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Full text of "Twenty years at Hull-house, with autobiographical notes"

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TWENTY YEARS 
rlULL-HOUSE 




JANE ADDAMS 



EX DONO 

Richard J Nelson 

1978 



K7 

I'M] 



TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

WITH 

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOTES 






hS^><^°- 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

NEW YORK • BOSTON • CHICAGO 
SAN FRANCISCO 

MACMILLAN & CO., Limited 

LONDON • BOMBAY • CALCUTTA 
MELBOURNE 

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, Ltd. 

TORONTO 




Jane Addams. 



TWENTY YEARS AT 
HULL-HOUSE 

WITH 

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL 
NOTES 



BY 



JANE ADDAMS 

HULL-HOUSE, CHICAGO 

AUTHOR OF " DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL ETHICS," " NEWER 
IDEALS OF PEACE," "THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH 
AND THE CITY STREETS," ETC. 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY 
NORAH HAMILTON 

HULL-HOUSE, CHICAGO 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

1911 

^11 rights reserved 



Copyright, 1910, 
Bv THE PHILLIPS PUBLISHING COMPANY. 

Copyright, 1910, 
By the MACMILLAN COMPANY. 



Set up and electrotyped. Published November, 1910. Reprinted 
November, December, 1910 ; January, March, July, 1911. 



T^TorfooDti ^ress : 

J. 8. Gushing Co. — Berwick & Smith Go, 

Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 



TO 

THE MEMORY OF 
MY FATHER 



PREFACE 

Every preface is, I imagine, written after the 
book has been completed, and now that I have 
finished this volume I will state several difficulties 
which may put the reader upon his guard unless he 
too postpones the preface to the very last. 

Many times during the writing of these reminis- 
cences, I have become convinced that the task 
was undertaken all too soon. One's fiftieth year is 
indeed an impressive milestone at which one may 
well pause to take an accounting, but the people 
with whom I have so long journeyed have become 
so intimate a part of my lot that they cannot be 
written of either in praise or blame ; the public 
movements and causes with which I am still 
identified have become so endeared, some of them 
through their very struggles and failures, that it is 
difficult to discuss them. 

It has also been hard to determine what inci- 
dents and experiences should be selected for re- 
cital, and I have found that I might give an accurate 
report of each isolated event and yet give a totally 
misleading impression of the whole, solely by the 
selection of the incidents. For these reasons and 

many others I have found it difficult to make a 

vii 



viii PREFACE 

faithful record of the years since the autumn of 
1889 when without any preconceived social theo- 
ries or economic views, I came to live in an indus- 
trial district of Chicago. 

If the reader should inquire why the book was 
ever undertaken in the face of so many difficulties, 
in reply I could instance two purposes, only one of 
which in the language of organized charity, is 
"worthy." Because Settlements have multiplied 
so easily in the United States I hoped that a simple 
statement of an earlier effort, including the stress 
and storm, might be of value in their interpretation 
and possibly clear them of a certain charge of super- 
ficiality. The unworthy motive was a desire to 
start a "backfire," as it were, to extinguish two 
biographies of myself, one of which had been sub- 
mitted to me in outline, that made life in a Settle- 
ment all too smooth and charming. 

The earlier chapters present influences and per- 
sonal motives with a detail which will be quite 
unpardonable if they fail to make clear the per- 
sonality upon whom various social and industrial 
movements in Chicago reacted during a period of 
twenty years. No effort is made in the recital to 
separate my own history from that of Hull-House 
during the years when I was "launched deep into 
the stormy intercourse of human life " for, so far 
as a mind is pliant under the pressure of events and 
experiences, it becomes hard to detach it. 

It has unfortunately been necessary to abandon 



PREFACE ix 

the chronological order in favor of the topical, for 
during the early years at Hull-House, time seemed 
to afford a mere framework for certain lines of 
activity and I have found in writing this book, 
that after these activities have been recorded, I 
can scarcely recall the scaffolding. 

More than a third of the material in the book has 
appeared in The American Magazine, one chapter 
of it in McClure^s Magazine, and earlier statements 
of the Settlement motive, published years ago, 
have been utilized in chronological order because it 
seemed impossible to reproduce their enthusiasm. 

It is a matter of gratification to me that the book 
is illustrated from drawings made by Miss Norah 
Hamilton of Hull-House, and the cover designed by 
another resident, Mr. Frank Hazenplug. I am 
indebted for the making of the index and for many 
other services to Miss Clara Landsberg, also of 
Hull-House. 

If the conclusions of the whole matter are simi- 
lar to those I have already published at intervals 
during the twenty years at Hull-House, I can only 
make the defense that each of the earlier books was 
an attempt to set forth a thesis supported by ex- 
perience, whereas this volume endeavors to trace 
the experiences through which various conclusions 
were forced upon me. 



CONTENTS 



Preface . • . . • 

CHAPTER 

I. Earliest Impressions 

II. Influence of Lincoln 

III. Boarding-school Ideals 

IV. The Snare of Preparation 
V. First Days at Hull-House 

VI. The Subjective Necessity for Social Settlements 

VII. Some Early Undertakings at Hull-House 

VIII. Problems of Poverty 

IX. A Decade of Economic Discussion 

X. Pioneer Labor Legislation in Illinci 

XI. Immigrants and their Children 

XII. TOLSTOYISM .... 

XIII. Public Activities and Investigations 

XIV. Civic Cooperation . 
XV. The Value of Social Clubs 

XVI. Arts at Hull-House 

XVII. Echoes of the Russian Revolution 

XVIII. Socialized Education 



PAGB 

vii 

I 

23 

43 

65 

89 

113 
129 

154 

177 

198 

231 

259 

281 

310 

342 

371 
400 

427 



XI 



PLATES 



Jane Addams, from a photograph taken in 1899 



John H. Addams, from a photograph taken in 1880 



aken 



in 1906 



Ellen Gates Starr, from a photograph 

A Hull-House Interior 

A View from a Hull-House Window 

A Spent Old Man . 

Sweatshop Workers 

Chicago River at Halsted Street 

Polk Street opposite Hull-House 

Julia C. Lathrop 

A Studio in Hull-House Court . 

A View between Hull-House Gymnasium and Theater 



Frontispiece 

FACING PAGE 
22 

64 

88 
1 12 

154 
198 

258 

280 

310 

370 
426 



xm 



ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT 



Birthplace, Jane Addams, Cedarville, Illinois 

Jane Addams, aged Seven, from a Photograph of 1867 

Mill at Cedarville, Illinois 

Stream at Cedarville, Illinois 

Old Abe .... 

Rockford College, Rockford, Illinois 

Porto del Popolo, Rome . 

View of St. Peter's 

Polk Street opposite Hull-House 

South Halsted Street opposite Hull-House 

Consulting the Hull-House Bulletin Board, from a Photograph 

by Lewis W. Hine . 
A Boys' Club Member . 
An Italian Woman with Grandchild 
Portrait, Jane Addams, from a Charcoal Drawing by Alice Kel 

logg Tyler of 1892 . 

Main Entrance to Hull-House . 

Head of Slavic Woman 

Head of Italian Woman . 

A Doorway in Hull-House Court 

Woman and Child in Hull-House Reception Room 

XV 



PAGE 

4 

7 

10 

22 
42 

44 
76 

88 

95 
96 

104 
105 
1 1 1 

114 

128 

134 
135 
149 

154 



xvl ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT 



In a Tenement House, Sick Mother and Children . 

A Row of Nursery Babies .... 

A Neighborhood Alley 

Hull-House on Halsted Street, Apartment House in Foreground 

An Italian Sweatshop Worker .... 

Out of Work, from a Drawing by Alice Kellogg Tyler 

Head of Immigrant Woman .... 

Aniello ...... 

Irish Spinner in the Hull-House Labor Museum . 

Scandinavian Weaver in the Hull-House Labor Museum 

Italian Spinner in the Hull-House Labor Museum , 

An Italian Grocery opposite Hull-House 

Sketches of Tolstoy Mowing .... 

Head of Russian Immigrant . * . 

Rear Tenement in Hull-House Neighborhood 

An Alley near Hull-House .... 

A View from Hull-House Window . 
Alley between Hull-House Buildings . 
A Window in the Hull-House Library 
An Italian Mother and Child .... 

Fa9ade of Bowen Hall ..... 

A Club Child listening to a Story 
In the Hull-House Studio, from a Photograph by Lewis W 
Hine ....... 

Exterior Hull-House Music School 
In the Hull-House Music School 
Terrace in the Hull-House Court 
South Halsted Street 



164 
168 
181 

197 
208 
220 
226 

235 
238 

-39 
241 

258 

271 

275 

282 

293 

3H 
321 

346 

354 

3^3 

367 

374 
379 
383 
398 
401 



ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT xvii 



PAGE 



Russian Immigrant on Halsted Street, from a Photograph by 

Lewis W. Hine . . . , . . .416 

Entrance to Hull-House Courtyard ..... 426 

Boy at Forge, Hull-House Boys' Club, from a Photograph by 

Lewis W. Hine . . . , . , ,439 

Steps to Hull-House Terrace ...... 447 

Waiting in the Hull-House Hall . . , . -453 



TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

CHAPTER I 

Earliest Impressions 

On the theory that our genuine impulses may 
be connected with our childish experiences, that 
one's bent may be tracked back to that ''No- 
Man's Land" where character is formless but 
nevertheless settling into definite lines of future 
development, I begin this record with some im- 
pressions of my childhood. 

All of these are directly connected with my 
father, although of course I recall many experiences 
apart from him. I was one of the younger mem- 
bers of a large family and an eager participant in 
the village life, but because my father was so dis- 
tinctly the dominant influence and because it is 
quite impossible to set forth all of one's early im- 
pressions, it has seemed simpler to string these 
first memories on that single cord. Moreover, it 
was this cord which not only held fast my supreme 
affection, but also first drew me into the moral 
concerns of life, and later afforded a clew there to. 



2 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

which I somewhat wistfully clung in the intricacy 
of its mazes. 

It must have been from a very early period that 
I recall "horrid nights" when I tossed about in 
my bed because I had told a lie. I was held in the 
grip of a miserable dread of death, a double fear, 
first, that I myself should die in my sins and go 
straight to that fiery Hell which was never men- 
tioned at home, but which I had heard all about 
from other children, and, second, that my father — 
representing the entire adult world which I had 
basely deceived — should himself die before I had 
time to tell him. My only method of obtaining 
relief was to go downstairs to my father's room 
and make full confession. The high resolve to do 
this would push me out of bed and carry me 
down the stairs without a touch of fear. But at 
the foot of the stairs I would be faced by the awful 
necessity of passing the front door — which my 
father, because of his Quaker tendencies, did not 
lock — and of crossing the wide and black expanse 
of the living room in order to reach his door. I 
would invariably cling to the newel post while 
I contemplated the perils of the situation, compli- 
cated by the fact that the literal first step meant 
putting my bare foot upon a piece of oilcloth in 
front of the door, only a few inches wide, but lying 
straight in my path. I would finally reach my 
father's bedside perfectly breathless and, having 
panted out the history of my sin, invariably re- 



EARLIEST IMPRESSIONS 3 

ceived the same assurance that if he ''had a little 
girl who told lies," he was very glad that she ''felt 
too bad to go to sleep afterwards." No absolu- 
tion was asked for nor received, but apparently the 
sense that the knowledge of my wickedness was 
shared, or an obscure understanding of the affec- 
tion which underlay the grave statement, was 
sufficient, for I always went back to bed as bold as 
a lion, and slept, if not the sleep of the just, at least 
that of the comforted. 

I recall an incident which must have occurred 
before I was seven years old, for the mill in which 
my father transacted his business that day was 
closed in 1867. The mill stood in the neighbor- 
ing town adjacent to its poorest quarter. Before 
then I had always seen the little city of ten 
thousand people with the admiring eyes of a 
country child, and it had never occurred to me that 
all its streets were not as bewilderingly attrac- 
tive as the one which contained the glittering 
toyshop and the confectioner. On that day I had 
my first sight of the poverty which implies squalor, 
and felt the curious distinction between the ruddy 
poverty of the country and that which even a 
small city presents in its shabbiest streets. I 
remember launching at my father the pertinent 
inquiry why people lived in such horrid little houses 
so close together, and that after receiving his ex- 
planation I declared with much firmness when I 
grew up I should, of course, have a large house, 



4 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 
















1 r-i-»-«r;j;j53-r"^,s^:^!as. 



V-. 









J I '% 






\ 



I 
i 



- u 



Homestead at Cedarville. 



EARLIEST IMPRESSIONS s 

but It would not be built among the other large 
houses, but right in the midst of horrid little 
houses like these. 

That curious sense of responsibility for carrying 
on the world's affairs which little children often 
exhibit because "the old man clogs our earliest 
years," I remember in myself in a very absurd 
manifestation. I dreamed night after night that 
every one in the world was dead excepting myself, 
and that upon me rested the responsibility of 
making a wagon wheel. The village street re- 
mained as usual, the village blacksmith shop was 
"all there," even a glowing fire upon the forge and 
the anvil in its customary place near the door, but 
no human being was within sight. They had all 
gone around the edge of the hill to the village ceme- 
tery, and I alone remained alive in the deserted 
world. I always stood in the same spot in the 
blacksmith shop, darkly pondering as to how to 
begin, and never once did I know how, although I 
fully realized that the affairs of the world could not 
be resumed until at least one wheel should be made 
and something started. Every victim of night- 
mare is, I imagine, overwhelmed by an excessive 
sense of responsibility and the consciousness of a 
fearful handicap in the effort to perform what is 
required ; but perhaps never were the odds more 
heavily against "a warder of the world" than in 
these reiterated dreams of mine, doubtless com- 
pounded in equal parts of a childish version of 



6 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Robinson Crusoe and of the end-of-the-world pre- 
dictions of the Second Adventists, a few of whom 
were found in the village. The next morning would 
often find me, a delicate little girl of six, with the 
further disability of a curved spine, standing in the 
doorway of the village blacksmith shop, anxiously 
watching the burly, red-shirted figure at work. I 
would store my mind with such details of the process 
of making wheels as I could observe, and some- 
times I plucked up courage to ask for more. "Do 
you always have to sizzle the iron in water .^" 
I would ask, thinking how horrid it would be to do. 
"Sure !" the good-natured blacksmith would reply, 
"that makes the iron hard." I would sigh heavily 
and walk away, bearing my responsibility as best 
I could, and this of course I confided to no one, for 
there is something too mysterious in the burden of 
"the winds that come from the fields of sleep" to 
be communicated, although it is at the same time 
too heavy a burden to be borne alone. 

My great veneration and pride in my father 
manifested itself in curious ways. On several 
Sundays, doubtless occurring in two or three 
different years, the Union Sunday School of the 
village was visited by strangers, some of those 
"strange people" who live outside a child's realm, 
yet constantly thrill it by their close approach. 
My father taught the large Bible class in the left- 
hand corner of the church next to the pulpit, and 
to my eyes at least, was a most imposing figure in 



EARLIEST IMPRESSIONS 



his Sunday frock coat, his fine head rising high 
above all the others. I imagined that the stran- 
gers were filled with admiration for this dignified 
person, and I prayed with all my heart that the 
ugly, pigeon-toed little girl, whose crooked back 
obliged her to 
walk with her 
head held very 
much upon one 
side, would never 
be pointed out to 
these visitors as 
the daughter of 
this fine man. In 
order to lessen 
the possibility of 
a connection 
being made, on 
these particular 
Sundays I did not 
walk beside my 
father, although 
this walk was the 

great event of the week, but attached myself firmly 
to the side of my Uncle James Addams, in the hope 
that I should be mistaken for his child, or at least 
that I should not remain so conspicuously unat- 
tached that troublesome questions might identify 
an Ugly Duckling with her imposing parent. My 
uncle, who had many children of his own, must 




8 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

have been mildly surprised at this unwonted atten- 
tion, but he would look down kindly at me, and say, 
"So you are going to walk with me to-day?" 
''Yes, please. Uncle James," would be my meek 
reply. He fortunately never explored my motives, 
nor do I remember that my father ever did, so that 
in all probability my machinations have been safe 
from public knowledge until this hour. 

It is hard to account for the manifestations of a 
child's adoring affection, so emotional, so irrational, 
so tangled with the affairs of the imagination. I 
simply could not endure the thought that "strange 
people" should know that my handsome father 
owned this homely little girl. But even in my 
chivalric desire to protect him from his fate, I was 
not quite easy in the sacrifice of my uncle, although 
I quieted my scruples with the reflection that the 
contrast was less marked and that, anyway, his 
own little girl "was not so very pretty." I do not 
know that I commonly dwelt much upon my 
personal appearance, save as it thrust itself as an 
incongruity into my father's life, and in spite of 
unending evidence to the contrary, there were 
even black moments when I allowed myself to 
speculate as to whether he might not share the 
feeling. Happily, however, this specter was laid 
before it had time to grow into a morbid familiar 
by a very trifling incident. One day I met my 
father coming out of his bank on the main street 
of the neighboring city which seemed to me a 



EARLIEST IMPRESSIONS 9 

veritable whirlpool of society and commerce. 
With a playful touch of exaggeration, he lifted his 
high and shining silk hat and made me an imposing 
bow. This distinguished public recognition, this 
totally unnecessary identification among a mass of 
''strange people" who couldn't possibly know un- 
less he himself made the sign, suddenly filled me 
with a sense of the absurdity of the entire feeling. 
It may not even then have seemed as absurd as it 
really was, but at least it seemed enough so to 
collapse or to pass into the limbo of forgotten 
specters. 

I made still other almost equally grotesque 
attempts to express this doglike affection. The 
house at the end of the village in which I was born, 
and which was my home until I moved to Hull- 
House, in my earliest childhood had opposite to 
it — only across the road and then across a little 
stretch of greensward — two mills belonging to my 
father; one flour mill, to which the various grains 
were brought by the neighboring farmers, and one 
sawmill, in which the logs of the native timber were 
sawed into lumber. The latter offered the great 
excitement of sitting on a log while it slowly ap- 
proached the buzzing saw which was cutting it 
into slabs, and of getting off just in time to escape 
a sudden and gory death. But the flouring mill 
was much more beloved. It was full of dusky, 
floury places which we adored, of empty bins in 
which we might play house; it had a basement, 



lo TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 




Mill at Cedarville. 



EARLIEST IMPRESSIONS ii 

with piles of bran and shorts which were almost as 
good as sand to play in, whenever the miller let 
us wet the edges of the pile with water brought in 
his sprinkling pot from the mill-race. 

In addition to these fascinations was the associa- 
tion of the mill with my father's activities, for doubt- 
less at that time I centered upon him all that care- 
ful imitation which a little girl ordinarily gives to 
her mother's ways and habits. My mother had 
died when I was a baby and my father's second 
marriage did not occur until my eighth year. 

I had a consuming ambition to possess a miller's 
thumb, and would sit contentedly for a long time 
rubbing between my thumb and fingers the ground 
wheat as it fell from between the millstones, before 
it was taken up on an endless chain of mysterious 
little buckets to be bolted into flour. I believe 
I have never since wanted anything more desper- 
ately than I wanted my right thumb to be flat- 
tened, as my father's had become, during his earlier 
years of a miller's life. Somewhat discouraged by 
the slow process of structural modification, I also 
took measures to secure on the backs of my hands 
the tiny purple and red spots which are always 
found on the hands of the miller who dresses mill- 
stones. The marks on my father's hands had grown 
faint, but were quite visible when looked for, and 
seemed to me so desirable that they must be pro- 
cured at all costs. Even when playing in our house 
or yard, I could always tell when the millstones were 



12 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

being dressed, because the rumbling of the mill 
then stopped, and there were few pleasures I 
would not instantly forego, rushing at once to the 
mill, that I might spread out my hands near the 
millstones in the hope that the little hard flints 
flying from the miller's chisel would light upon their 
backs and make the longed-for marks. I used 
hotly to accuse the German miller, my dear friend 
Ferdinand, ''of trying not to hit my hands," but he 
scornfully replied that he could not hit them if he 
did try, and that they were too little to be of use 
in a mill anyway. Although I hated his teasing, 
I never had the courage to confess my real purpose. 
This sincere tribute of imitation, which affec- 
tion offers to its adored object, had later, I 
hope, subtler manifestations, but certainly these 
first ones were altogether genuine. In this case, 
too, I doubtless contributed my share to that 
stream of admiration which our generation so 
generously poured forth for the self-made man. I 
was consumed by a wistful desire to apprehend the 
hardships of my father's earlier life in that far- 
away time when he had been a miller's apprentice. 
I knew that he still woke up punctually at three 
o'clock because for so many years he had taken his 
turn at the mill in the early morning, and if by 
chance I awoke at the same hour, as curiously 
enough I often did, I imagined him in the early 
dawn in my uncle's old mill reading through the 
entire village library, book after book, beginning 



EARLIEST IMPRESSIONS 13 

with the lives of the signers of the Declaration of 
Independence. Copies of the same books, mostly 
bound in calfskin, were to be found in the library 
below, and I courageously resolved that I too would 
read them all and try to understand life as he did. 
I did in fact later begin a course of reading in the 
early morning hours, but I was caught by some 
fantastic notion of chronological order and early 
legendary form. Pope's translation of the ''Iliad," 
even followed by Dryden's "Virgil," did not leave 
behind the residuum of wisdom for which I longed, 
and I finally gave them up for a thick book entitled 
"The History of the World" as affording a shorter 
and an easier path. 

Although I constantly confided my sins and per- 
plexities to my father, there are only a few occa- 
sions on which I remember having received direct 
advice or admonition ; it may easily be true, how- 
ever, that I have forgotten the latter, in the 
manner of many seekers after advice who enjoy- 
ably set forth their situation but do not really 
listen to the advice itself, I can remember an 
admonition on one occasion, however, when, as a 
little girl of eight years, arrayed in a new cloak, 
gorgeous beyond anything I had ever worn before, 
I stood before my father for his approval. I was 
much chagrined by his remark that it was a very 
pretty cloak — in fact so much prettier than any 
cloak the other little girls in the Sunday School 
had, that he would advise me to wear my old cloak, 



14 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

which would keep me quite as warm, with the 
added advantage of not making the other little 
girls feel badly. I complied with the request 
but I fear without inner consent, and I certainly 
was quite without the joy of self-sacrifice as I 
walked soberly through the village street by the 
side of my counselor. My mind was busy, how- 
ever, with the old question eternally suggested 
by the inequalities of the human lot. Only as we 
neared the church door did I venture to ask what 
could be done about it, receiving the reply that it 
might never be righted so far as clothes went, 
but that people might be equal in things that 
mattered much more than clothes, the affairs of 
education and religion, for instance, which we 
attended to when we went to school and church, and 
that it was very stupid to wear the sort of clothes 
that made it harder to have equality even there. 
It must have been a little later when I held a 
conversation with my father upon the doctrine of 
foreordination, which at one time very much per- 
plexed my childish mind. After setting the diffi- 
culty before him and complaining that I could not 
make it out, although my best friend "understood 
it perfectly," I settled down to hear his argument, 
having no doubt that he could make it quite clear. 
To my delighted surprise, for any intimation that 
our minds were on an equality lifted me high indeed, 
he said that he feared that he and I did not have the 
kind of mind that would ever understand fore- 



EARLIEST IMPRESSIONS 15 

ordination very well and advised me not to give 
too much time to it ; but he then proceeded to say 
other things of which the final impression left upon 
my mind was, that it did not matter much whether 
one understood foreordination or not, but that it 
was very important not to pretend to understand 
what you didn't understand and that you must 
always be honest with yourself inside, whatever 
happened. Perhaps on the whole as valuable a 
lesson as the shorter catechism itself contains. 

My memory merges this early conversation on 
religious doctrine into one which took place years 
later when I put before my father the situation in 
which I found myself at boarding school when 
under great evangelical pressure, and once again I 
heard his testimony In favor of "mental integrity 
above everything else." 

At the time we were driving through a piece of 
timber in which the wood choppers had been at 
work during the winter, and so earnestly were we 
talking that he suddenly drew up the horses to 
find that he did not know where he was. We were 
both entertained by the incident, I that my father 
had been "lost in his own timber" so that various 
cords of wood must have escaped his practiced eye, 
and he on his side that he should have become so 
absorbed in this maze of youthful speculation. We 
were In high spirits as we emerged from the tender 
green of the spring woods Into the clear light of 
day, and as we came back into the main road I 
categorically asked him : — 



1 6 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

"What are you ? What do you say when people 
ask you ?" 

His eyes twinkled a little as he soberly replied : 

"I am a Quaker." 

"But that isn't enough to say," I urged. 

"Very well," he added, "to people who insist 
upon details, as some one is doing now, I add that 
I am a Hicksite Quaker ; " and not another word 
on the weighty subject could I induce him to utter. 

These early recollections are set in a scene of 
rural beauty, unusual at least for Illinois. The 
prairie round the village was broken into hills, one 
of them crowned by pine woods, grown up from a 
bag full of Norway pine seeds sown by my father 
in 1844, the very year he came to Illinois, a testi- 
mony perhaps that the most vigorous pioneers 
gave at least an occasional thought to beauty. 
The banks of the mill stream rose into high bluffs 
too perpendicular to be climbed without skill, 
and containing caves of which one at least was so 
black that it could not be explored without the aid 
of a candle ; and there was a deserted limekiln 
which became associated in my mind with the 
unpardonable sin of Hawthorne's "Lime-Burner." 
My stepbrother and I carried on games and cru- 
sades which lasted week after week, and even sum- 
mer after summer, as only free-ranging country 
children can do. It may be in contrast to this 
that one of the most piteous aspects in the life of 
city children, as I have seen it in the neighborhood 



EARLIEST IMPRESSIONS 17 

of Hull-House, is the constant interruption to their 
play which is inevitable on the streets, so that it 
can never have any continuity, — the most elabo- 
rate "plan or chart" or "fragment from their dream 
of human life" is sure to be rudely destroyed by the 
passing traffic. Although they start over and over 
again, even the most vivacious become worn out 
at last and take to that passive "standing 'round" 
varied by rude horse-play, which in time becomes 
so characteristic of city children. 

We had of course our favorite places and trees 
and birds and flowers. It is hard to reproduce the 
companionship which children establish with na- 
ture, but certainly it is much too unconscious and 
intimate to come under the head of aesthetic appre- 
ciation or anything of the sort. When we said 
that the purple wind-flowers — the anemone pat- 
ens — "looked as if the winds had made them," 
we thought much more of the fact that they were 
wind-born than that they were beautiful : we 
clapped our hands in sudden joy over the soft 
radiance of the rainbow, but its enchantment lay 
in our half belief that a pot of gold was to be found 
at its farther end ; we yielded to a soft melancholy 
when we heard the whippoorwill in the early twi- 
light, but while he aroused in us vague longings of 
which we spoke solemnly, we felt no beauty in his call. 

We erected an altar beside the stream, to which 
for several years we brought all the snakes we killed 
during our excursions, no matter how long the toil- 



1 8 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

some journey which we had to make with a limp 
snake dangling between two sticks. I remember 
rather vaguely the ceremonial performed upon this 
altar one autumn day, when we brought as further 
tribute one out of every hundred of the black wal- 
nuts which we had gathered, and then poured over 
the whole a pitcher full of cider, fresh from the 
cider mill on the barn floor. I think we had also 
burned a favorite book or two upon this pyre of 
stones. The entire affair carried on with such 
solemnity was probably the result of one of those 
imperative impulses under whose compulsion chil- 
dren seek a ceremonial which shall express their 
sense of identification with man's primitive life 
and their familiar kinship with the remotest past. 

Long before we had begun the study of Latin 
at the village school, my brother and I had 
learned the Lord's Prayer in Latin out of an old 
copy of the Vulgate, and gravely repeated it every 
night in an execrable pronunciation because it 
seemed to us more religious than "plain English." 

When, however, I really prayed, what I saw be- 
fore my eyes was a most outrageous picture which 
adorned a song-book used in Sunday School, por- 
traying the Lord upon His throne surrounded by 
tiers and tiers of saints and angels all in a blur of 
yellow. I am ashamed to tell how old I was when 
that picture ceased to appear before my eyes, espe- 
cially when moments of terror compelled me to 
ask protection from the heavenly powers. 



EARLIEST IMPRESSIONS 19 

I recall with great distinctness my first direct 
contact with death when I was fifteen years old : 
Polly was an old nurse who had taken care of my 
mother and had followed her to frontier Illinois to 
help rear a second generation of children. She 
had always lived in our house, but made annual 
visits to her cousins on a farm a few miles north 
of the village. During one of these visits, word 
came to us one Sunday evening that Polly was 
dying, and for a number of reasons I was the only 
person able to go to her. I left the lamp-lit, warm 
house to be driven four miles through a blinding 
storm which every minute added more snow to the 
already high drifts, with a sense of starting upon a 
fateful errand. An hour after my arrival all of 
the cousin's family went downstairs to supper, and 
I was left alone to watch with Polly. The square, 
old-fashioned chamber in the lonely farmhouse 
was very cold and still, with nothing to be heard 
but the storm outside. Suddenly the great change 
came. I heard a feeble call of ''Sarah," my 
mother's name, as the dying eyes were turned upon 
me, followed by a curious breathing and in place 
of the face familiar from my earliest childhood and 
associated with homely household cares, there 
lay upon the pillow strange, august features, 
stern and withdrawn from all the small affairs of 
life. That sense of solitude, of being unsheltered 
in a wide world of relentless and elemental forces 
which is at the basis of childhood's timidity and 



20 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

which is far from outgrown at fifteen, seized me 
irresistibly before I could reach the narrow stairs 
and summon the family from below. 

As I was driven home in the winter storm, the 
wind through the trees seemed laden with a pass- 
ing soul and the riddle of life and death pressed 
hard ; once to be young, to grow old and to die, 
everything came to that, and then a mysterious 
journey out into the Unknown. Did she mind far- 
ing forth alone ? Would the journey perhaps end in 
something as familiar and natural to the aged and 
dying as life is to the young and living ^ Through 
all the drive and indeed throughout the night 
these thoughts were pierced by sharp worry, a 
sense of faithlessness because I had forgotten the 
text Polly had confided to me long before as the 
one from which she wished her funeral sermon to 
be preached. My comfort as usual finally came from 
my father, who pointed out what was essential and 
what was of little avail even in such a moment as this, 
and while he was much too wise to grow dogmatic 
upon the great theme of death, I felt a new fellow- 
ship with him because we had discussed it together. 

Perhaps I may record here my protest against 
the efforts, so often made, to shield children and 
young people from all that has to do with death and 
sorrow, to give them a good time at all hazards on 
the assumption that the ills of life will come soon 
enough. Young people themselves often resent 
this attitude on the part of their elders ; they feel 



EARLIEST IMPRESSIONS 21 

set aside and belittled as if they were denied the 
common human experiences. They too wish to 
climb steep stairs and to eat their bread with tears, 
and they imagine that the problems of existence which 
so press upon them in pensive moments would be 
less insoluble in the light of these great happenings. 
An incident which stands out clearly in my mind 
as an exciting suggestion of the great world of 
moral enterprise and serious undertakings must 
have occurred earlier than this, for in 1872, when I 
was not yet twelve years old, I came into my 
father's room one morning to find him sitting beside 
the fire with a newspaper in his hand, looking very 
solemn ; and upon my eager inquiry what had 
happened, he told me that Joseph Mazzini was 
dead. I had never even heard Mazzini's name, 
and after being told about him I was inclined to 
grow argumentative, asserting that my father did 
not know him, that he was not an American, and 
that I could not understand why we should be 
expected to feel badly about him. It is impos- 
sible to recall the conversation with the complete 
breakdown of my cheap arguments, but in the end 
I obtained that which I have ever regarded as a 
valuable possession, a sense of the genuine relation- 
ship which may exist between men who share large 
hopes and like desires, even though they differ in 
nationality, language, and creed ; that those things 
count for absolutely nothing between groups of 
men who are trying to abolish slavery in America 



22 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

or to throw off Hapsburg oppression in Italy. At 
any rate, I was heartily ashamed of my meager 
notion of patriotism, and I came out of the room 
exhilarated with the consciousness that impersonal 
and international relations are actual facts and not 
mere phrases. I was filled with pride that I knew 
a man who held converse with great minds and 
who really sorrowed and rejoiced over happenings 
across the sea. I never recall those early conversa- 
tions with my father, nor a score of others like 
them, but there comes into my mind a line from 
Mrs. Browning in which a daughter describes her 
relations with her father : — 

" He wrapt me in his large 
Man's doublet, careless did it fit or no." 






kC-^v. 












'\'^'^- V'C' ^ *' ^' 







\. ' ' 



"^ 




John H. Addams. 



CHAPTER II 

Influence of Lincoln 

I SUPPOSE all the children who were born about 
the time of the Civil War have recollections quite 
unlike those of the children who are living now. 
Although I was but four and a half years old when 
Lincoln died, I distinctly remember the day when 
I found on our two white gate posts American 
flags companioned with black. I tumbled down 
on the harsh gravel walk in my eager rush into the 
house to inquire what they were ''there for." To 
my amazement I found my father in tears, some- 
thing that I had never seen before, having assumed, 
as all children do, that grown-up people never 
cried. The two flags, my father's tears and his 
impressive statement that the greatest man in the 
world had died, constituted my initiation, my bap- 
tism, as it were, into the thrilling and solemn 
interests of a world lying quite outside the two white 
gate posts. The great war touched children in 
many ways : I remember an engraved roster of 
names, headed by the words ''Addams' Guard," 
and the whole surmounted by the insignia of the 
American eagle clutching many flags, which always 
hung in the family living-room. As children we 

23 



24 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

used to read this list of names again and again. 
We could reach it only by dint of putting the family 
Bible on a chair and piling the dictionary on top 
of it ; using the Bible to stand on was always 
accompanied by a little thrill of superstitious awe, 
although we carefully put the dictionary above 
that our profane feet might touch it alone. Having 
brought the roster within reach of our eager fingers, 
— fortunately it was glazed, — we would pick out 
the names of those who "had fallen on the field" 
from those who ''had come back from the war," 
and from among the latter those whose children 
were our schoolmates. When drives were planned, 
we would say, ''Let us take this road," that we 
might pass the farm where a soldier had once lived ; 
if flowers from the garden were to be given away, 
we would want them to go to the mother of one 
of those heroes whose names we knew from the 
"Addams' Guard." If a guest should become in- 
terested in the roster on the wall, he was at once led 
by the eager children to a small picture of Colonel 
Davis which hung next the opposite window, that 
he might see the brave Colonel of the Regiment. 
The introduction to the picture of the one-armed 
man seemed to us a very solemn ceremony, and 
long after the guest was tired of listening, we would 
tell each other all about the local hero, who at the 
head of his troops had suffered wounds unto death. 
We liked very much to talk to a gentle old lady who 
lived in a white farmhouse a mile north of the 



INFLUENCE OF LINCOLN 25 

village. She was the mother of the village hero, 
Tommy, and used to tell us of her long anxiety 
during the spring of '62 ; how she waited day after 
day for the hospital to surrender up her son, each 
morning airing the white homespun sheets and 
holding the little bedroom in immaculate readiness. 
It was after the battle of Fort Donelson that 
Tommy was wounded and had been taken to the 
hospital at Springfield ; his father went down to 
him and saw him getting worse each week, until 
it was clear that he was going to die ; but there 
was so much red tape about the department, and 
affairs were so confused, that his discharge could 
not be procured. At last the hospital surgeon 
intimated to his father that he should quietly take 
him away ; a man as sick as that, it would be all 
right ; but when they told Tommy, weak as he 
was, his eyes flashed, and he said, "No, sir; I will 
go out of the front door or Til die here." Of 
course after that every man in the hospital worked 
for it, and in two weeks he was honorably dis- 
charged. When he came home at last, his mother's 
heart was broken to see him so wan and changed. 
She would tell us of the long quiet days that fol- 
lowed his return, with the windows open that the 
dying eyes might look over the orchard slope to the 
meadow beyond where the younger brothers were 
mowing the early hay. She told us of those days 
when his school friends from the Academy flocked 
in to see him, their old acknowledged leader, and of 



26 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

the burning words of. earnest patriotism spoken 
in the crowded little room, so that In three months 
the Academy was almost deserted and the new 
Company who marched away In the autumn took 
as drummer boy Tommy's third brother, who was 
only seventeen and too young for a regular. She 
remembered the still darker days that followed, 
when the bright drummer boy was in Anderson- 
vllle prison, and little by little she learned to be 
reconciled that Tommy was safe in the peaceful 
home graveyard. 

However much we were given to talk of war 
heroes, we always fell silent as we approached an 
isolated farmhouse in which two old people lived 
alone. Five of their sons had enlisted in the Civil 
War, and only the youngest had returned alive in 
the spring of 1865. In the autumn of the same 
year, when he was hunting for wild ducks in a swamp 
on the rough little farm Itself, he was accidentally 
shot and killed, and the old people were left alone 
to struggle with the half-cleared land as best they 
might. When we were driven past this forlorn 
little farm our childish voices always dropped Into 
speculative whisperings as to how the accident 
could have happened to this remaining son out of 
all the men in the world, to him who had escaped 
so many chances of death ! Our young hearts 
swelled in first rebellion against that which Walter 
Pater calls *Hhe Inexplicable shortcoming or mis- 
adventure on the part of life Itself" ; we were over- 



INFLUENCE OF LINCOLN 27 

whelmingly oppressed by that grief of things as they 
are, so much more mysterious and intolerable than 
those griefs which we think dimly to trace to man's 
own wrongdoing. 

It was well perhaps that life thus early gave me 
a hint of one of her most obstinate and insoluble 
riddles, for I have sorely needed the sense of 
universality thus imparted to that mysterious in- 
justice, the burden of which we are all forced to 
bear and with which I have become only too 
familiar. 

My childish admiration for Lincoln is closely 
associated with a visit made to the war eagle. Old 
Abe, who, as we children well knew, lived in the 
state capitol of Wisconsin, only sixty-five miles 
north of our house, really no farther than an eagle 
could easily fly ! He had been carried by the 
Eighth Wisconsin Regiment through the entire 
war, and now dwelt an honored pensioner in the 
state building itself. 

Many times, standing in the north end of our 
orchard, which was only twelve miles from that 
mysterious line which divided Illinois from Wis- 
consin, we anxiously scanned the deep sky, hoping 
to see Old Abe fly southward right over our apple 
trees, for it was clearly possible that he might at 
any moment escape from his keeper, who, although 
he had been a soldier and a sentinel, would have to 
sleep sometimes. We gazed with thrilled interest 
at one speck after another in the flawless sky, but 



28 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

although Old Abe never came to see us, a much 
more incredible thing happened, for we were at last 
taken to see him. 

We started one golden summer's day, two happy 
children in the family carriage, with my father and 
mother and an older sister to whom, because she 
was just home from boarding school, we confidently 
appealed whenever we needed information. We 
were driven northward hour after hour, past har- 
vest fields in which the stubble glinted from bronze 
to gold and the heavy-headed grain rested luxuri- 
ously in rounded shocks, until we reached that 
beautiful region of hills and lakes which surrounds 
the capital city of Wisconsin. 

But although Old Abe, sitting sedately upon his 
high perch, was sufficiently like an uplifted ensign 
to remind us of a Roman eagle, and although his 
veteran keeper, clad in an old army coat, was 
ready to answer all our questions and to tell us 
of the thirty-six battles and skirmishes through 
which Old Abe had passed unscathed, the crowning 
moment of the impressive journey came to me later, 
illustrating once more that children are as quick to 
catch the meaning of a symbol as they are unac- 
countably slow to understand the real world about 
them. 

The entire journey to the veteran war eagle had 
itself symbolized that search for the heroic and 
perfect which so persistently haunts the young ; and 
as I stood under the great white dome of Old Abe's 



INFLUENCE OF LINCOLN 29 

stately home, for one brief moment the search was 
rewarded. I dimly caught a hint of what men have 
tried to say in their world-old effort to imprison 
a space in so divine a line that it shall hold only 
yearning devotion and high-hearted hopes. Cer- 
tainly the utmost rim of my first dome was filled 
with the tumultuous impression of soldiers march- 
ing to death for freedom's sake, of pioneers stream- 
ing westward to establish self-government in yet 
another sovereign state. Only the great dome of 
St. Peter's itself has ever clutched my heart as did 
that modest curve which had sequestered from 
infinitude in a place small enough for my child's 
mind, the courage and endurance which I could 
not comprehend so long as it was lost in "the void 
of unresponsive space" under the vaulting sky 
itself. But through all my vivid sensations there 
persisted the image of the eagle in the corridor be- 
low and Lincoln himself as an epitome of all that 
was great and good. I dimly caught the notion of 
the martyred President as the standard bearer to 
the conscience of his countrymen, as the eagle had 
been the ensign of courage to the soldiers of the 
Wisconsin regiment. 

Thirty-five years later, as I stood on the hill 
campus of the University of Wisconsin with a 
commanding view of the capitol building a mile 
directly across the city, I saw again the dome which 
had so uplifted my childish spirit. The Univer- 
sity, which was celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, 



30 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

had honored me with a doctor's degree, and in the 
midst of the academic pomp and the rejoicing, the 
dome again appeared to me as a fitting symbol of 
a state's aspiration even in its high mission of 
universal education. 

Thousands of children in the sixties and seventies, 
in the simplicity which is given to the understand- 
ing of a child, caught a notion of imperishable 
heroism when they were told that brave men had 
lost their lives that the slaves might be free. At 
any moment the conversation of our elders might 
turn upon these heroic events ; there were red- 
letter days, when a certain general came to see my 
father, and again when Governor Oglesby, whom 
all Illinois children called "Uncle Dick," spent a 
Sunday under the pine trees in our front yard. 
We felt on those days a connection with the great 
world so much more heroic than the village world 
which surrounded us through all the other days. 
My father was a member of the state senate for 
the sixteen years between 1854 and 1870, and even 
as a little child I was dimly conscious of the grave 
march of public affairs in his comings and goings 
at the state capital. 

He was much too occupied to allow time for 
reminiscence, but I remember overhearing a con- 
versation between a visitor and himself concerning 
the stirring days before the war, when it was by 
no means certain that the Union men in the legis- 
lature would always have enough votes to keep lUi- 



INFLUENCE OF LINCOLN 31 

nols from seceding. I heard with breathless in- 
terest my father's account of the trip a majority 
of the legislators had made one dark day to St. 
Louis, that there might not be enough men for a 
quorum, and so no vote could be taken on the 
momentous question until the Union men could 
rally their forces. 

My father always spoke of the martyred Presi- 
dent as Mr. Lincoln, and I never heard the great 
name without a thrill. I remember the day — it 
must have been one of comparative leisure, per- 
haps a Sunday — when at my request my father 
took out of his desk a thin packet marked ''Mr. 
Lincoln's Letters," the shortest one of which bore 
unmistakable traces of that remarkable personal- 
ity. These letters began, "My dear Double- 
D'ed Addams," and to the inquiry as to how the 
person thus addressed was about to vote on a cer- 
tain measure then before the legislature, was added 
the assurance that he knew that this Addams 
"would vote according to his conscience," but he 
begged to know in which direction the same con- 
science "was pointing." As my father folded up 
the bits of paper I fairly held my breath in my desire 
that he should go on with the reminiscence of this 
wonderful man, whom he had known in his compara- 
tive obscurity, or better still, that he should be 
moved to tell some of the exciting incidents of the 
Lincoln-Douglas debates. There were at least 
two pictures of Lincoln that always hung in my 



32 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

father's room, and one in our old-fashioned up- 
stairs parlor, of Lincoln with little Tad. For one 
or all of these reasons I always tend to associate 
Lincoln with the tenderest thoughts of my father. 

