Against the Tide: Women Reformers in American Society

By Paul A. Cimbala; Randall M. Miller | Go to book overview

Jane Addams and the Settlement House Movement

LOUISE W. KNIGHT

Jane Addams's contemporaries hailed her as "the leader and prophet of the settlement movement in America" and the movement's "grandmother," and declared Hull House "the Mother House." 1 Such acknowledgments suggest the breadth of her influence but fail to convey its shallow depth. Although her views on settlement purpose and method were respected by those active in the movement, she was more often honored than imitated. This development, often the fate of prophets, was perhaps inevitable in a movement that valued settlement autonomy over conformity to any national definition or standard.

How does one sum up the settlement house movement? Although settlement workers launched or supported hundreds of local, state, and national reforms during the movement's peak years of 1893-1922, no single reform or set of reforms was distinctly identified with the settlement. Indeed, during these years the movement, or elements within it, campaigned for the entire Progressive reform agenda. That agenda included access for all Americans to excellent public education, protective labor laws for women and children, woman's suffrage, municipal reform, recreational facilities, affordable housing for low-income people, and city planning.

Yet the settlement movement was something more than the sum of the Progressive agenda. Although the movement was certainly a source of social reform ideas and social reformers, it was intended by its most visionary leaders as something more--as a reform in itself. The settlement was meant to be a new process by which public policy would be developed and social conditions improved.

An urban minister of the Anglican Church, Samuel A. Barnett, and his wife and fellow worker Henrietta Barnett, founded the world's first settlement, Toynbee Hall, in London in 1884. Believing that university men of the middle and

-85-

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Against the Tide: Women Reformers in American Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Catharine Beecher and Domestic Relations 1
  • Notes 16
  • Bibliography 17
  • Mary Ann Shadd Cary and Black Abolitionism 19
  • Notes 38
  • Bibliography 40
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Woman's Rights Movement 41
  • Notes 51
  • Bibliography 53
  • Dorothea Dix and Mental Health Reform 55
  • Notes 69
  • Bibliography 71
  • Frances Willard and Temperance 73
  • Notes 82
  • Bibliography 83
  • Jane Addams and the Settlement House Movement 85
  • Notes 97
  • Bibliography 98
  • Ida Wells-Barnett and the African-American Anti-Lynching Campaign 99
  • Notes 110
  • Bibliography 111
  • Jessie Daniel Ames and the White Women's Anti- Lynching Campaign 113
  • Notes 123
  • Bibliography 123
  • Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement 125
  • Notes 136
  • Bibliography 137
  • Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement 139
  • Notes 151
  • Bibliography 152
  • Betty Friedan and the National Organization for Women 153
  • Notes 164
  • Bibliography 165
  • Index 167
  • About the Editors and Contributors 171
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