrifice, but we are unfortified and unsolaced when we see the
children of Art devoured, not by her, but by the uncouth
stranger, Modern Industry, who, needlessly ruthless and brutal to
her own children, is quickly fatal to the offspring of the
gentler mother.  And so schools in art for those who go to work
at the age when more fortunate young people are still sheltered
and educated, constantly epitomize one of the haunting problems
of life; why do we permit the waste of this most precious human
faculty, this consummate possession of civilization?  When we
fail to provide the vessel in which it may be treasured, it runs
out upon the ground and is irretrievably lost.

The universal desire for the portrayal of life lying quite outside
of personal experience evinces itself in many forms.  One of the
conspicuous features of our neighborhood, as of all industrial
quarters, is the persistency with which the entire population
attends the theater.  The very first day I saw Halsted Street a
long line of young men and boys stood outside the gallery entrance
of the Bijou Theater, waiting for the Sunday matinee to begin at
two o'clock, although it was only high noon. This waiting crowd
might have been seen every Sunday afternoon during the twenty
years which have elapsed since then. Our first Sunday evening in
Hull-House, when a group of small boys sat on our piazza and told
us "about things around here," their talk was all of the theater
and of the astonishing things they had seen that afternoon.

But quite as it was difficult to discover the habits and purposes
of this group of boys because they much preferred talking about
the theater to contemplating their own lives, so it was all along
the line; the young men told us their ambitions in the phrases of
stage heroes, and the girls, so far as their romantic dreams
could be shyly put into words, possessed no others but those
soiled by long use in the melodrama.  All of these young people
looked upon an afternoon a week in the gallery of a Halsted
Street theater as their one opportunity to see life.  The sort of
melodrama they see there has recently been described as "the ten
commandments written in red fire." Certainly the villain always
comes to a violent end, and the young and handsome hero is
rewarded by marriage with a beautiful girl, usually the daughter
of a millionaire, but after all that is not a portrayal of the
morality of the ten commandments any more than of life itself.

Nevertheless the theater, such as it was, appeared to be the one
agency which freed the boys and girls from that destructive
isolation of those who drag themselves up to maturity by
themselves, and it gave them a glimpse of that order and beauty
into which even the poorest drama endeavors to restore the
bewildering facts of life.  The most prosaic young people bear
testimony to this overmastering desire.  A striking illustration
of this came to us during our second year's residence on Halsted
Street through an incident in the Italian colony, where the men
have always boasted that they were able to guard their daughters
from the dangers of city life, and until evil Italians entered
the business of the "white slave traffic," their boast was well
founded.  The first Italian girl to go astray known to the
residents of Hull-House, was so fascinated by the stage that on
her way home from work she always loitered outside a theater
before the enticing posters.  Three months after her elopement
with an actor, her distracted mother received a picture of her
dressed in the men's clothes in which she appeared in vaudeville.
Her family mourned her as dead and her name was never mentioned
among them nor in the entire colony.  In further illustration of
an overmastering desire to see life as portrayed on the stage are
two young girls whose sober parents did not approve of the
theater and would allow no money for such foolish purposes.  In
sheer desperation the sisters evolved a plot that one of them
would feign a toothache, and while she was having her tooth
pulled by a neighboring dentist the other would steal the gold
crowns from his table, and with the money thus procured they
could attend the vaudeville theater every night on their way home
from work.  Apparently the pain and wrongdoing did not weigh for
a moment against the anticipated pleasure.  The plan was carried
out to the point of selling the gold crowns to a pawnbroker when
the disappointed girls were arrested.

All this effort to see the play took place in the years before
the five-cent theaters had become a feature of every crowded city
thoroughfare and before their popularity had induced the
attendance of two and a quarter million people in the United
States every twenty-four hours.  The eagerness of the penniless
children to get into these magic spaces is responsible for an
entire crop of petty crimes made more easy because two children
are admitted for one nickel at the last performance when the hour
is late and the theater nearly deserted.  The Hull-House
residents were aghast at the early popularity of these mimic
shows, and in the days before the inspection of films and the
present regulations for the five-cent theaters we established at
Hull-House a moving picture show.  Although its success justified
its existence, it was so obviously but one in the midst of
hundreds that it seemed much more advisable to turn our attention
to the improvement of all of them or rather to assist as best we
could, the successful efforts in this direction by the Juvenile
Protective Association.

However, long before the five-cent theater was even heard of, we
had accumulated much testimony as to the power of the drama, and
we would have been dull indeed if we had not availed ourselves of
the use of the play at Hull-House, not only as an agent of
recreation and education, but as a vehicle of self-expression for
the teeming young life all about us.

Long before the Hull-House theater was built we had many plays,
first in the drawing-room and later in the gymnasium.  The young
people's clubs never tired of rehearsing and preparing for these
dramatic occasions, and we also discovered that older people were
almost equally ready and talented.  We quickly learned that no
celebration at Thanksgiving was so popular as a graphic portrayal on
the stage of the Pilgrim Fathers, and we were often put to it to
reduce to dramatic effects the great days of patriotism and religion.

At one of our early Christmas celebrations Longfellow's "Golden
Legend" was given, the actors portraying it with the touch of the
miracle play spirit which it reflects.  I remember an old blind
man, who took the part of a shepherd, said, at the end of the last
performance, "Kind Heart," a name by which he always addressed me,
"it seems to me that I have been waiting all my life to hear some
of these things said.  I am glad we had so many performances, for
I think I can remember them to the end.  It is getting hard for me
to listen to reading, but the different voices and all made this
very plain." Had he not perhaps made a legitimate demand upon the
drama, that it shall express for us that which we have not been
able to formulate for ourselves, that it shall warm us with a
sense of companionship with the experiences of others; does not
every genuine drama present our relations to each other and to the
world in which we find ourselves in such wise as may fortify us to
the end of the journey?

The immigrants in the neighborhood of Hull-House have utilized
our little stage in an endeavor to reproduce the past of their
own nations through those immortal dramas which have escaped from
the restraining bond of one country into the land of the universal.

A large colony of Greeks near Hull-House, who often feel that
their history and classic background are completely ignored by
Americans, and that they are easily confused with the more
ignorant immigrants from other parts of southeastern Europe,
welcome an occasion to present Greek plays in the ancient text.
With expert help in the difficulties of staging and rehearsing a
classic play, they reproduced the Ajax of Sophocles upon the
Hull-House stage.  It was a genuine triumph to the actors who felt
that they were "showing forth the glory of Greece" to "ignorant
Americans." The scholar who came with a copy of Sophocles in hand
and followed the play with real enjoyment, did not in the least
realize that the revelation of the love of Greek poets was mutual
between the audience and the actors.  The Greeks have quite
recently assisted an enthusiast in producing "Electra," while the
Lithuanians, the Poles, and other Russian subjects often use the
Hull-House stage to present plays in their own tongue, which shall
at one and the same time keep alive their sense of participation
in the great Russian revolution and relieve their feelings in
regard to it.  There is something still more appealing in the
yearning efforts the immigrants sometimes make to formulate their
situation in America.  I recall a play written by an Italian
playwright of our neighborhood, which depicted the insolent break
between Americanized sons and old country parents, so touchingly
that it moved to tears all the older Italians in the audience.
Did the tears of each express relief in finding that others had
had the same experience as himself, and did the knowledge free
each one from a sense of isolation and an injured belief that his
children were the worst of all?

This effort to understand life through its dramatic portrayal, to
see one's own participation intelligibly set forth, becomes
difficult when one enters the field of social development, but
even here it is not impossible if a Settlement group is
constantly searching for new material.

A labor story appearing in the Atlantic Monthly was kindly
dramatized for us by the author who also superintended its
presentation upon the Hull-House stage.  The little drama
presented the untutored effort of a trades-union man to secure
for his side the beauty of self-sacrifice, the glamour of
martyrdom, which so often seems to belong solely to the nonunion
forces.  The presentation of the play was attended by an audience
of trades-unionists and employers and those other people who are
supposed to make public opinion.  Together they felt the moral
beauty of the man's conclusion that "it's the side that suffers
most that will win out in this war--the saints is the only ones
that has got the world under their feet--we've got to do the way
they done if the unions is to stand," so completely that it
seemed quite natural that he should forfeit his life upon the
truth of this statement.

The dramatic arts have gradually been developed at Hull-House
through amateur companies, one of which has held together for
more than fifteen years.  The members were originally selected
from the young people who had evinced talent in the plays the
social clubs were always giving, but the association now adds to
itself only as a vacancy occurs.  Some of them have developed
almost a professional ability, although contrary to all
predictions and in spite of several offers, none of them have
taken to a stage career.  They present all sorts of plays from
melodrama and comedy to those of Shaw, Ibsen, and Galsworthy.
The latter are surprisingly popular, perhaps because of their
sincere attempt to expose the shams and pretenses of contemporary
life and to penetrate into some of its perplexing social and
domestic situations.  Through such plays the stage may become a
pioneer teacher of social righteousness.

I have come to believe, however, 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.