I recall a time of great perplexity in the summer of 
1894, when Chicago was filled with federal troops 
sent there by the President of the United States, 
and their presence was resented by the governor 
of the state, that I walked the wearisome way 
from Hull-House to Lincoln Park — for no cars 
were running regularly at that moment of sym- 
pathetic strikes — in order to look at and gain 
magnanimous counsel, if I might, from the mar- 
velous St. Gaudens statue which had been but 
recently placed at the entrance of the park. Some 
of Lincoln's immortal words were cut into the stone 
at his feet, and never did a distracted town more 
sorely need the healing of "with charity towards 
all" than did Chicago at that moment, and the 
tolerance of the man who had won charity for 
those on both sides of "an irrepressible conflict." 

Of the many things written of my father in that 
sad August in 1881, when he died, the one I cared 
for most was written by an old political friend of 
his who was then editor of a great Chicago daily. 
He wrote that while there were doubtless many 
members of the Illinois legislature who during the 
great contracts of the war time and the demoraliz- 
ing reconstruction days that followed, had never 
accepted a bribe, he wished to bear testimony 



INFLUENCE OF LINCOLN 33 

that he personally had known but this one man who 
had never been offered a bribe because bad men 
were instinctively afraid of him. 

I feel now the hot chagrin with which I recalled 
this statement during those early efforts of Illi- 
nois in which Hull-House joined, to secure the 
passage of the first factory legislation. I was told 
by the representatives of an informal association of 
manufacturers that if the residents of Hull-House 
would drop this nonsense about a sweat shop bill, 
of which they knew nothing, certain business men 
would agree to give fifty thousand dollars within 
two years to be used for any of the philanthropic 
activities of the Settlement. As the fact broke 
upon me that I was being offered a bribe, the shame 
was enormously increased by the memory of this 
statement. What had befallen the daughter of 
my father that such a thing could happen to her ^ 
The salutary reflection that it could not have oc- 
curred unless a weakness in myself had permitted 
it, withheld me at least from an heroic display of 
indignation before the two men making the offer, 
and I explained as gently as I could that we had no 
ambition to make Hull-House ''the largest insti- 
tution on the West Side," but that we were much 
concerned that our neighbors should be protected 
from untoward conditions of work, and — so much 
heroics, youth must permit itself — if to accom- 
plish this the destruction of Hull-House was neces- 
sary, that we would cheerfully sing a Te Deum oa 

D 



34 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

its ruins. The good friend who had invited me to 
lunch at the Union League Club to meet two of his 
friends who wanted to talk over the sweat shop bill 
here kindly intervened, and we all hastened to 
cover over the awkward situation by that scurry- 
ing away from ugly morality which seems to be an 
obligation of social intercourse. 

Of the many old friends of my father who kindly 
came to look up his daughter in the first days of 
Hull-House, I recall none with more pleasure than 
Lyman Trumbull, whom we used to point out to 
the members of the Young Citizens' Club as the 
man who had for days held in his keeping the 
Proclamation of Emancipation until his friend 
President Lincoln was ready to issue it. I re- 
member the talk he gave at Hull-House on one of 
our early celebrations of Lincoln's birthday, his 
assertion that Lincoln was no cheap popular hero, 
that the "common people" would have to make an 
effort if they would understand his greatness, as 
Lincoln painstakingly made a long effort to under- 
stand the greatness of the people. There was 
something in the admiration of Lincoln's contem- 
poraries, or at least of those men who had known 
him personally, which was quite unlike even the 
best of the devotion and reverent understanding 
which has developed since. In the first place, 
they had so large a fund of common experience ; 
they too had pioneered in a western country, and 
had urged the development of canals and railroads 



INFLUENCE OF LINCOLN 35 

in order that the raw prairie crops might be trans- 
ported to market; they too had realized that if 
this last tremendous experiment in self-govern- 
ment failed here, it would be the disappointment 
of the centuries and that upon their ability to 
organize self-government in state, county and 
town depended the verdict of history. These men 
also knew, as Lincoln himself did, that if this 
tremendous experiment was to come to fruition, it 
must be brought about by the people themselves ; 
that there was no other capital fund upon which 
to draw. I remember an incident occurring when 
I was about fifteen years old, in which the convic- 
tion was driven into my mind that the people 
themselves were the great resource of the country. 
My father had made a little address of reminiscence 
at a meeting of ''the old settlers of Stephenson 
County," which was held every summer in the grove 
beside the mill, relating his experiences in Inducing 
the farmers of the county to subscribe for stock 
in the Northwestern Railroad, which was the first 
to penetrate the county and to make a connection 
with the Great Lakes at Chicago. Many of the 
Pennsylvania German farmers doubted the value 
of ''the whole new-fangled business," and had no 
use for any railroad, much less for one In which they 
were asked to risk their hard-earned savings. My 
father told of his despair In one farmers' community 
dominated by such prejudice which did not In the 
least give way under his argument, but finally 



36 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

melted under the enthusiasm of a high-spirited 
German matron who took a share to be paid for 
''out of butter and egg money." As he related his 
admiration of her, an old woman's piping voice 
in the audience called out: "I'm here to-day, Mr. 
Addams, and I'd do it again if you asked me." 
The old woman, bent and broken by her seventy 
years of toilsome life, was brought to the platform 
and I was much impressed by my father's grave 
presentation of her as "one of the public-spirited 
pioneers to whose heroic fortitude we are indebted 
for the development of this country." I remember 
that I was at that time reading with great enthu- 
siasm Carlyle's "Heroes and Hero Worship," but 
on the evening of "Old Settlers' Day," to my sur- 
prise, I found it difficult to go on. Its sonorous 
sentences and exaltation of the man who "can" 
suddenly ceased to be convincing. I had already 
written down in my commonplace book a resolu- 
tion to give at least twenty-five copies of this book 
each year to noble young people of my acquaint- 
ance. It is perhaps fitting to record in this chapter 
that the very first Christmas we spent at Hull- 
House, in spite of exigent demands upon my slender 
purse for candy and shoes, I gave to a club of boys 
twenty-five copies of the then new Carl Schurz's 
"Appreciation of Abraham Lincoln." 

In our early effort at Hull-House to hand on to 
our neighbors whatever of help we had found for 
ourselves, we made much of Lincoln. We were 



INFLUENCE OF LINCOLN 37 

often distressed by the children of immigrant par- 
ents who were ashamed of the pit whence they 
were digged, who repudiated the language and 
customs of their elders, and counted themselves 
successful as they were able to ignore the past. 
Whenever I held up Lincoln for their admiration 
as the greatest American, I invariably pointed out 
his marvelous power to retain and utilize past 
experiences ; that he never forgot how the plain 
people in Sangamon County thought and felt when 
he himself had moved to town ; that this habit was 
the foundation for his marvelous capacity for 
growth ; that during those distracting years in 
Washington it enabled him to make clear beyond 
denial to the American people themselves, the 
goal towards which they were moving. I was 
sometimes bold enough to add that proficiency 
in the art of recognition and comprehension did 
not come without effort, and that certainly its 
attainment was necessary for any successful career 
in our conglomerate America. 

An instance of the invigorating and clarifying 
power of Lincoln's influence came to me many 
years ago in England. I had spent two days in 
Oxford under the guidance of Arnold Toynbee's 
old friend Sidney Ball of St. John's College, who 
was closely associated with that group of scholars 
we all identify with the beginnings of the Settle- 
ment movement. It was easy to claim the phi- 
losophy of Thomas Hill Green, the road-building 



38 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

episode of Ruskin, the experimental living In the 
east end by Frederick Maurice, the London Work- 
ingmen's College of Edward Dennison, as founda- 
tions laid by university men for the establishment 
of Toynbee Hall. I was naturally much interested 
in the beginnings of a movement whose slogan was 
''Back to the People," and which could doubtless 
claim the Settlement as one of its manifestations. 
Nevertheless the processes by which so simple a 
conclusion as residence among the poor In East 
London was reached, seemed to me very Involved and 
roundabout. However Inevitable these processes 
might be for class-conscious Englishmen, they could 
not but seem artificial to a western American who 
had been born In a rural community where the 
early pioneer life had made social distinctions im- 
possible. Always on the alert lest American 
Settlements should become mere echoes and imita- 
tions of the English movement, I found myself 
assenting to what was shown me only with that 
part of my consciousness which had been formed 
by reading of English social movements, while 
at the same time the rustic American Inside looked 
on In detached comment. 

Why should an American be lost in admiration 
of a group of Oxford students because they went 
out to mend a disused road, Inspired thereto by 
Ruskln's teaching for the bettering of the common 
life, when all the country roads in America were 
mended each spring by self-respecting citizens, 



INFLUENCE OF LINCOLN 39 

who were thus carrying out the simple method 
devised by a democratic government for providing 
highways. No humor penetrated my high mood 
even as I somewhat uneasily recalled certain spring 
thaws when I had been mired in roads provided 
by the American citizen. I continued to fumble 
for a synthesis which I was unable to make until I 
developed that uncomfortable sense of playing 
two roles at once. It was therefore almost with a 
dual consciousness that I was ushered, during the 
last afternoon of my Oxford stay, into the drawing- 
room of the Master of Baliol. Edward Caird's 
"Evolution of Religion," which I had read but a 
year or two before, had been of unspeakable com- 
fort to me in the labyrinth of differing ethical 
teachings and religious creeds which the many 
immigrant colonies of our neighborhood presented. 
I remember that I wanted very much to ask the 
author himself, how far it was reasonable to expect 
the same quality of virtue and a similar standard 
of conduct from these divers people. I was tim- 
idly trying to apply his method of study to those 
groups of homesick immigrants huddled together 
in strange tenement houses, among whom I seemed 
to detect the beginnings of a secular religion or at 
least of a wide humanitarianism evolved out of the 
various exigencies of the situation ; somewhat as a 
household of children, whose mother is dead, out 
of their sudden necessity perform unaccustomed 
offices for each other and awkwardly exchange 



40 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

consolations, as children in happier households 

never dream of doing. Perhaps Mr. Caird could 

tell me whether there was any religious content in 

this 

Faith to each other ; this fidelity 

Of fellow wanderers in a desert place. . 

But when tea was over and my opportunity 
came for a talk with- my host, I suddenly remem- 
bered, to the exclusion of all other associations, 
only Mr. Caird's fine analysis of Abraham Lincoln, 
delivered In a lecture two years before. 

The memory of Lincoln, the mention of his name, 
came like a refreshing breeze from off the prairie, 
blowing aside all the scholarly implications in 
which I had become so reluctantly involved, and 
as the philosopher spoke of the great American 
'Svho was content merely to dig the channels 
through which the moral life of his countrymen 
might flow," I was gradually able to make a natural 
connection between this Intellectual penetration at 
Oxford and the moral perception which Is always 
necessary for the discovery of new methods by 
which to minister to human needs. In the un- 
ceasing ebb and flow of justice and oppression we 
must all dig channels as best we may, that at the 
propitious moment somewhat of the swelling tide 
may be conducted to the barren places of life. 

Gradually a healing sense of well-being enveloped 
me and a quick remorse for my blindness, as I 



INFLUENCE OF LINCOLN 41 

realized that no one among his own countrymen 
had been able to interpret Lincoln's' greatness more 
nobly than this Oxford scholar had done, and that 
vision and wisdom as well as high motives must 
lie behind every effective stroke in the continuous 
labor for human equality ; I remembered that 
another Master of Baliol, Jowett himself, had said 
that it was fortunate for society that every age 
possessed at least a few minds which, like Arnold 
Toynbee's, were "perpetually disturbed over the 
apparent inequalities of mankind." Certainly 
both the English and American settlements could 
unite in confessing to that disturbance of mind. 

Traces of this Oxford visit are curiously reflected 
in a paper I wrote soon after my return at the re- 
quest of the American Academy of Political and 
Social Science. It begins as follows : — 

The word " settlement," which we have borrowed 
from London, is apt to grate a little upon American 
ears. It is not, after all, so long ago that Americans 
who settled were those who had adventured into a new 
country, where they were pioneers in the midst of diffi- 
cult surroundings. The word still implies migrating 
from one condition of life to another totally unlike it, 
and against this implication the resident of an Ameri- 
can settlement takes alarm. 

We do not like to acknowledge that Americans are 
divided into two nations, as her prime minister once 
admitted of England. \Ve are not willing, openly and 
professedly, to assume that American citizens are broken 



42 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Up into classes, even if we make that assumption the 
preface to a plea that the superior class has duties to 
the inferior. Our democracy is still our most precious 
possession, and we do well to resent any inroads upon 
it, even though they may be made in the name of phi- 
lanthropy. 

Is it not Abraham Lincoln who has cleared the 
title to our democracy ? He made plain, once for 
all, that democratic government, associated as it is 
with all the mistakes and shortcomings of the com- 
mon people, still remains the most valuable contri- 
bution America has made to the moral life of the 
world. 




CHAPTER III 
Boarding-school Ideals 

As my three older sisters had already attended 
the seminary at Rockford, of which my father was 
trustee, without any question I entered there at 
seventeen, with such meager preparation in Latin 
and algebra as the village school had afforded. I 
was very ambitious to go to Smith College, al- 
though I well knew that my father's theory in 
regard to the education of his daughters implied 
a school as near at home as possible, to be fol- 
lowed by travel abroad in lieu of the wider advan- 
tages which an eastern college is supposed to afford. 
I was much impressed by the recent return of my 
sister from a year in Europe, yet I was greatly disap- 
pointed at the moment of starting to humdrum 
Rockford. After the first weeks of homesickness 
were over, however, I became very much absorbed 
in the little world which the boarding school in 
any form always offers to its students. 

The school at Rockford in 1877 had not changed 
its name from seminary to college, although it 
numbered, on its faculty and among its alumnae, 
college women who were most eager that this 

43 



44 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

should be done, and who really accomplished it 
during the next five years. The school was one of 
the earliest efforts for women's higher education 
in the Mississippi Valley, and from the beginning 
was called ''The Mount Holyoke of the West." 
It reflected much of the missionary spirit of that 
pioneer institution, and the proportion of mis- 




sionaries among its early graduates was almost as 
large as Mount Holyoke's own. In addition there 
had been thrown about the founders of the early 
western school the glamour of frontier privations, 
and the first students, conscious of the heroic 
self-sacrifice made in their behalf, felt that each 
minute of the time thus dearly bought must be 
conscientiously used. This inevitably fostered an 
atmosphere of intensity, a fever of preparation 
which continued long after the direct making of it 



BOARDING-SCHOOL IDEALS 45 

had ceased, and which the later girls accepted, as 
they did the campus and the buildings, without 
knowing that it could have been otherwise. 

There was, moreover, always present in the school 
a larger or smaller group of girls who consciously 
accepted this heritage and persistently endeavored 
to fulfill its obligation. We worked in those early 
years as if we really believed the portentous state- 
ment from Aristotle which we found quoted in 
Boswell's Johnson and with which we illuminated 
the wall of the room occupied by our Chess Club ; 
it remained there for months, solely out of rever- 
ence, let us hope, for the two ponderous names 
associated with it ; at least I have enough confi- 
dence in human nature to assert that we never 
really believed that "There is the same difference 
between the learned and the unlearned as there is 
between the living and the dead." We were also 
too fond of quoting Carlyle to the effect, " 'Tis not 
to taste sweet things, but to do noble and true 
things that the poorest son of Adam dimly longs." 

As I attempt to reconstruct the spirit of my con- 
temporary group by looking over many documents, 
I find nothing more amusing than a plaint regis- 
tered against life's indistinctness, which I imagine 
more or less reflected the sentiments of all of us. 
At any rate here it is for the entertainment of the 
reader If not for his edification : "So much of our 
time is spent In preparation, so much in routine, 
and so much in sleep, we find it difficult to have any 



46 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

experience at all." We did not, however, tamely 
accept such a state of affairs, for we made various 
and restless attempts to break through this dull 
obtuseness. 

At one time five of us tried to understand De 
Quincey's marvelous "Dreams" more sympatheti- 
cally, by drugging ourselves with opium. We 
solemnly consumed small white powders at inter- 
vals during an entire long holiday, but no mental 
reorientation took place, and the suspense and ex- 
citement did not even permit us to grow sleepy. 
About four o'clock on the weird afternoon, the 
young teacher whom we had been obliged to take 
into our confidence, grew alarmed over the whole 
performance, took away our De Quincey and all 
the remaining powders, administered an emetic to 
each of the five aspirants for sympathetic under- 
standing of all human experience, and sent us to 
our separate rooms with a stern command to appear 
at family worship after supper "whether we were 
able to or not." 

Whenever we had chances to write, we took, of 
course, large themes, usually from the Greek be- 
cause they were the most stirring to the imagina- 
tion. The Greek oration I gave at our Junior 
Exhibition was written with infinite pains and taken 
to the Greek professor in Beloit College that there 
might be no mistakes, even after the Rockford 
College teacher and the most scholarly clergyman 
in town had both passed upon it. The oration 



BOARDING-SCHOOL IDEALS 47 

upon Bellerophon and his successful fight with the 
Minotaur, contended that social evils could only 
be overcome by him who soared above them into 
idealism, as Bellerophon mounted upon the winged 
horse Pegasus, had slain the earthy dragon. 

There were practically no Economics taught in 
women's colleges — at least in the fresh-water 
ones — thirty years ago, although we painstak- 
ingly studied ''Mental" and ''Moral" Philosophy, 
which, though far from dry in the classroom, be- 
came the subject of more spirited discussion outside, 
-and gave us a clew for animated rummaging in the 
little college library. Of course we read a great 
deal of Ruskin and Browning, and liked the most 
abstruse parts the best ; but like the famous gentle- 
man who talked prose without knowing it, we never 
dreamed of connecting them with our philosophy. 
My genuine interest was history, partly because of 
a superior teacher, and partly because my father 
had always insisted upon a certain amount of his- 
toric reading ever since he had paid me, as a little 
girl, five cents a "Life" for each Plutarch hero I 
could intelligently report to him, and twenty-five 
cents for every volume of Irving's "Life of Wash- 
ington." 

When we started for the long vacations, a little 
group of five would vow that during the summer we 
would read all of Motley's "Dutch Republic" or, 
more ambitious still, all of Gibbon's "Decline and 
Fall of the Roman Empire." When we returned 



48 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

at the opening of school and three of us announced 
we had finished the latter, each became skeptical 
of the other two. We fell upon each other with 
a sort of rough-and-tumble examination, in which 
no quarter was given or received ; but the suspicion 
was finally removed that any one had skipped. 
We took for a class motto the early Saxon word 
for lady, translated into breadgiver, and we took 
for our class color the poppy, because poppies grew 
among the wheat, as if Nature knew that wherever 
there was hunger that needed food there would be 
pain that needed relief. We must have found the 
sentiment in a book somewhere, but we used it so 
much that it finally seemed like an idea of our own, 
although of course none of us had ever seen a Euro- 
pean field, the only page upon which Nature has 
written this particular message. 

That this group of ardent girls who discussed 
everything under the sun with such unabated 
interest, did not take it all out in talk, may be 
demonstrated by the fact that one of the class who 
married a missionary founded a very successful 
school in Japan for the children of the English and 
Americans living there ; another of the class 
became a medical missionary to Korea, and because 
of her successful treatment of the Queen, was made 
court physician at a time when the opening was 
considered of importance in the diplomatic as well 
as in the missionary world ; still another became an 
unusually skilled teacher of the blind ; and one of 



BOARDING-SCHOOL IDEALS 49 

them a pioneer librarian in that early effort to 
bring "books to the people." 

Perhaps this early companionship showed me 
how essentially similar are the various forms of 
social effort, and curiously enough, the actual 
activities of a missionary school are not unlike 
many that are carried on in a Settlement situated 
in a foreign quarter. Certainly the most sym- 
pathetic and comprehending visitors we have ever 
had at Hull-House have been returned mission- 
aries ; among them two elderly ladies, who had 
lived for years in India and who had been homesick 
and bewildered since their return, declared that the 
fortnight at Hull-House had been the happiest and 
most familiar they had had in America. 

Of course in such an atmosphere a girl like myself, 
of serious not to say priggish tendency, did not 
escape a concerted pressure to push her into the 
"missionary field." During the four years it was 
inevitable that every sort of evangelical appeal 
should have been made to reach the comparatively 
few "unconverted" girls In the school. We were 
the subject of prayer at the daily chapel exercise 
and the weekly prayer meeting, attendance upon 
which was obligatory. 

I was singularly unresponsive to all these forms of 
emotional appeal, although I became unspeakably 
embarrassed when they were presented to me at 
close range by a teacher during the "silent hour," 
which we were all required to observe every even- 



so TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

ing and which was never broken into, even by a 
rhember of the faculty, unless the errand was one 
of grave import. I found these occasional inter- 
views on the part of one of the more serious young 
teachers, of whom I was extremely fond, hard to 
endure, as was a long series of conversations in my 
senior year conducted by one of the most enthu- 
siastic members of the faculty, in which the desira- 
bility of Turkey as a field for missionary labor was 
enticingly put before me. I suppose I held myself 
aloof from all these influences, partly owing to the 
fact that my father was not a communicant of any 
church, and I tremendously admired his scrupulous 
morality and sense of honor in all matters of per- 
sonal and public conduct, and also because the little 
group to which I have referred was much given to a 
sort of rationalism, doubtless founded upon an early 
reading of Emerson. In this connection, when 
Bronson Alcott came to lecture at the school, we 
all vied with each other for a chance to do him a 
personal service because he had been a friend of 
Emerson, and we were inexpressibly scornful of 
our younger fellow-students who cared for him 
merely on the basis of his grandfatherly relation to 
"Little Women." I recall cleaning the clay of the 
unpaved streets off his heavy cloth overshoes in a 
state of ecstatic energy. 

But I think in my case there were other factors 
as well that contributed to my unresponsiveness to 
the evangelical appeal. A curious course of read- 



BOARDING-SCHOOL IDEALS 51 

ing I had marked out for myself in medieval 
history, seems to have left me fascinated by an 
ideal of mingled learning, piety and physical labor, 
more nearly exemplified by the Port Royalists 
than by any others. 

The only moments in which I seem to have ap- 
proximated in my own experience to a faint realiza- 
tion of the "beauty of holiness," as I conceived it, 
was each Sunday morning between the hours of 
nine and ten, when I went into the exquisitely neat 
room of the teacher of Greek and read with her 
from a Greek testament. We did this every 
Sunday morning for two years. It was not exactly 
a lesson, for I never prepared for it, and while I 
was held within reasonable bounds of syntax, I 
was allowed much more freedom in translation 
than was permitted the next morning when I 
read Homer ; neither did we discuss doctrines, for 
although it was with this same teacher that in our 
junior year we studied Paul's Epistle to the 
Hebrews, committing all of it to memory and 
analyzing and reducing it to doctrines within an 
inch of our lives, we never allowed an echo of this 
exercise to appear at these blessed Sunday morning 
readings. It was as if the disputatious Paul had 
not yet been, for we always read from the Gospels. 
The regime of Rockford Seminary was still very 
simple in the 70's. Each student made her own 
fire and kept her own room in order. Sunday 
morning was a great clearing up day, and the sense 



52 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

of having made immaculate my own immediate 
surroundings, the consciousness of clean linen, 
said to be close to the consciousness of a clean 
conscience, always mingles in my mind with these 
early readings. I certainly bore away with me a 
lifelong enthusiasm for reading the Gospels in 
bulk, a whole one at a time, and an insurmountable 
distaste for having them cut up into chapter and 
verse, or for hearing the incidents in that wonderful 
Life thus referred to as if it were merely a record. 

My copy of the Greek testament had been pre- 
sented to me by the brother of our Greek teacher, 
Professor Blaisdell of Beloit College, a true 
scholar in ''Christian Ethics," as his department 
was called. I recall that one day in the summer 
after I left college — one of the black days which 
followed the death of my father — this kindly 
scholar came to see me in order to bring such com- 
fort as he might and to inquire how far I had found 
solace in the little book he had given me so long 
before. When I suddenly recall the village in 
which I was born, its steeples and roofs look as they 
did that day from the hilltop w^here we talked 
together, the familiar details smoothed out and 
merging, as it were, into that wide conception of the 
universe, which for the moment swallowed up my 
personal grief or at least assuaged it with a realiza- 
tion that it was but a drop in that "torrent of 
sorrow and anguish and terror which flows under 
all the footsteps of man." This realization of 



BOARDING-SCHOOL IDEALS 53 

sorrow as the common lot, of death as the universal 
experience, was the first comfort which my bruised 
spirit had received. In reply to my Impatience 
with the Christian doctrine of ''resignation," 
that It Implied that you thought of your sorrow 
only In Its effect upon you and were disloyal to 
the affection Itself, I remember how quietly the 
Christian scholar changed his phraseology, saying 
that sometimes consolation came to us better in 
the words of Plato, and, as nearly as I can remember, 
that was the first time I had ever heard Plato's 
sonorous argument for the permanence of the ex- 
cellent. 

When Professor Blaisdell returned to his college, 
he left in my hands a small copy of ''The Crito." 
The Greek was too hard for me, and I was speedily 
driven to Jowett's translation. That old-fash- 
ioned habit of presenting favorite books to eager 
young people, although it degenerated into the 
absurdity of "friendship's offerings," had much to 
be said for It, when it Indicated the wellsprings 
of literature from which the donor himself had 
drawn waters of healing and inspiration. 

Throughout our school years we were always 
keenly conscious of the growing development of 
Rockford Seminary into a college. The oppor- 
tunity for our Alma Mater to take her place in the 
new movement of full college education for women 
filled us with enthusiasm, and it became a driving 
ambition with the undergraduates to share in this 



54 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

new and glorious undertaking. We gravely de- 
cided that it was important that some of the stu- 
dents should be ready to receive the bachelor's 
degree the very first moment that the charter of 
the school should secure the right to confer it. 
Two of us, therefore, took a course in mathematics, 
advanced beyond anything previously given in the 
school, from one of those early young women work- 
ing for a Ph.D., who was temporarily teaching in 
Rockford that she might study more mathematics 
in Leipsic. 

My companion in all these arduous labors has 
since accomplished more than any of us in the 
effort to procure the franchise for women, for even 
then we all took for granted the righteousness of 
that cause into which I at least had merely followed 
my father's conviction. In the old-fashioned 
spirit of that cause I might cite the career of 
this companion as an illustration of the efficacy 
of higher mathematics for women, for she pos- 
sesses singular ability to convince even the densest 
legislators of their legal right to define their 
own electorate, even when they quote against 
her the dustiest of state constitutions or city 
charters. 

In line with this policy of placing a woman's 
college on an equality with the other colleges of 
the state, we applied for an opportunity to compete 
in the intercollegiate oratorical contest of Illinois, 
and we succeeded in having Rockford admitted as 



BOARDING-SCHOOL IDEALS 55 

the first woman's college. When I was finally 
selected as the orator, I was somewhat dismayed 
to find that, representing not only one school but 
college women in general, I could not resent the 
brutal frankness with which my oratorical possi- 
bilities were discussed by the enthusiastic group 
who would allow no personal feeling to stand 
in the way of progress, especially the progress 
of Woman's Cause. I was told among other 
things that I had an intolerable habit of drop- 
ping my voice at the end of a sentence in the 
most feminine, apologetic and even deprecatory 
manner which would probably lose Woman the 
first place. 

Woman certainly did lose the first place and 
stood fifth, exactly in the dreary middle, but the 
ignominious position may not have been solely 
due to bad mannerisms, for a prior place was 
easily accorded to William Jennings Bryan, who 
not only thrilled his auditors with an almost pro- 
phetic anticipation of the cross of gold, but with 
a moral earnestness which we had mistakenly 
assumed would be the unique possession of the 
feminine orator. 

I so heartily concurred with the decision of the 
judges of the contest that it was with a care-free 
mind that I induced my colleague and alternate to 
remain long enough in ''The Athens of Illinois," 
in which the successful college was situated, to visit 
the state institutions, one for the Blind and one for 



56 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

the Deaf and Dumb. Doctor Gillette was at that 
time head of the latter institution ; his scholarly 
explanation of the method of teaching, his concern 
for his charges, this sudden demonstration of the 
care the state bestowed upon its most unfortunate 
children, filled me with grave speculations in which 
the first, the fifth, or the ninth place in an oratorical 
contest seemed of little moment. 

However, this brief delay between our field of 
Waterloo and our arrival at our aspiring college 
turned out to be most unfortunate, for we found the 
ardent group not only exhausted by the premature 
preparations for the return of a successful orator, 
but naturally much irritated as they contemplated 
their garlands drooping disconsolately in tubs and 
bowls of water. They did not fail to make me 
realize that I had dealt the cause of woman's 
advancement a staggering blow, and all my explana- 
tions of the fifth place were haughtily considered 
insufficient before that golden Bar of Youth, so 
absurdly inflexible ! 

To return to my last year at school, it was inevi- 
table that the pressure toward religious profession 
should increase as graduating day approached. 
So curious, however, are the paths of moral de- 
veloprnent that several times during subsequent 
experiences have I felt that this passive resistance 
of mine, this clinging to an individual conviction, 
was the best moral training I received at Rockford 
College. During the first decade of Hull-House, 



BOARDING-SCHOOL IDEALS 57 

it was felt by propagandists of divers social theories 
that the new Settlement would be a fine coign of 
vantage from which to propagate social faiths, and 
that a mere preliminary step would be the con- 
version of the founders ; hence I have been reasoned 
with hours at a time, and I recall at least three 
occasions when this was followed by actual prayer. 
In the first instance, the honest exhorter who fell 
upon his knees before my astonished eyes, was an 
advocate of single tax upon land values. He 
begged, in that indirect phraseology which is 
deemed appropriate for prayer, that ''the sister 
might see the beneficent results it would bring to 
the poor who live in the awful congested districts 
around this very house." 

The early socialists used every method of attack, 
— a favorite one being the statement, doubtless 
sometimes honestly made, that I really was a 
socialist, but "too much of a coward to say so." 
I remember one socialist who habitually opened 
a very telling address he was in the habit of giving 
upon the street corners, by holding me up as an 
awful example to his fellow-socialists, as one of their 
number "who had been caught in the toils of 
capitalism." He always added as a final clinching 
of the statement, that he knew what he was talk- 
ing about because he was a member of the Hull- 
House Men's Club. When I ventured to say to 
him that not all of the thousands of people who 
belong to a class or club at Hull-House could pos- 



S8 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

sibly know my personal opinions, and to mildly 
inquire upon what he founded his assertions, he 
triumphantly replied that I had once admitted to 
him that I had read Sombart and Loria, and that 
any one of sound mind must see the Inevitable con- 
clusions of such master reasonings. 

I could multiply these two Instances a hundred- 
fold, and possibly nothing aided me to stand on 
my own feet and to select what seemed reasonable 
from this wilderness of dogma, so much as my early 
encounter with genuine zeal and affectionate solici- 
tude, associated with what I could not accept as 
the whole truth. 

I do not wish to take callow writing too seriously, 
but I reproduce from an oratorical contest the 
following bit of premature pragmatism, doubtless 
due much more to temperament than to percep- 
tion, because I am still ready to subscribe to it, 
although the grandiloquent style Is, I hope, a thing 
of the past: "Those who believe that Justice is 
but a poetical longing within us, the enthusiast 
who thinks It will come In the form of a millennium, 
those who see it established by the strong arm of a 
hero, are not those who have comprehended the 
vast truths of life. The actual Justice must come 
by trained Intelligence, by broadened sympathies 
toward the individual man or woman who crosses 
our path ; one Item added to another Is the only 
method by which to build up a conception lofty 
enough to be of use in the world." 



BOARDING-SCHOOL IDEALS 59 

This schoolgirl receipt has been tested In many 
later experiences, the most dramatic of which came 
when I was called upon by a manufacturing com- 
pany to act as one of three arbitrators in a perplex- 
ing struggle between themselves, a group of trade- 
unionists and a non-union employee of their 
establishment. The non-union man who was the 
cause of the difficulty had ten years before sided 
with his employers in a prolonged strike and had 
bitterly fought the union. He had been so badly 
Injured at that time, that in spite of long months 
of hospital care he had never afterward been able 
to do a full day's work, although his employers had 
retained him for a decade at full pay In recognition 
of his loyalty. At the end of ten years the once 
defeated union was strong enough to enforce Its 
demands for a union shop, and in spite of the distaste 
of the firm for the arrangement, no obstacle to 
harmonious relations with the union remained but 
the refusal of the trade-unionists to receive as one 
of their members the old crippled employee, whose 
spirit was broken at last and who was now willing 
to join the union and to stand with his old enemies 
for the sake of retaining his place. 

But the union men would not receive ''a traitor," 
the firm flatly refused to dismiss so faithful an 
employee, the busy season was upon them and 
every one concerned had finally agreed to abide 
without appeal by the decision of the three arbi- 
trators. The chairman of our little arbitration 



6o TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

committee, a venerable judge, quickly demon- 
strated that it was impossible to collect trustworthy 
evidence in regard to the events already ten years 
old which lay at the bottom of this bitterness, and 
we soon therefore ceased to interview the conflicting 
witnesses ; the second member of the committee 
sternly bade the men remember that the most 
ancient Hebraic authority gave no sanction for 
holding even a just resentment for more than seven 
years, and at last we all settled down to that weari- 
some effort to secure the inner consent of all con- 
cerned, upon which alone the ''mystery of justice" 
as Maeterlinck has told us, ultimately depends. 
I am not quite sure that in the end we admin- 
istered justice, but certainly employers, trades- 
unionists and arbitrators were all convinced that 
justice will have to be established in industrial 
affairs with the same care and patience which has 
been necessary for centuries in order to institute 
it in men's civic relationships, although as the judge 
remarked the search must be conducted without 
much help from precedent. The conviction re- 
mained with me, that however long a time might 
be required to establish justice in the new relation- 
ships of our raw industrialism, it would never be 
stable until it had received the sanction of those 
upon whom the present situation presses so harshly. 
Towards the end of our four years' course we 
debated much as to what we were to be, and long 
before the end of my school days it was quite 



BOARDING-SCHOOL IDEALS 6i 

settled in my mind that I should study medicine 
and 'Mive with the poor." This conclusion of 
course was the result of many things, perhaps epito- 
mized in my graduating essay on "Cassandra" 
and her tragic fate ''always to be in the right, and 
always to be disbelieved and rejected." 

This state of affairs, it may readily be guessed, 
the essay held to be an example of the feminine 
trait of mind called intuition, ''an accurate per- 
ception of Truth and Justice, which rests contented 
in itself and will make no effort to confirm itself or 
to organize through existing knowledge." The 
essay then proceeds — I am forced to admit, with 
overmuch conviction — with the statement that 
woman can only "grow accurate and intelligible 
by the thorough study of at least one branch of 
physical science, for only with eyes thus accus- 
tomed to the search for truth can she detect all 
self-deceit and fancy in herself and learn to express 
herself without dogmatism." So much for the first 
part of the thesis. Having thus "gained accuracy, 
would woman bring this force to bear throughout 
morals and justice, then she must find in active 
labor the promptings and inspirations that come 
from growing insight." I was quite certain that 
by following these directions carefully, in the end 
the contemporary woman would find "her faculties 
clear and acute from the study of science, and her 
hand upon the magnetic chain of humanity." 

This veneration for science portrayed in my final 



62 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

essay was doubtless the result of the statements 
the textbooks were then making of .what was 
called the theory of evolution, the acceptance of 
which even thirty years after the publication of 
Darwin's ''Origin of Species" had about it a touch 
of intellectual adventure. We knew, for instance, 
that our science teacher had accepted this theory, 
but we had a strong suspicion that the teacher of 
Butler's ''Analogy" had not. We chafed at the 
meagerness of the college library in this direction, 
and I used to bring back in my handbag books 
belonging to an advanced brother-in-law who had 
studied medicine in Germany and who therefore 
was quite emancipated. The first gift I made when 
I came into possession of my small estate the year 
after I left school, was a thousand dollars to the 
library of Rockford College, with the stipulation 
that it be spent for scientific books. In the long 
vacations I pressed plants, stuffed birds and pounded 
rocks in some vague belief that I was approximat- 
ing the new method, and yet when my step- 
brother who was becoming a real scientist, tried 
to carry me along with him into the merest out- 
skirts of the methods of research, it at once became 
evident that I had no aptitude and was unable to 
follow intelligently Darwin's careful observations on 
the earthworm. I made an heroic eflFort, although 
candor compels me to state that I never would have 
finished if I had not been pulled and pushed by 
my really ardent companion, who in addition to a 



BOARDING-SCHOOL IDEALS 63 

multitude of earthworms and a fine microscope, 
possessed untiring tact with one of flagging zeal. 

As our boarding-school days neared the end, in 
the consciousness of approaching separation we 
vowed eternal allegiance to our ^' early ideals," 
and promised each other we would "never abandon 
them without conscious justification," and we often 
warned each other of "the perils of self-tradition." 

We believed, in our sublime self-conceit, that the 
difficulty of life would lie solely in the direction 
of losing these precious ideals of ours, of failing to 
follow the way of martyrdom and high purpose we 
had marked out for ourselves, and we had no notion 
of the obscure paths of tolerance, just allowance, 
and self-blame wherein, if we held our minds open, 
we might learn something of the mystery and com- 
plexity of life's purposes. 

The year after I had left college I came back, 
with a classmate, to receive the degree we had 
so eagerly anticipated. Two of the graduating 
class were also ready and four of us were dubbed 
B.A. on the very day that Rockford Seminary 
was declared a college in the midst of tumultu- 
ous anticipations. Having had a year outside of 
college walls in that trying land between vague 
hope and definite attainment, I had become very 
much sobered in my desire for a degree, and was 
already beginning to emerge from that rose-colored 
mist with which the dream of youth so readily 
envelops the future. 



64 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Whatever may have been the perils of self-tradi- 
tion, I certainly did not escape them, for it required 
eight years — from the time I left Rockford in the 
summer of 1881 until Hull-House was opened in 
the autumn of 1889 — to formulate my convictions 
even in the least satisfactory manner, much less 
to reduce them to a plan for action. During most 
of that time I was absolutely at sea so far as any 
moral purpose was concerned, clinging only to the 
desire to live in a really living world and refusing 
to be content with a shadowy intellectual or aes- 
thetic reflection of it. 




Ellen Gates Starr. 



CHAPTER IV 

The Snare of Preparation 

The winter after I left school was spent in the 
Woman's Medical College of Philadelphia, but the 
development of the spinal difficulty which had 
shadowed me from childhood forced me into 
Dr. Weir Mitchell's hospital for the late spring, and 
the next winter I was literally bound to a bed in 
my sister's house for six months. In spite of its 
tedium, the long winter had its mitigations, for 
after the first few weeks I was able to read with a 
luxurious consciousness of leisure, and I remember 
opening the first volume of Carlyle's "Frederick 
the Great" with a lively sense of gratitude that it 
was not Gray's "Anatomy," having found, like 
many another, that general culture is a much easier 
undertaking than professional study. The long 
illness inevitably put aside the immediate prose- 
cution of a medical course, and although I had 
passed my examinations creditably enough in the 
required subjects for the first year, I was very glad 
to have a physician's sanction for giving up clinics 
and dissecting rooms and to follow his prescription 
of spending the next two years in Europe. 

Before I returned to America I had discovered 

F 6s 



66 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

that there were other genuine reasons for living 
among the poor than that of practicing medicine 
upon them, and my brief foray into the profession 
was never resumed. 

The long illness left me in a state of nervous ex- 
haustion with which I struggled for years, traces 
of it remaining long after Hull-House was opened 
in 1889. At the best it allowed me but a limited 
amount of energy, so that doubtless there was much 
nervous depression at the foundation of the spiritual 
struggles which this chapter is forced to record. 
However, it could not have been all due to my 
health, for as my wise little notebook sententiously 
remarked, " In his own way each man must struggle, 
lest the moral law become a far-off abstraction 
utterly separated from his active life." 

It would, of course, be impossible to remember 
that some of these struggles ever took place at all, 
were it not for these selfsame notebooks, in which, 
however, I no longer wrote in moments of high 
resolve, but judging from the internal evidence 
afforded by the books themselves, only in moments 
of deep depression when overwhelmed by a sense 
of failure. 

One of the most poignant of these experiences, 
which occurred during the first few months after 
our landing upon the other side of the Atlantic, 
was on a Saturday night, when I received an ine- 
radicable impression of the wretchedness of East 
London, and also saw for the first time the over- 



THE SNARE OF PREPARATION 6^ 

crowded quarters of a great city at midnight. A 
small party of tourists were taken to the East End 
by a city missionary to witness the Saturday night 
sale of decaying vegetables and fruit, which, owing 
to the Sunday laws in London, could not be sold 
until A/[onday, and, as they were beyond safe 
keeping, were disposed of at auction as late as 
possible on Saturday night. On Mile End Road, 
from the top of an omnibus which paused at the 
end of a dingy street lighted by only occasional 
flares of gas, we saw two huge masses of ill-clad 
people clamoring around two hucksters' carts. 
They were bidding their farthings and ha'pennies 
for a vegetable held up by the auctioneer, which 
he at last scornfully flung, with a gibe for its 
cheapness, to the successful bidder. In the momen- 
tary pause only one man detached himself from the 
groups. He had bidden in a cabbage, and when 
it struck his hand, he instantly sat down on the 
curb, tore it with his teeth, and hastily devoured 
it, unwashed and uncooked as it was. He and his 
fellows were types of the "submerged tenth," as 
our missionary guide told us, with some little 
satisfaction in the then new phrase, and he further 
added that so many of them could scarcely be seen 
in one spot save at this Saturday night auction, 
the desire for cheap food being apparently the one 
thing which could move them simultaneously. 
They were huddled into ill-fitting, cast-off clothing, 
the ragged finery which one sees only in East 



68 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

London. Their pale faces were dominated by 
that most unlovely of human expressions, the 
cunning and shrewdness of the bargain-hunter 
who starves if he cannot make a successful trade, 
and yet the final impression was not of ragged, 
tawdry clothing nor of pinched and sallow faces, 
but of myriads of hands, empty, pathetic, nerve- 
less and workworn, showing white in the uncer- 
tain light of the street, and clutching forward for 
food which was already unfit to eat. 

Perhaps nothing is so fraught with significance 
as the human hand, this oldest tool with which man 
has dug his way from savagery, and with which he 
is constantly groping forward. I have never since 
been able to see a number of hands held upward, 
even when they are moving rhythmically in a 
calisthenic exercise, or when they belong to a class 
of chubby children who wave them in eager re- 
sponse to a teacher's query, without a certain re- 
vival of this memory, a clutching at the heart 
reminiscent of the despair and resentment which 
seized me then. 

For the following weeks I went about London 
almost furtively, afraid to look down narrow streets 
and alleys lest they disclose again this hideous 
human need and suffering. I carried with me for 
days at a time that curious surprise we experience 
when we first come back into the streets after days 
given over to sorrow and death ; we are bewildered 
that the world should be going on as usual and 



THE SNARE OF PREPARATION 69 

unable to determine which is real, the inner pang 
or the outward seeming. In time all huge Lon- 
don came to seem unreal save the poverty in its 
East End. During the following two years on the 
continent, while I was irresistibly drawn to the 
poorer quarters of each city, nothing among the 
beggars of South Italy nor among the saltminers 
of Austria carried with it the same conviction of 
human wretchedness which was conveyed by this 
momentary glimpse of an East London street. 
It was, of course, a most fragmentary and lurid 
view of the poverty of East London, and quite 
unfair. I should have been shown either less or 
more, for I went away with no notion of the hun- 
dreds of men and women who had gallantly iden- 
tified their fortunes with these empty-handed 
people, and who, in church and chapel, "relief 
works," and charities, were at least making an 
effort towards its mitigation. 

