Thanks to the Writer's Almanac for this September 6, 2019 entry:
"Today is the birthday of American social reformer Jane Addams (1860) (books by this author), who co-founded the Chicago settlement house, Hull-House, in 1889 when she was 29 years old. Addams was born into an affluent Quaker family in Cedarville, Illinois. Her father was a state senator and Addams led a life of privilege, but her childhood was beset by health problems at an early age: at four, she contracted tuberculosis of the spine, known as Pott’s disease, which caused a curvature in her spine that lasted throughout her life. She walked with a limp and thought herself ugly. She turned to literature to find her place in the world, especially the works of Charles Dickens.
She attended medical school in Philadelphia for only a year before spinal surgery and a nervous breakdown curtailed her studies. It was during a visit to London with her friend Ellen Gates Starr that she found her true calling. They visited Toynbee Hall, a facility established to help the poor of London, and decided to do the same for the poor immigrants of Chicago’s 19th Ward. They took over a run-down mansion built by Charles Hull, a real estate magnate, named it Hull-House, and, with a number of wealthy women as their donors, began offering services to the needy in the neighborhood. Eventually, Hull-House expanded to 10 buildings and offered a night school for adults, a public kitchen, gym, girls club, bathhouse, and music school. It was the first settlement house in Chicago and at its peak, served more than 2,000 people a week.
Addams believed that it was women’s duty to be “civic housekeepers.” She said: “America’s future will be determined by the home and the school. The child becomes largely what he is taught; hence, we must watch what we teach, and how we live.”
Jane Addams is responsible for the advent of social work as a profession in the United States, as well as the founding of the American Civil Liberties Union. She compiled her lectures on peace and pacifism into the book, Newer Ideas of Peace (1907), and became the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (1931)."