Jane Addams: Chicago's Pacifist

Our Purpose

<a href="/items/browse?advanced%5B0%5D%5Belement_id%5D=50&advanced%5B0%5D%5Btype%5D=is+exactly&advanced%5B0%5D%5Bterms%5D=Jane+Addams%2C+key+image">Jane Addams, key image</a>

Jane Addams, circa 1914, original at Library of Congress

“O meddler from Chicago! What have we E’er done, that you our gizzards thus should vex?”[1]

Jane Addams is commonly remembered as a tireless advocate for the poor and dispossessed.  In search of jobs and with hope for better lives for themselves and their families, men and women – mostly from the American South, Mexico, and Europe – were drawn by the hundreds of thousands to Chicago during Addams’ lifetime (1860 – 1935).  To serve the basic needs of immigrants, Addams’ and her fellow Illinoisan and life-long friend Ellen Gates Starr founded a settlement house on Chicago’s Near West Side, in 1889.  In its heyday, Hull-House comprised 13 buildings over a city block and offered a variety of services to the poor, from day care for working parents and job training and placement to programs in fine art, theater, and athletics.

This website is dedicated to Jane Addams’ lesser-known international peace advocacy before, during, and after World War One.  Together with her social work, Addams’ peace advocacy resulted in her having been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

The site’s main feature is a set of timelines. The principle timeline traces Addams’ emergence as a leader in the American and international peace movements, her efforts to promote a negotiated settlement of the war and to relieve hunger in war-torn Europe, and her quest to build a post-war world order comprised of institutions, both international and transnational, that would help to restore and keep the peace, promote prosperity, and ensure justice.  Included here are links to essays by Addams, newspaper articles, and primary documents. 

Concurrent timelines, which also include newspaper articles and primary documents, look at major parallel developments in the war on the Western Front, in American politics, and in Chicago – some of which inspired and directed Addams’ peace advocacy. 

In addition to the timelines, the site explores short essays on Addams’ pacifism and ideas about international relations, as well as her travels in Europe during and immediately after the war (in 1915 and 1918 specifically) to promote peace.  Finally, the site has a bibliography of Addams’ essays on peace, war, and world order and secondary research materials on Addams’ international peace advocacy.

[1] Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Jane Addams Papers on Microfilm, ed. Mary Lynn McCree Bryan (Ann Arbor, Mich: University Microfilms International, 1985), reel 45.