Our visit was made in November, 1883, the very 
year when the Pall Mall Gazette exposure started 
*'The Bitter Cry of Outcast London," and the con- 
science of England was stirred as never before over 
this joyless city in the East End of its capital. 
Even then, vigorous and drastic plans were being 
discussed, and a splendid program of municipal re- 
forms was already dimly outlined. Of all these, 
however, I had heard nothing but the vaguest 
rumor. 

No comfort came to me then from any source, 



yo TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

and the painful impression was increased because 
at the very moment of looking down the East Lon- 
don street from the top of the omnibus, I had been 
sharply and painfully reminded of ''The Vision of 
Sudden Death" which had confronted De Quincey 
one summer's night as he was being driven through 
rural England on a high mail coach. Two ab- 
sorbed lovers suddenly appear between the narrow, 
blossoming hedgerows in the direct path of the 
huge vehicle which is sure to crush them to their 
death. De Quincey tries to send them a warning 
shout, but finds himself unable to make a sound 
because his mind is hopelessly entangled In an 
endeavor to recall the exact lines from the "Iliad" 
which describe the great cry with which Achilles 
alarmed all Asia militant. Only after his memory 
responds is his will released from Its momentary 
paralysis, and he rides on through the fragrant 
night with the horror of the escaped calamity 
thick upon him, but he also bears with him the 
consciousness that he had given himself over so 
many years to classic learning — that when sud- 
denly called upon for a quick decision In the world 
of life and death, he had been able to act only 
through a literary suggestion. 

This is what we were all doing, lumbering our 
minds with literature that only served to cloud the 
really vital situation spread before our eyes. It 
seemed to me too preposterous that in my first 
view of the horror of East London I should have 



THE SNARE OF PREPARATION 71 

recalled De Quincey's literary description of the 
literary suggestion which had once paralyzed him. 
In my disgust it all appeared a hateful, vicious 
circle which even the apostles of culture themselves 
admitted, for had not one of the greatest among 
the moderns plainly said that "conduct, and not 
culture is three fourths of human life." 

For two years in the midst of my distress over 
the poverty which, thus suddenly driven into my 
consciousness, had become to me the '^Welt- 
schmerz," there was mingled a sense of futility, of 
misdirected energy, the belief that the pursuit of 
cultivation would not in the end bring either solace 
or relief. I gradually reached a conviction that 
the first generation of college women had taken 
their learning too quickly, had departed too sud- 
denly from the active, emotional life led by their 
grandmothers and great-grandmothers ; that the 
contemporary education of young women had 
developed too exclusively the power of acquiring 
knowledge and of merely receiving impressions ; 
that somewhere in the process of "being educated" 
they had lost that simple and almost automatic 
response to the human appeal, that old healthful 
reaction resulting in activity from the mere pres- 
ence of suffering or of helplessness ; that they are 
so sheltered and pampered they have no chance 
even to make "the great refusal." 

In the German and French pensions, which 
twenty-five years ago were crowded with American 



72 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

mothers and their daughters who had crossed the 
seas in search of culture, one often found the 
mother making real connection with the life about 
her, using her inadequate German with great 
fluency, gayly measuring the enormous sheets or 
exchanging recipes with the German Hausfrau, 
visiting impartially the nearest kindergarten and 
market, making an atmosphere of her own, hearty 
and genuine as far as it went, in the house and on 
the street. On the other hand, her daughter was 
critical and uncertain of her linguistic acquire- 
ments, and only at ease when in the familiar recep- 
tive attitude afforded by the art gallery and the 
opera house. In the latter she was swayed and 
moved, appreciative of the power and charm of the 
music, intelligent as to the legend and poetry of 
the plot, finding use for her trained and developed 
powers as she sat "being cultivated" in the famil- 
iar atmosphere of the classroom which had, as it 
were, become sublimated and romanticized. 

I remember a happy busy mother who, compla- 
cent with the knowledge that her daughter daily 
devoted four hours to her music, looked up from her 
knitting to say, "If I had had your opportunities 
when I was young, my dear, I should have been a 
very happy girl. I always had musical talent, but 
such training as I had, foolish little songs and 
waltzes and not time for half an hour's practice 
a day." 

The mother did not dream of the sting her words 



THE SNARE OF PREPARATION 73 

left and that the sensitive girl appreciated only too 
well that her opportunities were fine and unusual, 
but she also knew that in spite of some facility and 
much good teaching she had no genuine talent and 
never would fulfill the expectations of her friends. 
She looked back upon her mother's girlhood with 
positive envy because it was so full of happy in- 
dustry and extenuating obstacles, with undis- 
turbed opportunity to believe that her talents were 
unusual. The girl looked wistfully at her mother, 
but had not the courage to cry out what was in 
her heart : "I might believe I had unusual talent 
if I did not know what good music was ; I might 
enjoy half an hour's practice a day if I were busy 
and happy the rest of the time. You do not know 
what life means when all the difficulties are re- 
moved ! I am simply smothered and sickened 
with advantages. It is like eating a sweet dessert 
the first thing in the morning." 

This, then, w^as the difficulty, this sweet dessert 
in the morning and the assumption that the 
sheltered, educated girl has nothing to do with the 
bitter poverty and the social maladjustment which 
is all about her, and which, after all, cannot be 
concealed, for it breaks through poetry and litera- 
ture in a burning tide which overwhelms her ; it 
peers at her in the form of heavy-laden market 
women and underpaid street laborers, gibing her 
with a sense of her uselessness. 

I recall one snowy morning in Saxe-Coburg, look- 



74 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

ing from the window of our little hotel upon the 
town square, that we saw crossing and recrossing 
it a single file of women with semicircular heavy 
wooden tanks fastened upon their backs. They 
were carrying In this primitive fashion to a remote 
cooling room these tanks filled with a hot brew In- 
cident to one stage of beer making. The women 
were bent forward, not only under the weight which 
they were bearing, but because the tanks were so 
high that it would have been Impossible for them 
to have lifted their heads. Their faces and hands, 
reddened in the cold morning air, showed clearly 
the white scars where they had previously been 
scalded by the hot stuff which splashed if they 
stumbled ever so little on their way. Stung Into 
action by one of those sudden indignations against 
cruel conditions which at times fill the young with 
unexpected energy, I found myself across the square, 
in company with mine host, interviewing the phleg- 
matic owner of the brewery who received us with 
exasperating indifference, or rather received me, 
for the Innkeeper mysteriously slunk away as soon 
as the great magnate of the town began to speak. 
I went back to a breakfast for which I had lost my 
appetite, as I had for Gray's "Life of Prince Al- 
bert" *and his wonderful tutor. Baron Stockmar, 
which I had been reading late the night before. 
The book had lost Its fascination ; how could 
a good man, feeling so keenly his obligation "to 
make princely the mind of his prince," ignore such 



THE SNARE OF PREPARATION 75 

conditions of life for the multitude of humble, 
hard-working folk. We were spending two months 
in Dresden that winter, given over to much read- 
ing of ''The History of Art" and to much visiting 
of its art gallery and opera house, and after such 
an experience I would invariably suffer a moral 
revulsion against this feverish search after culture. 
It was doubtless in such moods that I founded my 
admiration for Albrecht Diirer, taking his won- 
derful pictures, however, in the most unorthodox 
manner, merely as human documents. I was 
chiefly appealed to by his unwillingness to lend 
himself to a smooth and cultivated view of life, 
by his determination to record its frustrations 
and even the hideous forms which darken the day 
for our human imagination and to ignore no 
human complications. I believed that his can- 
vases intimated the coming religious and social 
changes of the Reformation and the peasants' wars, 
that they were surcharged with pity for the down- 
trodden, that his sad knights, gravely standing 
guard, were longing to avert that shedding of blood 
which is sure to occur when men forget how com- 
plicated life is and insist upon reducing it to logical 
dogmas. 

The largest sum of money that I ever ventured 
to spend in Europe was for an engraving of his 
"St. Hubert," the background of which was said 
to be from an original Diirer plate. There is 
little doubt, I am afraid, that the background as 



^6 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 



well as the figures ''were put in at a later date," 
but the purchase at least registered the high-water 
mark of my enthusiasm. 

The wonder and beauty of Italy later brought 
healing and some relief to the paralyzing sense of 
the futility of all artistic and intellectual eifort 

when disconnected 
from the ultimate test 
of the conduct it in- 
spired. The serene 
and soothing touch of 
history also aroused 
old enthusiasms, al- 
though some of their 
manifestations were 
such as one smiles over 
'-- — ~^ . IT^ more easily in retro- 

spection than at the 
moment. I fancy that it was no smiling matter 
to several people in our party, whom I induced 
to walk for three miles in the hot sunshine beating 
down upon the Roman Campagna, that we might 
enter the Eternal City on foot through the Porta 
del Popolo, as pilgrims had done for centuries. 
To be sure, we had really entered Rome the night 
before, but the railroad station and the hotel might 
have been anywhere else, and we had been driven 
beyond the walls after breakfast and stranded at 
the very spot where the pilgrims always said "Ecco 
Roma," as they caught the first glimpse of St. 




THE SNARE OF PREPARATION ^^ 

Peter's dome. This melodramatic entrance into 
Rome, or rather pretended entrance, was the pre- 
lude to days of enchantment, and I returned to 
Europe two years later in order to spend a winter 
there and to carry out a great desire to systemati- 
cally study the Catacombs. In spite of my dis- 
trust of ''advantages" I was apparently not yet 
so cured but that I wanted more of them. 

The two years which elapsed before I again 
found myself in Europe brought their inevitable 
changes. Family arrangements had so come about 
that I had spent three or four months of each of the 
intervening winters in Baltimore, where I seemed 
to have reached the nadir of my nervous depres- 
sion and sense of maladjustment, in spite of my 
interest in the fascinating lectures given there by 
Lanciani of Rome, and a definite course of reading 
under the guidance of a Johns Hopkins lecturer 
upon the United Italy movement. In the latter 
I naturally encountered the influence of Mazzini, 
which was a source of great comfort to me, although 
perhaps I went too suddenly from a contempla- 
tion of his wonderful ethical and philosophical 
appeal to the workingmen of Italy, directly to the 
lecture rooms at Johns Hopkins University, for 
I was certainly much disillusioned at this time as to 
the effect of intellectual pursuits upon moral de- 
velopment. 

The summers were spent in the old home in 
northern Illinois, and one Sunday morning I 



7^ TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

received the rite of baptism and became a member 
of the Presbyterian church in the village. At this 
time there was certainly no outside pressure push- 
ing me towards such a decision, and at twenty-five 
one does not ordinarily take such a step from a 
mere desire to conform. While I was not con- 
scious of any emotional "conversion," I took upon 
myself the outward expressions of the religious 
life with all humility and sincerity. It was doubt- 
less true that I was 

"Weary of myself and sick of asking 
What I am and what I ought to be," 

and that various cherished safeguards and claims 
to self-dependence had been broken into by many 
piteous failures. But certainly I had been brought 
to the conclusion that ''sincerely to give up one's 
conceit or hope of being good in one's own right 
is the only door to the Universe's deeper reaches." 
Perhaps the young clergyman recognized this as 
the test of the Christian temper, at any rate he 
required little assent to dogma or miracle, and as- 
sured me that while both the ministr}^ and the 
officers of his church were obliged to subscribe to 
doctrines of well-known severity, the faith required 
of the laity was almost early Christian in its sim- 
plicity. I was conscious of no change from my 
childish acceptance of the teachings of the Gospels, 
but at this moment something persuasive within 
made me long for an outward symbol of fellowship, 



THE SNARE OF PREPARATION 79 

some bond of peace, some blessed spot where unity 
of spirit might claim right of way over all differ- 
ences. There was also growing within me an al- 
most passionate devotion to the ideals of democracy, 
and when in all history had these ideals been so 
thrillingly expressed as when the faith of the 
fisherman and the slave had been boldly opposed 
to the accepted moral belief that the well-being of 
a privileged few might justly be built upon the 
ignorance and sacrifice of the many ? Who was I, 
with my dreams of universal fellowship, that I did 
not identify myself with the institutional statement 
of this belief, as it stood in the little village in 
which I was born, and without which testimony in 
each remote hamlet of Christendom it would be 
so easy for the world to slip back into the doctrines 
of selection and aristocracy ? 

In one of the intervening summers between these 
European journeys I visited a western state where 
I had formerly invested a sum of money in mort- 
gages. I was much horrified by the wretched 
conditions among the farmers, which had resulted 
from a long period of drought, and one forlorn, pic- 
ture was fairly burned into my mind. A number 
of starved hogs — collateral for a promissory 
note — were huddled into an open pen. Their 
backs were humped in a curious, camel-like fashion, 
and they were devouring one of their own number, 
the latest victim of absolute starvation or possibly 
merely the one least able to defend himself against 



8o TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

their voracious hunger. The farmer's wife looked 
on indifferently, a picture of despair as she stood 
in the door of the bare, crude house, and the two 
children behind her, whom she vainly tried to keep 
out of sight, continually thrust forward their faces 
almost covered by masses of coarse, sunburned 
hair, and their little bare feet so black, so hard, the 
great cracks so filled with dust that they looked 
like flattened hoofs. The children could not be 
compared to anything so joyous as satyrs, al- 
though they appeared but half-human. It seemed 
to me quite impossible to receive interest from 
mortgages placed upon farms which might at any 
season be reduced to such conditions, and with 
great inconvenience to my agent and doubtless 
with hardship to the farmers, as speedily as pos- 
sible I withdrew all my investment. But some- 
thing had to be done with the money, and in my 
reaction against unseen horrors I bought a farm 
near my native village and also a flock of innocent- 
looking sheep. My partner in the enterprise had 
not chosen the shepherd's lot as a permanent occu- 
pation, but hoped to speedily finish his college 
course upon half the proceeds of our venture. 
This pastoral enterprise still seems to me to have 
been essentially sound, both economically and 
morally, but perhaps one partner depended too 
much upon the impeccability of her motives and 
the other found himself too preoccupied with study 
to know that it is not a real kindness to bed a 



THE SNARE OF PREPARATION 8i 

sheepfold with straw, for certainly the venture 
ended in a spectacle scarcely less harrowing than 
the memory it was designed to obliterate. At 
least the sight of two hundred sheep with four 
rotting hoofs each, was not reassuring to one 
whose conscience craved economic peace. A for- 
tunate series of sales of mutton, wool, and farm 
enabled the partners to end the enterprise w^ithout 
loss, and they passed on, one to college and the 
other to Europe, if not wiser, certainly sadder for 
the experience. 

It was during this second journey to Europe 
that I attended a meeting of the London match 
girls who were on strike and who met daily under 
the leadership of w^ell-known labor men of London. 
The low wages that were reported at the meetings, 
the phossy jaw which was described and occa- 
sionally exhibited, the appearance of the girls 
themselves I did not, curiously enough, in any wise 
connect with what was called the labor movement, 
nor did I understand the efforts of the London 
trades-unionists, concerning whom I held the 
vaguest notions. But of course this impression of 
human misery was added to the others which were 
already making me so wretched. I think that up 
to this time I was still filled w^ith the sense which 
Wells describes in one of his young characters, 
that somewhere in Church or State are a body 
of authoritative people who will put things to rights 
as soon as they really know what is wrong. Such 



82 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

a young person persistently believes that behind 
all suffering, behind sin and want, must lie redeem- 
ing magnanimity. He may imagine the world to 
be tragic and terrible, but it never for an instant 
occurs to him that it may be contemptible or 
squalid or self-seeking. Apparently I looked upon 
the efforts of the trades-unionists as I did upon 
those of Frederic Harrison and the Positlvists 
whom I heard the next Sunday In Newton Hall, 
as a manifestation of "loyalty to humanity" and 
an attempt to aid in its progress. I was enor- 
mously interested In the Positlvists during these 
European years ; I Imagined that their philosophical 
conception of man's religious development might 
include all expressions of that for which so many 
ages of men have struggled and aspired. I vaguely 
hoped for this universal comity when I stood in 
Stonehenge, on the Acropolis In Athens, or In the 
Sistine Chapel In the Vatican. But never did I so 
desire It as In the cathedrals of Winchester, Notre 
Dame, Amiens. One winter's day I traveled 
from Munich to Ulm because I imagined from 
what the art books said that the cathedral horded 
a medieval statement of the Positlvists' final syn- 
thesis, prefiguring their conception of a ''Supreme 
Humanity." 

In this I was not altogether disappointed. The 
religious history carved on the choir stalls at Ulm 
contained Greek philosophers as well as Hebrew 
prophets, and among the disciples and saints stood 



THE SNARE OF PREPARATION 83 

the discoverer of music and a builder of pagan 
temples. Even then I was startled, forgetting for 
the moment the religious revolutions of south 
Germany, to catch sight of a window showing 
Luther as he affixed his thesis on the door at 
Wittenberg, the picture shining clear in the midst 
of the older glass of saint and symbol. 

My smug notebook states that all this was 
an admission that "the saints but embodied fine 
action," and it proceeds at some length to set forth 
my hope for a "cathedral of humanity," which 
should be "capacious enough to house a fellowship 
of common purpose," and which should be "beau- 
tiful enough to persuade men to hold fast to the 
vision of human solidarity." It is quite impos- 
sible for me to reproduce this experience at Ulm 
unless I quote pages more from the notebook in 
which I seem to have written half the night, 
in a fever of composition cast in ill-digested phrases 
from Comte. It doubtless reflected also something 
of the faith of the Old Catholics, a charming group 
of whom I had recently met in Stuttgart, and the 
same mood is easily traced in my early hopes for 
the Settlement that it should unite in the fellow- 
ship of the deed those of widely differing religious 
beliefs. 

The beginning of 1887 found our little party of 
three in very picturesque lodgings in Rome, and 
settled into a certain student's routine. But my 
study of the Catacombs was brought to an abrupt 



84 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

end In a fortnight by a severe attack of sciatic 
rheumatism, which kept me in Rome with a 
trained nurse during many weeks, and later sent 
me to the Riviera to lead an invalid's life once 
more. Although my Catacomb lore thus re- 
mained hopelessly superficial, it seemed to me 
a sufficient basis for a course of six lectures 
which I timidly offered to a Deaconess's Training 
School during my first winter in Chicago, upon the 
simple ground that this early interpretation of 
Christianity is the one which should be presented 
to the poor, urging that the primitive church 
was composed of the poor and that It was they who 
took the wonderful news to the more prosperous 
Romans. The open-minded head of the school 
gladly accepted the lectures, arranging that the 
course should be given each spring to her graduat- 
ing class of Home and Foreign Missionaries, and 
at the end of the third year she invited me to be- 
come one of the trustees of the school. I accepted 
and attended one meeting of the board, but never 
another, because some of the older members ob- 
jected to my membership on the ground that "no 
religious instruction was given at Hull-House." 
I remember my sympathy for the embarrassment 
In which the head of the school was placed, but 
if I needed comfort, a bit of it came to me on my 
way home from the trustees' meeting when an 
Italian laborer paid my street car fare, according 
to the custom of our simpler neighbors. Upon 



THE SNARE OF PREPARATION 85 

my inquiry of the conductor as to whom I was 
indebted for the little courtesy, he replied roughly 
enough, ''I cannot tell one dago from another 
when they are in a gang, but sure, any one of them 
would do it for you as quick as they would for the 
Sisters." 

It is hard to tell just when the very simple plan 
which afterward developed into the Settlement 
began to form itself in my mind. It may have 
been even before I went to Europe for the second 
time, but I gradually became convinced that it 
would be a good thing to rent a house in a part of 
the city where many primitive and actual needs are 
found, in which young women who had been given 
over too exclusively to study, might restore a bal- 
ance of activity along traditional lines and learn of 
life from life itself ; where they might try out some 
of the things they had been taught and put truth 
to ''the ultimate test of the conduct it dictates or 
inspires." I do not remember to have mentioned 
this plan to any one until we reached Madrid in 
April, 1888. 

We had been to see a bull fight rendered in the 
most magnificent Spanish style, where greatly to 
my surprise and horror, I found that I had seen, with 
comparative indifference, five bulls and many more 
horses killed. The sense that this was the last 
survival of all the glories of the amphitheater, 
the illusion that the riders on the caparisoned 
horses might have been knights of a tournament, 



86 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

or the matadore a slightly armed gladiator facing 
his martyrdom, and all the rest of the obscure 
yet vivid associations of an historic survival, had 
carried me beyond the endurance of any of the 
rest of the party. I finally met them in the foyer, 
stern and pale with disapproval of my brutal 
endurance, and but partially recovered from the 
faintness and disgust which the spectacle itself 
had produced upon them. I had no defense to 
offer to their reproaches save that I had not 
thought much about the bloodshed ; but in the 
evening the natural and inevitable reaction came, 
and in deep chagrin I felt myself tried and con- 
demned, not only by this disgusting experience 
but by the entire moral situation which it revealed. 
It was suddenly made quite clear to me that I was 
lulling my conscience by a dreamer's scheme, that 
a mere paper reform had become a defense for 
continued idleness, and that I was making it a 
raison d'etre for going on indefinitely with study and 
travel. It is easy to become the dupe of a deferred 
purpose, of the promise the future can never keep, 
and I had fallen into the meanest type of self- 
deception in making myself believe that all this 
was in preparation for great things to come. Noth- 
ing less than the moral reaction following the expe- 
rience at a bull-fight had been able to reveal to 
me that so far from following in the wake of a 
chariot of philanthropic fire, I had been tied to the 
tail of the veriest ox-cart of self-seeking. 



THE SNARE OF PREPARATION 87 

I had made up my mind that next day, what- 
ever happened, I would begin to carry out the plan, 
if only by talking about it. I can well recall the 
stumbling and uncertainty with which I finally set 
it forth to Miss Starr, my old-time school friend, 
who was one of our party. I even dared to hope 
that she might join in carrying out the plan, but 
nevertheless I told it in the fear of that disheart- 
ening experience which is so apt to afflict our most 
cherished plans when they are at last divulged, 
when we suddenly feel that there is nothing there to 
talk about, and as the golden dream slips through 
our fingers we are left to wonder at our own fatuous 
belief. But gradually the comfort of Miss Starr's 
companionship, the vigor and enthusiasm which she 
brought to bear upon it, told both in the growth of 
the plan and upon the sense of its validity, so that 
by the time w^e had reached the enchantment of 
the Alhambra, the scheme had become convincing 
and tangible although still most hazy in detail. 

A month later we parted in Paris, Miss Starr to 
go back to Italy, and I to journey on to London to 
secure as many suggestions as possible from those 
wonderful places of which we had heard, Toynbee 
Hall and the People's Palace. So that it finally 
came about that in June, 1888, five years after 
my first visit in East London, I found myself at 
Toynbee Hall equipped not only with a letter of 
introduction from Canon Fremantle, but with 
high expectations and a certain belief that what- 



88 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

ever perplexities and discouragement concerning 
the life of the poor were In store for me, I should 
at least know something at first hand and have 
the solace of daily activity. I had confidence that 
although life itself might contain many difiiculties, 
the period of mere passive receptivity had come to 
an end, and I had at last finished with the ever- 
lasting "preparation for life," however ill-prepared 
I might be. 

It was not until years afterward that I came upon 
Tolstoy's phrase "the snare of preparation," which 
he insists we spread before the feet of young people, 
hopelessly entangling them in a curious inactivity 
at the very period of life when they are longing 
to construct the world anew and to conform it to 
their own ideals. 











A Hull-House Interior. 



CHAPTER V 
First Days at Hull-House 

The next January found Miss Starr and myself 
in Chicago, searching for a neighborhood in which 
we might put our plans Into execution. In our 
eagerness to win friends for the new undertaking, 
we utlHzed every opportunity to set forth the 
meaning of the settlement as it had been embodied 
in Toynbee Hall, although in those days we made 
no appeal for money, meaning to start with our 
own slender resources. From the very first the 
plan received courteous attention, and the discus- 
sion, while often skeptical, was always friendly. 
Professor Swing wrote a commendatory column in 
the Evening Journal, and our early speeches were 
reported quite out of proportion to their worth. 
I recall a spirited evening at the home of Mrs. 
Wilmarth, which was attended by that renowned 
scholar, Thomas Davidson, and by a young Eng- 
lishman who was a member of the then new Fabian 
society and to whom a peculiar glamour was at- 
tached because he had scoured knives all summer 
in a camp of high-minded philosophers in the 
Adirondacks. Our new little plan met with criti- 
cism, not to say disapproval, from Mr. Davidson, 

89 



90 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

who, as nearly as I can remember, called it ''one 
of those unnatural attempts to understand life 
through cooperative living." 

It was in vain we asserted that the collective 
living was not an essential part of the plan, that 
we would always scrupulously pay our own ex- 
penses, and that at any moment we might decide 
to scatter through the neighborhood and to live 
in separate tenements ; he still contended that the 
fascination for most of those volunteering residence 
would lie in the collective living aspect of the 
Settlement. His contention was, of course, essen- 
tially sound ; there is a constant tendency for the 
residents to "lose themselves in the cave of their 
own companionship," as the Toynbee Hall phrase 
goes, but on the other hand, it is doubtless true 
that the very companionship, the give and take of 
colleagues, is what tends to keep the Settlement 
normal and in touch with ''the world of things as 
they are." I am happy to say that we never 
resented this nor any other difference of opinion, 
and that fifteen years later Professor Davidson 
handsomely acknowledged that the advantages of 
a group far outweighed the weaknesses he had 
early pointed out. He was at that later moment 
sharing with a group of young men, on the East 
Side of New York, his ripest conclusions in phi- 
losophy and was much touched by their intelli- 
gent interest and absorbed devotion. I think 
that time has also justified our early contention 



FIRST DAYS AT HULL-HOUSE 91 

that the mere foothold of a house, easily accessible, 
ample in space, hospitable and tolerant in spirit, 
situated in the midst of the large foreign colonies 
which so easily isolate themselves in American 
cities, would be in itself a serviceable thing for 
Chicago. I am not so sure that we succeeded in 
our endeavors " to make social intercourse express 
the growing sense of the economic unity of society 
and to add the social function to democracy." But 
Hull-House was soberly opened on the theory that 
the dependence of classes on each other is recipro- 
cal ; and that as the social relation is essentially a 
reciprocal relation, it gives a form of expression 
that has peculiar value. 

In our search for a vicinity in which to settle we 
went about with the officers of the compulsory 
'.'ducation department, with city missionaries and 
with the newspaper reporters whom I recall as 
a much older set of men than one ordinarily asso- 
ciates with that profession, or perhaps I was only 
sent out with the older ones on what they must all 
have considered a quixotic mission. One Sunday 
afternoon in the late winter a reporter took me to 
visit a so-called anarchist Sunday school, several 
of which were to be found on the northwest side 
of the city. The young man in charge was of the 
German student type, and his face flushed with 
enthusiasm as he led the children singing one of 
Koerner's poems. The newspaper man, who did 
not understand German, asked me what abomi- 



92 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

nable stuff they were singing, but he seemed 
dissatisfied with my translation of the simple words 
and darkly intimated that they were "deep ones," 
and had probably ''fooled" me. When I replied 
that Koerner was an ardent German poet whose 
songs inspired his countrymen to resist the ag- 
gressions of Napoleon, and that his bound poems 
were found in the most respectable libraries, he 
looked at me rather askance and I then and there 
had my first intimation that to treat a Chicago 
man, who is called an anarchist, as you would treat 
any other citizen, is to lay yourself open to deep 
suspicion. 

Another Sunday afternoon in the early spring, on 
the way to a Bohemian mission in the carriage of 
one of its founders, we passed a fine old house 
standing well back from the street, surrounded on 
three sides by a broad piazza which was supported 
by wooden pillars of exceptionally pure Corinthian 
design and proportion. I was so attracted by the 
house that I set forth to visit it the very next day, 
but though I searched for it then and for several 
days after, I could not find it, and at length I most 
reluctantly gave up the search. 

Three weeks later, with the advice of several of 
the oldest residents of Chicago, including the ex- 
^ mayor of the city. Colonel Mason, who had from 
the first been a warm friend to our plans, we decided 
upon a location somewhere near the junction of 
Blue Island Avenue, Halsted Street, and Harrison 



FIRST DAYS AT HULL-HOUSE 93 

Street. I was surprised and overjoyed on the very 
first day of our search for quarters to come upon 
the hospitable old house, the quest for which I had 
so recently abandoned. The house was of course 
rented, the lower part of it used for offices and 
storerooms in connection with a factory that stood 
back of it. However, after some difficulties were 
overcome, it proved to be possible to sublet the 
second floor and what had been the large drawing- 
room on the first floor. 

The house had passed through many changes 
since it had been built in 1856 for the homestead of 
one of Chicago's pioneer citizens, Mr. Charles J. 
Hull, and although battered by its vicissitudes, was 
essentially sound. Before it had been occupied by 
the factory, it had sheltered a second-hand furni- 
ture store, and at one time the Little Sisters of the 
Poor had used it for a home for the aged. It had 
a half-skeptical reputation for a haunted attic, 
so far respected by the tenants living on the second 
floor that they always kept a large pitcher full of 
water on the attic stairs. Their explanation of 
this custom was so incoherent that I was sure it 
was a survival of the belief that a ghost could not 
cross running water, but perhaps that interpre- 
tation was only my eagerness for finding folklore. 

The fine old house responded kindly to repairs, 
its wide hall and open fireplaces always insuring 
it a gracious aspect. Its generous owner. Miss 
Helen Culver, in the following spring gave us a free 



94 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

leasehold of the entire house. Her kindness has 
continued through the years until the group of 
thirteen buildings, which at present comprises our 
equipment, is built largely upon land which Miss 
Culver has put at the service of the Settlement 
which bears Mr. Hull's name. In those days the 
house stood between an undertaking establish- 
ment and a saloon. "Knight, Death, and the 
Devil," the three were called by a Chicago wit, 
and yet any mock heroics which might be implied 
by comparing the Settlement to a knight quickly 
dropped away under the genuine kindness and 
hearty welcome extended to us by the families 
living up and down the street. 

We furnished the house as we would have fur- 
nished it were it in another part of the city, with 
the photographs and other impedimenta we had 
collected in Europe, and with a few bits of family 
mahogany. While all the new furniture which 
was bought was enduring in quality, we were care- 
ful to keep it in character with the fine old residence. 
Probably no young matron ever placed her own 
things in her own house with more pleasure than 
that with which we first furnished Hull-House. 
We believed that the Settlement may logically 
bring to its aid all those adjuncts which the culti- 
vated man regards as good and suggestive of the 
best life of the past. 

On the 1 8th of September, 1889, Miss Starr and 
I moved into it, with Miss Mary Keyser, who be- 



FIRST DAYS AT HULL-HOUSE 95 

gan by performing the housework, but who quickly 
developed into a very Important factor in the life 




) '' 

of the vicinity as well as in that of the household, 
and whose death five years later was most sincerely 
mourned by hundreds of our neighbors. In our 
enthusiasm over "settling," the first night we for- 
got not only to lock but to close a side door opening 



96 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

on Polk Street, and were much pleased in the 
morning to find that we possessed a fine illustra- 
tion of the honesty and kindliness of our new 
neighbors. 

Our first guest was an interesting young woman 
who lived in a neighboring tenement, whose 
widowed mother aided her in the support of the 
family by scrubbing a downtown theater every 
night. The mother, of English birth, was well 
bred and carefully educated, but was in the midst 
of that bitter struggle which awaits so many 
strangers in American cities who find that their 
social position tends to be measured solely by the 
standards of living they are able to maintain. 
Our guest has long since married the struggling 
young lawyer to whom she was then engaged, and 
he is now leading his profession in an eastern 
city. She recalls that month's experience always 
with a sense of amusement over the fact that the 
succession of visitors who came to see the new 
Settlement invariably questioned her most mi- 
utely concerning "these people" without once 
suspecting that they were talking to one who had 
been identified with the neighborhood from child- 
hood. I at least was able to draw a lesson from the 
incident, and I never addressed a Chicago audience 
on the subject of the Settlement and its vicinity 
without inviting a neighbor to go with me, that 
I might curb any hasty generalization by the con- 
sciousness that I had an auditor who knew the 



FIRST DAYS AT HULL-HOUSE 97 

conditions more intimately than I could hope to 
do. 

Halsted Street has grown so familiar during 
twenty years of residence, that it is difficult to re- 
call its gradual changes, — the withdrawal of the 
more prosperous Irish and Germans, and the slow 
substitution of Russian Jews, Italians, and Greeks. 
A description of the street such as I gave in those 
early addresses still stands in my mind as sym- 
pathetic and correct. 




Halsted Street is thirty-two miles long, and one of 
the great thoroughfares of Chicago; Polk Street crosses 
it midway between the stockyards to the south and the 
ship-building yards on the north branch of the Chicago 
River. For the six miles between these two industries 
the street is lined with shops of butchers and grocers, 
with dingy and gorgeous saloons, and pretentious estab- 
lishments for the sale of ready-made clothing. Polk 
Street, running west from Halsted Street, grows rapidly 
more prosperous ; running a mile east to State Street, 
it grows steadily worse, and crosses a network of vice 



H 



98 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

on the corners of Clark Street and Fifth Avenue. Hull- 
House once stood in the suburbs, but the city has 
steadily grown up around it and its site now has corners 
on three or four foreign colonies. Between Halsted 
Street and the river live about ten thousand Italians — 
Neapolitans, Sicilians, and Calabrians, with an occa- 
sional Lombard or Venetian. To the south on Twelfth 
Street are many Germans, and side streets are given 
over almost entirely to Polish and Russian Jews. Still 
farther south, these Jewish colonies merge into a huge 
Bohemian colony, so vast that Chicago ranks as the 
third Bohemian city in the world. To the northwest 
are many Canadian-French, clannish in spite of their 
long residence in America, and to the north are Irish 
and first-generation Americans. On the streets directly 
west and farther north are well-to-do English-speaking 
families, many of whom own their houses and have lived 
in the neighborhood for years ; one man is still living 
in his old farmhouse. 

The policy of the public authorities of never taking 
an initiative, and always waiting to be urged to do their 
duty, is obviously fatal in a neighborhood where there 
is little initiative among the citizens. The idea under- 
lying our self-government breaks down in such a ward. 
The streets are inexpressibly dirty, the number of 
schools inadequate, sanitary legislation unenforced, the 
street lighting bad, the paving miserable and altogether 
lacking in the alleys and smaller streets, and the 
stables foul beyond description. Hundreds of houses 
are unconnected with the street sewer. The older and 
richer inhabitants seem anxious to move away as 
rapidly as they can afford it. They make room for 
newly arrived immigrants who are densely ignorant of 



FIRST DAYS AT HULL-HOUSE 99 

civic duties. This substitution of the older inhabit- 
ants is accomplished industrially also, in the south and 
east quarters of the ward. The Jews and Italians 
do the finishing for the great clothing manufacturers, 
formerly done by Americans, Irish and Germans, who 
refused to submit to the extremely low prices to which 
the sweating system has reduced their successors. As 
the design of the sweating system is the elimination of 
rent from the manufacture of clothing, the " outside 
work" is begun after the clothing leaves the cutter. 
An unscrupulous contractor regards no basement as 
too dark, no stable loft too foul, no rear shanty too 
provisional, no tenement room too small for his work- 
room, as these conditions imply low rental. Hence 
these shops abound in the worst of the foreign districts 
where the sweater easily finds his cheap basement and 
his home finishers. 

The houses of the ward, for the most part wooden, 
were originally built for one family and are now occupied 
by several. They are after the type of the inconvenient 
frame cottages found in the poorer suburbs twenty 
years ago. Many of them were built where they now 
stand ; others were brought thither on rollers, because 
their previous sites had been taken for factories. The 
fewer brick tenement buildings which are three or four 
stories high are comparatively new, and there are few 
large tenements. The little wooden houses have a 
temporary aspect, and for this reason, perhaps, the 
tenement-house legislation in Chicago is totally inade- 
quate. Rear tenements flourish ; many houses have 
no water supply save the faucet in the back yard, there 
are no fire escapes, the garbage and ashes are placed in 
wooden boxes which are fastened to the street pave- 



loo TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

merits. One of the most discouraging features about the 
present system of tenement houses is that many are 
owned by sordid and ignorant immigrants. The theory 
that wealth brings responsibility, that possession en- 
tails at length education and refinement, in these cases 
fails utterly. The children of an Italian immigrant 
owner may "shine" shoes in the street, and his wife 
may pick rags from the street gutter, laboriously sorting 
them in a dingy court. Wealth may do something for 
her self-complacency and feeling of consequence; it 
certainly does nothing for her comfort or her children's 
improvement nor for the cleanliness of any one con- 
cerned. Another thing that prevents better houses in 
Chicago is the tentative attitude of the real estate men. 
Many unsavory conditions are allowed to continue which 
would be regarded with horror if they were considered 
permanent. Meanwhile, the wretched conditions persist 
until at least two generations of children have been born 
and reared in them. 

In every neighborhood where poorer people live, 
because rents are supposed to be cheaper there, is an 
element which, although uncertain in the individual, in 
the aggregate can be counted upon. It is composed of 
people of former education and opportunity who have 
cherished ambitions and prospects, but who are carica- 
tures of what they meant to be — "hollow ghosts which 
blame the living men." There are times in many 
lives when there is a cessation of energy and loss of 
power. Men and women of education and refinement 
come to live in a cheaper neighborhood because they 
lack the ability to make money, because of ill health, 
because of an unfortunate marriage, or for other reasons 
which do not imply criminality or stupidity. Among 



FIRST DAYS AT HULL-HOUSE loi 

them are those who, in spite of untoward circumstances, 
keep up some sort of an intellectual life ; those who are 
*' great for books," as their neighbors say. To such 
the Settlement may be a genuine refuge. 

In the very first weeks of our residence Miss 
Starr started a reading party in George Eliot's 
''Romola," which was attended by a group of 
young women who followed the wonderful tale with 
unflagging interest. The weekly reading was held 
in our little upstairs dining room, and two members 
of the club came to dinner each week, not only 
that they might be received as guests, but that they 
might help us wash the dishes afterwards and so 
make the table ready for the stacks of Florentine 
photographs. 

Our ''first resident," as she gayly designated 
herself, was a charming old lady who gave five 
consecutive readings from Hawthorne to a most 
appreciative audience, interspersing the magic 
tales most delightfully with recollections of the 
elusive and fascinating author. Years before she 
had lived at Brook Farm as a pupil of the Ripleys, 
and she came to us for ten days because she wished 
to live once more in an atmosphere where ''idealism 
ran high." We thus early found the type of class 
which through all the years has remained most 
popular — a combination of a social atmosphere 
with serious study. 

Volunteers to the new undertaking came quickly ; 
a charming young girl conducted a kindergarten 



I02 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

in the drawing-room, coming regularly every morn- 
ing from her home in a distant part of the North 
Side of the city. Although a tablet to her memory 
has stood upon a mantel shelf in Hull-House for 
five years, we still associate her most vividly with 
the play of little children, first in her kindergarten 
and then In her own nursery, which furnished a 
veritable Illustration of Victor Hugo's definition of 
heaven, — ''a place where parents are always 
young and children always little." Her daily 
presence for the first two years made It quite impos- 
sible for us to become too solemn and self-conscious 
in our strenuous routine, for her mirth and buoy- 
ancy were Irresistible and her eager desire to share 
the life of the neighborhood never failed, although 
it was often put to a severe test. One day at lunch- 
eon she gayly recited her futile attempt to Impress 
temperance principles upon the mind of an Italian 
mother, to whom she had returned a small daughter 
of five sent to the kindergarten "In quite a horrid 
state of intoxication" from the wine-soaked bread 
upon which she had breakfasted. The mother, 
with the gentle courtesy of a South Italian, listened 
politely to her graphic portrayal of the untimely 
end awaiting so Immature a wine bibber ; but 
long before the lecture was finished, quite uncon- 
scious of the Incongruity, she hospitably set forth 
her best wines, and when her baffled guest refused 
one after the other, she disappeared, only to quickly 
return with a small dark glass of whisky, saying 



FIRST DAYS AT HULL-HOUSE 103 

reassuringly, *'See, I have brought you the true 
American drink." The recital ended In seriocomic 
despair, with the rueful statement that "the im- 
pression I probably made upon her darkened mind 
was, that it is the American custom to breakfast 
children on bread soaked In whisky instead of 
light Italian wine." 

That first kindergarten was a constant source of 
education to us. We were much surprised to find 
social distinctions even among Its lambs, although 
greatly amused with the neat formulation made 
by the superior little Italian boy who refused to 
sit beside uncouth little Angelina because "we eat 
our macaroni this way," — imitating the movement 
of a fork from a plate to his mouth, — " and she 
eat her macaroni this way," holding his hand 
high In the air and throwing back his head, that 
his wide-open mouth might receive an imaginary 
cascade. Angelina gravely nodded her little head 
In approval of this distinction between gentry and 
peasant. "But Isn't It astonishing that merely 
table manners are made such a test all the way 
along .^" was the comment of their democratic 
teacher. Another memory which refuses to be 
associated with death, which came to her all too 
soon. Is that of the young girl who organized our 
first really successful club of boys, holding their 
fascinated interest by the old chlvalric tales, set 
forth so dramatically and vividly that checkers and 
jackstraws were abandoned by all the other clubs 



I04 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 



on Boys' Day, that their members might form a 
listening fringe to " The Young Heroes." 

I met a member 
of the latter club 
one day as he flung 
himself out of the 
House in the rage 
by which an emo- 
tional boy hopes to 
keep from shedding 
tears. "There is 
no use coming here 
any more, Prince 
Roland is dead," he 
gruffly explained as 
we passed. We 
encouraged the 
younger boys in 
tournaments and 
dramatics of all 
<* sorts, and we some- 

what fatuously be- 
lieved that boys who were early interested in 
adventurers or explorers might later want to know 
the lives of living statesmen and inventors. It is 
needless to add that the boys quickly responded to 
such a program, and that the only difficulty lay 
in finding leaders who were able to carry it out. 
This difficulty has been with us through all the 
years of growth and development in the Boys' Club 




FIRST DAYS AT HULL-HOUSE 105 



until now, with its five-story building, its splendid 
equipment of shops, of recreation and study 
rooms, that group alone is successful which com- 
mands the services of a resourceful and devoted 
leader. 

The dozens of younger 
children who from the first 
came to Hull-House were 
organized into groups which 
were not quite classes and 
not quite clubs. The value 
of these groups consisted 
almost entirely in arousing 
a higher imagination and 
in giving the children the 
opportunity which they 
could not have in the 
crowded schools, for initia- 
tive and for independent 
social relationships. The public schools then con- 
tained little hand work of any sort, so that naturally 
any instruction which we provided for the children 
took the direction of this supplementary work. 
But it required a constant effort that the pressure 
of poverty itself should not defeat the educational 
aim. The Italian girls in the sewing classes would 
count that day lost when they could not carry 
home a garment, and the insistence that it should 
be neatly made seemed a super-refinement to those 
in dire need of clothing. 




io6 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

As these clubs have been continued during the 
twenty years they have developed classes in the 
many forms of handicraft which the newer educa- 
tion is so rapidly adapting for the delight of chil- 
dren ; but they still keep their essentially social 
character and still minister to that large number 
of children who leave school the very wxek they 
are fourteen years old, only too eager to close the 
schoolroom door forever on a tiresome task that is 
at last well over. It seems to us important that 
these children shall find themselves permanently 
attached to a House that offers them evening clubs 
and classes with their old companions, that merges 
as easily as possible the school life into the working 
life and does what it can to find places for the 
bewildered young things looking for work. A large 
proportion of the delinquent boys brought into the 
juvenile court in Chicago are the oldest sons in large 
families whose wages are needed at home. The 
grades from which many of them leave school, as 
the records show, are piteously far from the seventh 
and eighth where the very first instruction in man- 
ual training is given, nor have they been caught by 
any other abiding interest. 

