Addams, Jane

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Basic Biographical Information

Jane Addams was born in 1860 in Cedarville, Illinois (USA). Although her parents were attentive and wealthy, her early childhood was marked by family tragedy with the deaths of three of her siblings and the death of her mother when she was only two. Additionally, she had a congenital spinal defect, which compromised her health for the rest of her life.

Addams was educated in the United States and Europe. She graduated in 1881 from the Rockford Female Seminary. During a tour of England, she visited Toynbee Hall, a settlement house for underprivileged and neglected boys in London’s East End. Taking inspiration from this model, she and her close friend Ellen Starr cofounded Hull House in 1889 in Chicago, Illinois. After the establishment of the first settlement house in the United States, she continued to achieve numerous socially beneficial outcomes until her death by cancer in 1935.

Major Contributions