There are many biographies of the great Jane Addams, but our top picks are Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy and Jane Addams: Spirit in Action, both by Louise W. Knight. Also good are American Heroine: The Life and Legend of Jane Addams (Davis, 1973), and A Useful Woman: The Early Life of Jane Addams (Diliberto, 1999). Jane herself wrote several compelling classics, Twenty Years at Hull House, a free digital download, and The Second Twenty Years at Hull House, a great collection of stories. Her other noteworthy books include Newer Ideals of Peace, The Long Road of Woman’s Memory, and her tribute, My Friend, Julia Lathrop.
The reach and influence of the Hull House settlement movement is emblazoned across American social history. The original Hull House residence is on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), now the Jane Addams Hull House Museum. UIC also houses a Special Collection, including the above photo (photo by Wallace Kirkland, JAMC neg 607) and decades of Hull House yearbooks. The National Park Service tells the story of Hull House, and there is an extensive Jane Addams Papers Project by Ramapo College of New Jersey and Duke University. The Swarthmore College Peace Collection has a collection including a photo gallery of Jane Addams and Hull House. For young people, try this readaloud of The House that Jane Built
1893 World’s Columbian Exposition
The history-making World’s Fair took Chicago by storm for six months in 1893, reshaped the city’s landscape, brought electrification, and introduced the Ferris Wheel to the world. Its footprint is chronicled in the comprehensive Book of the Fair (Bancroft, 1893)Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (Bancroft, 1895), an extensive archive at the Newberry Library, a self-guided family tour through the Chicago History Museum. Fewer books tell of the colonialist presentation of non-Western peoples, or the limited but segregated role of black Americans. Ragtime was heard outside the Fair played by Scott Joplin. There was a notorious serial killer at the Fair, told in the bestselling book Devil in the White City.