Hull House


The Women of Hull House
Click for a larger image and more information
Jane Addams
Ellen Gates Starr
Florence Kelley
Julia Lathrop
Alice Hamilton
Sophonisba Breckenridge

In 1889, Jane Addams and her friend, Ellen Gates Starr, founded Hull House, a settlement house, in a large home in Chicago. At the beginning, Hull House offered day care services, libraries, classes, and an employment bureau. By its second year alone, it served over two thousand people per week. Eventually, Hull House grew to encompass 13 buildings. By 1900, Hull House included a gymnasium, cooperative housing for working women, meeting space for trade union groups, and a pool.

Over the years, Hull House attracted some of the brightest women in the country as residents, and they formed a network of influential reformers who worked at the local, state, and national levels. In addition to Addams and Starr, Florence Kelley, Julia Lathrop, Alice Hamilton, and Sophonisba Breckinridge all resided at Hull House.

Hull House women began by undertaking sociological studies of neighborhood conditions, contributing to the development of sociology as a field. Reformers initiated programs to address poor working conditions, malnutrition, low wages, poor sanitation, and a host of other pressing problems. Eventually, Hull House reformers began to press the local and later the state government to pass reform legislation. Hull House women convinced Illinois to pass child labor laws, compulsory education laws, and laws protecting women and children. In addition, through the Chicago Women’s Club, women affiliated with Hull House spearheaded the creation of the first juvenile court in the nation.

Eventually, Hull House women turned their attention to national issues. Many, including Jane Addams and Florence Kelley, were active in the woman suffrage movement.

Pictures of Hull House
Hull House, Jane Addams Collection, Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Hull House Library, Jane Addams Collection, Swarthmore College Peace Collection

Hull House Nursery, Jane Addams Collection, Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Hull House Reception Room, Jane Addams Collection, Swarthmore College Peace Collection






Copyright © 2007 National Women's History Museum.