This function of the stage, as a reconstructing and reorganizing
agent of accepted moral truths, came to me with overwhelming
force as I listened to the Passion Play at Oberammergau one
beautiful summer's day in 1900.  The peasants who portrayed
exactly the successive scenes of the wonderful Life, who used
only the very words found in the accepted version of the Gospels,
yet curiously modernized and reorientated the message.  They made
clear that the opposition to the young Teacher sprang from the
merchants whose traffic in the temple He had disturbed and from
the Pharisees who were dependent upon them for support.  Their
query was curiously familiar, as they demanded the antecedents of
the Radical who dared to touch vested interests, who presumed to
dictate the morality of trade, and who insulted the marts of
honest merchants by calling them "a den of thieves." As the play
developed, it became clear that this powerful opposition had
friends in Church and State, that they controlled influences
which ramified in all directions.  They obviously believed in
their statement of the case and their very wealth and position in
the community gave their words such weight that finally all of
their hearers were convinced that the young Agitator must be done
away with in order that the highest interests of society might be
conserved.  These simple peasants made it clear that it was the
money power which induced one of the Agitator's closest friends
to betray him, and the villain of the piece, Judas himself, was
only a man who was so dazzled by money, so under the domination
of all it represented, that he was perpetually blind to the
spiritual vision unrolling before him. As I sat through the long
summer day, seeing the shadows on the beautiful mountain back of
the open stage shift from one side to the other and finally grow
long and pointed in the soft evening light, my mind was filled
with perplexing questions.  Did the dramatization of the life of
Jesus set forth its meaning more clearly and conclusively than
talking and preaching could possibly do as a shadowy following of
the command "to do the will"?

The peasant actors whom I had seen returning from mass that
morning had prayed only to portray the life as He had lived it
and, behold, out of their simplicity and piety arose this modern
version which even Harnack was only then venturing to suggest to
his advanced colleagues in Berlin.  Yet the Oberammergau fold
were very like thousands of immigrant men and women of Chicago,
both in their experiences and in their familiarity with the hard
facts of life, and throughout that day as my mind dwelt on my
far-away neighbors, I was reproached with the sense of an
ungarnered harvest.

Of course such a generally uplifted state comes only at rare
moments, while the development of the little theater at
Hull-House has not depended upon the moods of any one, but upon
the genuine enthusiasm and sustained effort of a group of
residents, several of them artists who have ungrudgingly given
their time to it year after year.  This group has long fostered
junior dramatic associations, through which it seems possible to
give a training in manners and morals more directly than through
any other medium.  They have learned to determine very cleverly
the ages at which various types of the drama are most congruous
and expressive of the sentiments of the little troupes, from the
fairy plays such as "Snow-White" and "Puss-in-Boots" which appeal
to the youngest children, to the heroic plays of "William Tell,"
"King John," and "Wat Tyler" for the older lads, and to the
romances and comedies which set forth in stately fashion the
elaborated life which so many young people admire.  A group of
Jewish boys gave a dramatic version of the story of Joseph and
his brethren and again of Queen Esther.  They had almost a sense
of proprietorship in the fine old lines and were pleased to bring
from home bits of Talmudic lore for the stage setting.  The same
club of boys at one time will buoyantly give a roaring comedy and
five years later will solemnly demand a drama dealing with modern
industrial conditions.  The Hull-House theater is also rented
from time to time to members of the Young People's Socialist
League who give plays both in Yiddish and English which reduce
their propaganda to conversation.  Through such humble
experiments as the Hull-House stage, as well as through the more
ambitious reforms which are attempted in various parts of the
country, the theatre may at last be restored to its rightful
place in the community.

There have been times when our little stage was able to serve the
theatre libre.  A Chicago troupe, finding it difficult to break into
a trust theater, used it one winter twice a week for the
presentation of Ibsen and old French comedy.  A visit from the Irish
poet Yeats inspired us to do our share towards freeing the stage
from its slavery to expensive scene setting, and a forest of stiff
conventional trees against a gilt sky still remains with us as a
reminder of an attempt not wholly unsuccessful, in this direction.

This group of Hull-House artists have filled our little foyer
with a series of charming playbills and by dint of painting their
own scenery and making their own costumes have obtained beguiling
results in stage setting.  Sometimes all the artistic resources
of the House unite in a Wagnerian combination; thus, the text of
the "Troll's Holiday" was written by one resident, set to music
by another; sung by the Music School, and placed upon the stage
under the careful direction and training of the dramatic
committee; and the little brown trolls could never have tumbled
about so gracefully in their gleaming caves unless they had been
taught in the gymnasium.

Some such synthesis takes place every year at the Hull-House
annual exhibition, when an effort is made to bring together in a
spirit of holiday the nine thousand people who come to the House
every week during duller times.  Curiously enough the central
feature at the annual exhibition seems to be the brass band of
the boys' club which apparently dominates the situation by sheer
size and noise, but perhaps their fresh boyish enthusiasm
expresses that which the older people take more soberly.

As the stage of our little theater had attempted to portray the
heroes of many lands, so we planned one early spring seven years
ago, to carry out a scheme of mural decoration upon the walls of
the theater itself, which should portray those cosmopolitan heroes
who have become great through identification with the common lot,
in preference to the heroes of mere achievement.  In addition to
the group of artists living at Hull-House several others were in
temporary residence, and they all threw themselves
enthusiastically into the plan.  The series began with Tolstoy
plowing his field which was painted by an artist of the Glasgow
school, and the next was of the young Lincoln pushing his flatboat
down the Mississippi River at the moment he received his first
impression of the "great iniquity." This was done by a promising
young artist of Chicago, and the wall spaces nearest to the two
selected heroes were quickly filled with their immortal sayings.

A spirited discussion thereupon ensued in regard to the heroes for
the two remaining large wall spaces, when to the surprise of all of
us the group of twenty-five residents who had lived in unbroken
harmony for more than ten years, suddenly broke up into cults and
even camps of hero worship.  Each cult exhibited drawings of its
own hero in his most heroic moment, and of course each drawing
received enthusiastic backing from the neighborhood, each according
to the nationality of the hero.  Thus Phidias standing high on his
scaffold as he finished the heroic head of Athene; the young David
dreamily playing his harp as he tended his father's sheep at
Bethlehem; St. Francis washing the feet of the leper; the young
slave Patrick guiding his master through the bogs of Ireland, which
he later rid of their dangers; the poet Hans Sachs cobbling shoes;
Jeanne d'Arc dropping her spindle in startled wonder before the
heavenly visitants, naturally all obtained such enthusiastic
following from our cosmopolitan neighborhood that it was certain to
give offense if any two were selected.  Then there was the cult of
residents who wished to keep the series contemporaneous with the
two heroes already painted, and they advocated William Morris at
his loom, Walt Whitman tramping the open road, Pasteur in his
laboratory, or Florence Nightingale seeking the wounded on the
field of battle. But beyond the socialists, few of the neighbors
had heard of William Morris, and the fame of Walt Whitman was still
more apocryphal; Pasteur was considered merely a clever scientist
without the romance which evokes popular affection and in the
provisional drawing submitted for votes, gentle Florence
Nightingale was said "to look more as if she were robbing the dead
than succoring the wounded." The remark shows how high the feeling
ran, and then, as something must be done quickly, we tried to unite
upon strictly local heroes such as the famous fire marshal who had
lived for many years in our neighborhood-- but why prolong this
description which demonstrates once more that art, if not always
the handmaid of religion, yet insists upon serving those deeper
sentiments for which we unexpectedly find ourselves ready to fight.
 When we were all fatigued and hopeless of compromise, we took
refuge in a series of landscapes connected with our two heroes by a
quotation from Wordsworth slightly distorted to meet our dire need,
but still stating his impassioned belief in the efficacious spirit
capable of companionship with man which resides in "particular
spots." Certainly peace emanates from the particular folding of the
hills in one of our treasured mural landscapes, yet occasionally
when a guest with a bewildered air looks from one side of the
theater to the other, we are forced to conclude that the connection
is not convincing.

In spite of its stormy career this attempt at mural decoration
connects itself quite naturally with the spirit of our earlier
efforts to make Hull-House as beautiful as we could, which had in
it a desire to embody in the outward aspect of the House something
of the reminiscence and aspiration of the neighborhood life.

As the House enlarged for new needs and mellowed through
slow-growing associations, we endeavored to fashion it from
without, as it were, as well as from within.  A tiny wall fountain
modeled in classic pattern, for us penetrates into the world of
the past, but for the Italian immigrant it may defy distance and
barriers as he dimly responds to that typical beauty in which
Italy has ever written its message, even as classic art knew no
region of the gods which was not also sensuous, and as the art of
Dante mysteriously blended the material and the spiritual.

Perhaps the early devotion of the Hull-House residents to the
pre-Raphaelites recognized that they above all English speaking
poets and painters reveal "the sense of the expressiveness of outward
things" which is at once the glory and the limitation of the arts.


