While perusing today's edition of the NY Times on-line, I happened to come across the following obituary (my severely edited version of much long text):
May 22, 1935
OBITUARY - Jane Addams A Foe of War and Need
Winner of Nobel Peace Prize
Her Whole Life Devoted to Relief of
Suffering and the Cause of Peace
Hull House Her Shrine
Work at Chicago Settlement Set Standards for Much Social Legislation
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
Miss Addams was born in Cedarville, Ill., on Sept. 6, 1860, of Quaker ancestry. Her father, John H. Addams, a friend of Abraham Lincoln, was a banker who served from 1854 to 1870 in the Illinois Senate. Lincoln's creed of the quality of men became Miss Addams's ideal as a child.
Miss Addams has been called "the greatest woman in the world," the "mother of social service," "the greatest woman internationalist" and the "first citizen of Chicago." More than a dozen universities, including Smith, Yale, Wisconsin and Chicago, recognized her achievements with honorary degrees and in May, 1931, Bryn Mawr bestowed upon her the M. Carey Thomas Prize of $5,000, awarded intermittently "to an American woman in recognition of eminent achievements."
On that occasion appreciation of her work came from President Hoover , President Masaryk of Czechoslovakia and English Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, who had been a visitor at Hull House on one of his trips to the United States. On May 2, 1935, only a few weeks before her death, Miss Addams was the guest of honor at a dinner in Washington, at which she was hailed as one of the greatest living women by Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Secretary (Harold) Ickes.
After she was graduated from Rockford College in 1881, Miss Addams went to London and there saw Toynbee Hall, the first settlement house in the world. Returning to the United States, she studied for a time in Philadelphia. In 1889, when she was 29 years old, Miss Addams and Miss Ellen Gates Starr, her friend, founded Hull House at 800 South Halsted Street, Chicago, "in the midst of horrid little houses" of the slums. Four years previously the stately red brick mansion had been built by Charles J. Hull on the outskirts of the city. By 1889, however, it stood in the heart of one of the most miserable neighborhoods of the city. At Hull House, in the squalid slums of Chicago's West Side, she blazed the trail for a scientific approach to the relief of poverty and suffering and was the parent of much of the social legislation of the last four decades. The owner, Miss Helen Culver, gave the two women a free leasehold to the house and later to the land about it, on which twelve additional buildings were built.
Miss Addams moved into Hull House in September, 1889, and it was her home thereafter. It was then between a saloon and an undertaking shop, and there was an annex to a factory in its rear. Thousands of the foreign born - Miss Addams always held welcoming arms to the strangers - including Poles, Jews, Russians, Italians, Greeks, Germans, Irish and Bohemians were welcomed there. Negroes were also cordially received.
Persons later to be famous lived there in those early days. Among them were Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Swope, who were married there, Mackenzie King, later Prime Minister of Canada, Francis Hackett, and Professor John Dewey, dean of American philosophers, and his family.
Hull House grew to be known as one of the largest and best-known of the nation's settlements. It commenced with the ordinary activities of children's clubs and free kindergartens and later it sponsored courses in languages, literature, music, painting, history, mathematics, elocution, dancing, wood-carving, pottery, metal work, bookbindery, dressmaking, lacework, cooking and basketwork. A labor museum was also established at Hull House. Dozens of clubs were organized to aid working women. A lunch room was opened, as was a nursery for the children of employed women. There was also a gymnasium, a natatorium, a penny savings bank, a lodging house, as well as a circulating library and an employment bureau.
In April, 1915, she helped to organize and became president of the Woman's International League for Peace and Freedom, then called the Woman's International Peace Congress, which she headed until 1929, when she became honorary international president. After the war declaration in April, 1917, she declared later that "the feelings of German-born Americans should have been considered before the United States entered the war." After the
war she presided at international conferences of the league in Zurich in 1919, in Vienna in 1921, in The Hague in 1922, in Washington in 1924, in Dublin in 1926 and at Prague in 1929.
She wrote two books on Hull House, the first, published in 1919, entitled "Twenty Years at
Hull-House" and the second, in 1930, entitled "The Second Twenty Years at Hull-House." In the first she told of the development of the settlement and in the second of her life outside, of her fight for peace, her expulsion from the D.A.R., the progress of women in India, of juvenile courts and of hundreds of other matters close to her heart.
She was the author, also, of "Democracy and Social Ethics," in 1902; "Newer Ideals of Peace,"1907; "The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets," 1910; "The Long Road of Women's Memory," 1916, and "Peace and Bread in Time of War," 1922. She also wrote articles on social and political reform.
While visiting Japan in 1923, Miss Addams underwent a serious operation. She never fully recovered her strength and on the very day of the announcement that she had won the Nobel Prize she entered Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for another operation.
You might want to contact the NY Times and get the full (somewhat long-winded) obit from them, although I believe I have extracted the major points in it.
Jane Addams seems to have had many connections with well-known persons of her time. Perhaps the personal papers and other collections of people such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Ramsay MacDonald, and Harold Ickes might cast more light on her personality.
Perhaps her friend Miss Starr has some descendants who can tell you more about Hull House. The family of Mr. Hull who built the house, or of the Culver woman who helped her develop the property, might know more facts as well.
I live in Canada. I am fascinated by the reference to our somewhat 'quixotic' Prime Minister William Lyon MacKenzie King, a life-long bachelor who ran the country between 1923 and 1948 and hobnobbed with Winston Churchill and FDR during WW II. In the 1970's it was suggested by some of his biographers that he may have run the country by consulting the spirit of his late mother and his deceased dog through a medium !