In spite of these flourishing clubs for children 
early established at Hull-House, and the fact that 
our first organized undertaking was a kinder- 
garten, we were very insistent that the Settle- 
ment should not be primarily for the children, and 
that it was absurd to suppose that grown people 



FIRST DAYS AT HULL-HOUSE 107 

would not respond to opportunities for education 
and social life. Our enthusiastic kindergartner 
herself demonstrated this with an old woman of 
ninety, who, because she was left alone all day while 
her daughter cooked in a restaurant, had formed 
such a persistent habit of picking the plaster off 
the walls that one landlord after another refused 
to have her for a tenant. It required but a few 
weeks' time to teach her to make large paper chains, 
and gradually she was content to do it all day long, 
and in the end took quite as much pleasure in 
adorning the walls as she had formerly taken in 
demolishing them. Fortunately the landlord had 
never heard the aesthetic principle that the expo- 
sure of basic construction is more desirable than 
gaudy decoration. In course of time it was dis- 
covered that the old woman could speak Gaelic, 
and when one or two grave professors came to see 
her, the neighborhood was filled with pride that 
such a wonder lived in their midst. To mitigate 
life for a woman of ninety was an unfailing refu- 
tation of the statement that the Settlement was 
designed for the young. 

On our first New Year's Day at Hull-House we 
invited the older people in the vicinity, sending a 
carriage for the most feeble and announcing to all 
of them that we were going to organize an Old 
Settlers' Party. 

Every New Year's Day since, older people in 
varying numbers have come together at Hull- 



io8 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

House to relate early hardships, and to take for the 
moment the place in the community to which their 
pioneer life entitles them. Many people who were 
formerly residents of the vicinity, but whom pros- 
perity has carried into more desirable neighbor- 
hoods, come back to these meetings and often con- 
fess to each other that they have never since found 
such kindness as in early Chicago when all its citi- 
zens came together in mutual enterprises. Many 
of these pioneers, so like the men and women of my 
earliest childhood that I always felt comforted by 
their presence in the house, were very much opposed 
to "foreigners," whom they held responsible for a 
depreciation of property and a general lowering of 
the tone of the neighborhood. Sometimes we had 
a chance for championship ; I recall one old man, 
fiercely American, who had reproached me because 
we had so many '^ foreign views" on our walls, to 
whom I endeavored to set forth our hope that the 
pictures might afford a familiar island to the immi- 
grants in a sea of new and strange impressions. The 
old settler guest, taken off his guard, replied, "I 
see ; they feel as we did when we saw a Yankee 
notion from down East," — thereby formulating the 
dim kinship between the pioneer and the immigrant, 
both "buffeting the waves of a new development." 
The older settlers as well as their children through- 
out the years have given genuine help to our vari- 
ous enterprises for neighborhood improvement, and 
from their own memories of earlier hardships have 



FIRST DAYS AT HULL-HOUSE 109 

made many shrewd suggestions for alleviating the 
difficulties of that first sharp struggle with un- 
toward conditions. 

In those early days we were often asked why we 
had come to live on Halsted Street when we could 
afford to live somewhere else. I remember one 
man who used to shake his head and say it was 
"the strangest thing he had met in his experience," 
but who was finally convinced that it was "not 
strange but natural." In time it came to seem 
natural to all of us that the Settlement should be 
there. If it is natural to feed the hungry and care 
for the sick, it is certainly natural to give pleasure 
to the young, comfort to the aged, and to minister 
to the deep-seated craving for social intercourse 
that all men feel. Whoever does it is rewarded by 
something which, if not gratitude, is at least spon- 
taneous and vital and lacks that irksome sense of 
obligation with which a substantial benefit is too 
often acknowledged. 

In addition to the neighbors who responded to 
the receptions and classes, we found those who were 
too battered and oppressed to care for them. To 
these, however, was left that susceptibility to the 
bare offices of humanity which raises such offices 
into a bond of fellowship. 

From the first it seemed understood that we were 
ready to perform the humblest neighborhood serv- 
ices. We were asked to wash the new-born babies, 
and to prepare the dead for burial, to nurse the 
sick, and to "mind the children." 



no TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Occasionally these neighborly offices unexpect- 
edly uncovered ugly human traits. For six weeks 
after an operation we kept in one of our three 
bedrooms a forlorn little baby who, because he was 
born with a cleft palate, was most unwelcome even 
to his mother, and we were horrified when he died 
of neglect a week after he was returned to his home ; 
a little Italian bride of fifteen sought shelter with 
us one November evening, to escape her husband 
who had beaten her every night for a week when he 
returned home from work, because she had lost 
her wedding ring ; two of us officiated quite alone 
at the birth of an illegitimate child because the 
doctor was late in arriving, and none of the honest 
Irish matrons would "touch the likes of her"; 
we ministered at the deathbed of a young man, 
who during a long illness of tuberculosis had received 
so many bottles of whisky through the mistaken 
kindness of his friends, that the cumulative effect 
produced wild periods of exultation, in one of which 
he died. 

We were also early impressed with the curious 
isolation of many of the Immigrants ; an Italian 
woman once expressed her pleasure In the red roses 
that she saw at one of our receptions in surprise 
that they had been "brought so fresh all the way 
from Italy." She would not believe for an instant 
that they had been grown In America. She said 
that she had lived in Chicago for six years and had 
never seen any roses, whereas in Italy she had seen 



FIRST DAYS AT HULL-HOUSE iii 






them every summer In great profusion. During 
all that time, of course, the woman had lived within 
ten blocks of a florist's window ; she had not been 
more than a five- 
cent car ride away 
from the public 
parks ; but she had 
never dreamed of 
faring forth for her- 
self, and noonehad 
taken her. Her 
conception of 
America had been 
the untidy street 
in which she lived 
and had made her 
long struggle to 
adapt herself to 
American ways. 

But in spite of some untoward experiences, we 
were constantly impressed with the uniform kind- 
ness and courtesy we received. Perhaps these first 
days laid the simple human foundations which are 
certainly essential for continuous living among the 
poor : first, genuine preference for residence in an 
industrial quarter to any other part of the city, 
because it is interesting and makes the human 
appeal ; and second, the conviction, in the words 
of Canon Barnett, that the things which make men 
alike are finer and better than the things that keep 




112 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

them apart, and that these basic likenesses, if they 
are properly accentuated, easily transcend the less 
essential differences of race, language, creed and 
tradition. 

Perhaps even in those first days we made a 
beginning toward that object which was afterwards 
stated in our charter: ''To provide a center for 
a higher civic and social life ; to institute and 
maintain educational and philanthropic enterprises, 
and to investigate and improve the conditions in 
the industrial districts of Chicago." 




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CHAPTER VI 

Subjective Necessity for Social Settlements 

The Ethical Culture Societies held a summer 
school at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1892, to 
which they invited several people representing 
the then new Settlement movement, that they 
might discuss with others the general theme of 
Philanthropy and Social Progress. 

I venture to produce here parts of a lecture I 
delivered in Plymouth, both because I have found 
it impossible to formulate with the same freshness 
those early motives and strivings, and because, 
when published with other papers given that 
summer, it was received by the Settlement people 
themselves as a satisfactory statement. 

I remember one golden summer afternoon dur- 
ing the sessions of the summer school that several 
of us met on the shores of a pond in a pine wood 
a few miles from Plymouth, to discuss our new 
movement. The natural leader of the group was 
Robert A. Woods. He had recently returned from 
a residence in Toynbee Hall, London, to open 
Andover House in Boston, and had just issued a 
book, "English Social Movements," in which he 
had gathered together and focused the many 
I 113 



114 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 



forms of social endeavor preceding and contempo- 
raneous with the English Settlements. There were 
Miss Vida D. Scudder and Miss Helena Dudley 
from the College Settlement ^Association, Miss 
Julia C. Lathrop and myself from Hull-House. 

Some of us had 
numbered our 
years as far as 
thirty, and we all 
carefully avoid- 
ed the extrava- 
gance of state- 
ment which 
characterizes 
youth, and yet 
^-~- I doubt if any- 
where on the 
continent that 
summer could 
have been found 
a group of people more genuinely interested in social 
development or more sincerely convinced that they 
had found a clew by which the conditions in 
crowded cities might be understood and the agencies 
for social betterment developed. 

We were all careful to avoid saying that we had 
found a ''life work," perhaps with an Instinctive 
dread of expending all our energy in vows of con- 
stancy, as so often happens ; and yet it is Interest- 
ing to note that all of the people whom I have 




SOCIAL SETTLEMENTS 115 

recalled as the enthusiasts at that little conference, 
have remained attached to Settlements in actual 
residence for longer or shorter periods each year 
during the eighteen years which have elapsed 
since then, although they have also been closely 
identified as publicists or governmental officials 
with movements outside. It is as if they had dis- 
covered that the Settlement was too valuable as a 
method as a way of approach to the social question 
to be abandoned, although they had long since 
discovered that it was not a ''social movement" 
in itself. This, however, is anticipating the future, 
whereas the following paper on " The Subjective 
Necessity for Social Settlements" should have a 
chance to speak for itself. It is perhaps too late 
in the day to express regret for its stilted title. 

This paper is an attempt to analyze the motives which 
underlie a movement based, not only upon conviction, but 
upon genuine emotion, wherever educated young people 
are seeking an outlet for that sentiment of universal 
brotherhood, which the best spirit of our times Is forcing 
from an emotion into a motive. These young people 
accomplish little toward the solution of this social 
problem, and bear the brunt of being cultivated into un- 
nourished, oversensitive lives. They have been shut off 
from the common labor by which they live which is a great 
source of moral and physical health. They feel a fatal 
want of harmony between their theory and their lives, 
a lack of coordination between thought and action. 
I think it is hard for us to realize how seriously many of 



ii6 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

them are taking to the notion of human brotherhood, 
how eagerly they long to give tangible expression to 
the democratic ideal. These young men and women, 
longing to socialize their democracy, are animated by 
certain hopes which may be thus loosely formulated ; 
that if in a democratic country nothing can be perma- 
nently achieved save through the masses of the people, 
it will be impossible to establish a higher political life 
than the people themselves crave ; that it is difficult 
to see how the notion of a higher civic life can be fos- 
tered save through common intercourse ; that the bless- 
ings which we associate with a life of refinement and 
cultivation can be made universal and must be made 
universal if they are to be permanent ; that the good we 
secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is 
floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and 
incorporated into our common life. It is easier to state 
these hopes than to formulate the line of motives, 
which I believe to constitute the trend of the subjective 
pressure toward the Settlement. There is something 
primordial about these motives, but I am perhaps over- 
bold in designating them as a great desire to share the 
race life. We all bear traces of the starvation struggle 
which for so long made up the life of the race. Our 
very organism holds memories and glimpses of that 
long life of our ancestors which still goes on among so 
many of our contemporaries. Nothing so deadens 
the sympathies and shrivels the power of enjoyment, 
as the persistent keeping away from the great op- 
portunities for helpfulness and a continual ignoring 
of the starvation struggle which makes up the life of at 
least half the race. To shut one's self away from that 



SOCIAL SETTLEMENTS 117 

half of the race life is to shut one's self away from the 
most vital part of it ; it is to live out but half the human- 
ity to which we have been born heir and to use but half 
our faculties. We have all had longings for a fuller life 
which should include the use of these faculties. These 
longings are the physical complement of the "Intima- 
tions of Immortality," on which no ode has yet been 
written. To portray these would be the work of a 
poet, and it is hazardous for any but a poet to attempt 
it. 

You may remember the forlorn feeling which occa- 
sionally seizes you when you arrive early in the morning 
a stranger in a great city : the stream of laboring people 
goes past you as you gaze through the plate-glass win- 
dow of your hotel ; you see hard working men lifting 
great burdens ; you hear the driving and jostling of 
huge carts and your heart sinks with a sudden sense of 
futility. The door opens behind you and you turn to 
the man who brings you in your breakfast with a quick 
sense of human fellowship. You find yourself praying 
that you may never lose your hold on it all. A more 
poetic prayer would be that the great mother breasts 
of our common humanity, with its labor and suffering 
and its homely comforts, may never be withheld from 
you. You turn helplessly to the waiter and feel that 
it would be almost grotesque to claim from him the 
sympathy you crave because civilization has placed 
you apart, but you resent your position with a sudden 
sense of snobbery. Literature is full of portrayals of 
these glimpses : they come to shipwrecked men on 
rafts ; they overcome the differences of an incongruous 
multitude when in the presence of a great danger or 



ii8 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

when moved by a common enthusiasm. They are not, 
however, confined to such moments, and if we were 
in the habit of telling them to each other, the recital 
would be as long as the tales of children are, when they 
sit down on the green grass and confide to each other 
how many times they have remembered that they lived 
once before. If these childish tales are the stirring of 
inherited impressions, just so surely is the other the 
striving of inherited powers. 

"It is true that there is nothing after disease, indi- 
gence and a sense of guilt, so fatal to health and to life 
itself as the want of a proper outlet for active faculties." 
I have seen young girls suffer and grow sensibly lowered 
in vitality in the first years after they leave school. 
In our attempt then to give a girl pleasure and freedom 
from care we succeed, for the most part, in making her 
pitifully miserable. She finds "life" so different from 
what she expected it to be. She is besotted with inno- 
cent little ambitions, and does not understand this 
apparent waste of herself, this elaborate preparation, 
if no work is provided for her. There is a heritage of 
noble obligation which young people accept and long 
to perpetuate. The desire for action, the wish to right 
wrong and alleviate suffering haunts them daily. 
Society smiles at- it indulgently instead of making it of 
value to itself. The wrong to them begins even farther 
back, when we restrain the first childish desires for "do- 
ing good" and tell them that they must wait until they 
are older and better fitted. We intimate that social 
obligation begins at a fixed date, forgetting that it 
begins with birth itself. We treat them as children who, 
with strong-growing limbs, are allowed to use their legs 



SOCIAL SETTLEMENTS 119 

but not their arms, or whose legs are daily carefully 
exercised that after a while their arms may be put to 
high use. We do this in spite of the protest of the best 
educators, Locke and Pestalozzi. We are fortunate 
in the meantime if their unused members do not weaken 
and disappear. They do sometimes. There are a 
few girls who, by the time they are *' educated," forget 
their old childish desires to help the world and to play 
with poor little girls *'who haven't playthings." Par- 
ents are often inconsistent : they deliberately expose 
their daughters to knowledge of the distress in the world ; 
they send them to hear missionary addresses on famines 
in India and China ; they accompany them to lectures 
on the suffering in Siberia ; they agitate together over 
the forgotten region of East London. In addition to 
this, from babyhood the altruistic tendencies of these 
daughters are persistently cultivated. They are taught 
to be self-forgetting and self-sacrificing, to consider the 
good of the whole before the good of the ego. But 
when all this information and culture show results, when 
the daughter comes back from college and begins to 
recognize her social claim to the "submerged tenth," 
and to evince a disposition to fulfill it, the family claim 
is strenuously asserted ; she is told that she is unjus- 
tified, ill-advised in her efforts. If she persists, the 
family too often are injured and unhappy unless the 
efforts are called missionary and the religious zeal 
of the family carry them over their sense of abuse. 
When this zeal does not exist, the result is perplexing. 
It is a curious violation of what we would fain believe a 
fundamental law — that the final return of the deed is 
upon the head of the doer. The deed is that of exclu- 



I20 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

siveness and caution, but the return, instead of falling 
upon the head of the exclusive and cautious, falls upon 
a young head full of generous and unselfish plans. 
The girl loses something vital out of her life to which 
she is entitled. She is restricted and unhappy; her 
elders, meanwhile, are unconscious of the situation 
and we have all the elements of a tragedy. 

We have in America a fast-growing number of culti- 
vated young people who have no recognized outlet for 
their active faculties. They hear constantly of the 
great social maladjustment, but no way is provided 
for them to change it, and their uselessness hangs about 
them heavily. Huxley declares that the sense of use- 
lessness is the severest shock which the human system 
can sustain, and that if persistently sustained, it results 
in atrophy of function. These young people have had 
advantages of college, of European travel, and of eco- 
nomic study, but they are sustaining this shock of inac- 
tion. They have pet phrases, and they tell you that the 
things that make us all alike are stronger than the things 
that make us different. They say that all men are 
united by needs and sympathies far more permanent 
and radical than anything that temporarily divides 
them and sets them in opposition to each other. If they 
affect art, they say that the decay in artistic expression 
is due to the decay in ethics, that art when shut away 
from the human interests and from the great mass of 
humanity is self-destructive. They tell their elders 
with all the bitterness of youth that if they expect suc- 
cess from them in business or politics or in whatever 
lines their ambition for them has run, they must let 
them consult all of humanity ; that they must let them 



SOCIAL SETTLEMENTS 121 

find out what the people want and how they want it. 
It is only the stronger young people, however, who 
formulate this. Many of them dissipate their energies 
in so-called enjoyment. Others not content with that, 
go on studying and go back to college for their second 
degrees ; not that they are especially fond of study, but 
because they want something definite to do, and their 
powers have been trained in the direction of mental 
accumulation. Many are buried beneath this mental 
accumulation with lowered vitality and discontent. 
Walter Besant says they have had the vision that Peter 
had when he saw the great sheet let down from heaven, 
wherein was neither clean nor unclean. He calls it 
the sense of humanity. It is not philanthropy nor 
benevolence, but a thing fuller and wider than either of 
these. 

This young life, so sincere in its emotion and good 
phrases and yet so undirected, seems to me as pitiful 
as the other great mass of destitute lives. One is 
supplementary to the other, and some method of com- 
munication can surely be devised. Mr. Barnett, who 
urged the first Settlement, — Toynbee Hall, in East 
London, — recognized this need of outlet for the young 
men of Oxford and Cambridge, and hoped that the 
Settlement would supply the communication. It is 
easy to see why the Settlement movement originated in 
England, where the years of education are more con- 
strained and definite than they are here, where class 
distinctions are more rigid. The necessity of it was 
greater there, but we are fast feeling the pressure of 
the need and meeting the necessity for Settlements in 
America. Our young people feel nervously the need of 



122 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

putting theory into action, and respond quickly to 
the Settlement form of activity. 

Other motives which I believe make toward the 
Settlement are the result of a certain renaissance going 
forward in Christianity. The impulse to share the 
lives of the poor, the desire to make social service, 
irrespective of propaganda, express the spirit of Christ, 
is as old as Christianity itself. We have no proof from 
the records themselves that the early Roman Christians, 
who strained their simple art to the point of grotesque- 
ness in their eagerness to record a ''good news" on the 
walls of the catacombs, considered this good news a 
religion. Jesus had no set of truths labeled Religious. 
On the contrary, his doctrine was that all truth is one, 
that the appropriation of it is freedom. His teaching 
had no dogma to mark it off from truth and action in 
general. He himself called it a revelation — a life. 
These early Roman Christians received the Gospel 
message, a command to love all men, with a certain 
joyous simplicity. The image of the Good Shepherd 
is blithe and gay beyond the gentlest shepherd of Greek 
mythology ; the hart no longer pants, but rushes to 
the water brooks. The Christians looked for the 
continuous revelation, but believed what Jesus said, 
that this revelation, to be retained and made manifest, 
must be put into terms of action ; that action is the 
only medium man has for receiving and appropriating 
truth ; that the doctrine must be known through the 
will. 

That Christianity has to be revealed and embodied 
in the line of social progress is a corollary to the simple 
proposition, that man's action is found in his social 



SOCIAL SETTLEMENTS 123 

relationships in the way in which he connects with his 
fellows ; that his motives for action are the zeal and 
affection with which he regards his fellows. By this 
simple process was created a deep enthusiasm for hu- 
manity, which regarded man as at once the organ and 
the object of revelation ; and by this process came about 
the wonderful fellowship, the true democracy of the early 
Church, that so captivates the imagination. The 
early Christians were preeminently nonresistant. They 
believed in love as a cosmic force. There was no icono- 
clasm during the minor peace of the Church. They 
did not yet denounce nor tear down temples, nor preach 
the end of the world. They grew to a mighty number, 
but it never occurred to them, either in their weakness 
or in their strength, to regard other men for an instant 
as their foes or as aliens. The spectacle of the Chris- 
tians loving all men was the most astounding Rome had 
ever seen. They were eager to sacrifice themselves for 
the weak, for children, and for the aged ; they identified 
themselves with slaves and did not avoid the plague ; 
they longed to share the common lot that they might 
receive the constant revelation. It was a new treasure 
which the early Christians added to the sum of all 
treasures, a joy hitherto unknown in the world — the 
joy of finding the Christ which lieth in each man, but 
which no man can unfold save in fellowship. A happi- 
ness ranging from the heroic to the pastoral enveloped 
them. They were to possess a revelation as long as life 
had new meaning to unfold, new action to propose. 

I believe that there is a distinct turning among 
many young men and women toward this simple 
acceptance of Christ's message. They resent the 



124 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

assumption that Christianity is a set of ideas which 
belong to the religious consciousness, whatever that 
may be. They insist that it cannot be proclaimed and 
instituted apart from the social life of the community 
and that it must seek a simple and natural expression 
in the social organism itself. The Settlement movement 
is only one manifestation of that wider humanitarian 
movement which throughout Christendom, but pre- 
eminently in England, is endeavoring to embody itself, 
not in a sect, but in society itself. 

I believe that this turning, this renaissance of the 
early Christian humanitarianism, is going on in America, 
in Chicago, if you please, without leaders who write or 
philosophize, without much speaking, but with a bent 
to express in social service and in terms of action the 
spirit of Christ. Certain it is that spiritual force is 
found in the Settlement movement, and it is also true 
that this force must be evoked and must be called into 
play before the success of any Settlement is assured. 
There must be the overmastering belief that all that is 
noblest in life is common to men as men, in order to 
accentuate the likenesses and ignore the differences 
which are found among the people whom the Settlement 
constantly brings into juxtaposition. It may be true, 
as the Positivists insist, that the very religious fervor 
of man can be turned into love for his race, and his desire 
for a future life into content to live in the echo of his 
deeds ; Paul's formula of seeking for the Christ which 
lieth in each man and founding our likenesses on him, 
seems a simpler formula to many of us. 

In a thousand voices singing the Hallelujah Chorus 
in Handel's ^'Messiah," it is possible to distinguish 



I 



SOCIAL SETTLEMENTS 125 

the leading voices, but the differences of training and 
cultivation between them and the voices of the chorus, 
are lost in the unity of purpose and in the fact that they 
are all human voices lifted by a high motive. This is a 
weak illustration of what a Settlement attempts to do. 
It aims, in a measure, to develop whatever of social 
life its neighborhood may afford, to focus and give form 
to that life, to bring to bear upon it the results of cul- 
tivation and training ; but it receives in exchange for 
the music of isolated voices the volume and strength 
of the chorus. It is quite impossible for me to say in 
what proportion or degree the subjective necessity which 
led to the opening of Hull-House combined the three 
trends : first, the desire to interpret democracy in social 
terms ; secondly, the impulse beating at the very source 
of our lives, urging us to aid in the race progress ; and, 
thirdly, the Christian movement toward humanitarian- 
ism. It is difficult to analyze a living thing ; the analy- 
sis is at best imperfect. Many more motives may 
blend with the three trends ; possibly the desire for a 
new form of social success due to the nicety of imagina- 
tion, which refuses worldly pleasures unmixed with the 
joys of self-sacrifice ; possibly a love of approbation, 
so vast that it is not content with the treble clapping of 
delicate hands, but wishes also to hear the bass notes 
from toughened palms, may mingle with these. 

The Settlement, then, is an experimental effort to 
aid in the solution of the social and industrial problems 
which are engendered by the modern conditions of life 
in a great city. It insists that these problems are not 
confined to any one portion of a city. It is an attempt 
to relieve, at the same time, the overaccumulation at 



126 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

one end of society and the destitution at the other ; 
but it assumes that this overaccumulation and destitu- 
tion is most sorely felt in the things that pertain to so- 
cial and educational advantages. From its very nature 
it can stand for no political or social propaganda. It 
must, in a sense, give the warm welcome of an inn to all 
such propaganda, if perchance one of them be found an 
angel. The one thing to be dreaded in the Settlement 
is that it lose its flexibility, its power of quick adaptation, 
its readiness to change its methods as its environment 
may demand. It must be open to conviction and must 
have a deep and abiding sense of tolerance. It must 
be hospitable and ready for experiment. It should de- 
mand from its residents a scientific patience in the ac- 
cumulation of facts and the steady holding of their 
sympathies as one of the best instruments for that ac- 
cumulation. It must be grounded in a philosophy whose 
foundation is on the solidarity of the human race, a 
philosophy which will not waver when the race happens 
to be represented by a drunken woman or an idiot boy. 
Its residents must be emptied of all conceit of opinion 
and all self-assertion, and ready to arouse and interpret 
the public opinion of their neighborhood. They must 
be content to live quietly side by side with their neigh- 
bors, until they grow into a sense of relationship and mu- 
tual interests. Their neighbors are held apart by differ- 
ences of race and language which the residents can more 
easily overcome. They are bound to see the needs of 
their neighborhood as a whole, to furnish data for legisla- 
tion, and to use their influence to secure it. In short, resi- 
dents are pledged to devote themselves to the duties of 
good citizenship and to the arousing of the social energies 



SOCIAL SETTLEMENTS 127 

which too largely lie dormant in every neighborhood 
given over to industrialism. They are bound to regard 
the entire life of their city as organic, to make an effort 
to unify it, and to protest against its over-differen- 
tiation. 

It is always easy to make all philosophy point one 
particular moral and all history adorn one particular 
tale ; but I may be forgiven the reminder that the best 
speculative philosophy sets forth the solidarity of the 
human race ; that the highest moralists have taught 
that without the advance and improvement of the whole, 
no man can hope for any lasting improvement in his 
own moral or material individual condition ; and that 
the subjective necessity for Social Settlements is there- 
fore identical with that necessity, which urges us on 
toward social and individual salvation. 



128 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 




CHAPTER VII 
Some Early Undertakings at Hull-House 

If the early American Settlements stood for a 
more exigent standard in philanthropic activities, 
insisting that each new undertaking should be 
preceded by carefully ascertained facts, then cer- 
tainly Hull-House held to this standard in the 
opening of our new coffee-house first started as a 
public kitchen. An investigation of the sweatshops 
had disclosed the fact, that sewing women during 
the busy season paid little attention to the feeding 
of their families, for it was only by working steadily 
through the long day that the scanty pay of five, 
seven, or nine cents for finishing a dozen pairs of 
trousers could be made into a day's wage ; and they 
bought from the nearest grocery the canned goods 
that could be most quickly heated, or gave a few 
pennies to the children with which they might 
secure a lunch from a neighboring candy shop. 

One of the residents made an investigation, at 
the instance of the United States Department of 
Agriculture, into the food values of the dietaries of 
the various immigrants, and this was followed by 
an investigation made by another resident, for the 
United States Department of Labor, into the foods 

K 129 



I30 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

of the Italian colony, on the supposition that the 
constant use of imported products bore a distinct 
relation to the cost of living. I recall an Italian 
who, coming into Hull-House one day as we were 
sitting at the dinner table, expressed great surprise 
that Americans ate a variety of food, because he 
believed that they partook only of potatoes and 
beer. A little inquiry showed that this conclusion 
was drawn from the fact that he lived next to an 
Irish saloon and had never seen anything but 
potatoes going in and beer coming out. 

At that time the New England kitchen was com- 
paratively new in Boston, and Mrs. Richards who 
was largely responsible for its foundation, hoped 
that cheaper cuts of meat and simpler vegetables, 
if they were subjected to slow and thorough 
processes of cooking, might be made attractive 
and their nutritive value secured for the people 
who so sadly needed more nutritious food. It was 
felt that this could be best accomplished in public 
kitchens, where the advantage of scientific training 
and careful supervision could be secured. One of 
the residents went to Boston for a training under 
Mrs. Richards, and when the Hull-House kitchen 
was fitted under her guidance and direction, our 
hopes ran high for some modification of the food 
of the neighborhood. We did not reckon, however, 
with the wide diversity in nationality and inherited 
tastes, and while we sold a certain amount of the 
carefully prepared soups and stews in the neigh- 



UNDERTAKINGS AT HULL-HOUSE 131 

boring factories — a sale which has steadily in- 
creased throughout the years — and were also 
patronized by a few households, perhaps the 
neighborhood estimate was best summed up by the 
woman who frankly confessed, that the food was 
certainly nutritious, but that she didn't like to eat 
what was nutritious, that she liked to eat 'Svhat 
she'd ruther." 

If the dietetics were appreciated but slowly, 
the social value of the coffee-house and the 
gymnasium, which were in the same building, were 
quickly demonstrated. At that time the saloon 
halls were the only places in the neighborhood where 
the immigrant could hold his social gatherings, and 
where he could celebrate such innocent and legiti- 
mate occasions as weddings and christenings. 

These halls were rented very cheaply with the 
understanding that various sums of money should 
be "passed across the bar," and it was considered 
a mean host or guest who failed to live up to this 
implied bargain. The consequence was that many 
a reputable party ended with a certain amount of 
disorder, due solely to the fact that the social in- 
stinct was traded upon and used as a basis for 
money making by an adroit host. From the be- 
ginning the young people's clubs had asked for 
dancing, and nothing was more popular than the 
increased space for parties offered by the gym- 
nasium, with the chance to serve refreshments In 
the room below. We tried experiments with 



132 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

every known "soft drink," from those extracted 
from an expensive soda water fountain to slender 
glasses of grape juice, but so far as drinks were 
concerned we never became a rival to the saloon, 
nor indeed did any one imagine that we were trying 
to do so. I remember one man who looked about 
the cozy little room and said, "This would be a 
nice place to sit in all day if one could only have 
beer." But the coffee-house gradually performed 
a mission of its own and became something of a 
social center to the neighborhood as well as a real 
convenience. Business men from the adjacent 
factories and school teachers from the nearest 
public schools, used it increasingly. The Hull- 
House students and club members supped together 
in little groups or held their reunions and social 
banquets, as, to a certain extent, did organizations 
from all parts of the town. The experience of the 
coffee-house taught us not to hold to preconceived 
ideas of what the neighborhood ought to have, 
but to keep ourselves in readiness to modify and 
adapt our undertakings as we discovered those 
things which the neighborhood was ready to accept. 
Better food was doubtless needed, but more 
attractive and safer places for social gatherings 
were also needed, and the neighborhood was ready 
for one and not for the other. We had no hint 
then in Chicago of the small parks which were to 
be established fifteen years later, containing the 
halls for dancing and their own restaurants in 



UNDERTAKINGS AT HULL-HOUSE 133 

buildings where the natural desire of the young 
for gavety and social organization, could be safely 
indulged. Yet even in that early day a member 
of the Hull-House Men's Club who had been 
appointed superintendent of Douglas Park had 
secured there the first public swimming pool, and 
his fellow club members were proud of the achieve- 
ment. 

There was in the earliest undertakings at Hull- 
House a touch of the artist's enthusiasm when he 
translates his inner vision through his chosen 
material into outward form. Keenly conscious of 
the social confusion all about us and the hard 
economic struggle, we at times believed that the 
very struggle itself might become a source of 
strength. The devotion of the mothers to their 
children, the dread of the men lest they fail to pro- 
vide for the family dependent upon their daily 
exertions, at moments seemed to us the secret stores 
of strength from which society is fed, the invisible 
array of passion and feeling which are the surest 
protectors of the world. We fatuously hoped that 
we might pluck from the human tragedy itself a 
consciousness of a common destiny which should 
bring its own healing, that we might extract from 
life's very misfortunes a power of cooperation which 
should be efiPective against them. 

Of course there was always present the harrowing 
consciousness of the difference in economic condi- 
tion between ourselves and our neighbors. Even 



134 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 



if we had gone to live in the most wretched tene- 
ment, there would have always been an essential 
difference between them and ourselves, for we should 

have had a sense of secu- 
rity in regard to illness 
and old age and the lack 
of these two securities 
are the specters which 
most persistently haunt 
the poor. Could we, in 
spite of this, make their 
individual efforts more 
effective through organ- 
ization and possibly com- 
plement them by small 
efforts of our own ? 

Some such vague hope 
was in our minds when 
we started the Hull-House Cooperative Coal Asso- 
ciation, which led a vigorous life for three years, 
and developed a large membership under the skill- 
ful advice of its one paid officer, an English work- 
ingman who had had experience in cooperative 
societies at "'ome." Some of the meetings of the 
association, in which people met to consider to- 
gether their basic dependence upon fire and 
warmth, had a curious challenge of life about them. 
Because the cooperators knew what it meant to 
bring forth children in the midst of privation and 
to see the tiny creatures struggle for life, their 




UNDERTAKINGS AT HULL-HOUSE 135 



recitals cut a cross section, as it were, in that 
world-old effort — the ''dying to live" which so 
inevitably triumphs over poverty and suffering. 
And yet their very familiarity with hardship may 
have been responsible for that sentiment which 
traditionally ruins business, for a vote of the 
cooperators that the basket buyers be given one 
basket free out of every six, that the presentation 
of five purchase tickets should entitle the holders to 
a profit in coal instead of stock ''because it would 
be a shame to keep them waiting for the dividend," 
was always pointed to by the conservative quarter- 
of-a-ton buyers as the beginning of the end. At any 
rate, at the close of the third winter, although the 
Association occupied an im- 
posing coal yard on the south- 
east corner of the Hull-House 
block and its gross receipts 
were between three and four 
hundred dollars a day, it be- , 
came evident that the con- ^ 
cern could not remain solvent 
if it continued its philan- 
thropic policy, and the exper- 
iment was terminated by the 
cooperators taking up their 
stock In the remaining coal. 

Our next cooperative experiment was much more 
successful, perhaps because it was much more 
spontaneous. 




136 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

At a meeting of working girls held at Hull-House 
during a strike in a large shoe factory, the discus- 
sions made it clear that the strikers who had been 
most easily frightened, and therefore first to capitu- 
late, were naturally those girls who were paying 
board and were afraid of being put out if they fell 
too far behind. After a recital of a case of peculiar 
hardship one of them exclaimed : "Wouldn't it be 
fine if we had a boarding club of our own, and then 
we could stand by each other in a time like this ?" 
After that events moved quickly. We read aloud 
together Beatrice Potter's little book on "Coopera- 
tion," and discussed all the difficulties and fascina- 
tions of such an undertaking, and on the first of 
May, 1 89 1, two comfortable apartments near 
Hull-House were rented and furnished. The 
Settlement was responsible for the furniture and 
paid the first month's rent, but beyond that the 
members managed the club themselves. The 
undertaking "marched," as the French say, from 
the very first, and always on its own feet. Al- 
though there were difficulties, none of them proved 
insurmountable, which was a matter for great 
satisfaction in the face of a statement made by the 
head of the United States Department of Labor, 
who, on a visit to the club when it was but two years 
old, said that his department had investigated many 
cooperative undertakings, and that none founded 
and managed by women had ever succeeded. At 
the end of the third year the club occupied all 



UNDERTAKINGS AT HULL-HOUSE 137 

of the six apartments which the original building 
contained, and numbered fifty members. 

It was in connection with our efforts to secure a 
building for the Jane Club, that we first found our- 
selves in the dilemma between the needs of our 
neighbors and the kind-hearted response upon which 
we had already come to rely for their relief. The 
adapted apartments in which the Jane Club was 
housed were inevitably more or less uncomfortable, 
and we felt that the success of the club justified 
the erection of a building for its sole use. 

Up to that time, our history had been as the 
minor peace of the early Church. We had had 
the most generous interpretation of our efforts. 
Of course, many people were indifferent to the idea 
of the Settlement ; others looked on with tolerant 
and sometimes cynical amusement which we would 
often encounter in a good story related at our 
expense ; but all this was remote and unreal to us 
and we were sure that if the critics could but 
touch "the life of the people," they would under- 
stand. 

The situation changed markedly after the Pull- 
man strike, and our efforts to secure factory legis- 
lation later brought upon us a certain amount of 
distrust and suspicion ; until then we had been 
considered merely a kindly philanthropic under- 
taking whose new form gave us a certain idealistic 
glamour. But sterner tests were coming and one 
of the first was in connection with the new building 



138 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

for the Jane Club. A trustee of Hull-House came 
to see us one day with the good news that a friend 
of his was ready to give twenty thousand dollars 
with which to build the desired new clubhouse. 
When, however, he divulged the name of his gen- 
erous friend, it proved to be that of a man who 
was notorious for underpaying the girls in his estab- 
lishment and concerning whom there were even 
darker stories. It seemed clearly impossible to erect 
a clubhouse for working girls with such money and 
we at once said that we must decline the offer. The 
trustee of Hull-House was put in the most embar- 
rassing situation ; he had, of course, induced the 
man to give the money and had had no thought 
but that it would be eagerly received ; he would 
now be obliged to return with the astonishing, not 
to say insulting, news that the money was consid- 
ered unfit. 

In the long discussion which followed, it gradu- 
ally became clear to all of us that such a refusal 
could be valuable only as it might reveal to the 
man himself and to others, public opinion in regard 
to certain methods of money-making, but that from 
the very nature of the case our refusal of this 
money could not be made public because a repre- 
sentative of Hull-House had asked for it. However, 
the basic fact remained that we could not accept 
the money, and of this the trustee himself was fully 
convinced. This incident occurred during a period 
of much discussion concerning "tainted money" 



UNDERTAKINGS AT HULL-HOUSE 139 

and is perhaps typical of the difficulty of dealing 
with it. It is impossible to know how far we may 
blame the individual for doing that which all of 
his competitors and his associates consider legiti- 
mate ; at the same time, social changes can only 
be inaugurated by those who feel the unrighteous- 
ness of contemporary conditions, and the expres- 
sion of their scruples may be the one opportunity 
for pushing forward moral tests into that dubious 
area wherein wealth is accumulated. 

In the course of time a new club house was built by 
an old friend of Hull-House much interested in work- 
ing girls, and this has been occupied for twelve years 
by the very successful cooperating Jane Club. The 
incident of the early refusal is associated in my 
mind with a long talk upon the subject of question- 
able money I held with the warden of Toynbee Hall, 
whom I visited at Bristol where he was then canon 
in the Cathedral. By way of illustration he showed 
me a beautiful little church which had been built by 
the last slave-trading merchant in Bristol, who had 
been much disapproved of by his fellow townsmen 
and had hoped by this transmutation of ill-gotten 
money into exquisite Gothic architecture to recon- 
cile himself both to God and man. His impulse 
to build may have been born from his own scruples 
or from the quickened consciences of his neighbors 
who saw that the world-old iniquity of enslaving 
men must at length come to an end. The Aboli- 
tionists may have regarded this beautiful building 



I40 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

as the fruit of a contrite heart, or they may have 
scorned it as an attempt to magnify the goodness 
of a slave trader and thus perplex the doubting 
citizens of Bristol in regard to the entire moral 
issue. 

Canon Barnett did not pronounce judgment on 
the Bristol merchant. He was, however, quite clear 
upon the point that a higher moral standard for 
industrial life must be embodied in legislation as 
rapidly as possible, that it may bear equally upon 
all, and that an individual endeavoring to secure 
this legislation must forbear harsh judgment. This 
was doubtless a sound position, but during all the 
period of hot discussion concerning tainted money 
I never felt clear enough on the general principle 
involved, to accept the many invitations to write 
and speak upon the subject, although I received 
much instruction in the many letters of disapproval 
sent to me by radicals of various schools because 
I was a member of the university extension staff 
of the then new University of Chicago, the right- 
eousness of whose foundation they challenged. 

A little incident of this time illustrated to me 
the confusion in the minds of at least many older 
men between religious teaching and advancing 
morality. One morning I received a letter from 
the head of a Settlement In New York expressing 
his perplexity over the fact that his board of 
trustees had asked money from a man notorious 
for his unscrupulous business methods. My corre- 



UNDERTAKINGS AT HULL-HOUSE 141 

spondent had placed his resignation in the hands of 
his board, that they might accept it at any time 
when they felt his utterances on the subject of 
tainted money were offensive, for he wished to be 
free to openly discuss a subject of such grave moral 
import. The very morning when my mind was 
full of the questions raised by this letter, I received 
a call from the daughter of the same business man 
whom my friend considered so unscrupulous. She 
was passing through Chicago and came to ask me 
to give her some arguments which she might later 
use with her father to confute the charge that Set- 
tlements were irreligious. She said, ''You see, he 
has been asked to give money to our Settlement 
and would like to do it, if his conscience was only 
clear ; he disapproves of Settlements because they 
give no religious instruction ; he has always been a 
very devout man." 

I remember later discussing the incident with 
Washington Gladden who was able to parallel it 
from his own experience. Now that this discussion 
upon tainted money has subsided, it is easy to view 
it with a certain detachment impossible at the 
moment, and it is even difficult to understand why 
the feeling should have been so intense, although it 
doubtless registered genuine moral concern. 

There was room for discouragement in the many 
unsuccessful experiments in cooperation which 
were carried on in Chicago during the early nine- 
ties ; a carpenter shop on Van Buren Street near 



142 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Halsted, a labor exchange started by the unem- 
ployed, not so paradoxical an arrangement as it 
seems, and a very ambitious plan for a country 
colony which was finally carried out at Ruskin, 
Tennessee. In spite of failures, cooperative schemes 
went on, some of the same men appearing in one 
after another with irrepressible optimism. I re- 
member during a cooperative congress, which 
met at Hull-House in the World's Fair summer 
that Mr. Henry D. Lloyd, who collected records of 
cooperative experiments with the enthusiasm with 
which other men collect coins or pictures, put before 
the congress some of the remarkable successes in 
Ireland and North England, which he later embodied 
in his book on " Copartnership." One of the old- 
time cooperators denounced the modern method as 
"too much like cut-throat business" and declared 
himself in favor of '^ principles which may have 
failed over and over again, but are nevertheless as 
sound as the law of gravitation." Mr. Lloyd and 
I agreed that the fiery old man presented as fine a 
spectacle of devotion to a lost cause as either of 
us had ever seen, although we both possessed mem- 
ories well stored with such romantic attachments. 

And yet this dream that men shall cease to waste 
strength in competition and shall come to pool 
their powers of production, is coming to pass all 
over the face of the earth. Five years later in the 
same Hull-House hall in which the cooperative 
congress was held, an Italian senator told a large 



I 



UNDERTAKINGS AT HULL-HOUSE 143 

audience of his fellow countrymen of the success- 
ful system of cooperative banks in north Italy and 
of their cooperative methods of selling produce to 
the value of millions of francs annually ; still 
later Sir Horace Plunkett related the remarkable 
successes in cooperation in Ireland. 

I have seldom been more infected by enthusiasm 
than I once was in Dulwich at a meeting of English 
cooperators where I was fairly overwhelmed by 
the fervor underlying the businesslike proceedings 
of the congress, and certainly when I served as a 
juror in the Paris Exposition of 1900, nothing in the 
entire display in the department of Social Economy 
was so imposing as the building housing the exhibit, 
which had been erected by cooperative trade- 
unions without the assistance of a single contractor. 

And so one's faith is kept alive as one occasion- 
ally meets a realized ideal of better human rela- 
tions. At least traces of successful cooperation 
are found even in individualistic America. I recall 
my enthusiasm on the day when I set forth to 
lecture at New Harmony, Indiana, for I had early 
been thrilled by the tale of Robert Owen, as every 
young person must be who is interested in social 
reform ; I was delighted to find so much of his 
spirit still clinging to the little town which had 
long ago held one of his ardent experiments, al- 
though the poor old cooperators, who for many 
years claimed friendship at Hull-House because 
they heard that we "had once tried a cooperative 



144 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

coal association," might well have convinced me 
of the persistency of the cooperative Ideal. 