[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Andrea Jeddi.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter XVII: Echoes of the Russian Revolution." by Jane Addams
(1860-1935)

From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with Autobiographical Notes. by
Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp.
400-426.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]



CHAPTER XVII

ECHOES OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION


The residents of Hull-House have always seen many evidences of
the Russian Revolution; a forlorn family of little children whose
parents have been massacred at Kishinev are received and
supported by their relatives in our Chicago neighborhood; or a
Russian woman, her face streaming with tears of indignation and
pity, asks you to look at the scarred back of her sister, a young
girl, who has escaped with her life from the whips of the Cossack
soldiers; or a studious young woman suddenly disappears from the
Hull-House classes because she has returned to Kiev to be near
her brother while he is in prison, that she may earn money for
the nourishing food which alone will keep him from contracting
tuberculosis; or we attend a protest meeting against the newest
outrages of the Russian government in which the speeches are
interrupted by the groans of those whose sons have been
sacrificed and by the hisses of others who cannot repress their
indignation.  At such moments an American is acutely conscious of
our ignorance of this greatest tragedy of modern times, and at
our indifference to the waste of perhaps the noblest human
material among our contemporaries.  Certain it is, as the
distinguished Russian revolutionists have come to Chicago, they
have impressed me, as no one else ever has done, as belonging to
that noble company of martyrs who have ever and again poured
forth blood that human progress might be advanced.  Sometimes
these men and women have addressed audiences gathered quite
outside the Russian colony and have filled to overflowing
Chicago's largest halls with American citizens deeply touched by
this message of martyrdom.  One significant meeting was addressed
by a member of the Russian Duma and by one of Russia's oldest and
sanest revolutionists; another by Madame Breshkovsky, who later
languished a prisoner in the fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul.

In this wonderful procession of revolutionists, Prince Kropotkin,
or, as he prefers to be called, Peter Kropotkin, was doubtless
the most distinguished.  When he came to America to lecture, he
was heard throughout the country with great interest and respect;
that he was a guest of Hull-House during his stay in Chicago
attracted little attention at the time, but two years later, when
the assassination of President McKinley occurred, the visit of
this kindly scholar, who had always called himself an "anarchist"
and had certainly written fiery tracts in his younger manhood,
was made the basis of an attack upon Hull-House by a daily
newspaper, which ignored the fact that while Prince Kropotkin had
addressed the Chicago Arts and Crafts Society at Hull-House,
giving a digest of his remarkable book on "Fields, Factories, and
Workshops," he had also spoken at the State Universities of
Illinois and Wisconsin and before the leading literary and
scientific societies of Chicago.  These institutions and
societies were not, therefore, called anarchistic. Hull-House had
doubtless laid itself open to this attack through an incident
connected with the imprisonment of the editor on an anarchistic
paper, who was arrested in Chicago immediately after the
assassination of President McKinley.  In the excitement following
the national calamity and the avowal by the assassin of the
influence of the anarchistic lecture to which he had listened,
arrests were made in Chicago of every one suspected of anarchy,
in the belief that a widespread plot would be uncovered. The
editor's house was searched for incriminating literature, his
wife and daughter taken to a police station, and his son and
himself, with several other suspected anarchists, were placed in
the disused cells in the basement of the city hall.

It is impossible to overstate the public excitement of the moment
and the unfathomable sense of horror with which the community
regarded an attack upon the chief executive of the nation, as a
crime against government itself which compels an instinctive
recoil from all law-abiding citizens.  Doubtless both the horror
and recoil have their roots deep down in human experience; the
earliest forms of government implied a group which offered
competent resistance to outsiders, but assuming no protection was
necessary between any two of its own members, promptly punished
with death the traitor who had assaulted anyone within.  An
anarchistic attack against an official thus furnishes an
accredited basis both for unreasoning hatred and for prompt
punishment.  Both the hatred and the determination to punish
reached the highest pitch in Chicago after the assassination of
President McKinley, and the group of wretched men detained in the
old-fashioned, scarcely habitable cells, had not the least idea
of their ultimate fate.  They were not allowed to see an attorney
and were kept "in communicado" as their excited friends called
it.  I had seen the editor and his family only during Prince
Kropotkin's stay at Hull-House, when they had come to visit him
several times.  The editor had impressed me as a quiet, scholarly
man, challenging the social order by the philosophic touchstone
of Bakunin and of Herbert Spencer, somewhat startled by the
radicalism of his fiery young son and much comforted by the
German domesticity of his wife and daughter.  Perhaps it was but
my hysterical symptom of the universal excitement, but it
certainly seemed to me more than I could bear when a group of his
individualistic friends, who had come to ask for help, said: "You
see what becomes of your boasted law; the authorities won't even
allow an attorney, nor will they accept bail for these men,
against whom nothing can be proved, although the veriest
criminals are not denied such a right." Challenged by an
anarchist, one is always sensitive for the honor of legally
constituted society, and I replied that of course the men could
have an attorney, that the assassin himself would eventually be
furnished with one, that the fact that a man was an anarchist had
nothing to do with his rights before the law!  I was met with the
retort that that might do for a theory, but that the fact still
remained that these men had been absolutely isolated, seeing no
one but policemen, who constantly frightened them with tales of
public clamor and threatened lynching.

The conversation took place on Saturday night and, as the final
police authority rests in the mayor, with a friend who was
equally disturbed over the situation, I repaired to his house on
Sunday morning to appeal to him in the interest of a law and
order that should not yield to panic.  We contended that to the
anarchist above all men it must be demonstrated that law is
impartial and stands the test of every strain.  The mayor heard
us through with the ready sympathy of the successful politician.
He insisted, however, that the men thus far had merely been
properly protected against lynching, but that it might now be
safe to allow them to see some one; he would not yet, however,
take the responsibility of permitting an attorney, but if I
myself chose to see them on the humanitarian errand of an
assurance of fair play, he would write me a permit at once.  I
promptly fell into the trap, if trap it was, and within half an
hour was in a corridor in the city hall basement, talking to the
distracted editor and surrounded by a cordon of police, who
assured me that it was not safe to permit him out of his cell.
The editor, who had grown thin and haggard under his suspense,
asked immediately as to the whereabouts of his wife and daughter,
concerning whom he had heard not a word since he had seen them
arrested.  Gradually he became composed as he learned, not that
his testimony had been believed to the effect that he had never
seen the assassin but once and had then considered him a foolish
half-witted creature, but that the most thoroughgoing "dragnet"
investigations on the part of the united police of the country
had failed to discover a plot and that the public was gradually
becoming convinced that the dastardly act was that of a solitary
man with no political or social affiliations.

The entire conversation was simple and did not seem to me unlike,
in motive or character, interviews I had had with many another
forlorn man who had fallen into prison.  I had scarce returned to
Hull-House, however, before it was filled with reporters, and I
at once discovered that whether or not I had helped a brother out
of a pit, I had fallen into a deep one myself.  A period of sharp
public opprobrium followed, traces of which, I suppose, will
always remain.  And yet in the midst of the letters of protest
and accusation which made my mail a horror every morning came a
few letters of another sort, one from a federal judge whom I had
never seen and another from a distinguished professor in the
constitutional law, who congratulated me on what they termed a
sane attempt to uphold the law in time of panic.

Although one or two ardent young people rushed into print to
defend me from the charge of "abetting anarchy," it seemed to me
at the time that mere words would not avail.  I had felt that the
protection of the law itself extended to the most unpopular
citizen was the only reply to the anarchistic argument, to the
effect that this moment of panic revealed the truth of their
theory of government; that the custodians of law and order have
become the government itself quite as the armed men hired by the
medieval guilds to protect them in the peaceful pursuit of their
avocations, through sheer possession of arms finally made
themselves rulers of the city.  At that moment I was firmly
convinced that the public could only be convicted of the
blindness of its course, when a body of people with a
hundred-fold of the moral energy possessed by a Settlement group,
should make clear that there is no method by which any community
can be guarded against sporadic efforts on the part of half-
crazed, discouraged men, save by a sense of mutual rights and
securities which will include the veriest outcast.

It seemed to me then that in the millions of words uttered and
written at that time, no one adequately urged that
public-spirited citizens set themselves the task of patiently
discovering how these sporadic acts of violence against
government may be understood and averted.  We do not know whether
they occur among the discouraged and unassimilated immigrants who
might be cared for in such a way as enormously to lessen the
probability of these acts, or whether they are the result of
anarchistic teaching.  By hastily concluding that the latter is
the sole explanation for them, we make no attempt to heal and
cure the situation.  Failure to make a proper diagnosis may mean
treatment of a disease which does not exist, or it may
furthermore mean that the dire malady from which the patient is
suffering be permitted to develop unchecked.  And yet as the
details of the meager life of the President's assassin were
disclosed, they were a challenge to the forces for social
betterment in American cities.  Was it not an indictment to all
those whose business it is to interpret and solace the wretched,
that a boy should have grown up in an American city so uncared
for, so untouched by higher issues, his wounds of life so
unhealed by religion that the first talk he ever heard dealing
with life's wrongs, although anarchistic and violent, should yet
appear to point a way of relief?

The conviction that a sense of fellowship is the only implement
which will break into the locked purpose of a half-crazed creature
bent upon destruction in the name of justice, came to me through
an experience recited to me at this time by an old anarchist.

