The eighth child in the family of a prosperous miller, Jane Addams was born in the prairie town of Cedarville in northern Illinois on September 6, 1860. Her mother died before she reached the age of three, and it was her father who played the major role in her early training. He was by conviction but not by affiliation a Quaker, an active citizen who served eight terms in the Illinois Senate and a man widely known in his state for his devotion to fine principles.
At the age of seventeen Jane Addams entered nearby Rockford Seminary, where she received a classical education and developed an interest in the biological sciences. After graduation in 1881 she went to Philadelphia to prepare herself for admission to the Woman's Medical College. Illness, complicated by a spinal defect and the shock of her father's death, forced her to break off her studies and to spend many months in bed. On the advice of doctors, in the fall of 1883 she went to Europe, where she spent two restless years in travel, expanding her interest in art, architecture, and languages.
During a second trip to Europe in 1887-1888Jane Addams