Many experiences In those early years, although 
vivid, seemed to contain no Illumination ; neverthe- 
less they doubtless permanently affected our judg- 
ments concerning what is called crime and vice. I 
recall a series of striking episodes on the day when 
I took the wife and child, as well as the old god- 
father, of an Italian convict to visit him In the State 
Penitentiary. When we approached the prison, 
the sight of Its heavy stone walls and armed sentries 
threw the godfather Into a paroxysm of rage ; 
he cast his hat upon the ground and stamped upon 
it, tore his hair, and loudly fulminated in weird 
Italian oaths, until one of the guards, seeing his 
strange actions, came to Inquire If "the gentleman 
was having a fit." When we finally saw the con- 
vict, his wife, to my extreme distress, talked of 
nothing but his striped clothing, until the poor 
man wept with chagrin. Upon our return journey 
to Chicago, the little son aged eight presented me 
with two oranges, so affectionately and gayly that 
I was filled with reflections upon the advantage of 
each generation making a fresh start, when the train 
boy, finding the stolen fruit in my lap, violently 
threatened to arrest the child. But stranger than 
any episode was the fact itself that neither the con- 
vict, his wife nor his godfather for a moment con- 
sidered him a criminal. He had merely gotten 
excited over cards and had stabbed his adversary 



UNDERTAKINGS AT HULL-HOUSE 145 

with a knife. "Why should a man who took his 
luck badly, be kept forever from the sun ?" was 
their reiterated inquiry. 

I recall our perplexity over the first girls who had 
''gone astray," — the poor, little, forlorn objects, 
fifteen and sixteen years old, with their moral 
natures apparently untouched and unawakened ; 
one of them whom the police had found in a pro- 
fessional house and asked us to shelter for a few 
days until she could be used as a witness, was 
clutching a battered doll which she had kept with 
her during her six months of an "evil life." Two 
of these prematurely aged children came to us one 
day directly from the maternity ward of the Cook 
County hospital, each with a baby in her arms, 
asking for protection, because they did not want 
to go home for fear of "being licked." For them 
were no jewels nor idle living such as the story- 
books portrayed. The first of the older women 
whom I knew came to Hull-House to ask that her 
young sister, who was about to arrive from Ger- 
many, might live near us ; she wished to find her 
respectable work and wanted her to have the 
"decent pleasures" that Hull-House afforded. 
After the arrangement had been completed and I 
had in a measure recovered from my astonishment 
at the businesslike way in which she spoke of her 
own life, I ventured to ask her history. In a very 
few words she told me that she had come from Ger- 
many as a music teacher to an American family. 



146 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

At the end of two years, In order to avoid a scandal 
involving the head of the house, she had come to 
Chicago where her child was born, but when .the 
remittances ceased after its death, finding herself 
without home and resources, she had gradually 
become involved in her present mode of life. By 
dint of utilizing her family solicitude, we finally 
induced her to move into decent lodgings before 
her sister arrived, and for a difficult year she sup- 
ported herself by her exquisite embroidery. At 
the end of that time, she gave up the struggle, the 
more easily as her young sister, well established in 
the dressmaking department of a large shop, had 
begun to suspect her past life. 

But discouraging as these and other similar efforts 
often were, nevertheless the difficulties were infi- 
nitely less in those days when we dealt with "fallen 
girls" than in the years following when the "white 
slave traffic" became gradually established and 
when agonized parents, as well as the victims them- 
selves, were totally unable to account for the 
situation. In the light of recent disclosures, it 
seems as if we were unaccountably dull not to have 
seen what was happening, especially to the Jewish 
girls among whom "the home trade of the white 
slave traffic" was first carried on and who were thus 
made to break through countless generations of 
chastity. We early encountered the difficulties of 
that old problem of restoring the woman, or even 
the child, into the society she has once outraged. 



UNDERTAKINGS AT HULL-HOUSE 147 

I well remember our perplexity when we attempted 
to help two girls straight from a Virginia tobacco 
factory, who had been decoyed into a disreputable 
house when innocently seeking a lodging on the 
late evening of their arrival. Although they had 
been rescued promptly, the stigma remained, and 
we found it impossible to permit them to join any 
of the social clubs connected with Hull-House, not 
so much because there was danger of contamination, 
as because the parents of the club members would 
have resented their presence most hotly. One of 
our trustees succeeded in persuading a repentant 
girl, fourteen years old, whom we tried to give a 
fresh start in another part of the city, to attend a 
Sunday School class of a large Chicago church. 
The trustee hoped that the contact with nice girls, 
as well as the moral training, would help the poor 
child on her hard road. But unfortunately tales 
of her shortcomings reached the superintendent 
who felt obliged, in order to protect the other girls, 
to forbid her the school. She came back to tell us 
about it, defiant as well as discouraged, and had it 
not been for the experience with our own clubs, we 
could easily have joined her indignation over a 
church which "acted as if its Sunday School was a 
show window for candy kids." 

In spite of poignant experiences or, perhaps, be- 
cause of them, the memory of the first years at Hull- 
House is more or less blurred with fatigue, for we 
could of course become accustomed only gradually to 



148 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

the unending activity and to the confusion of a house 
constantly filling and refilling with groups of people. 
The little children who came to the kindergarten 
in the morning were followed by the afternoon clubs 
of older children, and those in turn made way for 
the educational and social organizations of adults, 
occupying every room in the house every evening. 
All one's habits of living had to be readjusted, and 
any student's tendency to sit with a book by the 
fire was of necessity definitely abandoned. 

To thus renounce "the luxury of personal prefer- 
ence" was, however, a mere trifle compared to our 
perplexity over the problems of an industrial 
neighborhood situated in an unorganized city. 
Life pressed hard in many directions and yet it 
has always seemed to me rather interesting that 
when we were so distressed over its stern aspects 
and so impressed with the lack of municipal regu- 
lations, the first building erected for Hull-House 
should have been designed for an art gallery, for 
although it contained a reading-room on the first 
floor and a studio above, the largest space on the 
second floor was carefully designed and lighted for 
art exhibits, which had to do only with the cultiva- 
tion of that which appealed to the powers of enjoy- 
ment as over against a wage-earning capacity. It 
was also significant that a Chicago business man, 
fond of pictures himself, responded to this first ap- 
peal of the new and certainly puzzling undertaking 
called a Settlement. 



UNDERTAKINGS AT HULL-HOUSE 149 



The situation was somewhat complicated by the 
fact that at the time the building was erected in 
1 891, our free lease of the land upon which Hull- 
House stood expired in 1895. The donor of the 
building, however, overcame the difficulty by simply 
calling his gift a donation of a thousand dollars 
a year. This restriction of course necessitated the 
simplest sort of a structure, although I remember 
on the exciting day 
when the new build- 
ing was promised to 
us, that I looked up 
my European note- 
book which contained 
the record of my expe- 
rience in Ulm, hoping 
that I might find a 
description of what I 
then thought '' sl 
Cathedral of Human- 
ity" ought to be. 
The description was "low and widespreading as to 
include all men in fellowship and mutual responsi- 
bility even as the older pinnacles and spires indicated 
communion with God." The description did not 
prove of value as an architectural motive I am afraid, 
although the architects, who have remained our 
friends through all the years, performed marvels 
with a combination of complicated demands and 
little money. At the moment when I read this 




ISO TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

girlish outbreak it gave me much comfort, for 
in those days in addition to our other perplexities 
Hull-House was often called irreligious. 

These first buildings were very precious to us 
and it afforded us the greatest pride and pleasure 
as one building after another was added to the 
Hull-House group. They clothed in brick and 
mortar and made visible to the world that which 
we were trying to do ; they stated to Chicago 
that education and recreation ought to be extended 
to the immigrants. The boys came in great 
numbers to our provisional gymnasium fitted up in 
a former saloon, and it seemed to us quite as natural 
that a Chicago man, fond of athletics, should 
erect a building for them, as that the boys should 
clamor for more room. 

I do not wish to give a false impression, for we 
were often bitterly pressed for money and worried 
by the prospect of unpaid bills, and we gave up one 
golden scheme after another because we could not 
afford it ; we cooked the meals and kept the books 
and washed the windows without a thought of 
hardship if we thereby saved money for the con- 
summation of some ardently desired undertaking. 

But in spite of our financial stringency, I always 
believed that money would be given when we had 
once clearly reduced the Settlement idea to the 
actual deed. This chapter, therefore, would be 
incomplete if it did not record a certain theory of 
nonresistance or rather universal good will which I 



' UNDERTAKINGS AT HULL-HOUSE 151 

had worked out in connection with the Settlement 
idea and which was later so often and so rudely 
disturbed. At that time I had come to believe 
that if the activities of Hull-House were ever mis- 
understood, it would be either because there was 
not time to fully explain or because our motives 
had become mixed, for I was convinced that dis- 
interested action was like truth or beauty in its 
lucidity and power of appeal. 

But more gratifying than any understanding or 
response from without could possibly be, was the 
consciousness that a growing group of residents 
was gathering at Hull-House, held together in that 
soundest of all social bonds, the companionship of 
mutual interests. These residents came primarily 
because they were genuinely interested in the social 
situation and believed that the Settlement was valu- 
able as a method of approach to it. A house in 
which the men residents lived was opened across 
the street, and at the end of the first five years the 
Hull-House residential force numbered fifteen, a 
majority of whom still remain identified with the 
Settlement. 

Even in those early years we caught glimpses of 
the fact that certain social sentiments, which are 
"the difficult and cumulating product of human 
growth" and which like all higher aims live only by 
communion and fellowship, are cultivated most 
easily In the fostering soil of a community life. 

Occasionally I obscurely felt as if a demand were 



1 52 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

• 

being made upon us for a ritual which should express 
and carry forward the hope of the social movement. 
I was constantly bewildered by the number of re- 
quests I received to officiate at funeral services 
and by the curious confessions made to me by total 
strangers. For a time I accepted the former and 
on one awful occasion furnished *'the poetic part" 
of a wedding ceremony really performed by a 
justice of the peace, but I soon learned to stead- 
fastly refuse such offices, although I saw that for 
many people without church affiliations the vague 
humanitarianism the Settlement represented was 
the nearest approach they could find to an expres- 
sion of their religious sentiments. 

These hints of what the Settlement might mean 
to at least a few spirits among its contemporaries 
became clear to me for the first time one summer's 
day in rural England, when I discussed with John 
Trevor his attempts to found a labor church and 
his desire to turn the toil and danger attached to 
the life of the workingman into the means of a 
universal fellowship. That very year a papyrus 
leaf brought to the British Museum from Egypt, 
containing among other sayings of Jesus, "Raise 
the stone, and there thou shalt find me ; cleave the 
wood and I am there," was a powerful reminder 
to all England of the basic relations between daily 
labor and Christian teaching. 

In those early years at Hull-House we were, 
however, in no danger of losing ourselves in mazes 



UNDERTAKINGS AT HULL-HOUSE 153 

of speculation or mysticism, and there was shrewd 
penetration in a compliment I received from one of 
our Scotch neighbors. He came down Polk Street 
as I was standing near the foundations of our 
new gymnasium, and in response to his friendly 
remark that "Hull-House was spreading out," I 
replied that "Perhaps we were spreading out too 
fast." "Oh, no," he rejoined, "you can afford to 
spread out wide, you are so well planted in the 
mud," giving the compliment, however, a practical 
turn, as he glanced at the deep mire on the then 
unpaved street. It was this same condition of 
Polk Street which had caused the crown prince 
of Belgium when he was brought upon a visit to 
Hull-House to shake his head and meditatively 
remark, "There is not such a street — no, not one — 
in all the territory of Belgium." 

At the end of five years the residents of Hull- 
House published some first found facts and our 
reflections thereon in a book called "Hull-House 
Maps and Papers." The maps were taken from 
information collected by one of the residents for 
the United States Bureau of Labor in the investi- 
gation into "the slums of great cities" and the 
papers treated of various neighborhood matters 
with candor and genuine concern if not with skill. 
The first edition became exhausted in two years, 
and apparently the Boston publisher did not con- 
sider the book worthy of a second. 



CHAPTER VIII 
Problems of Poverty 



That neglected and forlorn old age is daily 
brought to the attention of a Settlement which 
undertakes to bear its share of the neighborhood 
burden imposed by poverty, was pathetically clear 
to us during our first months of residence at Hull- 

,T_^^.^ House. One day 
^ ' a boy of ten led 
a tottering old 
lady into the 
House, saying 
that she had slept 
for six weeks in 
their kitchen on a 
bed made up next 
to the stove ; that 
she had come 
when her son died, 
although none of them had ever seen her before ; 
but because her son had "once worked in the same 
shop with Pa she thought of him when she had 
nowhere to go." The little fellow concluded by 
saying that our house was so much bigger than 
theirs that he thought we would have more room 

154 





A Spent Old Man. 



PROBLEMS OF POVERTY 155 

for beds. The old woman herself said absolutely 
nothing, but looking on with that gripping fear of 
the poorhouse in her eyes, she was a living embodi- 
ment of that dread which is so heart-breaking 
that the occupants of the County Infirmary them- 
selves seem scarcely less wretched than those who 
are making their last stand against it. 

This look was almost more than I could bear 
for only a few days before some frightened women 
had bidden me come quickly to the house of an 
old German woman, whom two men from the 
county agent's office were attempting to remove 
to the County Infirmary. The poor old creature 
had thrown herself bodily upon a small and battered 
chest of drawers and clung there, clutching it so 
firmly that it would have been impossible to remove 
her without also taking the piece of furniture. She 
did not weep nor moan nor indeed make any 
human sound, but between her broken gasps for 
breath she squealed shrilly like a frightened animal 
caught in a trap. The little group of women and 
children gathered at her door stood aghast at this 
realization of the black dread which always clouds 
the lives of the very poor when work is slack, but 
which constantly grows more imminent and threat- 
ening as old age approaches. The neighborhood 
women and I hastened to make all sorts of promises 
as to the support of the old woman and the county 
ofiicials, only too glad to be rid of their unhappy 
duty, left her to our ministrations. This dread of 



156 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

the poorhouse, the result of centuries of deterrent 
Poor Law administration, seemed to me not without 
some justification one summer when I found myself 
perpetually distressed by the unnecessary idleness 
and forlornness of the old women in the Cook 
County Infirmary, many of whom I had known in 
the years when activity was still a necessity, and 
when they yet felt bustlingly important. To take 
away from an old woman whose life has been spent 
in household cares all the foolish little belongings 
to which her affections cling and to which her very 
fingers have become accustomed, is to take away 
her last incentive to activity, almost to life itself. 
To give an old woman only a chair and a bed, to 
leave her no cupboard in which her treasures may 
be stowed, not only that she may take them out 
when she desires occupation, but that her mind may 
dwell upon them in moments of revery, is to reduce 
living almost beyond the limit of human endurance. 
The poor creature who clung so desperately to 
her chest of drawers was really clinging to the last 
remnant of normal living — a symbol of all she 
was asked to renounce. For several years after 
this summer I invited five or six old women to take 
a two weeks' vacation from the poorhouse which 
they eagerly and even gayly accepted. Almost all 
the old men in the County Infirmary wander away 
each summer taking their chances for finding food 
or shelter and return much refreshed by the little 
"tramp," but the old women cannot do this unless 



PROBLEMS OF POVERTY 157 

they have some help from the outside, and yet the 
expenditure of a very Httle money secures for them 
the coveted vacation. I found that a few pennies 
paid their car fare into town, a dollar a week pro- 
cured a lodging with an old acquaintance ; assured 
of two good meals a day in the Hull-House coffee- 
house they could count upon numerous cups of 
tea among old friends to whom they would airily 
state that they had ''come out for a little change" 
and hadn't yet made up their minds about ''going 
in again for the winter." They thus enjoyed a 
two weeks' vacation to the top of their bent and 
returned with wondrous tales of their adventures, 
with which they regaled the other paupers during 
the long winter. 

The reminiscences of these old women, their 
shrewd comments upon life, their sense of having 
reached a point where they may at last speak freely 
with nothing to lose because of their frankness, 
makes them often the most delightful of companions. 
I recall one of my guests, the mother of many 
scattered children, whose one bright spot through 
all the dreary years had been the wedding feast 
of her son Mike, — a feast which had become trans- 
formed through long meditation into the nectar 
and ambrosia of the very gods. As a farewell 
fling before she went "in" again, we dined together 
upon chicken pie, but it did not taste like "the 
chicken pie at Mike's wedding" and she was 
disappointed after all. 



iS8 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Even death itself sometimes fails to bring the 
dignity and serenity which one would fain associate 
with old age. I recall the dying hour of one old 
Scotchwoman whose long struggle to ''keep re- 
spectable" had so embittered her, that her last 
words were gibes and taunts for those who were 
trying to minister to her. "So you came in your- 
self this morning, did you 1 You only sent things 
yesterday. I guess you knew when the doctor 
was coming. Don't try to warm my feet with 
anything but that old jacket that I've got there; 
it belonged to my boy who was drowned at sea 
nigh thirty years ago, but it's warmer yet w^ith 
human feelings than any of your damned charity 
hot-water bottles." Suddenly the harsh gasping 
voice was stilled in death and I awaited the 
doctor's coming shaken and horrified. 

The lack of municipal regulation already referred 
to was, in the early days of Hull-House, paralleled 
by the inadequacy of the charitable efforts of the 
city and an unfounded optimism that there was no 
real poverty among us. Twenty years ago there 
was no Charity Organization Society in Chicago 
and the Visiting Nurse Association had not yet 
begun its beneficent work, while the relief societies, 
although conscientiously administered, were inade- 
quate in extent and antiquated in method. 

As social reformers gave themselves over to dis- 
cussion of general principles, so the poor invariably 
accused poverty itself of their destruction. I re- 



PROBLEMS OF POVERTY .159 

call a certain Mrs. Moran, who was returning one 
rainy day from the office of the county agent with 
her arms full of paper bags containing beans and 
flour which alone lay between her children and 
starvation. Although she had no money she 
boarded a street car in order to save her booty 
from complete destruction by the rain, and as the 
burst bags dropped "flour on the ladies' dresses" 
and ''beans all over the place," she was sharply rep- 
rimanded by the conductor, who was further ex- 
asperated when he discovered she had no fare. He 
put her off, as she had hoped he would, almost in 
front of Hull-House. She related to us her state of 
mind as she stepped off the car and saw the last of 
her wares disappearing ; she admitted she forgot 
the proprieties and ''cursed a little," but, curiously 
enough, she pronounced her malediction, not against 
the rain nor the conductor, nor yet against the 
worthless husband who had been sent up to the 
city prison, but, true to the Chicago spirit of the 
moment, went to the root of the matter and roundly 
"cursed poverty." 

This spirit of generalization and lack of organ- 
ization among the charitable forces of the city was 
painfully revealed in that terrible winter after the 
Wofld's Fair, when the general financial depression 
throughout the country was much intensified in 
Chicago by the numbers of unemployed stranded 
at the close of the exposition. When the first cold 
weather came the police stations and the very 



i6o TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

corridors of the city hall were crowded by men 
who could afford no other lodging. They made 
huge demonstrations on the lake front, reminding 
one of the London gatherings in Trafalgar Square. 
It was the winter in which Mr. Stead wrote his 
indictment of Chicago. I can vividly recall his 
visits to Hull-House, some of them between eleven 
and twelve o'clock at night, when he would come 
in wet and hungry from an investigation of the 
levee district, and, while he was drinking hot choc- 
olate before an open fire, would relate in one of his 
curious monologues, his experience as an out-of- 
door laborer standing in line without an overcoat 
for two hours in the sleet, that he might have a 
chance to sweep the streets ; or his adventures with 
a crook, who mistook him for one of his own kind 
and offered him a place as an agent for a gambling 
house, which he promptly accepted. Mr. Stead 
was much Impressed with the mixed goodness in 
Chicago, the lack of rectitude In many high places, 
the simple kindness of the most wretched to each 
other. Before he published "If Christ Came to 
Chicago" he made his attempt to rally the diverse 
moral forces of the city in a huge mass meeting, 
which resulted In a temporary organization, later 
developing Into the Civic Federation. I was a 
member of the committee of five appointed to 
carry out the suggestions made In this remarkable 
meeting, and our first concern was to appoint a 
committee to deal with the unemployed. But 



PROBLEMS OF POVERTY i6i 

when has a committee ever dealt satisfactorily with 
the unemployed ? Relief stations were opened in 
various parts of the city, temporary lodging houses 
were established, Hull-House undertaking to lodge 
the homeless women who could be received nowhere 
else ; employment stations were opened giving sew- 
ing to the women, and street sweeping for the men 
was organized. It was in connection with the 
latter that the perplexing question of the danger of 
permanently lowering wages at such a crisis, in the 
praiseworthy effort to bring speedy relief, was 
brought home to me. I insisted- that it was better 
to have the men work half a day for seventy-five 
cents than a whole day for a dollar, better that they 
should earn three dollars in two days than in three 
days. I resigned from the street cleaning com- 
mittee in dispair of making the rest of the com- 
mittee understand that, as our real object was not 
street cleaning but the help of the unemployed, we 
must treat the situation in such wise that the men 
would not be worse off when they returned to their 
normal occupations. The discussion opened up 
situations new to me and carried me far afield in 
perhaps the most serious economic reading I have 
ever done. 

A beginning also was then made toward a Bureau 
of Organized Charities, the main ofiice being put in 
charge of a young man recently come from Boston, 
who lived at Hull-House. But to employ scientific 
methods for the first time at such a moment in- 

M 



1 62 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

volved difficulties, and the most painful episode of 
the winter for me came from an attempt on my part 
to conform to carefully received instructions. A 
shipping clerk whom I had known for a long time 
had lost his place, as so many people had that year, 
and came to the relief station established at Hull- 
House four or five times to secure help for his 
family. I told him one day of the opportunity for 
work on the drainage canal and intimated that if 
any employment were obtainable, he ought to ex- 
haust that possibility before asking for help. The 
man replied that he had always worked indoors and 
that he could not endure outside work in winter. 
I am grateful to remember that I was too uncertain 
to be severe, although I held to my instructions. 
He did not come again for relief, but worked for 
two days digging on the canal, where he contracted 
pneumonia and died a week later. I have never 
lost trace of the two little children he left behind 
him, although I cannot see them without a bitter 
consciousness that it was at their expense I learned 
that life cannot be administered by definite rules 
and regulations ; that wisdom to deal with a man's 
difficulties comes only through some knowledge of 
his life and habits as a whole ; and that to treat an 
isolated episode is almost sure to invite blundering. 
It was also during this winter that I became per- 
manently impressed with the kindness of the poor 
to each other ; the woman who lives upstairs will 
willingly share her breakfast with the family below 



PROBLEMS OF POVERTY 163 

because she knows they "are hard up"; the man 
who boarded with them last winter will give a 
month's rent because he knows the father of the 
family is out of work ; the baker across the street, 
who is fast being pushed to the wall by his down- 
town competitors, will send across three loaves of 
stale bread because he has seen the children looking 
longingly into his window and suspects they are 
hungry. There are also the families who, during 
times of business depression, are obliged to seek 
help from the county or some benevolent society, 
but who are themselves most anxious not to be con- 
founded with the pauper class, with whom indeed 
they do not in the least belong. Charles Booth, 
in his brilliant chapter on the unemployed, expresses 
regret that the problems of the working class are 
so often confounded with the problems of the in- 
efficient and the idle, that although working people 
live in the same street with those in need of charity, 
to thus confound two problems is to render the 
solution of both impossible. 

I remember one family in which the father had 
been out of work for this same winter, most of the 
furniture had been pawned, and as the worn-out 
shoes could not be replaced the children could not 
go to school. The mother was ill and barely able 
to come for the supplies and medicines. Two years 
later she invited me to supper one Sunday evening 
in the little home which had been completely re- 
stored, and she gave as a reason for the invitation 



i64 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 



that she couldn't bear to have me remember them 
as they had been during that one winter, which she 
insisted had been unique in her twelve years of 
married life. She said that it was as if she had met 
me, not as I am ordinarily, but as I should appear 










\ \ I 



misshapen with rheumatism or with a face dis- 
torted by neuralgic pain ; that it was not fair to 
judge poor people that way. She perhaps un- 
consciously illustrated the difference between the 
relief-station relation to the poor and the Settle- 
ment relation to its neighbors, the latter wishing 



PROBLEMS OF POVERTY 165 

to know them through all the varying conditions of 
life, to stand by when they are in distress, but by 
no means to drop intercourse with them when 
normal prosperity has returned, enabling the rela- 
tion to become more social and free from economic 
disturbance. 

Possibly something of the same eflPort has to be 
made within the Settlement itself to keep its own 
sense of proportion in regard to the relation of the 
crowded city quarter to the rest of the country. 
It was in the spring following this terrible winter, 
during a journey to meet lecture engagements in 
California, that I found myself amazed at the large 
stretches of open country and prosperous towns 
through which we passed day by day, whose ex- 
istence I had quite forgotten. 

In the latter part of the summer of 1895, I served 
as a member on a commission appointed by the 
mayor of Chicago, to investigate conditions in the 
county poorhouse, public attention having become 
centered on it through one of those distressing 
stories, which exaggerates the wrong in a public 
institution while at the same time it reveals condi- 
tions which need to be rectified. However neces- 
sary publicity is for securing reformed administra- 
tion, however useful such exposures may be for 
political purposes, the whole is attended by such a 
waste of the most precious human emotions, by 
such a tearing of living tissue, that it can scarcely 
be endured. Every time I entered Hull-House dur- 



1 66 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

ing the days of the investigation, I would find wait- 
ing for me from twenty to thirty people whose 
friends and relatives were in the suspected insti- 
tution, all in such acute distress of mind that to 
see them was to look upon the victims of deliberate 
torture. In most cases my visitor would state that 
it seemed impossible to put their invalids in any 
other place, but if these stories were true, something 
must be done. Many of the patients were taken 
out only to be returned after a few days or weeks 
to meet the sullen hostility of their attendants and 
with their own attitude changed from confidence 
to timidity and alarm. 

This piteous dependence of the poor upon the 
good will of public officials was made clear to us 
in an early experience with a peasant woman 
straight from the fields of Germany, whom we met 
during our first six months at Hull-House. Her 
four years in America had been spent in patiently 
carrying water up and down two flights of stairs, 
and in washing the heavy flannel suits of iron 
foundry workers. For this her pay had averaged 
thirty-five cents a day. Three of her daughters 
had fallen victims to the vice of the city. The 
mother was bewildered and distressed, but under- 
stood nothing. We were able to induce the be- 
trayer of one daughter to marry her; the second, 
after a tedious lawsuit, supported his child ; with 
the third we were able to do nothing. This woman 
is now living with her family in a little house seven- 



PROBLEMS OF POVERTY 167 

teen miles from the city. She has made two pay- 
ments on her land and is a lesson to all beholders 
as she pastures her cow up and down the railroad 
tracks and makes money from her ten acres. She 
did not need charity for she had an immense ca- 
pacity for hard work, but she sadly needed the 
service of the State's attorney ofHce, enforcing the 
laws designed for the protection of such girls as her 
daughters. 

We early found ourselves spending many hours in 
efforts to secure support for deserted women, in- 
surance for bewildered widows, damages for injured 
operators, furniture from the clutches of the in- 
stallment store. The Settlement is valuable as an 
information and interpretation bureau. It con- 
stantly acts between the various institutions of 
the city and the people for whose benefit these in- 
stitutions were erected. The hospitals, the county 
agencies, and State asylums are often but vague 
rumors to the people who need them most. Another 
function of the Settlement to its neighborhood re- 
sembles that of the big brother whose mere presence 
on the playground protects the little one from 
bullies. 

We early learned to know the children of hard 
driven mothers who went out to work all day, 
sometimes leaving the little things in the casual 
care of a neighbor, but often locking them into their 
tenement rooms. The first three crippled children 
we encountered in the neighborhood had all been 



i68 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 



injured while their mothers were at work : one had 
fallen out of a third-story window, another had 
been burned, and the third had a curved spine due 
to the fact that for three years he had been tied 
all day long to the leg of the kitchen table, only 
released at noon by his older brother who hastily 
ran in from a neighboring factory to share his 
lunch with him. When the hot weather came the 
restless children could not brook the confinement 
of the stuffy rooms, and, as it was not considered 

safe to leave the 
doors open be- 
cause of sneak 
thieves, many 
of the children 
were locked 
out. During 
our first sum- 
mer an increas- 
ing number of these poor little mites would 
wander into the cool hallway of Hull-House. We 
kept them there and fed them at noon, in return 
for which we were sometimes offered a hot penny 
which had been held in a tight little fist "ever 
since mother left this morning, to buy some- 
thing to eat with." Out of kindergarten hours 
our little guests noisily enjoyed the hospitality 
of our bedrooms under the so-called care of 
any resident who volunteered to keep an eye 
on them, but later they were moved into a 




PROBLEMS OF POVERTY 169 

neighboring apartment under more systematic 
supervision. 

Hull-House was thus committed to a day nursery 
which we sustained for sixteen years first in a little 
cottage on a side street and then in a building de- 
signed for its use called the Children's House. It 
is now carried on by the United Charities of Chi- 
cago in a finely equipped building on our block, 
where the immigrant mothers are cared for as well 
as the children, and where they are taught the 
things which will make life in America more pos- 
sible. Our early day nursery brought us into 
natural relations with the poorest women of the 
neighborhood, many of whom were bearing the 
burden of dissolute and incompetent husbands in 
addition to the support of their children. Some 
of them presented an impressive manifestation of 
that miracle of aifection which outlives abuse, 
neglect, and crime, — the affection w^hich cannot be 
plucked from the heart where it has lived, although 
it may serve only to torture and torment. ''Has 
your husband come back ?" you inquire of Mrs. S., 
whom you have known for eight years as an over- 
worked woman bringing her three delicate children 
every morning to the nursery ; she is bent under the 
double burden of earning the money which supports 
them and giving them the tender care which alone 
keeps them alive. The oldest two children have 
at last gone to work, and Mrs. S. has allowed her- 
self the luxury of staying at home two days a week. 



I70 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

And now the worthless husband is back again — 
the ''gentlemanly gambler" type who, through all 
vicissitudes, manages to present a white shirtfront 
and a gold watch to the world, but who is dissolute, 
idle, and extravagant. You dread to think how much 
his presence will increase the drain upon the family 
exchequer, and you know that he stayed away until 
he was certain that the children were old enough to 
earn money for his luxuries. Mrs. S. does not 
pretend to take his return lightly, but she replies 
in all seriousness and simplicity, ''You know my 
feeling for him has never changed. You may 
think me foolish, but I was always proud of his 
good looks and educated appearance. I was lonely 
and homesick during those eight years when the 
children were little and needed so much doctoring, 
but I could never bring myself to feel hard toward 
him, and I used to pray the good Lord to keep him 
from harm and bring him back to us ; so, of course, 
I'm thankful now." She passes on with a dignity 
which gives one a new sense of the security of 
affection. 

I recall a similar case of a woman who had sup- 
ported her three children for five years, during which 
time her dissolute husband constantly demanded 
money for drink and kept her perpetually worried 
and intimidated. One Saturday, before the 
"blessed Easter," he came back from a long de- 
bauch, ragged and filthy, but in a state of lachry- 
mose repentance. The poor wife received him as 



PROBLEMS OF POVERTY 171 

a returned prodigal, believed that his remorse 
would prove lasting, and felt sure that if she and 
the children went to church with him on Easter 
Sunday and he could be induced to take the pledge 
before the priest, all their troubles would be ended. 
After hours of vigorous effort and the expenditure 
of all her savings, he finally sat on the front door- 
step the morning of Easter Sunday, bathed, shaved 
and arrayed in a fine new suit of clothes. She 
left him sitting there in the reluctant spring sun- 
shine while she finished washing and dressing the 
children. When she finally opened the front door 
with the three shining children that they might all 
set forth together, the returned prodigal had dis- 
appeared, and was not seen again until midnight, 
when he came back in a glorious state of intoxica- 
tion from the proceeds of his pawned clothes and 
clad once more in the dingiest attire. She took 
him in without comment, only to begin again the 
wretched cycle. There were of course instances 
of the criminal husband as well as of the merely 
vicious. I recall one woman who, during seven 
years, never missed a visiting day at the peniten- 
tiary when she might see her husband, and whose 
little children in the nursery proudly reported the 
messages from father with no notion that he was in 
disgrace, so absolutely did they reflect the gallant 
spirit of their mother. 

While one was filled with admiration for these 
heroic women, something was also to be said for 



172 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

some of the husbands, for the sorry men who, for 
one reason or another, had failed in the struggle of 
life. Sometimes this failure was purely economic 
and the men were competent to give the children, 
whom they were not able to support, the care and 
guidance and even education which were of the 
highest value. Only a few months ago I met upon 
the street one of the early nursery mothers who 
for five years had been living in another part of the 
city, and in response to my query as to the welfare 
of her fivQ children, she bitterly replied, ''All of 
them except Alary have been arrested at one time 
or another, thank you." In reply to my remark 
that I thought her husband had always had such 
admirable control over them, she burst out, ''That 
has been the whole trouble. I got tired taking 
care of him and didn't believe that his laziness was 
all due to his health, as he said, so I left him and 
said that I would support the children, but not him. 
From that minute the trouble with the four boys 
began. I never knew what they were doing, and 
after every sort of a scrape I finally put Jack and 
the twins into institutions where I pay for them. 
Joe has gone to work at last, but with a disgraceful 
record behind him. I tell you I ain't so sure that 
because a woman can make big money that she 
can be both father and mother to her children." 

As I walked on, I could but wonder in which par- 
ticular we are most stupid, — to judge a man's worth 
so solely by his wage-earning capacity that a good 



PROBLEMS OF POVERTY 173 

wife feels justified in leaving him, or in holding 
fast to that wretched delusion that a woman can 
both support and nurture her children. 

One of the most piteous revelations of the futility 
of the latter attempt came to me through the 
mother of ''Goosie," as the children for years called 
a little boy who, because he was brought to the 
nursery wrapped up in his mother's shawl, always 
had his hair filled with the down and small feathers 
from the feather brush factory where she worked. 
One March morning, Goosie's mother was hanging 
out the washing on a shed roof at six o'clock, doing 
it thus early before she left for the factory. Five- 
year-old Goosie was trotting at her heels handing 
her clothespins, when he was suddenly blown off 
the roof by the high wind into the alley below. 
His neck was broken by the fall and as he lay pite- 
ous and limp on a pile of frozen refuse, his mother 
cheerily called him to "climb up again," so confi- 
dent do overworked mothers become that their 
children cannot get hurt. After the funeral, as 
the poor mother sat in the nursery postponing the 
moment when she must go back to her empty 
rooms, I asked her, in a futile effort to be of comfort, 
if there was anything more we could do for her. 
The overworked, sorrow-stricken woman looked 
up and replied, "If you could give me my wages 
for to-morrow, I would not go to work in the factory 
at all. I would like to stay at home all day and 
hold the baby. Goosie was always asking me to 



174 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

take him and I never had any time." This state- 
ment revealed the condition of many nursery 
mothers who are obHged to forego the joys and 
solaces which belong to even the most poverty- 
stricken. The long hours of factory labor neces- 
sary for earning the support of a child leave no 
time for the tender care and caressing which may 
enrich the life of the most piteous baby. 

With all of the efforts made by modern society to 
nurture and educate the young, how stupid it is to 
permit the mothers of young children to spend 
themselves in the coarser work of the world ! It is 
curiously inconsistent that with the emphasis 
which this generation has placed upon the mother 
and upon the prolongation of infancy, we con- 
stantly allow the waste of this most precious ma- 
terial. I cannot recall without indignation a recent 
experience. I was detained late one evening in an 
office building by a prolonged committee meeting 
of the Board of Education. As I came out at 
eleven o'clock, I met in the corridor of the four- 
teenth floor a woman whom I knew, on her knees 
scrubbing the marble tiling. As she straightened 
up to greet me, she seemed so wet from her feet up 
to her chin, that I hastily inquired the cause. Her 
reply was that she left home at five o'clock every 
night and had no opportunity for six hours to 
nurse her baby. Her mother's milk mingled with 
the very water with which she scrubbed the floors 
until she should return at midnight, heated and 



PROBLEMS OF POVERTY 175 

exhausted, to feed her screaming child with what 
remained within her breasts. 

These are only a few of the problems connected 
with the lives of the poorest people with whom the 
residents in a Settlement are constantly brought in 
contact. 

I cannot close this chapter without a reference 
to that gallant company of men and women among 
whom my acquaintance is so large, who are fairly 
indifferent to starvation itself because of their 
preoccupation with higher ends. Among them are 
visionaries and enthusiasts, unsuccessful artists, 
writers and reformers. For many years at Hull- 
House, we knew a well-bred German woman who 
was completely absorbed in the experiment of 
expressing musical phrases and melodies by means 
of colors. Because she was small and deformed, 
she stowed herself into her trunk every night, where 
she slept on a canvas stretched hammock-wise from 
the four corners and her food was of the meager- 
est ; nevertheless if a visitor left an offering upon 
her table, it was largely spent for apparatus or deli- 
cately colored silk floss, with which to pursue the 
fascinating experiment. Another sadly crippled 
old woman, the widow of a sea captain, although 
living almost exclusively upon malted milk tablets 
as affording a cheap form of prepared food, was 
always eager to talk of the beautiful illuminated 
manuscripts she had sought out in her travels and 
to show specimens of her own work as an illumi- 



176 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

nator. Still another of these Impressive old women 
was an inveterate inventor. Although she had 
seen prosperous days in England, when we knew 
her, she subsisted largely upon the samples given 
away at the demonstration counters of the depart- 
ment stores, and on bits of food which she cooked 
on a coal shovel in the furnace of the apartment 
house whose basement back room she occupied. 
Although her inventions were not practicable, 
various experts to whom they were submitted al- 
ways pronounced them suggestive and ingenious. 
I once saw her receive this complimentary verdict 
— "this ribbon to stick in her coat" — with such 
dignity and gravity, that the words of condolence 
for her financial disappointment, died upon my 
lips. 

These indomitable souls are but three out of 
many, whom I might instance to prove that those 
who are handicapped in the race for life's goods, 
sometimes play a magnificent trick upon the jade, 
life herself, by ceasing to know whether or not they 
possess any of her tawdry goods and chattels. 



CHAPTER IX 
A Decade of Economic Discussion 

The Hull-House residents were often bewildered 
by the desire for constant discussion which char- 
acterized Chicago twenty years ago, for although 
the residents in the early Settlements were in many 
cases young persons, who had sought relief from the 
consciousness of social maladjustment in the ''ano- 
dyne of work" afforded by philanthropic and civic 
activities, their former experiences had not thrown 
them into company with radicals. The decade 
between 1 890-1900 was, in Chicago, a period of 
propaganda as over against constructive social 
eifort ; the moment for marching and carrying 
banners, for stating general principles and making 
a demonstration, rather than the time for uncover- 
ing the situation and for providing the legal meas- 
ures and the civic organization through which new 
social hopes might make themselves felt. 

When Hull-House was established in 1889, the 
events of the Haymarket riot were already two 
years old, but during that time Chicago had ap- 
parently gone through the first period of repressive 
measures, and in the winter of 1 889-1 890, by the 
advice and with the active participation of its lead- 
N 177 



178 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

ing citizens, the city had reached the conclusion 
that the only cure for the acts of anarchy was free 
speech and an open discussion of the ills of which 
the opponents of government complained. Great 
open meetings were held every Sunday evening in 
the recital hall of the then new auditorium, pre- 
sided over by such representative citizens as Lyman 
Gage, and every possible shade of opinion was 
freely expressed. A man who spoke constantly 
at these meetings used to be pointed out to the 
visiting stranger as one who had been involved 
with the group of convicted anarchists, and who 
doubtless would have been arrested and tried, but 
for the accident of his having been in Milwaukee 
when the explosion occurred. One cannot imagine 
such meetings being held in Chicago to-day, nor 
that such a man should be encouraged to raise his 
voice in a public assemblage presided over by a lead- 
ing banker. It is hard to tell just what change has 
come over our philosophy or over the minds of 
those citizens who were then convinced that if 
these conferences had been established earlier, the 
Haymarket riot and all its sensational results might 
have been avoided. 

At any rate, there seemed a further need for 
smaller clubs, where men who differed widely in 
their social theories might meet for discussion, 
where representatives of the various economic 
schools might modify each other, and at least learn 
tolerance and the futility of endeavoring to con- 



ECONOMIC DISCUSSION 179 

vince all the world of the truth of one position. 
Fanaticism is engendered only when men, finding 
no contradiction to their theories, at last believe 
that the very universe lends itself as an exemplifi- 
cation of one point of view. ''The Working 
People's Social Science Club" was organized at 
Hull-House in the spring of 1890 by an English 
workingman, and for seven years it held a weekly 
meeting. At eight o'clock every Wednesday night 
the secretary called to order from forty to one hun- 
dred people ; a chairman for the evening v/as elected, 
a speaker was introduced who was allowed to talk 
until nine o'clock; his subject was then thrown 
open to discussion and a lively debate ensued until 
ten o'clock, at which hour the meeting was declared 
adjourned. The enthusiasm of this club seldom 
lagged. Its zest for discussion was unceasing, and 
any attempt to turn it into a study or reading club 
always met with the strong disapprobation of the 
members. 

In these weekly discussions in the Hull-House 
drawing-room everything was thrown back upon 
general principles and all discussion save that which 
"went to the root of things," was impatiently dis- 
carded as an unworthy, halfway measure. I re- 
call one evening in this club when an exasperated 
member had thrown out the statement that "Mr. 
B. believes that socialism will cure the toothache." 
Mr. B. promptly rose to his feet and said that it 
certainly would, that when every child's teeth were 



i8o TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

systematically cared for from the beginning, tooth- 
ache would disappear from the face of the earth, 
belonging, as it did, to the extinct competitive 
order, as the black plague had disappeared from 
the earth with the ill-regulated feudal regime of the 
Middle Ages. "But," he added, "why do we 
spend time discussing trifles like the toothache 
when great social changes are to be considered 
which will of themselves reform these minor ills ?" 
Even the man who had been humorous, fell into the 
solemn tone of the gathering. It was, perhaps, here 
that the socialist surpassed every one else in the 
fervor of economic discussion. He was usually a 
German or a Russian with a turn for logical presen- 
tation, who saw in the concentration of capital and 
the growth of monoplies an inevitable transition to 
the socialistic state. He pointed out that the con- 
centration of capital in fewer hands but increased 
the mass of those whose interests were opposed to a 
maintenance of its power, and vastly simplified its 
final absorption by the community ; that monopoly 
"when it is finished doth bring forth socialism." 
Opposite to him, springing up in ever}^ discussion 
was the individualist, or, as the socialist called him, 
the anarchist, who insisted that we shall never se- 
cure just human relations until we have equality of 
opportunity ; that the sole function of the state Is 
to maintain the freedom of each, guarded by the 
like freedom of all, in order that each man may be 
able to work out the problems of his own existence. 



ECONOMIC DISCUSSION 



i8i 



That first winter was within three years of the 
Henry George campaign in New York, when his 
adherents all over the country were carrying on a 
successful and effective propaganda. When Henry 
George himself came to 
Hull-House one Sunday 
afternoon, the gymna- 
sium which was already 
crowded with men to 
hear Father Huntington's 
address on "Why should 
a free thinker believe in 
Christ," fairly rocked on 
its foundations under the 
enthusiastic and pro- 
longed applause which 
greeted this great leader 
and constantly inter- 
rupted his stirring ad- 
dress, filled, as all of his 
speeches were, with high 
moral enthusiasm and 
humanitarian fervor. Of 
the remarkable congresses 

held in connection with the World's Fair, perhaps 
those inaugurated by the advocates of single tax 
exceeded all others in vital enthusiasm. It was 
possibly significant that all discussions in the de- 
partment of social science had to be organized 
by partisans in separate groups. The very com- 




/>^" 



1 82 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

mittee itself on social science composed of Chicago 
citizens, of whom I was one, changed from week 
to week, as partisan members had their feelings 
hurt because their causes did not receive "due rec- 
ognition." And yet in the same building ad- 
herents of the most diverse religious creeds, eastern 
and western, met in amity and good fellowship. 
Did it perhaps indicate that their presentation of 
the eternal problems of life were cast in an older 
and less sensitive mold than this presentation in 
terms of social experience, or was it rather that the 
new social science was not yet a science at all but 
merely a name under cover of which we might dis- 
cuss the perplexing problems of the industrial situa- 
tion ^ Certainly the difficulties of our committee 
were not minimized by the fact that the then new 
science of sociology had not yet defined its own field. 
The University of Chicago, opened only the year be- 
fore the World's Fair, was the first great institution 
of learning to institute a department of sociology. 