He was a German cobbler who, through all the changes in the
manufacturing of shoes, had steadily clung to his little shop on
a Chicago thoroughfare, partly as an expression of his
individualism and partly because he preferred bitter poverty in a
place of his own to good wages under a disciplinary foreman.  The
assassin of President McKinley on his way through Chicago only a
few days before he committed his dastardly deed had visited all
the anarchists whom he could find in the city, asking them for
"the password" as he called it.  They, of course, possessed no
such thing, and had turned him away, some with disgust and all
with a certain degree of impatience, as a type of the
ill-balanced man who, as they put it, was always "hanging around
the movement, without the slightest conception of its meaning."
Among other people, he visited the German cobbler, who treated
him much as the others had done, but who, after the event had
made clear the identity of his visitor, was filled with the most
bitter remorse that he had failed to utilize his chance meeting
with the assassin to deter him from his purpose. He knew as well
as any psychologist who has read the history of such solitary men
that the only possible way to break down such a persistent and
secretive purpose, was by the kindliness which might have induced
confession, which might have restored the future assassin into
fellowship with normal men.

In the midst of his remorse, the cobbler told me a tale of his
own youth; that years before, when an ardent young fellow in
Germany, newly converted to the philosophy of anarchism, as he
called it, he had made up his mind that the Church, as much as
the State, was responsible for human oppression, and that this
fact could best be set forth "in the deed" by the public
destruction of a clergyman or priest; that he had carried
firearms for a year with this purpose in mind, but that one
pleasant summer evening, in a moment of weakness, he had confided
his intention to a friend, and that from that moment he not only
lost all desire to carry it out, but it seemed to him the most
preposterous thing imaginable.  In concluding the story he said;
"That poor fellow sat just beside me on my bench; if I had only
put my hand on his shoulder and said, 'Now, look here, brother,
what is on your mind?  What makes you talk such nonsense?  Tell
me. I have seen much of life, and understand all kinds of men.  I
have been young and hot-headed and foolish myself,' if he had
told me of his purpose then and there, he would never have
carried it out.  The whole nation would have been spared this
horror." As he concluded he shook his gray head and sighed as if
the whole incident were more than he could bear--one of those
terrible sins of omission; one of the things he "ought to have
done," the memory of which is so hard to endure.

The attempt a Settlement makes to interpret American institutions
to those who are bewildered concerning them either because of their
personal experiences, or because of preconceived theories, would
seem to lie in the direct path of its public obligation, and yet it
is apparently impossible for the overwrought community to
distinguish between the excitement the Settlements are endeavoring
to understand and to allay and the attitude of the Settlement
itself.  At times of public panic, fervid denunciation is held to
be the duty of every good citizen, and if a Settlement is convinced
that the incident should be used to vindicate the law and does not
at the moment give its strength to denunciation, its attitude is at
once taken to imply a championship of anarchy itself.

The public mind at such a moment falls into the old medieval
confusion--he who feeds or shelters a heretic is upon prima facie
evidence a heretic himself--he who knows intimately people among
whom anarchists arise is therefore an anarchist.  I personally am
convinced that anarchy as a philosophy is dying down, not only in
Chicago, but everywhere; that their leading organs have
discontinued publication, and that their most eminent men in
America have deserted them.  Even those groups which have
continued to meet are dividing, and the major half in almost
every instance calls itself socialist-anarchists, an apparent
contradiction of terms, whose members insist that the socialistic
organization of society must be the next stage of social
development and must be gone through with, so to speak, before
the ideal state of society can be reached, so nearly begging the
question that some orthodox socialists are willing to recognize
them.  It is certainly true that just because anarchy questions
the very foundations of society, the most elemental sense of
protection demands that the method of meeting the challenge
should be intelligently considered.

Whether or not Hull-House has accomplished anything by its method
of meeting such a situation, or at least attempting to treat it
in a way which will not destroy confidence in the American
institutions so adored by refugees from foreign governmental
oppression, it is of course impossible for me to say.

And yet it was in connection with an effort to pursue an
intelligent policy in regard to a so-called "foreign anarchist"
that Hull-House again became associated with that creed six years
later.  This again was an echo of the Russian revolution, but in
connection with one of its humblest representatives.  A young
Russian Jew named Averbuch appeared in the early morning at the
house of the Chicago chief of police upon an obscure errand.  It
was a moment of panic everwhere in regard to anarchists because
of a recent murder in Denver which had been charged to an Italian
anarchist, and the chief of police, assuming that the dark young
man standing in his hallway was an anarchist bent upon his
assassination, hastily called for help.  In a panic born of fear
and self-defense, young Averbuch was shot to death.  The members
of the Russian-Jewish colony on the west side of Chicago were
thrown into a state of intense excitement as soon as the
nationality of the young man became known.  They were filled with
dark forebodings from a swift prescience of what it would mean to
them were the oduim of anarchy rightly or wrongly attached to one
of their members.  It seemed to the residents of Hull-House most
important that every effort should be made to ascertain just what
did happen, that every means of securing information should be
exhausted before a final opinion should be formed, and this odium
fastened upon a colony of law-abiding citizens.  The police might
be right or wrong in their assertion that the man was an
anarchist.  It was, to our minds, also most unfortunate that the
Chicago police in the determination to uncover an anarchistic
plot should have utilized the most drastic methods of search
within the Russian-Jewish colony composed of families only too
familiar with the methods of Russian police.  Therefore, when the
Chicago police ransacked all the printing offices they could
locate in the colony, when they raided a restaurant which they
regarded as suspicious because it had been supplying food at cost
to the unemployed, when they searched through private houses for
papers and photographs of revolutionaries, when they seized the
library of the Edelstadt group and carried the books, including
Shakespeare and Herbert Spencer, to the city hall, when they
arrested two friends of young Averbuch and kept them in the
police station forty-eight hours, when they mercilessly "sweated"
the sister, Olga, that she might be startled into a
confession--all these things so poignantly reminded them of
Russian methods that indignation fed both by old memory and
bitter disappointment in America, swept over the entire colony.
The older men asked whether constitutional rights gave no
guarantee against such violent aggression of police power, and
the hot-headed younger ones cried out at once that the only way
to deal with the police was to defy them, which was true of
police the world over.  It was said many times that those who are
without influence and protection in a strange country fare
exactly as hard as do the poor in Europe; that all the talk of
guaranteed protection through political institutions is nonsense.

Every Settlement has classes in citizenship in which the
principles of American institutions are expounded, and of these
the community, as a whole, approves.  But the Settlements know
better than anyone else that while these classes and lectures are
useful, nothing can possibly give lessons in citizenship so
effectively and make so clear the constitutional basis of a
self-governing community as the current event itself.  The
treatment at a given moment of that foreign colony which feels
itself outraged and misunderstood, either makes its constitutional
rights clear to it, or forever confuses it on the subject.

The only method by which a reasonable and loyal conception of
government may be substituted for the one formed upon Russian
experiences is that the actual experience of refugees with
government in America shall gradually demonstrate what a very
different thing government means here.  Such an event as the
Averbuch affair affords an unprecedented opportunity to make
clear this difference and to demonstrate beyond the possibility
of misunderstanding that the guarantee of constitutional rights
implies that officialism shall be restrained and guarded at every
point, that the official represents, not the will of a small
administrative body, but the will of the entire people, and that
methods therefore have been constituted by which official
aggression may be restrained.  The Averbuch incident gave an
opportunity to demonstrate this to that very body of people who
need it most; to those who have lived in Russia where autocratic
officers represent autocratic power and where government is
officialism.  It seemed to the residents in the Settlements
nearest the Russian-Jewish colony that it was an obvious piece of
public spirit to try out all the legal value involved, to insist
that American institutions were stout enough to break down in
times of stress and public panic.

The belief of many Russians that the Averbuch incident would be
made a prelude to the constant use of the extradition treaty for
the sake of terrorizing revolutionists both at home and abroad
received a certain corroboration when an attempt was made in 1908
to extradite a Russian revolutionist named Rudovitz who was living
in Chicago.  The first hearing before a United States Commissioner
gave a verdict favorable to the Russian Government although this
was afterward reversed by the Department of State in Washington.
Partly to educate American sentiment, partly to express sympathy
with the Russian refugees in their dire need, a series of public
meetings was arranged in which the operations of the extradition
treaty were discussed by many of us who had spoken at a meeting
held in protest against its ratification fifteen years before.  It
is impossible for anyone unacquainted with the Russian colony to
realize the consternation produced by this attempted extradition. I
acted as treasurer of the fund collected to defray the expenses of
halls and printing in the campaign against the policy of extradition
and had many opportunities to talk with members of the colony. One
old man, tearing his hair and beard as he spoke, declared that all
his sons and grandsons might thus be sent back to Russia; in fact,
all of the younger men in the colony might be extradited, for every
high-spirited young Russian was, in a sense, a revolutionist.

Would it not provoke to ironic laughter that very nemesis which
presides over the destinies of nations, if the most autocratic
government yet remaining in civilization should succeed in
utilizing for its own autocratic methods the youngest and most
daring experiment in democratic government which the world has
ever seen?  Stranger results have followed a course of stupidity
and injustice resulting from blindness and panic!

It is certainly true that if the decision of the federal office
in Chicago had not been reversed by the department of state in
Washington, the United States government would have been
committed to return thousands of spirited young refugees to the
punishments of the Russian autocracy.

