Jane Addams
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Laura Jane Addams (1860 - 1935)

Laura Jane (Jane) Addams
Born in Cedarville, Stephenson, Illinois, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Died at age 74 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United Statesmap
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Profile last modified | Created 27 Oct 2009
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Notables Project
Jane Addams is Notable.

Laura Jane Addams was an American settlement activist, reformer, social worker, sociologist, public administrator, and author.

Laura Jane Adams was born in 1860 in Cedarville, Illinois. She was the youngest daughter of John Addams and Sarah Weber. [1] Her father was a prominent Illinois statesman and friend of Abraham Lincoln.

As a young child Jane contracted tuberculosis of the spine. She underwent several experimental treatments in her twenties. She suffered from back pain most of her life. [2]

Rockford Seminary, Class of 1881, Jane Addams is holding umbrella

Although she wanted to attend an eastern school, Jane's father insisted she attend the Rockford Female Seminary (Now Rockford University) where he was a trustee. While there she was accepted into the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Academic Society. She was well regarded by her classmates who elected her class president and chose her to present the valedictory address in 1881.[3]

Hull House

Jane had hoped to study medicine but her ill health required her to end her studies. At the suggestion of her doctors, she took an extended trip to Europe. While in England, she and her friend, Ellen Gates Starr, visited Toynbee Hall, a settlement house for the poor in London. This is when she began to dream of starting her own settlement in Chicago.

In 1889 Jane and Ellen rented a large home built by Charles Hull at the corner of Halsted and Polk Streets. They went on fundraising tours and were able to convince several wealthy women to fund their project. Hull House, as it was known, gained a reputation for its innovative programs, which included child care, night school for adults, library, theatre, art gallery, public kitchen, as well as apartments.

Hull House

Social Reformer

Jane's work with the poor led her to champion for social change. She successfully campaigned to change child labor laws in Illinois, enact the first eight-hour work day for women, and establish the first juvenile court.

Jane was one of the early members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

She was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920. [4]

Jane Addams was vice-president of the National American Women's Suffrage Association from 1911-1914. She was so outspoken that then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover proclaimed Addams to be “the most dangerous woman in America." [5]

Delegation to the Women's Suffrage

World War I

When World War I broke out, Adams became chair of the Women's Peace Party. Her opposition to the war was unpopular with many and she was expelled by the Daughters of the American Revolution. President Hoover, however, was a fan and appointed her to tour on behalf of the Department of Food Administration to encourage food production and conservation. She often deviated from the script and used this opportunity to talk about the hunger of women and children around the world.[6]

Jane Adams, 1920

In 1931 Jane Adams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She was the first American woman to receive this honor. Her health prevented her from traveling to Oslo to receive it.

Jane Addams died in 1935. [7] Her funeral was held in the courtyard of Hull House. She is buried at Cedarville Cemetery, Cedarville, Stephenson County, Illinois, USA.

Monument to Jane Adams

1880 US Census

Cedarville, Stephenson, Illinois [8]

  • John Addams age 57, Miller, PA
  • Anna H. age 51, Keeping House, PA
  • Jennie age 19, daughter, Student, IL
  • George Haldenilan age 19, stepson, Student, IL
  • Mary Snyder age 20, servant, domestic servant, IL

1900 Us Census

Chicago, Illinois [9]

  • Jane Addams age 40, Sep 1859, IL; Halstead St, Hull House, Manager, IL/PA/PA
  • (several other unrelated residents listed)

1910 US Census

Chicago, Illinois [10]

  • Jane Addams age 49, IL, Hull House, Warden, IL/IL/IL
  • (several other unrelated residents listed)

1920 US Census

Chicago, Illinois [11]

  • Jane Addams age 59, IL, Own Account, Pres Social Settlement
  • (5 other unrelated residents listed)

1930 US Census

Chicago, Illinois [12]

  • Jane Addams age 59, IL, Own Account, Pres Social Settlement
  • (5 other unrelated residents listed)


  1. United States Census, 1870," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M6W8-CLG : 12 April 2016), Laura J Addams in household of John H Addams, Illinois, United States; citing p. 31, family 226, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 545,774.
  2. Jane Adams, Disability Studies, Temple U
  3. Jane Adams Class of 1881, Rockford University
  4. Women Who Put Women's Rights on the ACLU Agenda
  5. Jane Adams, Class of 1881
  6. Caring Globally, Jane Adams, World War I and International Hunger
  7. "Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N3W4-CJG : 27 December 2014), John H. Addams in entry for Jane Addams, 21 May 1935; Public Board of Health, Archives, Springfield; FHL microfilm 1,908,748.
  8. United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MXKK-6FM : 7 September 2017), Jennie Addams in household of John Addams, Cedarville, Stephenson, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district ED 169, sheet 16C, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0252; FHL microfilm 1,254,252.
  9. "United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MSQ9-28J : accessed 16 December 2018), Jane Addams, Precinct 20 Chicago city Ward 19, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 603, sheet 1B, family 6, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,269.
  10. Year: 1910; Census Place: Chicago Ward 19, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T624_261; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 0845; FHL microfilm: 1374274
  11. United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MJQ7-2KY : accessed 16 December 2018), Jane Addams, Chicago Ward 19, Cook (Chicago), Illinois, United States; citing ED 1085, sheet 6A, line 29, family 21, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 330; FHL microfilm 1,820,330.
  12. Year: 1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 19, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_330; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 1085; Image: 250

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