In the meantime the Hull-House Social Science 
Club grew in numbers and fervor as various dis- 
tinguished people who were visiting the World's 
Fair came to address it. I recall a brilliant French- 
woman who was filled with amazement because 
one of the shabbiest men reflected a reading of 
Schopenhauer. She considered the statement of an- 
other member most remarkable — that when he saw 
a carriage driving through the streets occupied by a 
capitalist who was no longer even an entrepreneur, 



ECONOMIC DISCUSSION 183 

he felt quite as sure that his days were numbered 
and that his very lack of function to society would 
speedily bring him to extinction, as he did when he 
saw a drunkard reeling along the same street. 

The club at any rate convinced the residents that 
no one so poignantly realizes the failures in the social 
structure as the man at the bottom, who has been 
most directly in contact with those failures and has 
suifered most. I recall the shrewd comments of a 
certain sailor who had known the disinherited in 
every country ; of a Russian who had served his 
term in Siberia ; of an old Irishman who called him- 
self an atheist but who in moments of excitement 
always blamed the good Lord for ''setting su- 
pinely" when the world was so horribly out of 
joint. 

It was doubtless owing largely to this club that 
Hull-House contracted its early reputation for 
radicalism. Visitors refused to distinguish be- 
tween the sentiments expressed by its members in 
the heat of discussion and the opinions held by the 
residents themselves. At that moment in Chicago 
the radical of every shade of opinion was vigorous 
and dogmatic ; of the sort that could not resign 
himself to the slow march of human improvement ; 
of the type who knew exactly "in what part of the 
world Utopia standeth." 

During this decade Chicago seemed divided into 
two classes ; those who held that ''business is busi- 
ness " and who were therefore annoyed at the very 



1 84 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

notion of social control, and the radicals, who 
claimed that nothing could be done to really moral- 
ize the industrial situation until society should be 
reorganized. 

A Settlement is above all a place for enthusiasms, 
a spot to which those who have a passion for the 
equalization of human joys and opportunities are 
early attracted. It is this type of mind which is in 
itself so often obnoxious to the man of conquering 
business faculty, to whom the practical world of 
affairs seems so supremely rational that he would 
never vote to change the type of it even if he could. 
The man of social enthusiasm is to him an annoy- 
ance and an affront. He does not like to hear him 
talk and considers him per se "unsafe." Such a 
business man would admit, as an abstract proposi- 
tion, that society is susceptible of modification and 
would even agree that all human institutions imply 
progressive development, but at the same time he 
deeply distrusts those who seek to reform existing 
conditions. There is a certain common-sense 
foundation for this distrust, for too often the re- 
former is the rebel who defies things as they are, 
because of the restraints which they impose upon 
his individual desires rather than because of the 
general defects of the system. When such a rebel 
poses for a reformer, his shortcomings are heralded 
to the world, and his downfall is cherished as an 
awful warning to those who refuse to worship "the 
god of things as they are." 



ECONOMIC DISCUSSION 185 

And yet as I recall the members of this early 
club, even those who talked the most and the least 
rationally, seem to me to have been particularly 
kindly and "safe." The most pronounced anar- 
chist among them has long since become a convert 
to a religious sect, holding Buddhistic tenets which 
imply little food and a distrust of all action ; he 
has become a wraith of his former self but he still 
retains his kindly smile. 

In the discussion of these themes, Hull-House was 
of course quite as much under the suspicion of one 
side as the other. I remember one night when I 
addressed a club of secularists, which met at the 
corner of South Halsted and Madison streets, a 
rough looking man called out: "You are all right 
now, but, mark my words, when you are subsi- 
dized by the millionaires, you will be afraid to talk 
like this." The defense of free speech was a sensi- 
tive point with me, and I quickly replied that while 
I did not intend to be subsidized by millionaires, 
neither did I propose to be bullied by workingmen, 
and that I should state my honest opinion without 
consulting either of them. To my surprise, the 
audience of radicals broke into applause, and the 
discussion turned upon the need of resisting tyr- 
anny wherever found, if democratic institutions 
were to endure. This desire to bear independent 
witness to social righteousness often resulted in a 
sense of compromise difficult to endure, and at many 
times it seemed to me that we were destined to 



1 86 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

alienate everybody. I should have been most 
grateful at that time to accept the tenets of so- 
cialism, and I conscientiously made my effort, 
both by reading and by many discussions with the 
comrades. I found that I could easily give an 
affirmative answer to the heated question "Don't 
you see that just as the hand mill created a society 
with a feudal lord, so the steam mill creates a 
society with an industrial capitalist .^" But it was 
a little harder to give an affirmative reply to the 
proposition that the social relation thus established 
proceeds to create principles, ideas and categories 
as merely historical and transitory products. 

Of course I use the term " socialism " technically 
and do not wish to confuse it with the growing sensi- 
tiveness which recognizes that no personal comfort 
nor individual development can compensate a man 
for the misery of his neighbors, nor with the in- 
creasing conviction that social arrangements can be 
transformed through man's conscious and deliberate 
effort. Such a definition would not have been 
accepted for a moment by the Russians, who then 
dominated the socialist party in Chicago and 
among whom a crude Interpretation of the class 
conflict was the test of the faith. 

During those first years on Halsted Street noth- 
ing was more painfully clear than the fact that 
pliable human nature is relentlessly pressed upon 
by its physical environment. I saw nowhere a 
more devoted effort to understand and relieve that 



ECONOMIC DISCUSSION 187 

heavy pressure than the socialists were making, 
and I should have been glad to have had the com- 
radeship of that gallant company had they not 
firmly insisted that fellowship depends upon iden- 
tity of creed. They repudiated similarity of aim 
and social sympathy as tests which were much too 
loose and wavering as they did that vague social- 
ism which for thousands has come to be a philos- 
ophy or rather religion embodying the hope of the 
world and the protection of all who suffer. 

I also longed for the comfort of a definite social 
creed, which should afford at one and the same 
time an explanation of the social chaos and the 
logical steps towards its better ordering. I came 
to have an exaggerated sense of responsibility for 
the poverty in the midst of which I was living and 
which the socialists constantly forced me to defend. 
My plight was not unlike that which might have 
resulted in my old days of skepticism regarding 
foreordination, had I then been compelled to de-' 
fend the confusion arising from the clashing of free 
wills as an alternative to an acceptance of the doc- 
trine. Another difficulty in the way of accepting 
this economic determinism, so baldly dependent 
upon the theory of class consciousness, constantly 
arose when I lectured in country towns and there 
had opportunities to read human documents of 
prosperous people as well as those of my neighbors 
who were crowded into the city. The former were 
stoutly unconscious of any classes in America, and 



i88 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

the class consciousness of the immigrants was fast 
being broken into by the necessity for making new 
and unprecedented connections in the industrial 
life all about them. 

In the meantime, although many men of many 
minds met constantly at our conferences, it was 
amazing to find the incorrigible good nature which 
prevailed. Radicals are accustomed to hot dis- 
cussion and sharp differences of opinion and take 
it all in the day's work. I recall that the secretary 
of the Hull-House Social Science Club at the an- 
niversary of the seventh year of its existence read 
a report in which he stated that, so far as he could 
remember, but twice during that time had a speaker 
lost his temper, and in each case it had been a col- 
lege professor who "wasn't accustomed to being 
talked back to." 

He also added that but once had all the club 
members united in applauding the same speaker; 
only Samuel Jones, who afterwards became '' the 
golden rule " mayor of Toledo, had been able to 
overcome all their dogmatic differences, when 
he had set forth a plan of endowing a group of 
workingmen with a factory plant and a work- 
ing capital for experimentation in hours and 
wages, quite as groups of scholars are endowed 
for research. 

Chicago continued to devote much time to eco- 
nomic discussion and remained in a state of youth- 
ful glamour throughout the nineties. I recall a 



ECONOMIC DISCUSSION 189 

young Methodist minister who, in order to free his 
denomination from any entanglement in his dis- 
cussion of the economic and social situation, moved 
from his church building into a neighboring hall. 
The congregation and many other people followed 
him there, and he later took to the street corners 
because he found that the shabbiest men liked that 
the best. Professor Herron filled to overflowing a 
downtown hall every noon with a series of talks en- 
titled '' Between Csesar and Jesus " — an attempt to 
apply the teachings of the Gospel to the situations 
of modern commerce. A half dozen publications 
edited with some ability and much moral enthu- 
siasm have passed away, perhaps because they 
represented pamphleteering rather than journal- 
ism and came to a natural end when the situation 
changed. Certainly their editors suffered criti- 
cism and poverty on behalf of the causes which they 
represented. 

Trade-unionists, unless they were also socialists, 
were not prominent in those economic discussions, 
although they were steadily making an effort to 
bring order into the unnecessary industrial confu- 
sion. They b'elonged to the second of the two 
classes into which Mill divides all those who are dis- 
satisfied with human life as it is, and whose feelings 
are wholly identified with its radical amendment. 
He states that the thoughts of one class are in the 
region of ultimate aims, of " the highest ideals of 
human life," while the thoughts of the other are 



I90 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

in the region of the "immediately useful, and 
practically attainable." 

The meetings of our Social Science Club were 
carried on by men of the former class, many of 
them with a strong religious bias who constantly 
challenged the Church to assuage the human spirit 
thus torn and bruised ''in the tumult of a time dis- 
consolate." These men were so serious in their 
demand for religious fellowship, and several young 
clergymen were so ready to respond to the appeal, 
that various meetings were arranged at Hull- 
House, in which a group of people met together to 
consider the social question, not in a spirit of dis- 
cussion, but in prayer and meditation. These 
clergymen were making heroic efforts to induce 
their churches to formally consider the labor 
situation, and during the years which have elapsed 
since then, many denominations of the Christian 
Church have organized labor committees ; but at 
that time there was nothing of the sort beyond the 
society in the established Church of England " to 
consider the conditions of labor." 

During that decade even the most devoted of that 
pioneer church society failed to formulate the fervid 
desire for juster social conditions into anything 
more convincing than a literary statement, and the 
Christian Socialists, at least when the American 
branch held its annual meeting at Hull-House, 
afforded but a striking portrayal of that "between- 
age mood" in which so many of our religious con- 



ECONOMIC DISCUSSION 191 

temporaries are forced to live. I remember that 
I received the same impression when I attended a 
meeting called by the canon of an English cathedral 
to discuss the relation of the Church to labor. The 
men quickly indicted the cathedral for its useless- 
ness, and the canon asked them what in their minds 
should be its future. The men promptly replied 
that any new social order would wish, of course, 
to preserve beautiful historic buildings, that al- 
though they would dismiss the bishop and all the 
clergy, they would want to retain one or two schol- 
ars as custodians and interpreters. ''And what 
next ?" the imperturbable ecclesiastic asked. "We 
would democratize it," replied the men. But when 
it came to a more detailed description of such an 
undertaking, the discussion broke into a dozen bits, 
although illuminated by much shrewd wisdom 
and affording a clew, perhaps as to the destruction 
of the bishop's palace by the citizens of this same 
town, who had attacked it as a symbol of swollen 
prosperity during the bread riots of the earlier part 
of the century. 

On the other hand the workingmen who continue 
to demand help from the Church thereby acknowl- 
edge their kinship, as does the son who continues 
to ask bread from the father who gives him a 
stone. I recall an incident connected with a pro- 
longed strike in Chicago on the part of the typo- 
graphical unions for an eight-hour day. The 
strike had been conducted in a most orderly manner 



192 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

and the union men, convinced of the justice of 
their cause, had felt aggrieved because one of the 
religious publishing houses in Chicago had con- 
stantly opposed them. Some of the younger 
clergymen of the denominations who were friendly 
to the strikers' cause came to a luncheon at Hull- 
House, where the situation was discussed by the 
representatives of all sides. The clergymen, becom- 
ing much interested in the idealism with which an 
officer of the State Federation of Labor presented 
the cause, drew from him the story of his search 
for fraternal relation : he said that at fourteen years 
of age he had joined a church, hoping to find it 
there ; he had later become a member of many 
fraternal organizations and mutual benefit societies, 
and, although much impressed by their rituals, he 
was disappointed in the actual fraternity. He had 
finally found, so it seemed to him, in the cause of 
organized labor, what these other organizations had 
failed to give him, — an opportunity for sacrificial 
effort. 

Chicago thus took a decade to discuss the prob- 
lems inherent in the present industrial organization 
and to consider what might be done, not so much 
against deliberate aggression as against brutal con- 
fusion and neglect ; quite as the youth of promise 
passes through a mist of rose-colored hope before 
he settles in the land of achievement where he 
becomes all too dull and literal minded. And 
yet as I hastily review the decade in Chicago 



ECONOMIC DISCUSSION 193 

which followed this one given over to discussion, 
the actual attainment of these early hopes, so far 
as they have been realized at all, seem to have 
come from men of affairs rather than from those 
given to speculation. Was the whole decade of 
discussion an illustration of that striking fact 
which has been likened to the changing of swords 
in Hamlet ; that the abstract minds at length 
yield to the inevitable or at least grow less ardent 
in their propaganda, while the concrete minds, deal- 
ing constantly with daily affairs, in the end demon- 
strate the reality of abstract notions ? 

I remember when Frederic Harrison visited 
Hull-House that I was much disappointed to find 
that the Positivists had not made their ardor for 
humanity a more potent factor in the English 
social movement, as I was surprised during a visit 
from John Morley to find that he, representing 
perhaps the type of man whom political life seemed 
to have pulled away from the ideals of his youth, 
had yet been such a champion of democracy in the 
full tide of reaction. My observations were much 
too superficial to be of value and certainly both men 
were well grounded in philosophy and theory of 
social reform and had long before carefully formu- 
lated their principles, as the new English Labor 
Party, which is destined to break up the reaction- 
ary period, is now being created by another set of 
theorists. There were certainly moments during 
the heated discussions of this decade when nothing 



194 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

seemed so important as right theory : this was 
borne in upon me one brilliant evening at Hull- 
House when Benjamin Kidd, author of the much 
read "Social Evolution," was pitted against Victor 
Berger of Milwaukee, even then considered a ris- 
ing man in the Socialist Party. 

At any rate the residents at Hull-House dis- 
covered that while their first impact with city 
poverty allied them to groups given over to dis- 
cussion of social theories, their sober efforts to heal 
neighborhood ills allied them to general public 
movements which were without challenging creeds. 
But while we discovered that we most easily secured 
the smallest of much needed improvements by at- 
taching our efforts to those of organized bodies, 
nevertheless these very organizations would have 
been impossible, had not the public conscience been 
aroused and the community sensibility quickened 
by these same ardent theorists. 

As I review these very first impressions of the 
workers in unskilled industries, living in a depressed 
quarter of the city, I realize how easy it was for 
us to see exceptional cases of hardship as typical 
of the average lot, and yet, in spite of alleviating 
philanthropy and labor legislation, the indictment 
of Tolstoy applied to Moscow thirty years ago still 
fits every American city : ''Wherever we may live, 
if we draw a circle around us of a hundred thousand, 
or a thousand, or even of ten miles circumference, 
and look at the lives of those men and women who 



ECONOMIC DISCUSSION 195 

are inside our circle, we shall find half-starved 
children, old people, pregnant women, sick and 
weak persons, working beyond their strength, who 
have neither food nor rest enough to support them, 
and who, for this reason, die before their time ; we 
shall see others, full-grown, who are injured and 
needlessly killed by dangerous and hurtful tasks." 

As the American city is awakening to self-con- 
sciousness, it slowly perceives the civic significance 
of these industrial conditions, and perhaps Chicago 
has been foremost in the effort to connect the un- 
regulated overgrowth of the huge centers of popu- 
lation, with the astonishingly rapid development 
of industrial enterprises ; quite as Chicago was 
foremost to carry on the preliminary discussion 
through which a basis was laid for like-mindedness 
and the coordination of divers wills. I remember 
an astute English visitor, who had been a guest in a 
score of American cities, observed that it was hard 
to understand the local pride he constantly en- 
countered ; for in spite of the boasting on the part 
of leading citizens in the western, eastern and 
southern towns, all American cities seemed to him 
essentially alike and all equally the results of an 
industry totally unregulated by well-considered 
legislation. 

I am inclined to think that perhaps all this 
general discussion was inevitable in connection 
with the early Settlements, as they in turn were the 
inevitable result of theories of social reform, which 



196 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

in their full enthusiasm reached America by way 
of England, only in the last decade of the century. 
There must have been tough fiber somewhere ; for, 
although the residents of Hull-House were often 
baffled by the radicalism within the Social Science 
Club and harassed by the criticism from outside, 
we still continued to believe that such discussion 
should be carried on, for if the Settlement seeks 
its expression through social activity, it must learn 
the difference between mere social unrest and spirit- 
ual impulse. 

The group of Hull-House residents, which by the 
end of the decade comprised twenty-five, differed 
widely in social beliefs, from the girl direct from 
the country who looked upon all social unrest as 
mere anarchy, to the resident, who had become a 
socialist when a student in Zurich, and who had 
long before translated from the German Engel's 
''Conditions of the Working Class in England," 
although at this time she had been read out of the 
Socialist Party because the Russian and German 
Impossibilists suspected her fluent English, as she 
always lightly explained. Although thus diversified 
in social beliefs, the residents became solidly united 
through our mutual experience in an industrial 
quarter, and we became not only convinced of the 
need for social control and protective legislation 
but also of the value of this preliminary argument. 

This decade of discussion between 1890 and 1900 
already seems remote from the spirit of Chicago of 



ECONOMIC DISCUSSION 



197 



to-day. So far as I have been able to reproduce 
this earlier period, it must reflect the essential 
provisionality of everything; "the perpetual mov- 
ing on to something future which shall supersede 











1 ill S Mr f ^- iiii 






— !.__ 



the present," that paramount impression of life 
itself, which aflPords us at one and the same time, 
ground for despair and for endless and varied an- 
ticipation. 



CHAPTER X 

Pioneer Labor Legislation in Illinois 

Our very first Christmas at Hull-House, when we 
as yet knew nothing of child labor, a number of 
little girls refused the candy which was offered 
them as part of the Christmas good cheer, saying 
simply that they ''worked in a candy factory and 
could not bear the sight of it." We discovered 
that for six weeks they had worked from seven in 
the morning until nine at night, and they were 
exhausted as well as satiated. The sharp con- 
sciousness of stern economic conditions was thus 
thrust upon us in the midst of the season of good 
will. 

During the same winter three boys from a Hull- 
House club were injured at one machine in a 
neighboring factory for lack of a guard which would 
have cost but a few dollars. When the injury of 
one of these boys resulted in his death, we felt 
quite sure that the owners of the factory would 
share our horror and remorse, and that they would 
do everything possible to prevent the recurrence 
of such a tragedy. To our surprise they did noth- 
ing whatever, and I made my first acquaintance 
then with those pathetic documents signed by the 

198 




Sweatshop Workers. 



LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 199 

parents of working children, that they will make 
no claim for damages resulting from "carelessness." 

The visits we made in the neighborhood con- 
stantly discovered women sewing upon sweatshop 
work, and often they were assisted by incredibly 
small children. I remember a little girl of four 
who pulled out basting threads hour after hour, 
sitting on a stool at the feet of her Bohemian 
mother, a little bunch of human misery. But even 
for that there was no legal redress, for the only 
child labor law in Illinois, with any provision for 
enforcement, had been secured by the coal miners' 
unions, and was confined to children employed in 
mines. 

We learned to know many families in which the 
working children contributed to the support of 
their parents, not only because they spoke English 
better than the older immigrants and were willing 
to take lower wages, but because their parents 
gradually found it easy to live upon their earnings. 
A South Italian peasant who has picked olives and 
packed oranges from his toddling babyhood, cannot 
see at once the difference between the outdoor 
healthy work which he has performed in the vary- 
ing seasons, and the long hours of monotonous 
factory life which his child encounters when he 
goes to work in Chicago. An Italian father came 
to us in great grief over the death of his eldest child, 
a little girl of twelve, who had brought the largest 
wages into the family fund. In the midst of his 



200 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

genuine sorrow he said : "She was the oldest kid I 
had. Now I shall have to go back to work again 
until the next one is able to take care of me." 
The man was only thirty-three and had hoped to 
retire from work at least during the winters. No 
foreman cared to have him in a factory, untrained 
and unintelligent as he was. It was much easier 
for his bright, English-speaking little girl to get a 
chance to paste labels on a box than for him to 
secure an opportunity to carry pig iron. The effect 
on the child was what no one concerned thought 
about, in the abnormal effort she made thus pre- 
maturely to bear the weight of life. Another little 
girl of thirteen, a Russian-Jewish child employed 
in a laundry at a heavy task beyond her strength, 
committed suicide, because she had borrowed three 
dollars from a companion which she could not re- 
pay unless she confided the story to her parents 
and gave up an entire week's wages — but what 
could the family live upon that week in case she 
did ! Her child mind, of course, had no sense of 
proportion, and carbolic acid appeared inevitable. 
While we found many pathetic cases of child labor 
and hard-driven victims of the sweating system 
who could not possibly earn enough in the short 
busy season to support themselves during the rest 
of the year, it became evident that we must add 
carefully collected information to our general im- 
pression of neighborhood conditions if we would 
make it of any genuine value. 



LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 201 

There was at that time no statistical information 
on Chicago industrial conditions, and Airs. Florence 
Kelley, an early resident of Hull-House, suggested 
to the Illinois State Bureau of Labor that they 
investigate the sweating system in Chicago with 
its attendant child labor. The head of the Bureau 
adopted this suggestion and engaged Mrs. Kelley 
to make the investigation. When the report was 
presented to the Illinois Legislature, a special com- 
mittee was appointed to look into the Chicago 
conditions. I well recall that on the Sunday the 
members of this commission came to dine at Hull- 
House, our hopes ran high, and we believed that 
at last some of the worst ills under which our 
neighbors were suffering would be brought to an 
end. 

As a result of its investigations, this committee 
recommended to the Legislature the provisions 
which afterwards became those of the first factory 
law of Illinois, regulating the sanitary conditions 
of the sweatshop and fixing fourteen as the age at 
which a child might be employed. Before the 
passage of the law could be secured, it was neces- 
sary to appeal to all elements of the community, 
and a little group of us addressed the open meetings 
of trades-unions and of benefit societies, church 
organizations, and social clubs literally every even- 
ing for three months. Of course the most energetic 
help as well as intelligent understanding came from 
the trades-unions. The central labor bodv of Chi- 



202 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

cago, then called the Trades and Labor Assembly, 
had previously appointed a committee of investi- 
gation to inquire into the sweating system. This 
committee consisted of five delegates from the 
unions and five outside their membership. Two 
of the latter were residents of Hull-House, and 
continued with the unions in their well-conducted 
campaign until the passage of Illinois's first Fac- 
tory Legislation was secured, a statute which has 
gradually been built upon by many public-spirited 
citizens until Illinois stands well among the States, 
at least in the matter of protecting her children. 
The Hull-House residents that winter had their first 
experience in lobbying. I remember that I very 
much disliked the word and still more the prospect 
of the lobbying itself, and we insisted that well- 
known Chicago women should accompany this first 
little group of Settlement folk who with trade- 
unionists moved upon the state capitol in behalf 
of factory legislation. The national or, to use its 
formal name. The General Federation of Woman's 
Clubs had been organized in Chicago only the 
year before this legislation was secured. The 
Federation was then timid in regard to all legisla- 
tion because it was anxious not to frighten its 
new membership, although its second president, 
Mrs. Henrotin, was most untiring in her efforts to 
secure this law. 

It was, perhaps, a premature effort, though cer- 
tainly founded upon a genuine need, to urge that a 



LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 203 

clause. limiting the hours of all women working in 
factories or workshops to eight a day, or forty-eight 
a week, should be inserted in the first factory legis- 
lation of the State. Although we had lived at 
Hull-House but three years when we urged this 
legislation, we had known a large number of young 
girls who were constantly exhausted by night work ; 
for whatever may be said in defense of night work 
for men, few women are able to endure it. A man 
who works by night sleeps regularly by day, but a 
woman finds it impossible to put aside the house- 
hold duties which crowd upon her, and a conscien- 
tious girl finds it hard to sleep with her mother 
washing and scrubbing within a few feet of her bed. 
One of the most painful impressions of those first 
years is that of pale, listless girls, who worked regu- 
larly in a factory of the vicinity which was then 
running full night time. These girls also encoun- 
tered a special danger in the early morning hours as 
they returned from work, debilitated and exhausted, 
and only too easily convinced that a drink and a 
little dancing at the end of the balls in the saloon 
dance halls, was what they needed to brace them. 
One of the girls whom we then knew, whose name, 
Chloe, seemed to fit her delicate charm, craving a 
drink to dispel her lassitude before her tired feet 
should take the long walk home, had thus been de- 
coyed into a saloon, where the soft drink was fol- 
lowed by an alcoholic one containing ''knockout 
drops, " and she awoke in a disreputable rooming 



204 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

house — too frightened and disgraced to return to 
her mother. 

Thus confronted by that old conundrum of the 
interdependence of matter and spirit, the conviction 
was forced upon us that long and exhausting hours 
of work are almost sure to be followed by lurid 
and exciting pleasures ; that the power to overcome 
temptation reaches its limit almost automatically 
with that of physical resistance. The eight-hour 
clause in this first factory law met with much less 
opposition in the Legislature than was anticipated, 
and was enforced for a year before it was pro- 
nounced unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of 
Illinois. During the halcyon months when it was 
a law, a large and enthusiastic Eight-Hour Club 
of working women met at Hull-House, to read the 
literature on the subject and in every way to pre- 
pare themselves to make public sentiment in favor 
of the measure which 'meant so much to them. 
The adverse decision in the test case, the progress of 
which they had most intelligently followed, was a 
matter of great disappointment. The entire ex- 
perience left on my mind a distrust of all legislation 
which was not preceded by full discussion and 
understanding. A premature measure may be 
carried through a legislature by perfectly legiti- 
mate means and still fail to possess vitality and a 
sense of maturity. On the other hand, the adminis- 
tration of an advanced law acts somewhat as a 
referendum. The people have an opportunity for 



LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 205 

two years to see the effects of Its operation. If they 
choose to reopen the matter at the next General 
Assembly, it can be discussed with experience and 
conviction ; the very operation of the law has per- 
formed the function of the "referendum" in a 
limited use of the term. 

Founded upon some such compunction, the sense 
that the passage of the child labor lawwould in many 
cases work hardship, was never absent from my mind 
during the earliest years of its operation. I ad- 
dressed as many mothers' meetings and clubs among 
working women as I could, in order to make clear 
the object of the law and the ultimate benefit to 
themselves as well as to their children. I am happy 
to remember that I never met with lack of under- 
standing among the hard-working widows, in whose 
behalf many prosperous people were so eloquent. 
These widowed mothers would say, "Why, of 
course, that is what I am working for, — to give the 
children a chance. I want them to have more 
education than I had"; or another, "That is why 
we came to America, and I don't want to spoil his 
start, even although his father is dead " ; or, " It's 
different in America. A boy gets left If he Isn't 
educated." There was always a willingness, even 
among the poorest women, to keep on with the hard 
night scrubbing or the long days of washing for the 
children's sake. 

The bitterest opposition to the law came from 
the large glass companies who were so accustomed 



2o6 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

to use the labor of children, that they were con- 
vinced the manufacturing of glass could not be 
carried on without it. 

Fifteen years ago the State of Illinois, as well as 
Chicago, exhibited many characteristics of the 
pioneer country in which untrammeled energy 
and an "early start" were still the most highly 
prized generators of success. Although this first 
labor legislation was but bringing Illinois into line 
with the nations in the modern industrial world, 
which "have long been obliged for their own sakes 
to come to the aid of the workers by which they 
live, — that the child, the young person and the 
woman may be protected from their own weakness 
and necessity, — " nevertheless from the first it ran 
counter to the instinct and tradition, almost to the 
very religion of the manufacturers of the state, who 
were for the most part self-made men. 

This first attempt in Illinois for adequate factory 
legislation also was associated in the minds of 
business men with radicalism, because the law was 
secured during the term of Governor Altgelt and 
was first enforced during his administration. While 
nothing in its genesis or spirit could be further from 
"anarchy" than factory legislation, and while the 
first law in Illinois was still far behind Massachu- 
setts and New York, the fact that Governor Altgelt 
pardoned from the state's prison the anarchists 
who had been sentenced there after the Haymarket 
riot, gave the opponents of this most reasonable 



LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 207 

legislation a quickly utilized opportunity to couple 
it with that detested word ; the State document 
which accompanied Governor Altgelt's pardon 
gave these ungenerous critics a further opportu- 
nity, because a magnanimous action was marred by 
personal rancor, betraying for the moment the in- 
firmity of a noble mind. For all of these reasons 
this first modification of the undisturbed control of 
the aggressive captains of industry, could not be 
enforced without resistance marked by dramatic 
episodes and revolts. The inception of the law 
had alreadv become associated with Hull-House, 
and when its ministration was also centered there, 
we inevitably received all the odium which these 
first efforts entailed. Mrs. Kelley was appointed 
the first factory inspector with a deputy and a force 
of twelve inspectors to enforce the law. Both Mrs. 
Kelley and her assistant, Mrs. Stevens, lived at 
Hull-House ; the office was on Polk Street directly 
opposite, and one of the most vigorous deputies was 
the president of the Jane Club. In addition, one 
of the earlv men residents, since dean of a state 
law school, acted as prosecutor in the cases brought 
against the violators of the law. 

Chicago had for years been notoriously lax in the 
administration of law, and the enforcement of an 
unpopular measure was resented equally by the 
president of a large manufacturing concern and by 
the former victim of a sweatshop who had started 
a place of his own. Whatever the sentiments 



2o8 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 



towards the new law on the part of the employers, 
there was no doubt of its enthusiastic reception by 
the trades-unions, as the securing of the law had 

already come from 
them, and through 
the years which have 
elapsed since, the 
experience of the 
Hull-House residents 
would coincide with 
that of an English 
statesman who said 
that '^a common rule 
for the standard of 
life and the condi- 
tion of labor may be 
secured by legisla- 
tion, but it must be 
maintained by trades 
unionism." 

This special value 
of the trades-unions 
first became clear to 
the residents of Hull- 
House in connection 
with the sweating 
system. We early 
found that the women in the sewing trades were 
sorely in need of help. The trade was thoroughly 
disorganized, Russian and Polish tailors competing 




LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 209 

against English-speaking tailors, unskilled Bo- 
hemian and Italian women competing against both. 
These women seem to have been best helped 
through the use of the label when unions of special- 
ized workers in the trade are strong enough to 
insist that the manufacturers shall ''give out work" 
only to those holding union cards. It was cer- 
tainly impressive when the garment makers them- 
selves in this way finally succeeded in organizing 
six hundred of the Italian women in our immediate 
vicinity, who had finished garments at home for 
the most wretched and precarious wages. To be 
sure, the most ignorant women only knew that 
"you couldn't get clothes to sew" from the places 
where they paid the best, unless "you had a card," 
but through the veins of most of them there pulsed 
the quickened blood of a new fellowship, a sense of 
comfort and aid which had been held out to them 
by their fellow- workers. 

During the fourth year of our residence at Hull- 
House w^e found ourselves in a large mass meeting 
ardently advocating the passage of a Federal meas- 
ure called the Sulzer Bill. Even in our short 
struggle with the evils of the sweating system it 
did not seem strange that the center of the effort 
had shifted to Washington, for by that time we had 
realized that the sanitary regulation of sweat- 
shops by city officials, and a careful enforcement of 
factory legislation by state factory inspectors will 
not avail, unless each city and State shall be able 



2IO TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

to pass and enforce a code of comparatively uni- 
form legislation. Although the Sulzer Act failed 
to utilize the Interstate Commerce legislation for 
its purpose, many of the national representatives 
realized for the first time that only by federal legis- 
lation could their constituents in remote country 
places be protected from contagious diseases raging 
in New York or Chicago, for many country doctors 
testify as to the outbreak of scarlet fever in rural 
neighborhoods after the children have begun to 
wear the winter overcoats and cloaks which have 
been sent from infected city sweatshops. 

Through our efforts to modify the sweating 
system, the Hull-House residents gradually became 
committed to the fortunes of the Consumers' 
League, an organization which for years has been 
approaching the question of the underpaid sewing 
woman from the point of view of the ultimate re- 
sponsibility lodged in the consumer. It becomes 
more reasonable to make the presentation of the 
sweatshop situation through this League, as it is 
more effectual to work with them for the extension 
of legal provisions in the slow upbuilding of that 
code of legislation which is alone sufficient to pro- 
tect the home from the dangers incident to the 
sweating system. 

The Consumers' League seems to afford the best 
method of approach for the protection of girls in 
department stores ; I recall a group of girls from a 
neighboring ''emporium" who applied to Hull- 



LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 211 

House for dancing parties on alternate Sunday 
afternoons. In reply to our protest they told us 
they not only worked late every evening, in spite 
of the fact that each was supposed to have "two 
nights a week off," and every Sunday morning, but 
that on alternate Sunday afternoons they were 
required "to sort the stock." Over and over again, 
meetings called by the Clerks Union and others, 
have been held at Hull-House protesting against 
these incredibly long hours. Little modification 
has come about, however, during our twenty years 
of residence, although one large store in the Bo- 
hemian quarter closes all day on Sunday and many 
of the others for three nights a week. In spite of 
the Sunday work, these girls prefer the outlying 
department stores to those downtown ; there is 
more social intercourse with the customers, more 
kindliness and social equality between the sales- 
women and the managers, and above all the girls 
have the protection naturally afforded by friends 
and neighbors and they are free from that suspi- 
cion which so often haunts the girls downtown, 
that their fellow-workers may not be "nice girls." 
In the first years of Hull-House we came across 
no trades-unions among the women workers, and I 
think, perhaps, that only one union, composed solely 
of women, was to be found in Chicago then, — 
that of the bookbinders. I easily recall the even- 
ing when the president of this pioneer organization 
accepted an invitation to take dinner at Hull-House. 



212 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

She came in rather a recalcitrant mood, expecting 
to be patronized and so suspicious of our motives, 
that it was only after she had been persuaded to 
become a guest of the house for several weeks in 
order to find out about us for herself, that she was 
convinced of our sincerity and of the ability of 
''outsiders" to be of any service to working women. 
She afterward became closely identified with Hull- 
House, and her hearty cooperation was assured 
until she moved to Boston and became a general 
organizer for the American Federation of Labor. 

The women shirt makers and the women cloak 
makers were both organized at Hull-House as was 
also the Dorcas Federal Labor Union, which had 
been founded through the efforts of a working 
woman, then one of the residents. The latter 
union met once a month in our drawing-room. It 
was composed of representatives from all the unions 
in the city which included women in their member- 
ship and also received other women in sympathy 
with unionism. It was accorded representation 
in the central labor body of the city, and later it 
joined its efforts with those of others to found 
the Woman's Union Label League. In what we 
considered a praiseworthy effort to unite it with 
other organizations, the president of a leading 
Woman's Club applied for membership. We were 
so sure of her election that she stood just out- 
side of the drawing-room door, or, in trade-union 
language, "the wicket gate," while her name was 



LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 213 

voted upon. To our chagrin she did not receive 
enough votes to secure her admission, not because 
the working girls, as they were careful to state, did 
not admire her, but because she '' seemed to belong 
to the other side." Fortunately, the big-minded 
woman so thoroughly understood the vote and her 
interest in working women was so genuine, that it 
was less than a decade afterward when she was 
elected to the presidency of the National Woman's 
Trades Union League. The incident and the sequel 
registers, perhaps, the change in Chicago towards 
the labor movement, the recognition of the fact 
that it is a general social movement concerning 
all members of society and not merely a class 
struggle. 

Some such public estimate of the labor move- 
ment was brought home to Chicago during several 
conspicuous strikes ; at least labor legislation has 
twice been inaugurated because its need was thus 
made clear. After the Pullman strike various ele- 
ments in the community were unexpectedly brought 
together that they might soberly consider and 
rectify the weaknesses in the legal structure which 
the strike had revealed. These citizens arranged 
for a large and representative convention to be 
held in Chicago on Industrial Conciliation and 
Arbitration. I served as secretary of the com- 
mittee from the new Civic Federation having the 
matter in charge, and our hopes ran high when, as 
a result of the agitation, the Illinois legislature 



214 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

passed a law creating a State Board of Conciliation 
and Arbitration. But even a state board cannot 
accomplish more than public sentiment authorizes 
and sustains, and we might easily have been dis- 
couraged in those early days could we have fore- 
seen some of the industrial disturbances which 
have since disgraced Chicago. This law embodied 
the best provisions of the then existing laws for 
the arbitration of industrial disputes. At the time 
the word arbitration was still a word to conjure 
with, and many Chicago citizens were convinced, 
not only of the danger and futility involved in the 
open warfare of opposing social forces, but further 
believed that the search for justice and righteous- 
ness in industrial relations was made infinitely 
more difficult thereby. 

The Pullman strike afforded much illumination 
to many Chicago people. Before it, there had 
been nothing in my experience to reveal that dis- 
tinct cleavage of society, which a general strike at 
least momentarily affords. Certainly, during all 
those dark days of the Pullman strike, the growth 
of class bitterness was m_ost obvious. The fact that 
the Settlement maintained avenues of Intercourse 
with both sides seemed to give It opportunity for 
nothing but a realization of the bitterness and divi- 
sion along class lines. I had known Mr. Pullman 
and had seen his genuine pride and pleasure in the 
model town he had built with so much care ; and I 
had an opportunity to talk to many of the Pull- 



LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 215 

man employees during the strike when I was sent 
from a so-called ''Citizens' Arbitration Committee" 
to their first meetings held in a hall in the neighbor- 
ing village of Kensington, and when I was invited 
to the modest supper tables laid in the model 
houses. The employees then expected a speedy 
settlement and no one doubted but that all the 
grievances connected with the "straw bosses" 
would be quickly remedied and that the benevo- 
lence which had built the model town would not 
fail them. They were sure that the " straw bosses " 
had misrepresented the state of affairs, for this 
very first awakening to class consciousness bore 
many traces of the servility on one side and the 
arrogance on the other which had so long prevailed 
in the model town. The entire strike demonstrated 
how often the outcome of far-reaching industrial 
disturbances is dependent upon the personal will of 
the employer or the temperament of a strike leader. 
Those familiar with strikes know only too well how 
much they are influenced by poignant domestic 
situations, by the troubled consciences of the minor- 
ity directors, by the suffering women and children, 
by the keen excitement of the struggle, by the reli- 
gious scruples sternly suppressed but occasionally 
asserting themselves, now on one side and now on 
the other, and by that undefined psychology of the 
crowd which we understand so little. All of these 
factors also influence the public and do much to 
determine popular sympathy and judgment. In 



2i6 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

the early days of the Pullman strike, as I was 
coming down in the elevator of the Auditorium 
hotel from one of the futile meetings of the Arbi- 
tration Committee, I met an acquaintance, who 
angrily said 'Hhat the strikers ought all to be 
shot." As I had heard nothing so bloodthirsty 
as this either from the most enraged capitalist or 
from the most desperate of the men, and was inter- 
ested to find the cause of such a senseless outbreak, 
I finally discovered that the first ten thousand dol- 
lars which my acquaintance had ever saved, requir- 
ing, he said, years of efiPort from the time he was 
twelve years old until he was thirty, had been lost 
as the result of a strike; he clinched his argument 
that he knew what he was talking about, with the 
statement that "no one need expect him to have 
any sympathy with strikers or with their affairs." 
A very intimate and personal experience revealed, 
at least to myself, my constant dread of the spread- 
ing ill will. At the height of the sympathetic 
strike my oldest sister who was convalescing from a 
long illness in a hospital near Chicago, became 
suddenly very much worse. While I was able to 
reach her at once, every possible obstacle of a 
delayed and blocked transportation system in- 
terrupted the journey of her husband and children 
who were hurrying to her bedside from a distant 
state. As the end drew nearer and I was obliged 
to reply to my sister's constant inquiries that her 
family had not yet come, I was filled with a pro- 



LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 217 

found apprehension lest her last hours should be 
touched with resentment towards those responsible 
for the delay ; lest her unutterable longing should 
at the very end be tinged with bitterness. She 
must have divined what was in my mind, for at 
last she said each time after the repetition of my 
sad news ; "I don't blame any one, I am not judg- 
ing them." My heart was comforted and heavy 
at the same time ; but how many more such mo- 
ments of sorrow and death were being made diffi- 
cult and lonely throughout the land, and how much 
would these experiences add to the lasting bitter- 
ness, that touch of self-righteousness which makes 
the spirit of forgiveness well-nigh impossible. 

When I returned to Chicago from the quiet 
country I saw the Federal troops encamped about 
the post-office ; almost every one on Halsted Street 
wearing a white ribbon, the emblem of the strikers' 
side ;. the residents at Hull-House divided in opinion 
as to the righteousness of this or that measure ; and 
no one able to secure any real information as to 
which side was burning the cars. After the Pull- 
man strike I made an attempt to analyze in a paper 
which I called The Modern King Lear, the inevitable 
revolt of human nature against the plans Mr. Pull- 
man had made for his employees, the miscarriage of 
which appeared to him such black ingratitude. It 
seemed to me unendurable not to make some effort 
to gather together the social implications of the fail- 
ure of this benevolent employer and its relation to 



21 8 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

the demand for a more democratic administration 
of industry. Doubtless the paper represented a 
certain ''excess of participation," to use a gentle 
phrase of Charles Lamb's In preference to a more 
emphatic one used by Mr. Pullman himself. The 
last picture of the Pullman strike which I distinctly 
recall was three years later when one of the strike 
leaders came to see me. Although out of work for 
most of the time since the strike, he had been undis- 
turbed for six months in the repair shops of a street 
car company, under an assumed name, but he had 
at that moment been discovered and dismissed. 
He was a superior type of English worklngman, but 
as he stood there, broken and discouraged, believing 
himself so black-listed that his skill could never be 
used again, filled with sorrow over the loss of his 
wife who had recently died after an illness with 
distressing mental symptoms, realizing keenly the 
lack of the respectable way of living he had always 
until now been able to maintain, he seemed to me 
an epitome of the wretched human waste such a 
strike implies. I fervently hoped that the new 
arbitration law would prohibit in Chicago forever 
more such brutal and ineffective methods of settling 
industrial disputes. And yet even as early as 1896, 
we found the greatest difficulty In applying the 
arbitration law to the garment workers' strike, 
although It was finally accomplished after various 
mass meetings had urged it. The cruelty and 
waste of the strike as an implement for securing 



LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 219 

the most reasonable demands, came to me at an- 
other time, during the long strike of the clothing 
cutters. They had protested, not only against 
various wrongs of their own, but against the fact 
that the tailors employed by the custom merchants 
were obliged to furnish their own workshops and 
thus bore a burden of rent which belonged to the 
employer. One of the leaders in this strike, whom 
I had known for several years as a sober, indus- 
trious and unusually intelligent man, I saw grad- 
ually break down during the many trying weeks 
and at last suffer a complete moral collapse. 