It was perhaps significant of our need of what Napoleon called a
"revival of civic morals" that the public appeal against such a
reversal of our traditions had to be based largely upon the
contributions to American progress made from other revolutions;
the Puritans from the English, Lafayette from the French, Carl
Schurz and many another able man from the German upheavals in the
middle of the century.

A distinguished German scholar writing at the end of his long
life a description of his friends of 1848 who made a gallant
although premature effort to unite the German states and to
secure a constitutional government, thus concludes: "But not a
few saw the whole of their lives wrecked, either in prison or
poverty, though they had done no wrong, and in many cases were
the finest characters it has been my good fortune to know.  They
were before their time; the fruit was not ripe, as it was in
1871, and Germany but lost her best sons in those miserable
years." When the time is ripe in Russia, when she finally yields
to those great forces which are molding and renovating
contemporary life, when her Cavour and her Bismark finally throw
into the first governmental forms all that yearning for juster
human relations which the idealistic Russian revolutionists
embody, we may look back upon these "miserable years" with a
sense of chagrin at our lack of sympathy and understanding.

Again it is far from easy to comprehend the great Russian
struggle.  I recall a visit from the famous revolutionist
Gershuni, who had escaped from Siberia in a barrel of cabbage
rolled under the very fortress of the commandant himself, had
made his way through Manchuria and China to San Francisco, and on
his way back to Russia had stopped in Chicago for a few days.
Three months later we heard of his death, and whenever I recall
the conversation held with him, I find it invested with that
dignity which last words imply.  Upon the request of a comrade,
Gershuni had repeated the substance of the famous speech he had
made to the court which sentenced him to Siberia.  As
representing the government against which he had rebelled, he
told the court that he might in time be able to forgive all of
their outrages and injustices save one; the unforgivable outrage
would remain that hundreds of men like himself, who were
vegetarians because they were not willing to participate in the
destruction of living creatures, who had never struck a child
even in punishment, who were so consumed with tenderness for the
outcast and oppressed that they had lived for weeks among
starving peasants only that they might cheer and solace
them,--that these men should have been driven into terrorism,
until impelled to "execute," as they call it,--"assassinate" the
Anglo-Saxon would term it,--public officials, was something for
which he would never forgive the Russian government.  It was,
perhaps, the heat of the argument, as much as conviction, which
led me to reply that it would be equally difficult for society to
forgive these very revolutionists for one thing they had done,
their institution of the use of force in such wise that it would
inevitably be imitated by men of less scruple and restraint; that
to have revived such a method in civilization, to have justified
it by their disinterestedness of purpose and nobility of
character, was perhaps the gravest responsibility that any group
of men could assume.  With a smile of indulgent pity such as one
might grant to a mistaken child, he replied that such Tolstoyan
principles were as fitted to Russia as "these toilettes,"
pointing to the thin summer gowns of his listeners, "were fitted
to a Siberian winter." And yet I held the belief then, as I
certainly do now, that when the sense of justice seeks to express
itself quite outside the regular channels of established
government, it has set forth on a dangerous journey inevitably
ending in disaster, and that this is true in spite of the fact
that the adventure may have been inspired by noble motives.

Still more perplexing than the use of force by the revolutionists
is the employment of the agent-provocateur on the part of the
Russian government.  The visit of Vladimir Bourtzeff to Chicago
just after his exposure of the famous secret agent, Azeff, filled
one with perplexity in regard to a government which would connive
at the violent death of a faithful official and that of a member
of the royal household for the sake of bringing opprobrium and
punishment to the revolutionists and credit to the secret police.

The Settlement has also suffered through its effort to secure
open discussion of the methods of the Russian government.  During
the excitement connected with the visit of Gorki to this country,
three different committees of Russians came to Hull-House begging
that I would secure a statement in at least one of the Chicago
dailies of their own view, that the agents of the Czar had
cleverly centered public attention upon Gorki's private life and
had fomented a scandal so successfully that the object of Gorki's
visit to America had been foiled; he who had known intimately the
most wretched of the Czar's subjects, who was best able to
sympathetically portray their wretchedness, not only failed to
get a hearing before an American audience, but could scarcely
find the shelter of a roof.  I told two of the Russian committees
that it was hopeless to undertake any explanation of the bitter
attack until public excitement had somewhat subsided; but one
Sunday afternoon when a third committee arrived, I said that I
would endeavor to have reprinted in a Chicago daily the few
scattered articles written for the magazines which tried to
explain the situation, one by the head professor in political
economy of a leading university, and others by publicists well
informed as to Russian affairs.

I hoped that a cosmopolitan newspaper might feel an obligation to
recognize the desire for fair play on the part of thousands of its
readers among the Russians, Poles, and Finns, at least to the
extent of reproducing these magazine articles under a noncommittal
caption.  That same Sunday evening, in company with one of the
residents, I visited a newspaper office only to hear its
representative say that my plan was quite out of the question, as
the whole subject was what newspaper men called "a sacred cow." He
said, however, that he would willingly print an article which I
myself should write and sign.  I declined this offer with the
statement that one who had my opportunities to see the struggles
of poor women in securing support for their children, found it
impossible to write anything which would however remotely justify
the loosening of marriage bonds, even if the defense of Gorki made
by the Russian committees was sound. We left the newspaper office
somewhat discouraged with what we thought one more unsuccessful
effort to procure a hearing for the immigrants.

I had considered the incident closed, when to my horror and
surprise several months afterward it was made the basis of a
story with every possible vicious interpretation.  One of the
Chicago newspapers had been indicted by Mayor Dunne for what he
considered an actionable attack upon his appointees to the
Chicago School Board of whom I was one, and the incident enlarged
and coarsened was submitted as evidence to the Grand Jury in
regard to my views and influence.  Although the evidence was
thrown out, an attempt was again made to revive this story by the
managers of Mayor Dunne's second campaign, this time to show how
"the protector of the oppressed" was traduced.  The incident is
related here as an example of the clever use of that old device
which throws upon the radical in religion, in education, and in
social reform, the oduim of encouraging "harlots and sinners" and
of defending their doctrines.

If the under dog 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.  It was, perhaps, not
surprising that with these excellent opportunities for misjudging
Hull-House, we should have suffered attack from time to time
whenever any untoward event gave an opening as when an Italian
immigrant murdered a priest in Denver, Colorado. Although the
wretched man had never been in Chicago, much less at Hull-House,
a Chicago ecclesiastic asserted that he had learned hatred of the
Church as a member of the Giordano Bruno Club, an Italian Club,
one of whose members lived at Hull-House, and which had
occasionally met there, although it had long maintained clubrooms
of its own.  This club had its origin in the old struggles of
united Italy against the temporal power of the Pope, one of the
European echoes with which Chicago resounds.  The Italian
resident, as the editor of a paper representing new Italy, had
come in sharp conflict with the Chicago ecclesiastic, first in
regard to naming a public school of the vicinity after Garibaldi,
which was of course not tolerated by the Church, and then in
regard to many another issue arising in anticlericalism, which,
although a political party, is constantly involved, from the very
nature of the case, in theological difficulties.  The contest had
been carried on with a bitterness impossible for an American to
understand, but its origin and implications were so obvious that
it did not occur to any of us that it could be associated with
Hull-House either in its motive or direction.

The ecclesiastic himself had lived for years in Rome, and as I
had often discussed the problems of Italian politics with him, I
was quite sure he understood the raison d'etre for the Giordano
Bruno Club.  Fortunately in the midst of the rhetorical attack,
our friendly relations remained unbroken with the neighboring
priests from whom we continued to receive uniform courtesy as we
cooperated in cases of sorrow and need. Hundreds of devout
communicants identified with the various Hull-House clubs and
classes were deeply distressed by the incident, but assured us it
was all a misunderstanding.  Easter came soon afterwards, and it
was not difficult to make a connection between the attack and the
myriad of Easter cards which filled my mail.

Thus a Settlement becomes involved in the many difficulties of
its neighbors as its experiences make vivid the consciousness of
modern internationalism.  And yet the very fact that the sense of
reality is so keen and the obligation of the Settlement so
obvious may perhaps in itself explain the opposition Hull-House
has encountered when it expressed its sympathy with the Russian
revolution.  We were much entertained, although somewhat
ruefully, when a Chicago woman withdrew from us a large annual
subscription because Hull-House had defended a Russian refugee
while she, who had seen much of the Russian aristocracy in
Europe, knew from them that all the revolutionary agitation was
both unreasonable and unnecessary!

It is, of course impossible to say whether these oppositions were
inevitable or whether they were indications that Hull-House had
somehow bungled at its task.  Many times I have been driven to
the confession of the blundering Amiel: "It requires ability to
make what we seem agree with what we are."


[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Jill Thoren.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter XVIII: Socialized Education." by Jane Addams (1860-1935)
From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with Autobiographical Notes. by
Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp.
427-453.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]



CHAPTER XVIII

SOCIALIZED EDUCATION


In a paper written years ago I deplored at some length the fact
that educational matters are more democratic in their political
than in their social aspect, and I quote the following extract
from it as throwing some light upon the earlier educational
undertakings at Hull-House:-

	Teaching in a Settlement requires distinct methods, for it
	is true of people who have been allowed to remain
	undeveloped and whose facilities are inert and sterile,
	that they cannot take their learning heavily.  It has to be
	diffused in a social atmosphere, information must be held
	in solution, in a medium of fellowship and good will.

