THE CONSCIENCE OF AMERICA
JANE ADDAMS ( 1860-1935), compelled to abandon her plans to study medicine, because of a breakdown in health after her graduation from Rockford College, Illinois, was sent by her family to Europe for a two-year period of rest. By chance, she heard of Toynbee Hall, which had just been opened in London, and decided to visit it. This sincere effort on the part of fortunate people to share their lives with their less fortunate contemporaries made so deep an impression on her, as on so many other visitors in those early days at Toynbee Hall, that it caused her to devote her life to the establishment of a settlement in Chicago.
As a result of this decision, Hull House was opened through the efforts of her friend Ellen Gates Starr and of herself on the West Side of Chicago in January, 1889. Jane Addams freely devoted her unusual energies and gifts to its interests for the remainder of her life, a period of forty-five crowded years. She had the divine gift of style and a strong dramatic sense, giving her writing and speaking an appeal that easily reached international proportions. More perfectly than anyone else in this country, Jane Addams realized the ideal of the settlement worker set down by Canon Samuel A. Barnett, the founder of Toynbee Hall: "the helper and helped [should be] in friendly relations." She lived with the constantly shifting cultures of that changing West Side of Chicago, and loved them; she saw the beauty of their folklore behind the façade of misery and dirt