He was a man of sensitive organization under 
the necessity, as is every leader during a strike, to 
address the same body of men day after day with 
an appeal sufficiently emotional to respond to their 
sense of injury; to receive callers at any hour of 
the day or night ; to sympathize with all the dis- 
tress of the strikers who see their families daily 
suffering ; he must do it all with the sickening 
sense of the increasing privation in his own home, 
and in this case with the consciousness that failure 
was approaching nearer each day. This man, accus- 
tomed to the monotony of his workbench and sud- 
denly thrown into a new situation, showed every 
sign of nervous fatigue before the final collapse 
came. He disappeared after the strike and I did 
not see him for ten years, but when he returned he 
immediately began talking about the old grievances 
which he had repeated so often that he could talk 



220 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 



of nothing else. It was easy to recognize the same 
nervous symptoms which the broken-down lecturer 
exhibits who has depended upon the exploitation 
of his own experiences to keep himself going. 
One of his stories was indeed pathetic. His em- 
ployer, during the 
busy season, had met 
him one Sunday 
afternoon in Lincoln 
Park whither he had 
taken his three 
youngest children, 
one of whom had 
- been ill. The em- 
ployer scolded him 
for thus wasting his 
time and roughly 
asked why he had 
not taken home 
enough work to keep 
himself busy through 
the day. The story 
was quite credible 
because the residents at Hull-House have had 
many opportunities to see the worker driven ruth- 
lessly during the season and left in idleness for long 
weeks afterward. We have slowly come to realize 
that periodical idleness as well as the payment of 
wages insufficient for maintenance of the manual 
worker in full industrial and domestic efficiency, 




LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 221 

stand economically on the same footing with the 
"sweated" industries, the overwork of women, and 
employment of children. 

But of all the aspects of social misery nothing is 
so heart-breaking as unemployment, and it was 
inevitable that we should see much of it in a neigh- 
borhood where low rents attracted the poorly paid 
worker and many newly arrived immigrants who 
were first employed in gangs upon railroad exten- 
sions and similar undertakings. The sturdy peas- 
ants eager for work were either the victims of the 
padrone who fleeced them unmercifully, both in 
securing a place to work and then in supplying them 
with food, or they became the mere sport of unscru- 
pulous employment agencies. Hull-House made 
an investigation both of the padrone and of the 
agencies in our immediate vicinity, and the out- 
come confirming what we already suspected, we 
eagerly threw ourselves into a movement to pro- 
cure free employment bureaus under State control 
until a law authorizing such bureaus and giving 
the officials intrusted with their management 
power to regulate private employment agencies, 
passed the Illinois Legislature in 1899. The 
history of these bureaus demonstrates the tend- 
ency we all have, to consider a legal enactment 
in itself an achievement and to grow careless in 
regard to its administration and actual results ; 
for an investigation into the situation ten years 
later discovered that immigrants were still shame- 



222 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

fully imposed upon. A group of Bulgarians were 
found who had been sent to work in Arkansas where 
their services were not needed ; they walked back 
to Chicago only to secure their next job in Okla- 
homa and to pay another railroad fare as well as 
another commission to the agency. Not only was 
there no method by which the men not needed in 
Arkansas could know that there was work in 
Oklahoma unless they came back to Chicago to 
find it out, but there was no certainty that they 
might not be obliged to walk back from Oklahoma 
because the Chicago agency had already sent out 
too many men. 

This investigation of the employment bureau 
resources of Chicago was undertaken by the League 
for the Protection of Immigrants, with whom it is 
possible for Hull-House to cooperate whenever an 
investigation of the immigrant colonies in our 
immediate neighborhood seems necessary, as was 
recently done in regard to the Greek colonies of 
Chicago. The superintendent of this League, Miss 
Grace Abbott, is a resident of Hull-House and all 
of our later attempts to secure justice and oppor- 
tunity for immigrants are much more effective 
through the League, and when we speak before a 
congressional committee in Washington concerning 
the needs of Chicago immigrants, we represent the 
League as well as our own neighbors. 

It is in connection with the first factory employ- 
ment of newly arrived immigrants and the innum- 



LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 223 

erable difficulties attached to their first adjust- 
ment, that some of the most profound industrial 
disturbances in Chicago have come about. Under 
any attempt at classification these strikes belong 
more to the general social movement than to the 
industrial conflict, for the strike is an implement 
used most rashly by unorganized labor who, after 
they are in difficulties, call upon the trades-unions 
for organization and direction. They are similar 
to those strikes which are inaugurated by the unions 
on behalf of unskilled labor. In neither case do 
the hastily organized unions usually hold after 
the excitement of the moment has subsided, and 
the most valuable result of such strikes is the ex- 
panding consciousness of the solidarity of the 
workers. This was certainly the result of the 
Chicago stockyard strike in 1905, inaugurated on 
behalf of the immigrant laborers and so conspicu- 
ously carried on without violence that, although 
twenty-two thousand workers were idle during 
the entire summer, there were fewer arrests in 
the stockyards district than the average summer 
months afford. However, the story of this strike 
should not be told from Hull-House, but from the 
University of Chicago Settlement, where Miss 
Mary McDowell performed such signal public 
service during that trying summer. It would be 
interesting to trace how much of the subsequent 
exposure of conditions and attempts at govern- 
mental control of this huge industry had their 



224 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

genesis in this first attempt of the unskilled 
workers to secure a higher standard of living. 
Certainly the industrial conflict when epitomized 
in a strike, centers public attention on conditions 
as nothing else can do. A strike is one of the most 
exciting episodes in modern life and as it assumes 
the characteristics of a game, the entire population 
of a city becomes divided into two cheering sides. 
In such moments the fair-minded public, who ought 
to be depended upon as a referee, practically dis- 
appears. Any one who tries to keep the attitude 
of nonpartisanship, which is perhaps an impossible 
one, is quickly under suspicion by both sides. At 
least that was the fate of a group of citizens ap- 
pointed by the mayor of Chicago to arbitrate dur- 
ing the stormy teamsters' strike which occurred 
in 1905. We sat through a long Sunday afternoon 
in the mayor's office in the City Hall, talking first 
with the labor men and then with the group of 
capitalists. The undertaking was the more futile 
in that we were all practically the dupes of a new 
type of ^'industrial conspiracy" successfully in- 
augurated in Chicago by a close compact between 
the coal teamsters' union and the coal team owners' 
association who had formed a kind of monopoly 
hitherto new to a monopoly-ridden public. 

The stormy teamsters' strike, ostensibly under- 
taken in defense of the garment workers, but really 
arising from causes so obscure and dishonorable 
that they have never yet been made public, was 



LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 225 

the culmination of a type of trades-unions which 
had developed in Chicago during the preceding 
decade in which corruption had flourished al- 
most as openly as it had previously done in the 
City Hall. This corruption sometimes took the 
form of grafting after the manner of Samuel 
Parks in New York ; sometimes that of political 
deals in the '' delivery of the labor vote " ; and some- 
times that of a combination between capital and 
labor hunting together. At various times during 
these years the better type of trades-unionists had 
made a firm stand against this corruption and a de- 
termined effort to eradicate it from the labor move- 
ment, not unlike the general reform effort of many 
American cities against political corruption. This 
reform movement in the Chicago Federation of 
Labor had its martyrs, and more than one man 
nearly lost his life through the "slugging" methods 
employed by the powerful corruptionists. And 
yet even in the midst of these things were found 
touching examples of fidelity to the earlier prin- 
ciples of brotherhood totally untouched by the 
corruption. At one time the scrub women in the 
downtown office buildings had a union of their own 
afiiliated with the elevator men and the janitors. 
Although the union was used merely as a weapon 
in the fight of the coal teamsters against the use of 
natural gas in downtown buildings, it did not 
prevent the women from getting their first glimpse 
into the fellowship and the sense of protection which 

Q 



226 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 



IS the great gift of trades-unionism to the unskilled, 
unbefriended worker. I remember in a meeting 
held at Hull-House one Sunday afternoon, that 
the president of a ''local" of scrub women stood up 
to relate her experience. She told first of the long 
years in which the fear of losing her job and the 
fluctuating pay were harder to bear than the hard 
work itself, when she had regarded all the other 

women who scrubbed in 
the same building merely 
as rivals and was most 
afraid of the most miser- 
able, because they offered 
to work for less and less as 
they were pressed harder 
and harder by debt. Then 
she told of the change 
that had come when the 
elevator men and even 
the lordly janitors had talked to her about an 
organization and had said that they must all 
stand together. She told how gradually she came 
to feel sure of her job and of her regular pay, and 
she was even starting to buy a house now that she 
could "calculate" how much she "could have for 
sure." Neither she nor any of the other mem- 
bers knew that the same combination which had 
organized the scrub women into a union, later 
destroyed it during a strike inaugurated for their 
own purposes. 




LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 227 

That a Settlement is drawn into the labor issues 
of its city can seem remote to its purpose only to 
those who fail to realize that so far as the present 
industrial system thwarts our ethical demands, not 
only for social righteousness but for social order, 
a Settlement is committed to an effort to under- 
stand and, as far as possible, to alleviate it. That 
in this eifort it should be drawn into fellowship with 
the local efforts of trades-unions is most obvious. 
This identity of aim apparently commits the 
Settlement in the public mind to all the faiths and 
works of actual trades-unions. Fellowship has so 
long implied similarity of creed that the fact that 
the Settlement often differs widely from the policy 
pursued by trades-unionists and clearly expresses 
that difference, does not in the least change public 
opinion in regard to its identification. This is 
especially true in periods of industrial disturbance, 
although it is exactly at such moments that the 
trades-unionists themselves are suspicious of all 
but their "own kind." It is during the much 
longer periods between strikes that the Settle- 
ment's fellowship with trades-unions is most satis- 
factory in the agitation for labor legislation and 
similar undertakings. The first officers of the 
Chicago Woman's Trades Union League were resi- 
dents of Settlements, although they can claim little 
share in the later record the League made in se- 
curing the passage of the Illinois Ten-Hour Law for 
Women and in its many other fine undertakings. 



228 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Nevertheless the reaction of strikes upon Chicago 
Settlements affords an Interesting study In social 
psychology. For whether Hull-House Is In any 
wise Identified with the strike or not, makes no 
difference. When "Labor" Is In disgrace we are 
always regarded as belonging to It and share the 
opprobrium. In the public excitement following 
the Pullman strike Hull-House lost many friends ; 
later the teamsters' strike caused another such de- 
fection, although my office in both cases had been 
solely that of a duly appointed arbitrator. 

There is, however, a certain comfort in the 
assumption I have often encountered that wherever 
one's judgment might place the justice of a given 
situation, it is understood that one's sympathy is 
not alienated by wrongdoing, and that through this 
sympathy one is still subject to vicarious suffering. 
I recall an Incident during a turbulent Chicago 
strike which brought me much comfort. On the 
morning of the day of a luncheon to which I had 
accepted an Invitation, the waitress, whom I did 
not know, said to my prospective hostess that she 
was sure I could not come. Upon being asked for 
her reason she replied that she had seen in the morn- 
ing paper that the strikers had killed a ''scab" and 
she was sure that I would feel quite too badly about 
such a thing, to be able to keep a social engagement. 
In spite of the confused issues, she evidently real- 
ized my despair over the violence in a strike quite 
as definitely as if she had been told about it. Per- 



LABOR LEGISLATION IN ILLINOIS 229 

haps that sort of suffering and the attempt to 
interpret opposing forces to each other will long 
remain a function of the Settlement, unsatisfactory 
and difficult as the role often becomes. 

There has gradually developed between the vari- 
ous Settlements of Chicago a warm fellowship 
founded upon a like-mindedness resulting from 
similar experiences, quite as identity of interest and 
endeavor develop an enduring relation between the 
residents of the same Settlement. This sense of 
comradeship is never stronger than during the hard- 
ships and perplexities of a strike of unskilled workers 
revolting against the conditions which drag them 
even below the level of their European life. At such 
times the residents in various Settlements are driven 
to a standard of life argument running somewhat in 
this wise, — that as the very existence of the State de- 
pends upon the character of its citizens, therefore if 
certain industrial conditions are forcing the workers 
below the standard of decency, it becomes possible 
to deduce the right of State regulation. Even as 
late as the stockyard strike this line of argument 
was denounced as " socialism " although it has since 
been confirmed as wise statesmanship by a decision 
of the Supreme Court of the United States which 
was apparently secured through the masterly argu- 
ment of the Brandeis brief in the Oregon ten-hour 
case. 

In such wise the residents of an industrial neigh- 
borhood gradually comprehend the close connection 



230 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

of their own difficulties with national and even 
international movements. The residents in the 
Chicago Settlements became pioneer members in 
the American branch of the International League 
for Labor Legislation, because their neighborhood 
experiences had made them only too conscious of 
the dire need for protective legislation. In such a 
league, with its ardent members in every industrial 
nation of Europe, with its encouraging reports of 
the abolition of all night work for women in six 
European nations, with its careful observations on 
the results of employer's liability legislation and 
protection of machinery, one becomes identified 
with a movement of world-wide significance and 
manifold manifestation. 



CHAPTER XI 

Immigrants and Their Children 

From our very first months at Hull-House we 
found it much easier to deal with the first genera- 
tion of crowded city life than with the second or 
third, because it is more natural and cast in a sim- 
pler mold. The Italian and Bohemian peasants 
who live in Chicago, still put on their bright holiday 
clothes on a Sunday and go to visit their cousins. 
They tramp along with at least a suggestion of 
having once walked over plowed fields and breathed 
country air. The second generation of city poor 
too often have no holiday clothes and consider 
their relations a "bad lot." I have heard a drunken 
man in a maudlin stage, babble of his good country 
mother and imagine he was driving the cows home, 
and I knew that his little son who laughed loud 
at him, would be drunk earlier in life and would 
have no such pastoral interlude to his ravings. 
Hospitality still survives among foreigners, al- 
though it is buried under false pride among the 
poorest Americans. One thing seemed clear in 
regard to entertaining immigrants ; to preserve and 
keep whatever of value their past life contained 
and to bring them in contact with a better type of 

231 



232 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Americans. For several years, every Saturday 
evening the entire families of our Italian neighbors 
were our guests. These evenings were very popu- 
lar during our first winters at Hull-House. Many 
educated Italians helped us, and the house became 
known as a place where Italians were welcome and 
where national holidays were observed. They 
come to us with their petty lawsuits, sad relics of 
the vendetta, with their incorrigible boys, with their 
hospital cases, with their aspirations for American 
clothes, and with their needs for an Interpreter. 

An editor of an Italian paper made a genuine 
connection between us and the Italian colony, not 
only with the Neapolitans and the Sicilians of the 
Immediate neighborhood, but with the educated 
connazionali throughout the city, until he went south 
to start an agricultural colony In Alabama, In the 
establishment of which Hull-House heartily cooper- 
ated. 

Possibly the South Italians more than any other 
immigrants represent the pathetic stupidity of 
agricultural people crowded Into city tenements, 
and we were much gratified when thirty peasant 
families were Induced to move upon the land which 
they knew so well how to cultivate. The starting 
of this colony, however, was a very expensive affair 
in spite of the fact that the colonists purchased 
the land at two dollars an acre ; they needed much 
more than raw land, and although it was possible 
to collect the small sums necessary to sustain them 



IMMIGRANTS, THEIR CHILDREN 233 

during the hard time of the first two years, we were 
fully convinced that undertakings of this sort could 
be conducted properly only by colonization socie- 
ties such as England has established, or, better 
still, by enlarging the functions of the Federal De- 
partment of Immigration. 

An evening similar in purpose to the one devoted 
to the Italians was organized for the Germans, in 
our first year. Owing to the superior education of 
our Teutonic guests and the clever leading of a 
cultivated German woman, these evenings reflected 
something of that cozy social intercourse which 
is found in its perfection in the fatherland. Our 
guests sang a great deal in the tender minor of the 
German folksong or in the rousing spirit of the 
Rhine, and they slowly but persistently pursued a 
course in German history and literature, recovering 
something of that poetry and romance which they 
had long since resigned with other good things. 
We found strong family affection between them 
and their English-speaking children, but their 
pleasures were not in common, and they seldom 
went out together. Perhaps the greatest value of 
the Settlement to them was in placing large and 
pleasant rooms with musical facilities at their dis- 
posal, and in reviving their almost forgotten enthu- 
siasms. I have seen sons and daughters stand in 
complete surprise as their mother's knitting needles 
softly beat time to the song she was singing, or her 
worn face turned rosy under the hand-clapping as 



234 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

she made an old-fashioned courtsey at the end of a 
German poem. It was easy to fancy a growing 
touch of respect in her children's manner to her, 
and a rising enthusiasm for German literature and 
reminiscence on the part of all the family, an effort 
to bring together the old life and the new, a respect 
for the older cultivation, and not quite so much 
assurance that the new was the best. 

This tendency upon the part of the older immi- 
grants to lose the amenities of European life without 
sharing those of America, has often been deplored 
by keen observers from the home countries. When 
Professor Masurek of Prague gave a course of 
lectures In the University of Chicago, he was much 
distressed over the materialism into which the 
Bohemians of Chicago had fallen. The early 
immigrants had been so stirred by the opportunity 
to own real estate, an appeal perhaps to the Slavic 
land hunger, and their energies had become so 
completely absorbed in money-making that all 
other interests had apparently dropped away. And 
yet I recall a very touching incident in connection 
with a lecture Professor Masurek gave at Hull- 
House, In which he had appealed to his countrymen 
to arouse themselves from this tendency to fall 
below their home civilization and to forget the great 
enthusiasm which had united them Into the Pan=- 
Slavic Movement. A Bohemian widow who sup- 
ported herself and her two children by scrubbing, 
hastily sent her youngest child to purchase, with 



IMMIGRANTS, THEIR CHILDREN 235 



the twenty-five cents which was to have supplied 
them with food the next day, a bunch of red roses 
which she presented to the lecturer in appreciation 
of his testimony to the reality of the things of the 
spirit. 

An overmastering desire to reveal the humbler 
Immigrant parents to their own children lay at the 
base of what has come 
to be called the Hull- 
House Labor Museum. 
This was first suggested 
to my mind one early 
spring day when I saw 
an old Italian woman, 
her distaff against her 
homesick face, patiently -- 
spinning a thread by the ^ . 
simple stick spindle so \ 
reminiscent of all south- 
ern Europe. I was walk- 
ing down Polk Street, 
perturbed in spirit, be- 
cause it seemed so difficult to come into genuine 
relations with the Italian women and because they 
themselves so often lost their hold upon their 
Americanized children. It seemed to me that 
Hull-House ought to be able to devise some edu- 
cational enterprise, which should build a bridge 
between European and American experiences In 
such wise as to give them both more meaning and 




236 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

a sense of relation. I meditated that perhaps the 
power to see life as a whole, is more needed in the 
immigrant quarter of a large city than anywhere 
else, and that the lack of this power is the most 
fruitful source of misunderstanding between Euro- 
pean immigrants and their children, as it is between 
them and their American neighbors ; and why should 
that chasm between fathers and sons, yawning at 
the feet of each generation, be made so unneces- 
sarily cruel and impassable to these bewildered 
immigrants ? Suddenly I looked up and saw the 
old woman with her distaff, sitting in the sun on 
the steps of a tenement house. She might have 
served as a model for one of Michael Angelo's 
Fates, but her face brightened as I passed and, 
holding up her spindle for me to see, she called out 
that when she had spun a little more yarn, she 
would knit a pair of stockings for her goddaughter. 
The occupation of the old woman gave me the clew 
that was needed. Could we not interest the young 
people working in the neighboring factories, in these 
older forms of industry, so that, through their 
own parents and grandparents, they w^ould find a 
dramatic representation of the inherited resources 
of their daily occupation. If these young people 
could actually see that the complicated machinery 
of the factory had been evolved from simple tools, 
they might at least make a beginning towards that 
education which Dr. Dewey defines as ''a continu- 
ing reconstruction of experience." They might 



IMMIGRANTS, THEIR CHILDREN 237 

also lay a foundation for reverence of the past 
which Goethe declares to be the basis of all sound 
progress. 

My exciting walk on Polk Street was followed 
by many talks with Dr. Dewey and with one of the 
teachers in his school who was a resident at Hull- 
House. Within a month a room was fitted up to 
which we might invite those of our neighbors who 
were possessed of old crafts and who were eager to 
use them. 

We found in the immediate neighborhood, at least 
four varieties of these most primitive methods of 
spinning and three distinct variations of the same 
spindle in connection with wheels. It was possible 
to put these seven into historic sequence and order 
and to connect the whole with the present method 
of factory spinning. The same thing was done for 
weaving, and on every Saturday evening a little 
exhibit was made of these various forms of labor in 
the textile Industry. Within one room a Syrian 
woman, a Greek, an Italian, a Russian, and an Irish- 
woman enabled even the most casual observer to 
see that there Is no break In orderly evolution if 
we look at history from the Industrial standpoint ; 
that industry develops similarly and peacefully 
year by year among the workers of each nation, 
heedless of differences in language, religion, and 
political experiences. 

And then we grew ambitious and arranged lec- 
tures upon industrial history. I remember that 



238 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

after an Interesting lecture upon the industrial 
revolution in England and a portrayal of the 




appalling conditions throughout the weaving dis- 
tricts of the north, which resulted from the hasty- 
gathering of the weavers into the new towns, a 



IMMIGRANTS, THEIR CHILDREN 239 

Russian tailor in the audience was moved to make a 
speech. He suggested that whereas time had done 




much to alleviate the first difficulties in the transi- 
tion of weaving from hand work to steam power, 
that in the application of steam to sewing we are 
still in the first stages, illustrated by the isolated 
woman who tries to support herself by hand needle- 



240 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

work at home until driven out by starvation, as 
many of the hand weavers had been. 

The historical analogy seemed to bring a certain 
comfort to the tailor as did a chart upon the wall, 
showing the infinitesimal amount of time that 
steam had been applied to manufacturing processes 
compared to the centuries of hand labor. Human 
progress is slow and perhaps never more cruel than 
in the advance of industry, but is not the worker 
comforted by knowing that other historical periods 
have existed similar to the one in which he finds 
himself, and that the readjustment may be short- 
ened and alleviated by judicious action ; and is he 
not entitled to the solace which an artistic portrayal 
of the situation might give him ? I remember the 
evening of the tailor's speech that I felt reproached 
because no poet or artist has endeared the sweaters' 
victim to us as George Eliot has made us love the 
belated weaver, Silas Marner. The textile museum 
is connected directly with the basket weaving, sew- 
ing, millinery, embroidery, and dressmaking con- 
stantly being taught at Hull-House, and so far as 
possible with the other educational departments ; 
we have also been able to make a collection of prod- 
ucts, of early implements, and of photographs which 
are full of suggestion. Yet far beyond its direct 
educational value, we prize it because it so often 
puts the immigrants into the position of teachers, 
and we imagine that it affords them a pleasant 
change from the tutelage in which all Americans, 



IMMIGRANTS, THEIR CHILDREN 241 

including their own children, are so apt to hold 
them. I recall a number of Russian women work- 
ing in a sewing-room near Hull-House, who heard 
one Christmas week that the House was going to 
give a party to which they might come. They 
arrived one afternoon when, unfortunately, there 

\ 1 ''•^ 'A 



r^ 









'Z^-vfi' 



^---•^c^. 



was no party on hand and, although the residents 
did their best to entertain them with impromptu 
music and refreshments, it was quite evident that 
they were greatly disappointed. Finally it was 
suggested that they be shown the Labor Museum 
— where gradually the thirty sodden, tired women 
were transformed. They knew how to use the 
spindles and were delighted to find the Russian 
spinning frame. Many of them had never seen the 



242 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

spinning wheel, which has not penetrated to certain 
parts of Russia, and they regarded it as a new and 
wonderful invention. They turned up their dresses 
to show their homespun petticoats ; they tried the 
looms ; they explained the difficulty of the old 
patterns ; in short, from having been stupidly enter- 
tained, they themselves did the entertaining. Be- 
cause of a direct appeal to former experiences, the 
immigrant visitors were able for the moment to 
instruct their American hostesses in an old and 
honored craft, as was indeed becoming to their 
age and experience. 

In some such ways as these have the Labor 
Museum and the shops pointed out the possibili- 
ties which Hull-House has scarcely begun to develop, 
of demonstrating that culture is an understanding 
of the long-established occupations and thoughts 
of men, of the arts with which they have solaced 
their toil. A yearning to recover for the household 
arts something of their early sanctity and meaning, 
arose strongly within me one evening when I was 
attending a Passover Feast to which I had been 
invited by a Jewish family in the neighborhood, 
where the traditional and religious significance of 
woman's daily activity was still retained. The 
kosher food the Jewish mother spread before her 
family had been prepared according to traditional 
knowledge and with constant care in the use of 
utensils ; upon her had fallen the responsibility to 
make all ready according to Mosaic instructions 



IMMIGRANTS, THEIR CHILDREN 243 

that the great crisis in a religious history might be 
fittingly set forth by her husband and son. Aside 
from the grave religious significance in the cere- 
mony, my mind was filled with shifting pictures of 
woman's labor with which travel makes one fa- 
miliar; the Indian women grinding grain outside 
of their huts as they sing praises to the sun and 
rain ; a file of white-clad Moorish women whom I 
had once seen waiting their turn at a well in Tan- 
giers ; south Italian women kneeling in a row 
along the stream and beating their wet clothes 
against the smooth white stones ; the milking, the 
gardening, the marketing in thousands of hamlets, 
which are such direct expressions of the solicitude 
and affection at the basis of all family life. 

There has been some testimony that the Labor 
Museum has revealed the charm of woman's 
primitive activities. I recall a certain Italian girl 
who came every Saturday evening to a cooking 
class in the same building in which her mother spun 
in the Labor Museum exhibit ; and yet Angelina 
always left her mother at the front door while she 
herself went around to a side door because she did 
not wish to be too closely identified in the eyes of 
the rest of the cooking class with an Italian woman 
who wore a kerchief over her head, uncouth boots, 
and short petticoats. One evening, however, An- 
gelina saw her mother surrounded by a group of 
visitors from the School of Education, who much 
admired the spinning, and she concluded from their 



244 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

conversation that her mother was "the best stick- 
spindle spinner in America." When she inquired 
from me as to the truth of this deduction, I took 
occasion to describe the Italian village in which her 
mother had lived, something of her free life, and how, 
because of the opportunity she and the other women 
of the village had to drop their spindles over the 
edge of a precipice, they had developed a skill in 
spinning beyond that of the neighboring towns. 
I dilated somewhat on the freedom and beauty of 
that life — how hard it must be to exchange it 
all for a two-room tenement, and to give up a 
beautiful homespun kerchief for an ugly de- 
partment store hat. I intimated it was most 
unfair to judge her by these things alone, and 
that while she must depend on her daughter to 
learn the new ways, she also had a right to ex- 
pect her daughter to know something of the old 
ways. 

That which I could not convey to the child but 
upon which my own mind persistently dwelt, was 
that her mother's whole life had been spent in a 
secluded spot under the rule of traditional and 
narrowly localized observances, until her very re- 
ligion clung to local sanctities, — to the shrine before 
which she had always prayed, to the pavement 
and walls of the low vaulted church, — and then 
suddenly she was torn from it all and literally put 
out to sea, straight away from the solid habits of 
her religious and domestic life, and she now walked 



IMMIGRANTS, THEIR CHILDREN 245 

timidly but with poignant sensibility upon a new 
and strange shore. 

It was easy to see that the thought of her mother 
with any other background than that of the tene- 
ment was new to Angelina and at least two things 
resulted ; she allowed her mother to pull out of the 
big box under the bed the beautiful homespun 
garments which had been previously hidden away 
as uncouth ; and she openly came into the Labor 
Museum by the same door as did her mother, proud 
at least of the mastery of the craft which had been 
so much admired. 

A club of necktie workers formerly meeting 
at Hull-House, persistently resented any attempt 
on the part of their director to improve their 
minds. The president once said that she ^'wouldn't 
be caught dead at a lecture," that she came to the 
club "to get some fun out of it," and indeed it was 
most natural that she should crave recreation after 
a hard day's work. One evening I saw the entire 
club listening to quite a stiff lecture in the Labor 
Museum and to my rather wicked remark to the 
president that I was surprised to see her enjoying 
a lecture, she replied, that she did not call this a 
lecture, she called this "getting next to the stuff 
you work with all the time." It was perhaps the 
sincerest tribute we have ever received as to the 
success of the undertaking. 

The Labor Museum continually demanded more 
space as it was enriched by a fine textile exhibit 



246 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

lent by the Field Museum, and later by carefully 
selected specimens of basketry from the Philip- 
pines. The shops have finally included a group of 
three or four women, Irish, Italian, Danish, who 
have become a permanent working force in the 
textile department which has developed into a 
self-supporting industry through the sale of its 
homespun products. 

These women and a few men, who come to the 
museum to utilize their European skill in pottery, 
metal, and wood, demonstrate that immigrant 
colonies might yield to our American life something 
very valuable, if their resources were intelligently 
studied and developed. I recall an Italian, who 
had decorated the doorposts of his tenement with a 
beautiful pattern he had previously used in carv- 
ing the reredos of a Neapolitan church, who was 
"fired" by his landlord on the ground of destroying 
property. His feelings were hurt, not so much that 
he had been put out of his house, as that his work 
had been so disregarded ; and he said that when 
people traveled in Italy they liked to look at wood 
carvings but that in America "they only made 
money out of you." 

Sometimes the suppression of the instinct of 
workmanship is followed by more disastrous re- 
sults. A Bohemian whose little girl attended classes 
at Hull-House, in one of his periodic drunken spells 
had literally almost choked her to death, and later 
had committed suicide when in delirium tremens. 



IMMIGRANTS, THEIR CHILDREN 247 

His poor wife, who stayed a week at Hull-House 
after the disaster until a new tenement could be ar- 
ranged for her, one day showed me a gold ring which 
her husband had made for their betrothal. It 
exhibited the most exquisite workmanship, and she 
said that although in the old country he had been a 
goldsmith, in America he had for twenty years 
shoveled coal in a furnace room of a large manu- 
facturing plant ; that whenever she saw one of 
his "restless fits," which preceded his drunken 
periods, "coming on," if she could provide him 
with a bit of metal and persuade him to stay at 
home and work at it, he was all right and the time 
passed without disaster, but that "nothing else 
would do it." This story threw a flood of light 
upon the dead man's struggle and on the stupid 
maladjustment which had broken him down. 
Why had we never been told ? Why had our in- 
terest in the remarkable musical ability of his child, 
blinded us to the hidden artistic ability of the 
father ^ We had forgotten that a long-established 
occupation may form the very foundations of the 
moral life, that the art with which a man has 
solaced his toil may be the salvation of his uncertain 
temperament. 

There are many examples of touching fidelity 
to immigrant parents on the part of their grown 
children ; a young man, who day after day, at- 
tends ceremonies which no longer express his re- 
ligious convictions and who makes his vain effort 



248 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

to interest his Russian Jewish father in social prob- 
lems ; a daughter who might earn much more 
money as a stenographer could she work from 
Monday morning till Saturday night, but who 
quietly and docilely makes neckties for low wages 
because she can thus abstain from work Saturdays 
to please her father ; these young people, like 
poor Maggie Tulliver, through many painful ex- 
periences have reached the conclusion that pity, 
memory, and faithfulness are natural ties with 
paramount claims. 

This faithfulness, however, is sometimes ruth- 
lessly imposed upon by immigrant parents who, 
eager for money and accustomed to the patriarchal 
authority of peasant households, hold their children 
in a stern bondage which requires a surrender of all 
their wages and concedes no time or money for 
pleasures. 

There are m.any convincing illustrations that this 
parental harshness often results in juvenile de- 
linquency. A Polish boy of seventeen came to 
Hull-House one day to ask a contribution of fifty 
cents "towards a flower piece for the funeral of an 
old Hull-House club boy." A few questions made 
it clear that the object was fictitious, whereupon the 
boy broke down and half defiantly stated that he 
wanted to buy two twenty-five cent tickets, one for 
his girl and one for himself, to a dance of the Benev- 
olent Social Twos ; that he hadn't a penny of his 
own although he had worked in a brass foundry 



IMMIGRANTS, THEIR CHILDREN 249 

for three years and had been advanced twice, be- 
cause he always had to give his pay envelope un- 
opened to his father; "just look at the clothes he 
buys me" was his concluding remark. 

Perhaps the girls are held even more rigidly. In a 
recent investigation of two hundred working girls 
it was found that only five per cent had the use of 
their own money and that sixty-two per cent 
turned in all they earned, literally every penny, to 
their mothers. It was through this little investi- 
gation that we first knew Marcella, a pretty young 
German girl who helped her widowed mother year 
after year to care for a large family of younger 
children. She was content for the most part al- 
though her mother's old-country notions of dress 
gave her but an infinitesimal amount of her own 
wages to spend on her clothes, and she was quite 
sophisticated as to proper dressing because she 
sold silk in a neighborhood department store. Her 
mother approved of the young man who was show- 
ing her various attentions and agreed that Marcella 
should accept his invitation to a ball, but would 
allow her not a penny towards a new gown to re- 
place one impossibly plain and shabby. Marcella 
spent a sleepless night and wept bitterly, although 
she well knew that the doctor's bill for the children's 
scarlet fever was not yet paid. The next day as she 
was cutting off three yards of shining pink silk, the 
thought came to her that it would make her a fine 
new waist to wear to the ball. She wistfully saw 



250 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

It wrapped in paper and carelessly stuffed into the 
muff of the purchaser, when suddenly the parcel 
fell upon the floor. No one was looking and quick 
as a flash the girl picked it up and pushed it into 
her blouse. The theft was discovered by the relent- 
less department store detective who, for "the sake 
of the example," insisted upon taking the case into 
court. The poor mother wept bitter tears over 
this downfall of her "frommes Madchen " and no 
one had the heart to tell her of her own blindness. 
I know a Polish boy whose earnings were all 
given to his father who gruffly refused all requests 
for pocket money. One Christmas his little sisters, 
having been told by their mother that they were 
too poor to have any Christmas presents, appealed 
to the big brother as to one who was earning money 
of his own. Flattered by the implication, but at 
the same time quite impecunious, the night before 
Christmas he nonchalantly walked through a neigh- 
boring department store and stole a manicure set 
for one little sister and a string of beads for the 
other. He was caught at the door by the house 
detective as one of those children whom each local 
department store arrests in the weeks before Christ- 
mas at the daily rate of eight to twenty. The 
youngest of these offenders are seldom taken into 
court but are either sent home with a warning or 
turned over to the officers of the Juvenile Protective 
Association. Most of these premature law breakers 
are in search of Americanized clothing and others 



IMMIGRANTS, THEIR CHILDREN 251 

are only looking for playthings. They are all dis- 
tracted by the profusion and variety of the display, 
and their moral sense is confused by the general air 
of open-handedness. 

These disastrous efforts are not unlike those of 
many younger children who are constantly arrested 
for petty thieving because they are too eager to 
take home food or fuel which will relieve the dis- 
tress and need they so constantly hear discussed. 
The coal on the wagons, the vegetables displayed 
in front of the grocery shops, the very wooden 
blocks In the loosened street paving are a challenge 
to their powers to help out at home. A Bohemian 
boy who was out on parole from the old detention 
home of the Juvenile Court itself, brought back 
five stolen chickens to the matron for Sunday 
dinner, saying that he knew the Committee were 
"having a hard time to fill up so many kids and 
perhaps these fowl would help out." The honest 
immigrant parents, totally ignorant of American 
laws and municipal regulations, often send a child 
to pick up coal on the railroad tracks or to stand at 
three o'clock in the morning before the side door 
of a restaurant which gives away broken food, 
or to collect grain for the chickens at the base of 
elevators and standing cars. The latter custom 
accounts for the large number of boys arrested for 
breaking the seals on grain freight cars. It Is easy 
for a child thus trained to accept the proposition of 
a junk dealer to bring him bars of iron stored in 



252 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

freight yards. Four boys quite recently had thus 
carried away and sold to one man, two tons of 
iron. 

Four fifths of the children brought into the Juve- 
nile Court in Chicago are the children of foreigners. 
The Germans are the greatest offenders, Polish 
next. Do their children suffer from the excess of 
virtue in those parents so eager to own a house and 
lot } One often sees a grasping parent in the 
court, utterly broken down when the Americanized 
youth who has been brought to grief clings as 
piteously to his peasant father as if he were still a 
frightened little boy in the steerage. 

Many of these children have come to grief 
through their premature fling into city life, having 
thrown off parental control as they have impa- 
tiently discarded foreign ways. Boys of ten and 
twelve will refuse to sleep at home, preferring the 
freedom of an old brewery vault or an empty ware- 
house to the obedience required by their parents, 
and for days these boys will live on the milk and 
bread which they steal from the back porches after 
the early mornmg delivery. Such children com- 
plain that there Is "no fun" at home. One little 
chap who was given a vacant lot to cultivate by 
the City Garden Association, Insisted upon raising 
only popcorn and tried to present the entire crop 
to Hull-House "to be used for the parties," with 
the stipulation that he would have "to be Invited 
every single time." Then there are little groups of 



IMMIGRANTS, THEIR CHILDREN 253 

dissipated young men who pride themselves upon 
their ability to live without working, and who de- 
spise all the honest and sober ways of their immi- 
grant parents. They are at once a menace and a 
center of demoralization. Certainly the bewil- 
dered parents, unable to speak English and ignorant 
of the city, whose children have disappeared for 
days or weeks, have often come to Hull-House, 
evincing that agony which fairly separates the 
marrow from the bone, as if they had discovered 
a new type of suffering, devoid of the healing in 
familiar sorrows. It is as if they did not know how 
to search for the children without the assistance 
of the children themselves. Perhaps the most 
pathetic aspect of such cases is their revelation of 
the premature dependence of the older and wiser 
upon the young and foolish, which is in itself often 
responsible for the situation because it has given 
the children an undue sense of their own importance 
and a false security that they can take care of them- 
selves. 

On the other hand, an Italian girl who has had 
lessons in cooking at the public school, will help her 
mother to connect the entire family with American 
food and household habits. That the mother has 
never baked bread in Italy — only mixed it in her 
own house and then taken it out to the village oven 
— makes all the more valuable her daughter's 
understanding of the complicated cooking stove. 
The same thing is true of the girl who learns to sew 



254 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

in the public school, and more than anything else, 
perhaps, of the girl who receives the first simple 
instruction in the care of little children, — that skill- 
ful care which every tenement-house baby requires 
if he is to be pulled through his second summer. As 
a result of this teaching I recall a young girl who 
carefully explained to her Italian mother that the 
reason the babies in Italy were so healthy and the 
babies in Chicago were so sickly, was not, as her 
mother had firmly insisted, because her babies in 
Italy had goat's milk and her babies in America 
had cow's milk, but because the milk in Italy was 
clean and the milk in Chicago was dirty. She said 
that when you milked your own goat before the 
door, you knew that the milk was clean, but when 
you bought milk from the grocery store after it had 
been carried for many miles in the country, you 
couldn't tell whether or not it was fit for the baby 
to drink until the men from the City Hall who 
had watched it all the way, said that it was all 
right. 

Thus through civic instruction in the public 
schools, the Italian woman slowly became urban- 
ized in the sense in which the word was used by her 
own Latin ancestors, and thus the habits of her entire 
family were modified. The public schools in the im- 
migrant colonies deserve all the praise as Ameri- 
canizing agencies which can be bestowed upon 
them, and there is little doubt that the fast- 
changing curriculum in the direction of the vaca- 



IMMIGRANTS, THEIR CHILDREN 255 

tion-school experiments, will react still more directly 
upon such households. 

It is difficult to write of the relation of the older 
and most foreign-looking immigrants to the chil- 
dren of other people, — the Italians whose fruit- 
carts are upset simply because they are "dagoes," 
or the Russian peddlers who are stoned and some- 
times badly injured because it has become a code 
of honor in a gang of boys to thus express their 
derision. The members of a Protective Associa- 
tion of Jewish Peddlers organized at Hull-House, 
related daily experiences in which old age had been 
treated with such irreverence, cherished dignity 
with such disrespect, that a listener caught the pas- 
sion of Lear in the old texts, as a platitude enun- 
ciated by a man who discovers in it his own expe- 
rience, thrills us as no unfamiliar phrases can pos- 
sibly do. The Greeks are filled with amazed rage 
when their very name is flung at them as an oppro- 
brious epithet. Doubtless these difficulties would 
be much minimized in America, if we faced our own 
race problem with courage and intelligence, and 
these very Mediterranean immigrants might give 
us valuable help. Certainly they are less conscious 
than the Anglo-Saxon of color distinctions, perhaps 
because of their traditional familiarity with Car- 
thage and Egypt. They listened with respect and 
enthusiasm to a scholarly address delivered by 
Professor Du Bois at Hull-House on a Lincoln's 
birthday, with apparently no consciousness of that 



256 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

race difference which color seems to accentuate so 
absurdly, and upon my return from various confer- 
ences held in the interest of ''the advancement of 
colored people," I have had many illuminating 
conversations with my cosmopolitan neighbors. 

The celebration of national events has always 
been a source of new understanding and com- 
panionship with the members of the contiguous 
foreign colonies not only between them and their 
American neighbors but between them and their 
own children. One of our earliest Italian events 
was a rousing commemoration of Garibaldi's birth- 
day, and his imposing bust presented to Hull- 
House that evening, was long the chief ornament 
of our front hall. It called forth great enthusiasm 
from the connazionali whom Ruskin calls, not 
the "common people" of Italy, but the "com- 
panion people" because of their power for swift 
sympathy. 

A huge Hellenic meeting held at Hull-House, In 
which the achievements of the classic period were 
set forth both in Greek and English by scholars of 
well-known repute, brought us into a new sense of 
fellowship with all our Greek neighbors. As the 
mayor of Chicago was seated upon the right hand 
of the dignified senior priest of the Greek Church 
and they were greeted alternately In the national 
hymns of America and Greece, one felt a curious 
sense of the possibility of transplanting to new and 
crude Chicago, some of the traditions of Athens 



IMMIGRANTS, THEIR CHILDREN 257 

itself, so deeply cherished in the hearts of this 
group of citizens. 

The Greeks indeed gravely consider their tradi- 
tions as their most precious possession and more 
than once in meetings of protest held by the Greek 
colony against the aggressions of the Bulgarians 
in Macedonia, I have heard it urged that the Bul- 
garians are trying to establish a protectorate, not 
only for their immediate advantage, but that they 
may claim a glorious history for their "barbarous 
country." It is said that on the basis of this pro- 
tectorate, they are already teaching in their schools 
that Alexander the Great was a Bulgarian and that 
it will be but a short time before they claim Aris- 
totle himself, an indignity the Greeks will never 
suffer ! 

To me personally the celebration of the hun- 
dredth anniversary of Mazzini's birth was a matter 
of great interest. Throughout the world that day 
Italians who believed in a United Italy came to- 
gether. They recalled the hopes of this man who, 
with all his devotion to his country, was still more 
devoted to humanity and who dedicated to the 
workingmen of Italy, an appeal so philosophical, so 
filled with a yearning for righteousness, that it 
transcended all national boundaries and became 
a bugle call for ''The Duties of Man." A copy 
of this document was given to every school child 
in the public schools of Italy on this one hundredth 
anniversary, and as the Chicago branch of the 



258 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Society of Young Italy marched into our largest 
hall and presented to Hull-House an heroic bust 
of Mazzini, I found myself devoutly hoping that 
the Italian youth, who have committed their future 
to America, might indeed become "the Apostles of 
the fraternity of nations" and that our American 
citizenship might be built without disturbing these 
foundations which were laid of old time. 