	Intellectual life requires for its expansion and
	manifestation the influences and assimilation of the
	interests and affections of others.  Mazzini, that
	greatest of all democrats, who broke his heart over the
	condition of the South European peasantry, said:
	"Education is not merely a necessity of true life by which
	the individual renews his vital force in the vital force
	of humanity; it is a Holy Communion with generations dead
	and living, by which he fecundates all his faculties.
	When he is withheld from this Communion for generations,
	as the Italian peasant has been, we say, 'He is like a
	beast of the field; he must be controlled by force.'" Even
	to this it is sometimes added that it is absurd to educate
	him, immoral to disturb his content.  We stupidly use the
	effect as an argument for a continuance of the cause.  It
	is needless to say that a Settlement is a protest against
	a restricted view of education.

In line with this declaration, Hull-House in the very beginning
opened what we called College Extension Classes with a faculty
finally numbering thirty-five college men and women, many of whom
held their pupils for consecutive years.  As these classes
antedated in Chicago the University Extension and Normal
Extension classes and supplied a demand for stimulating
instruction, the attendance strained to their utmost capacity the
spacious rooms in the old house.  The relation of students and
faculty to each other and to the residents was that of guest and
hostess, and at the close of each term the residents gave a
reception to students and faculty which was one of the chief
social events of the season.  Upon this comfortable social basis
some very good work was done.

In connection with these classes a Hull-House summer school was
instituted at Rockford College, which was most generously placed at
our disposal by the trustees.  For ten years one hundred women
gathered there for six weeks, in addition there were always men on
the faculty, and a small group of young men among the students who
were lodged in the gymnasium building.  The outdoor classes in bird
study and botany, the serious reading of literary masterpieces, the
boat excursions on the Rock River, the cooperative spirit of doing
the housework together, the satirical commencements in
parti-colored caps and gowns, lent themselves toward a reproduction
of the comradeship which college life fosters.

As each member of the faculty, as well as the students, paid
three dollars a week, and as we had little outlay beyond the
actual cost of food, we easily defrayed our expenses.  The
undertaking was so simple and gratifying in results that it might
well be reproduced in many college buildings which are set in the
midst of beautiful surroundings, unused during the two months of
the year when hundreds of people, able to pay only a moderate
price for lodgings in the country, can find nothing comfortable
and no mental food more satisfying than piazza gossip.

Every Thursday evening during the first years, a public lecture
came to be an expected event in the neighborhood, and Hull-House
became one of the early University Extension centers, first in
connection with an independent society and later with the
University of Chicago.  One of the Hull-House trustees was so
impressed with the value of this orderly and continuous
presentation of economic subjects that he endowed three courses
in a downtown center, in which the lectures were free to anyone
who chose to come.  He was much pleased that these lectures were
largely attended by workingmen who ordinarily prefer that an
economic subject shall be presented by a partisan, and who are
supremely indifferent to examinations and credits. They also
dislike the balancing of pro and con which scholarly instruction
implies, and prefer to be "inebriated on raw truth" rather than
to sip a carefully prepared draught of knowledge.

Nevertheless Bowen Hall, which seats seven hundred and fifty
people, is often none too large to hold the audiences of men who
come to Hull-House every Sunday evening during the winter to attend
the illustrated lectures provided by the faculty of the University
of Chicago and others who kindly give their services. These courses
differ enormously in their popularity: one on European capitals and
their social significance was followed with the most vivid
attention and sense of participation indicated by groans and hisses
when the audience was reminded of an unforgettable feud between
Austria and her Slavic subjects, or when they wildly applauded a
Polish hero endeared through his tragic failure.

In spite of the success of these Sunday evening courses, it has
never been an easy undertaking to find acceptable lectures.  A
course of lectures on astronomy illustrated by stereopticon slides
will attract a large audience the first week, who hope to hear of
the wonders of the heavens and the relation of our earth thereto,
but instead are treated to spectrum analyses of star dust, or the
latest theory concerning the milky way.  The habit of research and
the desire to say the latest word upon any subject often overcomes
the sympathetic understanding of his audience which the lecturer
might otherwise develop, and he insensibly drops into the dull
terminology of the classroom. There are, of course, notable
exceptions; we had twelve gloriously popular talks on organic
evolution, but the lecturer was not yet a professor--merely a
university instructor--and his mind was still eager over the
marvel of it all.  Fortunately there is an increasing number of
lecturers whose matter is so real, so definite, and so valuable,
that in an attempt to give it an exact equivalence in words, they
utilize the most direct forms of expression.

It sometimes seems as if the men of substantial scholarship were
content to leave to the charletan the teaching of those things
which deeply concern the welfare of mankind, and that the mass of
men get their intellectual food from the outcasts of scholarship,
who provide millions of books, pictures, and shows, not to
instruct and guide, but for the sake of their own financial
profit.  A Settlement soon discovers that simple people are
interested in large and vital subjects, and the Hull-House
residents themselves at one time, with only partial success,
undertook to give a series of lectures on the history of the
world, beginning with the nebular hypothesis and reaching Chicago
itself in the twenty-fifth lecture!  Absurd as the hasty review
appears, there is no doubt that the beginner in knowledge is
always eager for the general statement, as those wise old teachers
of the people well knew, when they put the history of creation on
the stage and the monks themselves became the actors. I recall
that in planning my first European journey I had soberly hoped in
two years to trace the entire pattern of human excellence as we
passed from one country to another, in the shrines popular
affection had consecrated to the saints, in the frequented statues
erected to heroes, and in the "worn blasonry of funeral
brasses"--an illustration that when we are young we all long for
those mountaintops upon which we may soberly stand and dream of
our own ephemeral and uncertain attempts at righteousness.  I have
had many other illustrations of this; a statement was recently
made to me by a member of the Hull-House Boys' club, who had been
unjustly arrested as an accomplice to a young thief and held in
the police station for three days, that during his detention he
"had remembered the way Jean Valjean behaved when he was
everlastingly pursued by that policeman who was only trying to do
right"; "I kept seeing the pictures in that illustrated lecture
you gave about him, and I thought it would be queer if I couldn't
behave well for three days when he had kept it up for years."

The power of dramatic action may unfortunately be illustrated in
other ways.  During the weeks when all the daily papers were full
of the details of a notorious murder trial in New York and all
the hideous events which preceded the crime, one evening I saw in
the street a knot of working girls leaning over a newspaper,
admiring the clothes, the beauty, and "sorrowful expression" of
the unhappy heroine.  In the midst of the trial a woman whom I
had known for years came to talk to me about her daughter,
shamefacedly confessing that the girl was trying to dress and
look like the notorious girl in New York, and that she had even
said to her mother in a moment of defiance, "Some day I shall be
taken into court and then I shall dress just as Evelyn did and
face my accusers as she did in innocence and beauty."

If one makes calls on a Sunday afternoon in the homes of the
immigrant colonies near Hull-House, one finds the family absorbed
in the Sunday edition of a sensational daily newspaper, even
those who cannot read, quite easily following the comic
adventures portrayed in the colored pictures of the supplement or
tracing the clew of a murderer carefully depicted by a black line
drawn through a plan of the houses and streets.

Sometimes lessons in the great loyalties and group affections come
through life itself and yet in such a manner that one cannot but
deplore it.  During the teamsters' strike in Chicago several years
ago when class bitterness rose to a dramatic climax, I remember
going to visit a neighborhood boy who had been severely injured
when he had taken the place of a union driver upon a coal wagon.
As I approached the house in which he lived, a large group of boys
and girls, some of them very little children, surrounded me to
convey the exciting information that "Jack T. was a 'scab'," and
that I couldn't go in there.  I explained to the excited children
that his mother, who was a friend of mine, was in trouble, quite
irrespective of the way her boy had been hurt.  The crowd around
me outside of the house of the "scab" constantly grew larger and
I, finally abandoning my attempt at explanation, walked in only to
have the mother say: "Please don't come here.  You will only get
hurt, too." Of course I did not get hurt, but the episode left
upon my mind one of the most painful impressions I have ever
received in connection with the children of the neighborhood.  In
addition to all else are the lessons of loyalty and comradeship to
come to them as the mere reversals of class antagonism?  And yet
it was but a trifling incident out of the general spirit of
bitterness and strife which filled the city.

