Jane Addams, the Mother of Social Work


Jane Addams is the first American woman to be bestowed with the Nobel Peace Prize, which she was awarded in 1931. At age twenty-nine, Jane opened Hull House in Chicago in 1889 with her partner, Ellen Gates Starr. Hull House was a community within a building. Along with being a place for people to live, Hull House also included a day care, gym, college classes, a trade school, libraries, a community kitchen, and a playground for the children.

In 1910, Jane became the first female president of the National Conference for Social Work. She was also an activist, and worked hard to promote ideas like an eight-hour work day, fair housing, assistance for immigration, and worker’s compensation for injuries sustained at work. In her free time, she was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union, and participated in several committees to improve the lives of her neighbors, many of whom were immigrants.


Jane lived at Hull House from the time it opened in 1889 until her death in 1935. Though not still functioning in its former capacity, Hull House is still standing as a museum so visitors can learn about all the amazing things that exist in our culture today thanks to Jane Addams and her social advocacy.