Therefore the residents of Hull-House place increasing emphasis
upon the great inspirations and solaces of literature and are
unwilling that it should ever languish as a subject for class
instruction or for reading parties.  The Shakespeare club has
lived a continuous existence at Hull-House for sixteen years
during which time its members have heard the leading interpreters
of Shakespeare, both among scholars and players.  I recall that
one of its earliest members said that her mind was peopled with
Shakespeare characters during her long hours of sewing in a shop,
that she couldn't remember what she thought about before she
joined the club, and concluded that she hadn't thought about
anything at all.  To feed the mind of the worker, to lift it above
the monotony of his task, and to connect it with the larger world,
outside of his immediate surroundings, has always been the object
of art, perhaps never more nobly fulfilled than by the great
English bard.  Miss Starr has held classes in Dante and Browning
for many years, and the great lines are conned with never failing
enthusiasm.  I recall Miss Lathrop's Plato club and an audience
who listened to a series of lectures by Dr. John Dewey on "Social
Psychology" as geniune intellectual groups consisting largely of
people from the immediate neighborhood, who were willing to make
"that effort from which we all shrink, the effort of thought." But
while we prize these classes as we do the help we are able to give
to the exceptional young man or woman who reaches the college and
university and leaves the neighborhood of his childhood behind
him, the residents of Hull-House feel increasingly that the
educational efforts of a Settlement should not be directed
primarily to reproduce the college type of culture, but to work
out a method and an ideal adapted to the immediate situation.
They feel that they should promote a culture which will not set
its possessor aside in a class with others like himself, but which
will, on the contrary, connect him with all sorts of people by his
ability to understand them as well as by his power to supplement
their present surroundings with the historic background.  Among
the hundreds of immigrants who have for years attended classes at
Hull-House designed primarily to teach the English language,
dozens of them have struggled to express in the newly acquired
tongue some of these hopes and longings which had so much to do
with their emigration.

A series of plays was thus written by a young Bohemian; essays by
a Russian youth, outpouring sorrows rivaling Werther himself and
yet containing the precious stuff of youth's perennial revolt
against accepted wrong; stories of Russian oppression and petty
injustices throughout which the desire for free America became a
crystallized hope; an attempt to portray the Jewish day of
Atonement, in such wise that even individualistic Americans may
catch a glimpse of that deeper national life which has survived
all transplanting and expresses itself in forms so ancient that
they appear grotesque to the ignorant spectator.  I remember a
pathetic effort on the part of a young Russian Jewess to describe
the vivid inner life of an old Talmud scholar, probably her uncle
or father, as of one persistently occupied with the grave and
important things of the spirit, although when brought into sharp
contact with busy and overworked people, he inevitably appeared
self-absorbed and slothful.  Certainly no one who had read her
paper could again see such an old man in his praying shawl bent
over his crabbed book, without a sense of understanding.

On the other hand, one of the most pitiful periods in the drama
of the much-praised young American who attempts to rise in life,
is the time when his educational requirements seem to have locked
him up and made him rigid.  He fancies himself shut off from his
uneducated family and misunderstood by his friends.  He is bowed
down by his mental accumulations and often gets no farther than
to carry them through life as a great burden, and not once does
he obtain a glimpse of the delights of knowledge.

The teacher in a Settlement is constantly put upon his mettle to
discover methods of instruction which shall make knowledge
quickly available to his pupils, and I should like here to pay my
tribute of admiration to the dean of our educational department,
Miss Landsberg, and to the many men and women who every winter
come regularly to Hull-House, putting untiring energy into the
endless task of teaching the newly arrived immigrant the first
use of a language of which he has such desperate need. Even a
meager knowledge of English may mean an opportunity to work in a
factory versus nonemployment, or it may mean a question of life
or death when a sharp command must be understood in order to
avoid the danger of a descending crane.

In response to a demand for an education which should be
immediately available, classes have been established and grown
apace in cooking, dressmaking, and millinery.  A girl who attends
them will often say that she "expects to marry a workingman next
spring," and because she has worked in a factory so long she
knows "little about a house." Sometimes classes are composed of
young matrons of like factory experiences.  I recall one of them
whose husband had become so desperate after two years of her
unskilled cooking that he had threatened to desert her and go
where he could get "decent food," as she confided to me in a
tearful interview, when she followed my advice to take the
Hull-House courses in cooking, and at the end of six months
reported a united and happy home.

Two distinct trends are found in response to these classes; the
first is for domestic training, and the other is for trade
teaching which shall enable the poor little milliner and
dressmaker apprentices to shorten the years of errand running
which is supposed to teach them their trade.

The beginning of trade instruction has been already evolved in
connection with the Hull-House Boys' club.  The ample Boys' club
building presented to Hull-House three years ago by one of our
trustees has afforded well-equipped shops for work in wood, iron,
and brass; for smithing in copper and tin; for commercial
photography, for printing, for telegraphy, and electrical
construction.  These shops have been filled with boys who are
eager for that which seems to give them a clew to the industrial
life all about them.  These classes meet twice a week and are
taught by intelligent workingmen who apparently give the boys
what they want better than do the strictly professional teachers.
While these classes in no sense provide a trade training, they
often enable a boy to discover his aptitude and help him in the
selection of what he "wants to be" by reducing the trades to
embryonic forms.  The factories are so complicated that the boy
brought in contact with them, unless he has some preliminary
preparation, is apt to become confused.  In pedagogical terms, he
loses his "power of orderly reaction" and is often so discouraged
or so overstimulated in his very first years of factory life that
his future usefulness is seriously impaired.

One of Chicago's most significant experiments in the direction of
correlating the schools with actual industry was for several years
carried on in a public school building situated near Hull-House,
in which the bricklayers' apprentices were taught eight hours a
day in special classes during the non-bricklaying season.  This
early public school venture anticipated the very successful
arrangement later carried on in Cincinnati, in Pittsburgh and in
Chicago itself, whereby a group of boys at work in a factory
alternate month by month with another group who are in school and
are thus intelligently conducted into the complicated processes of
modern industry.  But for a certain type of boy who has been
demoralized by the constant change and excitement of street life,
even these apprenticeship classes are too strenuous, and he has to
be lured into the path of knowledge by all sorts of appeals.

It sometimes happens that boys are held in the Hull-House classes
for weeks by their desire for the excitement of placing burglar
alarms under the door mats.  But to enable the possessor of even
a little knowledge to thus play with it, is to decoy his feet at
least through the first steps of the long, hard road of learning,
although even in this, the teacher must proceed warily.  A
typical street boy who was utterly absorbed in a wood-carving
class, abruptly left never to return when he was told to use some
simple calculations in the laying out of the points.  He
evidently scented the approach of his old enemy, arithmetic, and
fled the field.  On the other hand, we have come across many
cases in which boys have vainly tried to secure such
opportunities for themselves.  During the trial of a boy of ten
recently arrested for truancy, it developed that he had spent
many hours watching the electrical construction in a downtown
building, and many others in the public library "reading about
electricity." Another boy who was taken from school early, when
his father lost both of his legs in a factory accident, tried in
vain to find a place for himself "with machinery." He was
declared too small for any such position, and for four years
worked as an errand boy, during which time he steadily turned in
his unopened pay envelope for the use of the household.  At the
end of the fourth year the boy disappeared, to the great distress
of his invalid father and his poor mother whose day washings
became the sole support of the family.  He had beaten his way to
Kansas City, hoping "they wouldn't be so particular there about a
fellow's size." He came back at the end of six weeks because he
felt sorry for his mother who, aroused at last to a realization
of his unbending purpose, applied for help to the Juvenile
Protective Association.  They found a position for the boy in a
machine shop and an opportunity for evening classes.

Out of the fifteen hundred members of the Hull-House Boy's club,
hundreds seem to respond only to the opportunities for
recreation, and many of the older ones apparently care only for
the bowling and the billiards.  And yet tournaments and match
games under supervision and regulated hours are a great advance
over the sensual and exhausting pleasures to be found so easily
outside the club.  These organized sports readily connect
themselves with the Hull-House gymnasium and with all those
enthusiasms which are so mysteriously aroused by athletics.

Our gymnasium has been filled with large and enthusiastic classes
for eighteen years in spite of the popularity of dancing and other
possible substitutes, while the Saturday evening athletic contests
have become a feature of the neighborhood.  The Settlement strives
for that type of gymnastics which is at least partly a matter of
character, for that training which presupposes abstinence and the
curbing of impulse, as well as for those athletic contests in
which the mind of the contestant must be vigilant to keep the body
closely to the rules of the game.  As one sees in rhythmic motion
the slim bodies of a class of lads, "that scrupulous and
uncontaminate purity of form which recommended itself even to the
Greeks as befitting messengers from the gods, if such messengers
should come," one offers up in awkward prosaic form the very
essence of that old prayer, "Grant them with feet so light to pass
through life." But while the glory stored up for Olympian winners
was at the most a handful of parsley, an ode, fame for family and
city, on the other hand, when the men and boys from the Hull-House
gymnasium bring back their cups and medals, one's mind is filled
with something like foreboding in the reflection that too much
success may lead the winners into the professionalism which is so
associated with betting and so close to pugilism.  Candor,
however, compels me to state that a long acquaintance with the
acrobatic folk who have to do with the circus, a large number of
whom practice in our gymnasium every winter, has raised our
estimate of that profession.

Young people who work long hours at sedentary occupations,
factories and offices, need perhaps more than anything else the
freedom and ease to be acquired from a symmetrical muscular
development and are quick to respond to that fellowship which
athletics apparently affords more easily than anything else.  The
Greek immigrants form large classes and are eager to reproduce
the remnants of old methods of wrestling, and other bits of
classic lore which they still possess, and when one of the Greeks
won a medal in a wrestling match which represented the
championship of the entire city, it was quite impossible that he
should present it to the Hull-House trophy chest without a
classic phrase which he recited most gravely and charmingly.

It was in connection with a large association of Greek lads that
Hull-House finally lifted its long restriction against military
drill.  If athletic contests are the residuum of warfare first
waged against the conqueror without and then against the tyrants
within the State, the modern Greek youth is still in the first
stage so far as his inherited attitude against the Turk is
concerned.  Each lad believes that at any moment he may be called
home to fight this long-time enemy of Greece.  With such a
genuine motive at hand, it seemed mere affectation to deny the
use of our boys' club building and gymnasium for organized drill,
although happily it forms but a small part of the activities of
the Greek Educational Association.

Having thus confessed to military drill countenanced if not
encouraged at Hull-House, it is perhaps only fair to relate an
early experience of mine with the "Columbian Guards," and
organization of the World's Fair summer.  Although the Hull-House
squad was organized as the others were with the motto of a clean
city, it was very anxious for military drill.  This request not
only shocked my nonresistant principles, but seemed to afford an
opportunity to find a substitute for the military tactics which
were used in the boys' brigades everywhere, even in those
connected with churches.  As the cleaning of the filthy streets
and alleys was the ostensible purpose of the Columbian guards, I
suggested to the boys that we work out a drill with sewer spades,
which with their long narrow blades and shortened handles were
not so unlike bayoneted guns in size, weight, and general
appearance, but that much of the usual military drill could be
readapted.  While I myself was present at the gymnasium to
explain that it was nobler to drill in imitation of removing
disease-breeding filth than to drill in simulation of warfare;
while I distractedly readapted tales of chivalry to this modern
rescuing of the endangered and distressed, the new drill went
forward in some sort of fashion, but so surely as I withdrew, the
drillmaster would complain that our troops would first grow
self-conscious, then demoralized, and finally flatly refuse to go
on.  Throughout the years since the failure of this Quixotic
experiment, I occasionally find one of these sewer spades in a
Hull-House storeroom, too truncated to be used for its original
purpose and too prosaic to serve the purpose for which it was
bought.  I can only look at it in the forlorn hope that it may
foreshadow that piping time when the weapons of warfare shall be
turned into the implements of civic salvation.

Before closing this chapter on Socialized Education, it is only
fair to speak of the education accruing to the Hull-House
residents themselves during their years of living in what at least
purports to be a center for social and educational activity.

While a certain number of the residents are primarily interested
in charitable administration and the amelioration which can be
suggested only by those who know actual conditions, there are
other residents identified with the House from its earlier years
to whom the groups of immigrants make the historic appeal, and who
use, not only their linguistic ability, but all the resource they
can command of travel and reading to qualify themselves for
intelligent living in the immigrant quarter of the city.  I
remember one resident lately returned from a visit in Sicily, who
was able to interpret to a bewildered judge the ancient privilege
of a jilted lover to scratch the cheek of his faithless sweetheart
with the edge of a coin.  Although the custom in America had
degenerated into a knife slashing after the manner of foreign
customs here, and although the Sicilian deserved punishment, the
incident was yet lifted out of the slough of mere brutal assault,
and the interpretation won the gratitude of many Sicilians.

There is no doubt that residents in a Settlement too often move
toward their ends "with hurried and ignoble gait," putting forth
thorns in their eagerness to bear grapes.  It is always easy for
those in pursuit of ends which they consider of overwhelming
importance to become themselves thin and impoverished in spirit
and temper, to gradually develop a dark mistaken eagerness
alternating with fatigue, which supersedes "the great and
gracious ways" so much more congruous with worthy aims.

Partly because of this universal tendency, partly because a
Settlement shares the perplexities of its times and is never too
dogmatic concerning the final truth, the residents would be glad
to make the daily life at the Settlement "conform to every shape
and mode of excellence."

It may not be true

	"That the good are always the merry
	Save by an evil chance,"

but a Settlement would make clear that one need not be heartless
and flippant in order to be merry, nor solemn in order to be wise.
Therefore quite as Hull-House tries to redeem billiard tables from
the association of gambling, and dancing from the temptations of
the public dance halls, so it would associate with a life of
upright purpose those more engaging qualities which in the experience
of the neighborhood are too often connected with dubious aims.

Throughout the history of Hull-House many inquiries have been made
concerning the religion of the residents, and the reply that they
are as diversified in belief and in the ardor of the inner life as
any like number of people in a college or similar group, apparently
does not carry conviction.  I recall that after a house for men
residents had been opened on Polk Street and the residential force
at Hull-House numbered twenty, we made an effort to come together
on Sunday evenings in a household service, hoping thus to express
our moral unity in spite of the fact that we represented many
creeds.  But although all of us reverently knelt when the High
Church resident read the evening service and bowed our heads when
the evangelical resident led in prayer after his chapter, and
although we sat respectfully through the twilight when a resident
read her favorite passages from Plato and another from Abt Vogler,
we concluded at the end of the winter that this was not religious
fellowship and that we did not care for another reading club.  So
it was reluctantly given up, and we found that it was quite as
necessary to come together on the basis of the deed and our common
aim inside the household as it was in the neighborhood itself.  I
once had a conversation on the subject with the warden of Oxford
House, who kindly invited me to the evening service held for the
residents in a little chapel on the top floor of the Settlement.
All the residents were High Churchmen to whom the service was an
important and reverent part of the day.  Upon my reply to a query
of the warden that the residents of Hull-House could not come
together for religious worship because there were among us Jews,
Roman Catholics, English Churchmen, Dissenters, and a few
agnostics, and that we had found unsatisfactory the diluted form of
worship which we could carry on together, he replied that it must
be most difficult to work with a group so diversified, for he
depended upon the evening service to clear away any difficulties
which the day had involved and to bring the residents to a
religious consciousness of their common aim.  I replied that this
diversity of creed was part of the situation in American
Settlements, as it was our task to live in a neighborhood of many
nationalities and faiths, and that it might be possible that among
such diversified people it was better that the Settlement corps
should also represent varying religious beliefs.

A wise man has told us that "men are once for all so made that
they prefer a rational world to believe in and to live in," but
that it is no easy matter to find a world rational as to its
intellectual, aesthetic, moral, and practical aspects.  Certainly
it is no easy matter if the place selected is of the very sort
where the four aspects are apparently furthest from perfection,
but an undertaking resembling this is what the Settlement
gradually becomes committed to, as its function is revealed
through the reaction on its consciousness of its own experiences.
Because of this fourfold undertaking, the Settlement has gathered
into residence people of widely diversified tastes and interests,
and in Hull-House, at least, the group has been surprisingly
permanent.  The majority of the present corp of forty residents
support themselves by their business and professional occupations
in the city, giving only their leisure time to Settlement
undertakings.  This in itself tends to continuity of residence
and has certain advantages.  Among the present staff, of whom the
larger number have been in residence for more than twelve years,
there are the secretary of the City club, two practicing
physicians, several attorneys, newspapermen, businessmen,
teachers, scientists, artists, musicians, lecturers in the School
of Civics and Philanthropy, officers in The Juvenile Protective
Association and in The League for the Protection of Immigrants, a
visiting nurse, a sanitary inspector, and others.

We have also worked out during our years of residence a plan of
living which may be called cooperative, for the families and
individuals who rent the Hull-House apartments have the use of
the central kitchen and dining room so far as they care for them;
many of them work for hours every week in the studios and shops;
the theater and drawing-rooms are available for such social
organization as they care to form; the entire group of thirteen
buildings is heated and lighted from a central plant.  During the
years, the common human experiences have gathered about the
House; funeral services have been held there, marriages and
christenings, and many memories hold us to each other as well as
to our neighbors.  Each resident, of course, carefully defrays
his own expenses, and his relations to his fellow residents are
not unlike those of a college professor to his colleagues.  The
depth and strength of his relation to the neighborhood must
depend very largely upon himself and upon the genuine friendships
he has been able to make.  His relation to the city as a whole
comes largely through his identification with those groups who
are carrying forward the reforms which a Settlement neighborhood
so sadly needs and with which residence has made him familiar.

Life in the Settlement discovers above all what has been called
"the extraordinary pliability of human nature," and it seems
impossible to set any bounds to the moral capabilities which might
unfold under ideal civic and educational conditions.  But in order
to obtain these conditions, the Settlement recognizes the need of
cooperation, both with the radical and the conservative, and from
the very nature of the case the Settlement cannot limit its
friends to any one political party or economic school.

The Settlement casts side none of those things which cultivated
men have come to consider reasonable and goodly, but it insists
that those belong as well to that great body of people who,
because of toilsome and underpaid labor, are unable to procure
them for themselves.  Added to this is a profound conviction that
the common stock of intellectual enjoyment should not be
difficult of access because of the economic position of him who
would approach it, that those "best results of civilization" upon
which depend the finer and freer aspects of living must be
incorporated into our common life and have free mobility through
all elements of society if we would have our democracy endure.

The educational activities of a Settlement, as well its
philanthropic, civic, and social undertakings, are but differing
manifestations of the attempt to socialize democracy, as is the
very existence of the Settlement itself.



[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers.  Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Samantha M. Constant.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]





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