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CHAPTER XII 

TOLSTOYISM 

The administration of charity in Chicago during 
the winter following the World's Fair had been of 
necessity most difficult for, although large sums 
had been given to the temporary relief organization 
which endeavored to care for the thousands of 
destitute strangers stranded in the city, we all 
worked under a sense of desperate need and a par- 
alyzing consciousness that our best efforts were most 
inadequate to the situation. 

During the many relief visits I paid that w^inter 
in tenement houses and miserable lodgings, I was 
constantly shadowed by a certain sense of shame 
that I should be comfortable in the midst of such 
distress. This resulted at times in a curious re- 
action against all the educational and philanthropic 
activities in which I had been engaged. In the face 
of the desperate hunger and need, these could not 
but seem futile and superficial. The hard winter 
in Chicago had turned the thoughts of many of us 
to these stern matters. A young friend of mine 
who came daily to Hull-House, consulted me in 
regard to going into the paper warehouse belonging 
to her father that she might there sort rags with the 

259 



26o TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Polish girls ; another young girl took a place in a 
sweatshop for a month, doing her work so simply 
and thoroughly that the proprietor had no notion 
that she had not been driven there by need ; still 
two others worked in a shoe factory ; — and all 
this happened before such adventures were un- 
dertaken in order to procure literary material. 
It was in the following winter that the pioneer 
effort in this direction, Walter Wyckoff's account 
of his vain attempt to find work in Chicago, com- 
pelled even the sternest business man to drop his 
assertion that " any man can find work if he wants 
it." 

The dealing directly with the simplest human 
wants may have been responsible for an impression 
which I carried about with me almost constantly 
for a period of two years and which culminated 
finally in a visit to Tolstoy, — that the Settlement, 
or Hull-House at least, was a mere pretense and 
travesty of the simple impulse "to live with the 
poor," so long as the residents did not share the 
common lot of hard labor and scant fare. 

Actual experience had left me in much the same 
state of mind I had been in after reading Tolstoy's 
*'What to Do," which is a description of his futile 
efforts to relieve the unspeakable distress and want 
in the Moscow winter of 1881, and his inevitable 
conviction that only he who literally shares his 
own shelter and food with the needy, can claim to 
have served them. 



TOLSTOYISM 261 

Doubtless it is much easier to see "what to do" 
in rural Russia, where all the conditions tend to 
make the contrast as broad as possible between 
peasant labor and noble idleness, than it is to see 
" what to do " in the interdependencies of the 
modern industrial city. But for that very rea- 
son perhaps, Tolstoy's clear statement is valu- 
able for that type of conscientious person in every 
land who finds it hard, not only to walk in the 
path of righteousness, but to discover where the 
path lies. 

I had read the books of Tolstoy steadily all the 
years since "My Religion" had come into my 
hands immediately after I left college. The read- 
ing of that book had made clear that men's poor 
little efforts to do right are put forth for the most 
part in the chill of self-distrust ; I became convinced 
that if the new social order ever came, it would 
come by gathering to itself all the pathetic human 
endeavor which had indicated the forward direc- 
tion. But I was most eager to know whether 
Tolstoy's undertaking to do his daily share of the 
physical labor of the world, that labor which is 
"so disproportionate to the unnourished strength" 
of those by whom it is ordinarily performed, had 
brought him peace ! 

I had time to review carefully many things in 
my mind during the long days of convalescence fol- 
lowing an illness of typhoid fever which I suffered in 
the autumn of 1895. The illness was so prolonged 



262 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

that my health was most unsatisfactory during the 
following winter, and the next May I went abroad 
with my friend, Miss Smith, to effect if possible a 
more complete recovery. 

The prospect of seeing Tolstoy filled me with the 
hope of finding a clew to the tangled affairs of city 
poverty. I was but 'one of thousands of our con- 
temporaries who were turning towards this Russian, 
not as to a seer — his message is much too con- 
fused and contradictory for that — but as to a man 
who has had the ability to lift his life to the level 
of his conscience, to translate his theories into 
action. 

Our first few weeks in England were most stimu- 
lating. A dozen years ago London still showed 
traces of "that exciting moment in the life of the 
nation when its youth is casting about for new en- 
thusiasm's," but it evinced still more of that British 
capacity to perform the hard work of careful re- 
search and self-examination which must precede 
any successful experiments in social reform. Of 
the varied groups and individuals whose sugges- 
tions remained with me for years, I recall perhaps 
as foremost those members of the new London 
County Council whose far-reaching plans for the 
betterment of London could not but enkindle 
enthusiasm. It was a most striking expression 
of that effort which would place beside the re- 
finement and pleasure of the rich, a new refine- 
jnent and a new pleasure born of the commonwealth 



TOLSTOYISM 263 

and the common joy of all the citizens, that at this 
moment they prized the municipal pleasure boats 
upon the Thames no less than the extensive schemes 
for the municipal housing of the poorest people. 
Ben Tillet, who was then an alderman, "the docker 
sitting beside the duke," took me in a rowboat 
down the Thames on a journey made exciting 
by the hundreds of dockers who cheered him as we 
passed one wharf after another on our way to his 
home at Greenwich ; John Burns showed us his 
wonderful civic accomplishments at Battersea, the 
plant turning street sweepings into cement pave- 
ments, the technical school teaching boys brick 
laying and plumbing, and the public bath in which 
the -children of the Board School were receiving a 
swimming lesson, — these measures anticipating 
our achievements in Chicago by at least a decade 
and a half. The new Education Bill which was 
destined to drag on for twelve years before it 
developed into the children's charter, was then 
a storm center in the House of Commons. Miss 
Smith and I were much pleased to be taken 
to tea on the Parliament terrace by its author, 
Sir John Gorst, although we were quite bewil- 
dered by the arguments we heard there for church 
schools versus secular. 

We heard Keir Hardie before a large audience 
of workingmen standing in the open square of 
Canning Town, outline the great things to be ac- 
complished by the then new Labor Party, and we 



264 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

joined the vast body of men in the booming hymn 

When wilt Thou save the people, 
O God of Mercy, when 1 

finding it hard to realize that we were attending a 
political meeting. It seemed that moment as if the 
hopes of democracy were more likely to come to 
pass on English soil than upon our own. Robert 
Blatchford's stirring pamphlets were in every one's 
hands, and a reception given by Karl Marx's daugh- 
ter, Mrs. Aveling, to Liebknecht before he returned 
to Germany to serve a prison term for his lese 
majeste speech in the Reichstag, gave us a glimpse 
of the old-fashioned orthodox Socialist who had not 
yet begun to yield to the biting ridicule of Bernard 
Shaw although he flamed in their midst that even- 
ing. 

Octavia Hill kindly demonstrated to us the prin- 
ciples upon which her well-founded business of rent 
collecting was established, and with pardonable 
pride showed us the Red Cross Square with its cot- 
tages marvelously picturesque and comfortable, on 
two sides, and on the third a public hall and com- 
mon drawing-room for the use of all the tenants ; 
the interior of the latter had been decorated by 
pupils of Walter Crane with mural frescoes por- 
traying the heroism in the life of the modern work- 
ingman. 

While all this was warmly human, we also had 
opportunities to see something of a group of men 



TOLSTOYISM 265 

and women who were approaching the social prob- 
lem from the study of economics ; among others 
Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb who were at work on 
their Industrial Democracy ; Mr. John Hobson 
who was lecturing on the evolution of modern 
capitalism. 

We followed factory inspectors on a round of 
duties performed with a thoroughness and a trained 
intelligence which were a revelation of the possi- 
bilities of public service. When it came to visiting 
Settlements, we were at least reassured that they 
were not falling into identical lines of effort. 
Canon Ingram, who has since become Bishop of 
London, was then warden of Oxford House and in 
the midst of an experiment which pleased me 
greatly, the more because it was carried on by a 
churchman. Oxford House had hired all the con- 
cert halls — vaudeville shows we later called them 
in Chicago — which were found in Bethnal Green, 
for every Saturday night. The residents had cen- 
sored the programs, which they were careful to keep 
popular, and any workingman who attended a 
show in Bethnal Green on a Saturday night, and 
thousands of them did, heard a program the better 
for this effort. 

One evening in University Hall Mrs. Humphry 
Ward who had just returned from Italy, described 
the effect of the Italian salt tax in a talk which was 
evidently one in a series of lectures upon the eco- 
nomic wrongs which pressed heaviest upon the poor ; 



266 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

at Browning House, at the moment, they were 
giving prizes to those of their costermonger neigh- 
bors who could present the best cared-for donkeys, 
and the warden, Herbert Stead, exhibited almost the 
enthusiasm of his well-known brother, for that crop 
of kindliness which can be garnered most easily from 
the acreage where human beings grow the thickest ; 
at the Bermondsey Settlement they were rejoicing 
that their University Extension students had suc- 
cessfully passed the examinations for the University 
of London. The entire impression received in Eng- 
land of research, of scholarship, of organized public 
spirit, was in marked contrast to the impressions of 
my next visit in 1900, when the South African War 
had absorbed the enthusiasm of the nation and 
the wrongs at '' the heart of the empire " were dis- 
regarded and neglected. 

London, of course, presented sharp differences 
to Russia where social conditions were written in 
black and white with little shading, like a demon- 
stration of the Chinese proverb, " Where one man 
lives in luxury, another is dying of hunger." 

The fair of NijnI-Novgorod seemed to take us to 
the very edge of a civilization so remote and eastern, 
that the merchants brought their curious goods 
upon the backs of camels or on strange craft riding 
at anchor on the broad Volga. But even here our 
letter of introduction to Korolenko, the novelist, 
brought us to a realization of that strange mingling 
of a remote past and a self-conscious present which 



TOLSTOYISM 267 

Russia presents on every hand. This same con- 
trast was also shown by the pilgrims trudging on 
pious errands to monasteries, to tombs and to the 
Hply Land itself, with their bleeding feet bound in 
rags and thrust into bast sandals, and, on the other 
hand, by the revolutionists even then advocating a 
Republic which should obtain not only in political 
but also in industrial affairs. 

We had letters of introduction to Mr. and Mrs. 
Aylmer Maude of Moscow, since well known as the 
translators of "Resurrection" and other of Tol- 
stoy's later works, who at that moment were on the 
eve of leaving Russia in order to form an agricul- 
tural colony in South England where they might 
support themselves by the labor of their hands. 
We gladly accepted Mr. Maude's offer to take us 
to Yasnaya Polyana and to introduce us to Count 
Tolstoy, and never did a disciple journey towards 
his master with more enthusiasm than did our guide. 
When, however, Mr. Maude actually presented Miss 
Smith and myself to Count Tolstoy, knowing well 
his master's attitude toward philanthropy, he en- 
deavored to make Hull-House appear much more 
noble and unique than I should have ventured 
to do. 

Tolstoy standing by clad in his peasant garb, 
listened gravely but, glancing distrustfully at the 
sleeves of my traveling gown which unfortunately 
at that season were monstrous in size, he took hold 
of an edge and pulling out one sleeve to an intermin- 



268 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

able breadth, said quite simply that "there was 
enough stuff on one arm to make a frock for a little 
girl," and asked me directly if I did not find "such 
a dress" a "barrier to the people." I was too dis- 
concerted to make a very clear explanation, although 
I tried to say that monstrous as my sleeves were 
they did not compare in size with those of the work- 
ing girls in Chicago and that nothing would more 
effectively separate me from "the people" than a 
cotton blouse following the simple lines of the 
human form ; even if I had wished to imitate him 
and "dress as a peasant," it would have been hard 
to choose which peasant among the thirty-six na- 
tionalities we had recently counted in our ward. 
Fortunately the countess came to my rescue with 
a recital of her former attempts to clothe hypotheti- 
cal little girls in yards of material cut from a train 
and other superfluous parts of her best gown until 
she had been driven to a firm stand which she ad- 
vised me to take at once. But neither Countess 
Tolstoy nor any other friend was on hand to help 
me out of my predicament later, when I was asked 
who "fed" me, and how did I obtain "shelter" ? 
Upon my reply that a farm a hundred miles from 
Chicago supplied me with the necessities of life, I 
fairly anticipated the next scathing question : "So 
you are an absentee landlord J Do you think you 
will help the people more by adding yourself to the 
crowded city than you would by tilling your own 
soil ?" This new sense of discomfort over a failure 



TOLSTOYISM 269 

to till my own soil was increased when Tolstoy's 
second daughter appeared at the five-o'clock tea 
table set under the trees, coming straight from the 
harvest field where she had been working with a 
group of peasants since five o'clock in the morning, 
not pretending to work but really taking the place 
of a peasant woman w^ho had hurt her foot. She 
was plainly much exhausted but neither expected 
nor received sympathy from the members of a 
family who were quite accustomed to see each other 
carry out their convictions in spite of discomfort 
and fatigue. The martyrdom of discomfort, how- 
ever, was obviously much easier to bear than that 
to which, even to the eyes of the casual visitor, 
Count Tolstoy daily subjected himself, for his study 
in the basement of the conventional dwelling, with 
its short shelf of battered books and its scythe 
and spade leaning against the wall, had many times 
lent itself to that ridicule which is the most difficult 
form of martyrdom. 

That summer evening as we sat in the garden 
with a group of visitors from Germany, from Eng- 
land and America, who had traveled to the remote 
Russian village that they might learn of this man, 
one could not forbear the constant inquiry to one's 
self, as to why he was so regarded as sage and saint 
that this party of people should be repeated each 
day of the year. It seemed to me then that we 
were all attracted by this sermon of the deed, 
because Tolstoy had made the one supreme per- 



270 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

sonal effort, one might almost say the one frantic 
personal effort, to put himself into right relations 
with the humblest people, with the men who 
tilled his soil, blacked his boots and cleaned his 
stables. Doubtless the heaviest burden of our 
contemporaries is a consciousness of a divergence 
between our democratic theory on the one hand, 
that working people have a right to the intellectual 
resources of society, and the actual fact on the 
other hand, that thousands of them are so over- 
burdened with toil that there is no leisure nor en- 
ergy left for the cultivation of the mind. We 
constantly suffer from the strain and indecision of 
believing this theory and acting as if we did not 
believe it, and this man who years before had 
tried "to get off the backs of the peasants," who 
had at least simplified his life and worked with his 
hands, had come to be a prototype to many of his 
generation. 

Doubtless all of the visitors sitting in the Tolstoy 
garden that evening had excused themselves from 
laboring with their hands upon the theory that 
they were doing something more valuable for 
society in other ways. No one among our con- 
temporaries has dissented from this point of view 
so violently as Tolstoy himself, and yet no man 
might so easily have excused himself from hard 
and rough work on the basis of his genius and of his 
intellectual contributions to the world. So far, 
however, from considering his time too valuable 



TOLSTOYISM 



271 



to be spent In labor in the field or in making shoes, 
our great host was too eager to know life to be 
willing to give up this companionship of mutual 
labor. One instinctively found reasons why it 
was easier for a Russian than for the rest of us, to 
reach this conclusion ; the Russian peasants have 
a proverb which says: ''Labor is the house that 
love lives in," by which they mean that no two 



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I 



people nor group of people, can come into affec- 
tionate relations with each other unless they carry 
on together a mutual task, and when the Russian 
peasant talks of labor he means labor on the soil, or, 
to use the phrase of the great peasant, Bondereff, 
"bread labor." Those monastic orders founded 
upon agricultural labor, those philosophical experi- 
ments like Brook Farm and many another, have 
attempted to reduce to action this same truth. Tol- 
stoy himself has written many times his own con- 



272 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

victions and attempts in this direction, perhaps 
never more tellingly than in the description of 
Lavin's morning spent in the harvest field, when 
he lost his sense of grievance and isolation and felt 
a strange new brotherhood for the peasants, in 
proportion as the rhythmic motion of his scythe 
became one with theirs. 

At the long dinner table laid in the garden were 
the various traveling guests, the grown-up daugh- 
ters, and the younger children with their governess. 
The countess presided over the usual European 
dinner served by men, but the count and the 
daughter who had worked all day in the fields, 
ate only porridge and black bread and drank only 
kvas, the fare of the hay-making peasants. Of 
course we are all accustomed to the fact that those 
who perform the heaviest labor, eat the coarsest and 
simplest fare at the end of the day, but it is not 
often that we sit at the same table with them while 
we ourselves eat the more elaborate food prepared 
by some one else's labor. Tolstoy ate his simple 
supper without remark or comment upon the food 
his family and guests preferred to eat, assuming 
that they, as well as he, had settled the matter with 
their own consciences. 

The Tolstoy household that evening was much 
interested in the fate of a young Russian spy who 
had recently come to Tolstoy in the guise of a 
country schoolmaster, in order to obtain a copy of 
"Life," which had been interdicted by the censor 



TOLSTOYISM 273 

of the press. After spending the night in talk 
with Tolstoy, the spy had gone away with a copy 
of the forbidden manuscript but, unfortunately for 
himself, having become converted to Tolstoy's 
views he had later made a full confession to the 
authorities and had been exiled to Siberia. Tol- 
stoy holding that it was most unjust to exile the 
disciple while he, the author of the book, remained 
at large, had pointed out this inconsistency in an 
open letter to one of the Moscow newspapers. The 
discussion of this incident, of course, opened up the 
entire subject of non-resistance, and curiously 
enough I was disappointed in Tolstoy's position in 
the matter. It seemed to me that he made too 
great a distinction between the use of physical 
force and that moral energy which can override 
another's differences and scruples with equal ruth- 
lessness. 

With that inner sense of mortification with which 
one finds one's self at difference with the great 
authority, I recalled the conviction of the early 
Hull-House residents ; that whatever of good the 
Settlement had to oflPer should be put into positive 
terms, that we might live with opposition to no 
man, with recognition of the good in every man, 
even the most wretched. We had often departed 
from this principle, but had it not in every case 
been a confession of weakness, and had we not 
always found antagonism a foolish and unwarrant- 
able expenditure of energy ? 



274 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

The conversation at dinner and afterwards, 
although conducted with animation and sincerity, 
for the moment stirred vague misgivings within 
me. Was Tolstoy more logical than life warrants ? 
Could the wrongs of life be reduced to the terms of 
unrequited labor and all be made right if each per- 
son performed the amount necessary to satisfy 
his own wants ? W^as it not always easy to put up 
a strong case if one took the naturalistic view of 
life ? But what about the historic view, the inevi- 
table shadings and modifications which life itself 
brings to its own interpretation ? Aliss Smith and 
I took a night train back to Moscow in that tumult 
of feeling which is always produced by contact with 
a conscience making one more of those determined 
efforts to probe to the very foundations of the 
mysterious world in which we find ourselves. A 
horde of perplexing questions, concerning those 
problems of existence of which in happier mo- 
ments we catch but fleeting glimpses and at 
which we even then stand aghast, pursued us 
relentlessly on the long journey through the great 
wheat plains of South Russia, through the crowded 
Ghetto of Warsaw, and finally into the smiling 
fields of Germany where the peasant men and 
women were harvesting the grain. I remember 
that through the sight of those toiling peasants, I 
made a curious connection between the bread 
labor advocated by Tolstoy and the comfort the 
harvest fields are said to have once brought to 



TOLSTOYISM 



275 



Luther when, much perturbed by many theologi- 
cal difficulties, he suddenly forgot them all in a 
gush of gratitude for mere bread, exclaiming, 
''How it stands, that golden yellow corn, on its 
fine tapered stem ; the meek earth, at God's kind 
bidding, has produced it 
once again ! " At least 
the toiling poor had this 
comfort of bread labor, 
and perhaps it did not 
matter that they gained 
it unknowingly and pain- 
fully, if only they walked 
in the path of labor. In 
the exercise of that curi- 
ous power possessed by 
the theorists to inhibit all 
experiences which do not 
enhance his doctrine, I 
did not permit myself to recall that which I knew 
so well, — that exigent and unremitting labor grants 
the poor no leisure even in the supreme moments 
of human suffering and that ''all griefs are lighter 
with bread." 

I may have wished to secure this solace for my- 
self at the cost of the least possible expenditure of 
time and energy, for during the next month in 
Germany, when I read everything of Tolstoy's 
that had been translated into English, German, or 
French, there grew up in my mind a conviction 




276 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

that what I ought to do upon my return to Hull- 
House, was to spend at least two hours every morn- 
ing in the little bakery which we had recently 
added to the equipment of our coffee-house. Two 
hours' work would be but a wretched compromise, 
but it was hard to see how I could take more time 
out of each day. I had been taught to bake bread 
in my childhood not only as a household accom- 
plishment, but because my father, true to his miller's 
tradition, had insisted that each one of his daughters 
on her twelfth birthday must present him with a 
satisfactory wheat loaf of her own baking, and he 
was most exigent as to the quality of this test loaf. 
What could be more in keeping with my training 
and tradition than baking bread ^ I did not quite 
see how my activity would fit in with that of the 
German union baker who presided over the Hull- 
House bakery but all such matters were secondary 
and certainly could be arranged. It may be that 
I had thus to pacify my aroused conscience before 
I could settle down to hear Wagner's "Ring" at 
Beyreuth ; it may be that I had fallen a victim to 
the phrase, "bread labor" ; but at any rate I held 
fast to the belief that I should do this, through the 
entire journey homeward, on land and sea, until I 
actually arrived in Chicago when suddenly the 
whole scheme seemed to me as utterly preposter- 
ous as it doubtless was. The half dozen people 
invariably waiting to see me after breakfast, the 
piles of letters to be opened and answered, the 



TOLSTOYISM 277 

demand of actual and pressing human wants, — 
were these all to be pushed aside and asked to 
wait while I saved my soul by two hours' work at 
baking bread ? 

Although my resolution was abandoned, this 
may be the best place to record the efforts of more 
doughty souls to carry out Tolstoy's conclusions. 
It was perhaps Inevitable that Tolstoy colonies 
should be founded, although Tolstoy himself has 
always Insisted that each man should live his life 
as nearly as possible In the place in which he was 
born. The visit Miss Smith and I made a year or 
two later to a colony in one of the southern States, 
portrayed for us most vividly both the weakness 
and the strange august dignity of the Tolstoy 
position. The colonists at Commonwealth held 
but a short creed. They claimed in fact that the 
difficulty is not to state truth but to make moral 
conviction operative upon actual life, and they 
announced It their Intention "to obey the teach- 
ings of Jesus In all matters of labor and the use of 
property." They would thus transfer the vindi- 
cation of creed from the church to the open field, 
from dogma to experience. 

The day Miss Smith and I visited the Com- 
monwealth colony of threescore souls, they were 
erecting a house for the family of a one-legged 
man, consisting of a wife and nine children who 
had come the week before In a forlorn prairie 
schooner from Arkansas. As this was the largest 



278 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

family the little colony contained, the new house 
was to be the largest yet erected. Upon our sur- 
prise at this literal giving ''to him that asketh," 
we inquired if the policy of extending food and 
shelter to all who applied, without test of creed or 
ability, might not result in the migration of all 
the neighboring poorhouse population into the 
colony. We were told that this actually had 
happened during the winter until the colony fare 
of corn meal and cow peas had proved so unattrac- 
tive that the. paupers had gone back, for even the 
poorest of the southern poorhouses occasionally 
supplied bacon with the pone if only to prevent 
scurvy from which the colonists themselves had 
suffered. The difficulty of the poorhouse people 
had thus settled itself by the sheer poverty of the 
situation, a poverty so biting that the only ones 
willing to face it were those sustained by a convic- 
tion of its righteousness. The fields and gardens 
were being worked by an editor, a professor, a 
clergyman, as well as by artisans and laborers, the 
fruit thereof to be eaten by themselves and their 
families or by any other families who might arrive 
from Arkansas. The colonists were very conven- 
tional in matters of family relationship and had 
broken with society only in regard to the conven- 
tions pertaining to labor and property. We had a 
curious experience at the end of the day when we 
were driven into the nearest town. We had taken 
with us as a guest the wife of the president of the 



TOLSTOYISM 279 

colony, wishing to give her a dinner at the hotel, be- 
cause she had girlishly exclaimed during a conver- 
sation that at times during the winter she had be- 
come so eager to hear good music that it had seemed 
to her as if she were actually hungry for it, almost 
as hungry as she was for a beefsteak. Yet as we 
drove away we had the curious sensation that while 
the experiment was obviously coming to an end, in 
the midst of its privations it yet embodied the peace 
of mind which comes to him who insists upon the 
logic of life whether it is reasonable or not — the fa- 
natic's joy in seeing his own formula translated into 
action. At any rate, as we reached the common- 
place southern town of workaday men and women, 
for one moment its substantial buildings, its solid 
brick churches, its ordered streets, divided into 
those of the rich and those of the poor, seemed much 
more unreal to us than the little struggling colony 
we had left behind. We repeated to each other that 
in all the practical judgments and decisions of life, 
we must part company with logical demonstra- 
tion ; that if we stop for it in each case, we can never 
go on at all ; and yet, in spite of this, when con- 
science does become the dictator of the daily life 
of a group of men, it forces our admiration as no 
other modern spectacle has power to do. It 
seemed but a mere incident that this group should 
have lost sight of the facts of life in their earnest 
endeavor to put to the test the things of the spirit. 
I knew little about the colony started by Mr. 



28o TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Maude at Purleigh containing several of Tolstoy's 
followers who were not permitted to live in Russia, 
and we did not see Mr. Maude again until he came 
to Chicago on his way from Manitoba, whither 
he had transported the second group of Dukhobors, 
a religious sect who had interested all of Tolstoy's 
followers because of their literal acceptance of 
non-resistance and other Christian doctrines which 
are so strenuously advocated by Tolstoy. It was 
for their benefit that Tolstoy had finished and 
published "Resurrection," breaking through his 
long-kept resolution against novel writing. After 
the Dukhobors were settled in Canada, of the 
five hundred dollars left from the "Resurrection" 
funds, one half was given to Hull-House. It 
seemed possible to spend this fund only for the 
relief of the most primitive wants of food and 
shelter on the part of the most needy families. 




Polk Street, opposite Hull-House. 



CHAPTER XIII 
Public Activities and Investigations 

One of the striking features of our neighborhood 
twenty years ago, and one to which we never be- 
came reconciled, was the presence of huge wooden 
garbage boxes fastened to the street pavement in 
which the undisturbed refuse accumulated day by 
day. The system of garbage collecting was in- 
adequate throughout the city but it became the 
greatest menace in a ward such as ours, where the 
normal amount of waste was much increased by 
the decayed fruit and vegetables discarded by the 
Italian and Greek fruit peddlers, and by the re- 
siduum left over from the piles of filthy rags which 
were fished out of the city dumps and brought to 
the homes of the rag pickers for further sorting 
and washing. 

The children of our neighborhood twenty years 
ago played their games in and around these huge 
garbage boxes. They were the first objects that 
the toddling child learned to climb ; their bulk 
afforded a barricade and their contents provided 
missiles in all the battles of the older boys ; and 
finally they became the seats upon which absorbed 
lovers heldenchanted converse. We are obliged 

281 



282 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE . 

to remember that all children eat everything 
which they find and that odors have a curious 



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and intimate power of entwining themselves into 
our tenderest memories, before even the residents 



ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 283 

of Hull-House can understand their own early 
enthusiasm for the removal of these boxes and the 
establishment of a better system of refuse collec- 
tion. 

It is easy for even the most conscientious citizen 
of Chicago to forget the foul smells of the stock- 
yards and the garbage dumps, when he is living so 
far from them that he is only occasionally made 
conscious of their existence but the residents of 
a Settlement are perforce constantly surrounded 
by them. During our first three years on Halsted 
Street, we had established a small incinerator at 
Hull-House and we had many times reported the 
untoward conditions of the ward to the city 
hall. We had also arranged many talks for the 
immigrants, pointing out that although a woman 
may sweep her own doorway in her native village 
and allow the refuse to innocently decay in the 
open air and sunshine, in a crowded city quarter, 
if the garbage is not properly collected and de- 
stroyed, a tenement-house mother may see her 
children sicken and die, and that the immigrants 
must therefore, not only keep their own houses 
clean, but must also help the authorities to keep 
the city clean. 

Possibly our efforts slightly modified the worst 
conditions but they still remained intolerable, and 
the fourth summer the situation became for me 
absolutely desperate when I realized in a moment 
of panic that my delicate little nephew for whom 



284 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

I was guardian, could not be with me at Hull- 
House at all unless the sickening odors were re- 
duced. I may well be ashamed that other deli- 
cate children who were torn from their families, 
not into boarding school but into eternity, had not 
long before driven me to effective action. Under 
the direction of the first man who came as a resi- 
dent to Hull-House we began a systematic investi- 
gation of the city system of garbage collection, 
both as to its efficiency in other wards and its pos- 
sible connection with the death rate in the various 
wards of the city. 

The Hull-House Woman's Club had been or- 
ganized the year before by the resident kinder- 
gartner who had first inaugurated a mothers' 
meeting. The members came together, however, 
in quite a new way that summer when we dis- 
cussed with them the high death rate so persistent 
in our ward. After several club meetings devoted 
to the subject, despite the fact that the death rate 
rose highest in the congested foreign colonies and 
not in the streets in which most of the Irish Ameri- 
can club women lived, twelve of their number 
undertook in connection with the residents, to 
carefully investigate the condition of the alleys. 
During August and September the substantiated 
reports of violations of the law sent in from Hull- 
House to the health department were one thou- 
sand and thirty-seven. For the club woman who 
had finished a long day's work of washing or ironing 



ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 285 

followed by the cooking of a hot supper, it would 
have been much easier to sit on her doorstep 
during a summer evening than to go up and 
down ill-kept alleys and get into trouble with her 
neighbors over the condition of their garbage 
boxes. It required both civic enterprise and 
moral conviction to be willing to do this three 
evenings a week during the hottest and most un- 
comfortable months of the year. Nevertheless, a 
certain number of women persisted, as did the 
residents and three city inspectors in succession 
were transferred from the ward because of un- 
satisfactory services. Still the death rate re- 
mained high and the condition seemed little im- 
proved throughout the next winter. In sheer 
desperation, the following spring when the city 
contracts were aw^arded for the removal of gar- 
bage, with the backing of two well-known business 
men, I put in a bid for the garbage removal of the 
nineteenth ward. My paper was thrown out on a 
technicality but the incident induced the mayor 
to appoint me the garbage inspector of the ward. 

The salary was a thousand dollars a year, and 
the loss of that political ''plum" made a great 
stir among the politicians. The position was no 
sinecure whether regarded from the point of view 
of getting up at six in the morning to see that 
the men were early at work ; or of following the 
loaded wagons, uneasily dropping their contents 
at intervals, to their dreary destination at the 



286 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

dump ; or of insisting that the contractor must in- 
crease the number of his wagons from nine to 
thirteen and from thirteen to seventeen, although 
he assured me that he lost money on every one 
and that the former inspector had let him off with 
seven ; or of taking careless landlords into court 
because they would not provide the proper garbage 
receptacles ; or of arresting the tenant who tried to 
make the garbage wagons carry away the contents 
of his stable. 

With the two or three residents who nobly 
stood by, we set up six of those doleful incinerators 
which are supposed to burn garbage with the fuel 
collected in the alley itself. The one factory in 
town which could utilize old tin cans was a window 
weight factory, and we deluged that with ten times 
as many tin cans as it could use — much less would 
pay for. We made desperate attempts to have 
the dead animals removed by the contractor who 
was paid most liberally by the city for that pur- 
pose but who, we slowly discovered, always made 
the police ambulances do the work, delivering the 
carcasses upon freight cars for shipment to a soap 
factory in Indiana where they were sold for a 
good price although the contractor himself was 
the largest stockholder in the concern. Perhaps 
our greatest achievement was the discovery of a 
pavement eighteen inches under the surface in a 
narrow street, although after it was found we tri- 
umphantly discovered a record of its existence in 



ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 287 

the city archives. The Italians living on the street 
were much interested but displayed little astonish- 
ment, perhaps because they were accustomed to 
see buried cities exhumed. This pavement became 
the casus belli between myself and the street com- 
missioner when I insisted that its restoration be- 
longed to him, after I had removed the first eight 
inches of garbage. The matter was finally settled 
by the mayor himself, who permitted me to drive 
him to the entrance of the street in what the chil- 
dren called my ''garbage phaeton" and who took 
my side of the controversy. 

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, 
who had done some excellent volunteer inspection 
in both Chicago and Pittsburg, became my deputy 
and performed the work in a most thoroughgoing 
manner for three years. During the last two she 
was under the regime of civil service for in 1895, 
to the great joy of many citizens, the Illinois leg- 
islature made that possible. 

Many of the foreign-born women of the ward 
were much shocked by this abrupt departure into 
the ways of men, and it took a great deal of ex- 
planation to convey the idea even remotely that 
if it were a womanly task to go about in tenement 
houses in order to nurse the sick, it might be 
quite as womanly to go through the same district 
in order to prevent the breeding of so-called ''iilth 
diseases." While some of the women enthu- 
siastically approved the slowly changing condi- 



288 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

tions and saw that their housewifely duties logically 
extended to the adjacent alleys and streets, they 
yet were quite certain that "it was not a lady's 
job." A revelation of this attitude was made one 
day in a conversation which the inspector heard 
vigorously carried on in a laundry. One of the 
employees was leaving and was expressing her 
mind concerning the place in no measured terms, 
summing up her contempt for it as follows: ''I 
would rather be the girl who goes about in the 
alleys than to stay here any longer!" 

And yet the spectacle of eight hours' work for 
eight hours' pay, the even-handed justice to all 
citizens irrespective of ''pull," the dividing of 
responsibility between landlord and tenant, and 
the readiness to enforce obedience to law from 
both, was, perhaps, one of the most valuable dem- 
onstrations which could have been made. Such 
daily living on the part of the office holder is of 
infinitely more value than many talks on civics 
for, after all, we credit most easily that which we 
see. The careful inspection combined with other 
causes, brought about a great improvement in the 
cleanliness and comfort of the neighborhood and 
one happy day, when the death rate of our ward 
was found to have dropped from third to seventh 
in the list of city wards and was so reported to our 
Woman's Club, the applause which followed re- 
corded the genuine sense of participation in the 
result, and a public spirit which had ''made good." 



ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 289 

But the cleanliness of the ward was becoming 
much too popular to suit our all-powerful alder- 
man and, although we felt fatuously secure under 
the regime of civil service, he found a way to cir- 
cumvent us by eliminating the position altogether. 
He introduced an ordinance into the city council 
which combined the collection of refuse with the 
cleaning and repairing of the streets, the whole to 
be placed under a ward superintendent. The 
office of course was to be filled under civil service 
regulations but only men were eligible to the 
examination. Although this latter regulation was 
afterwards modified in favor of one woman, it was 
retained long enough to put the nineteenth ward 
inspector out of office. 

Of course our experience in inspecting only 
made us more conscious of the wretched housing 
conditions over which we had been distressed from 
the first. It was during the World's Fair summer 
that one of the Hull-House residents in a public 
address upon housing reform used as an example 
of indifferent landlordism a large block in the 
neighborhood occupied by small tenements and 
stables unconnected with a street sewer, as was 
much similar property in the vicinity. In the 
lecture the resident spared neither a description of 
the property nor the name of the owner. The 
young man who owned the property was justly 
indignant at this public method of attack and 
promptly came to investigate the condition of the 
u 



290 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

property. Together we made a careful tour of 
the houses and stables and in the face of the con- 
ditions that we found there, I could not but agree 
with him that supplying South Italian peasants 
with sanitary appliances seemed a difficult under- 
taking. Nevertheless he was unwilling that the 
block should remain in its deplorable state, and 
he finally cut through the dilemma with the rash 
proposition that he would give a free lease of the 
entire tract to Hull-House, accompanying the offer, 
however, with the warning remark, that if we 
should choose to use the income from the rents 
in sanitary improvements we should be throwing 
our money away. 

Even when we decided that the houses were so 
bad that we could not undertake the task of im- 
proving them, he was game and stuck to his propo- 
sition that we should have a free lease. We finally 
submitted a plan that the houses should be torn 
down and the entire tract turned into a play- 
ground, although cautious advisers intimated that 
it would be very inconsistent to ask for sub- 
scriptions for the support of Hull-House when we 
were known to have thrown away an income of two 
thousand dollars a year. We, however, felt that 
a spectacle of inconsistency was better than one 
of bad landlordism and so the worst of the 
houses were demolished, the best three were sold 
and moved across the street under careful pro- 
vision that they might never be used for junk- 



ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 291 

shops or saloons, and a public playground was 
finally established. Hull-House became respon- 
sible for its management for ten years, at the end 
of which time it was turned over to the City 
Playground Commission although from the first 
the city detailed a policeman who was responsible 
for its general order and who became a valued 
adjunct of the House. 

During fifteen years this public-spirited owner 
of the property paid all the taxes, and when the 
block was finally sold he made possible the play- 
ground equipment of a near-by school yard. On 
the other hand, the dispossessed tenants, a group 
of whom had to be evicted by legal process before 
their houses could be torn down, have never 
ceased to mourn their former estates. Only the 
other day I met upon the street an old Italian 
harness maker, who said that he had never suc- 
ceeded so well anywhere else nor found a place 
that "seemed so much like Italy." 

Festivities of various sorts were held on this 
early playground, always a May day celebration 
with its Maypole dance and its May queen. I 
remember that one year the honor of being queen 
was offered to the little girl who should pick up 
the largest number of scraps of paper which lit- 
tered all the streets and alleys. The children that 
spring had been organized into a league and each 
member had been provided with a stiff piece of 
wire upon the sharpened point of which stray bits 



292 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

of paper were impaled and later soberly counted 
off into a large box in the Hull-House alley. The 
little Italian girl who thus won the scepter took it 
very gravely as the just reward of hard labor, 
and we were all so absorbed in the desire for clean 
and tidy streets that we were wholly oblivious to 
the incongruity of thus selecting *'the queen of 
love and beauty." 

It was at the end of the second year that we 
received a visit from the warden of Toynbee Hall 
and his wife, as they were returning to England 
from a journey around the world. They had lived 
in East London for many years, and had been 
identified with the public movements for its better- 
ment. They were much shocked that, in a new 
country with conditions still plastic and hopeful, 
so little attention had been paid to experiments 
and methods of amelioration which had already 
been tried; and they looked in vain through our 
library for blue books and governmental reports 
which recorded painstaking study into the condi- 
tions of English cities. 

They were the first of a long line of English 
visitors to express the conviction that many things 
in Chicago were untoward not through paucity 
of public spirit but through a lack of political 
machinery adapted to modern city life. This 
was not all of the situation but perhaps no casual 
visitor could be expected to see that these matters 
of detail seemed unimportant to a city in the first 



ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 293 




'--^ 



294 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

flush of youth, Impatient of correction and con- 
vinced that all would be well with Its future. 
The most obvious faults were those connected 
with the congested housing of the Immigrant 
population, nine tenths of them from the coun- 
try, who carried on all sorts of traditional activi- 
ties in the crowded tenements. That a group of 
Greeks should be permitted to slaughter sheep in 
a basement, that Italian women should be allowed 
to sort over rags collected from the city dumps, 
not only within the city limits but In a court 
swarming with little children, that immigrant 
bakers should continue unmolested to bake bread 
for their neighbors in unspeakably filthy spaces 
under the pavement, appeared Incredible to visitors 
accustomed to careful city regulations. I recall 
two visits made to the Italian quarter by John 
Burns^ — the second, thirteen years after the first. 
During the latter visit It seemed to him unbeliev- 
able that a certain house owned by a rich Italian 
should have been permitted to survive. He re- 
membered with the greatest minuteness the posi- 
tions of the houses on the court, with the exact 
space between the front and rear tenements, 
and he asked at once whether we had been able 
to cut a window into a dark hall as he had recom- 
mended thirteen years before. Although we were 
obliged to confess that the landlord would not 
permit the window to be cut, we were able to 
report that a City Homes Association had existed 



ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 295 

for ten years ; that following a careful study of 
tenement conditions in Chicago, the text of which 
had been wTitten by a Hull-House resident, the 
association had obtained the enactment of a model 
tenement-house code, and that their secretary had 
carefully watched the administration of the law 
for years so that its operation might not be mini- 
mized by the granting of too many exceptions in 
the city council. Our progress still seemed slow 
to Mr. Burns because in Chicago the actual 
houses were quite unchanged, embodying features 
long since declared illegal in London. Only this 
year could we have reported to him, had he again 
come to challenge us, that the provisions of the 
law had at last been extended to existing houses 
and that a conscientious corps of inspectors under 
an efficient chief, wxre fast remedying the most 
glaring evils, while a band of nurses and doctors 
were following hard upon the "trail of the white 
hearse." 

The mere consistent enforcement of existing 
laws and efforts for their advance often placed 
Hull-House, at least temporarily, into strained 
relations with its neighbors. I recall a continuous 
warfare against local landlords who would move 
wrecks of old houses as a nucleus for new ones in 
order to evade the provisions of the building code, 
and a certain Italian neighbor who was filled with 
bitterness because his new rear tenement was 
discovered to be illegal. It seemed impossible to 



296 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

make him understand that the health of the tenants 
was in any wise as important as his undisturbed 
rents. 

Nevertheless many evils constantly arise in 
Chicago from congested housing which wiser 
cities forestall and prevent ; the inevitable 
boarders crowded into a dark tenement already 
too small for the use of the immigrant family 
occupying it ; the surprisingly large number of 
delinquent girls who have become criminally in- 
volved with their own fathers and uncles ; the 
school children who cannot find a quiet spot in 
which to read or study and who perforce go into 
the streets each evening; the tuberculosis super- 
induced and fostered by the inadequate rooms and 
breathing spaces. One of the Hull-House resi- 
dents, under the direction of a Chicago physician 
who stands high as an authority on tuberculosis 
and who devotes a large proportion of his time to 
our vicinity, made an investigation into housing 
conditions as related to tuberculosis with a result 
as startling as that of the "lung block" in New 
York. 

It is these subtle evils of wretched and inadequate 
housing which are often most disastrous. In the 
summer of 1902 during an epidemic of typhoid fever 
in which our ward, although containing but one 
thirty-sixth of the population of the city, registered 
one sixth of the total number of deaths, two of 
the Hull-House residents made an investigation of 



ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 297 

the methods of plumbing in the houses adjacent 
to conspicuous groups of fever cases. They dis- 
covered among the people who had been exposed 
to the infection, a widow who had lived in the 
ward for a number of years, in a comfortable 
little house of her own. Although the Italian im- 
migrants were closing in all round her, she was 
not willing to sell her property and to move away 
until she had finished the education of her chil- 
dren. In the meantime she held herself quite 
aloof from her Italian neighbors and could never 
be drawn into any of the public efforts- to secure 
a better code of tenement-house sanitation. Her 
two daughters were sent to an eastern college. 
One June when one of them had graduated and 
the other still had two years before she took her 
degree, they came to the spotless little house and 
to their self-sacrificing mother for the summer holi- 
day. They both fell ill with typhoid fever and 
one daughter died because the mother's utmost 
efforts could not keep the infection out of her 
own house. The entire disaster affords, perhaps, 
a fair illustration of the futility of the individual 
conscience which would isolate a family from the 
rest of the community and its interests. 

The careful information collected concerning 
the juxtaposition of the typhoid cases to the 
various systems of plumbing and nonplumbing, 
was made the basis of a bacteriological study by 
another resident, Dr. Alice Hamilton, as to the 



298 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

possibility of the infection having been carried by 
flies. Her researches were so convincing that 
they have been incorporated into the body of 
scientific data supporting that theory, but there 
were also practical results from the investigation. 
It was discovered that the wretched sanitary ap- 
pliances through which alone the infection could 
have become so widely spread, would not have 
been permitted to remain, unless the city inspector 
had either been criminally careless or open to the 
arguments of favored landlords. 

The agitation finally resulted in a long and stir- 
ring trial before the civil service board of half of 
the employees in the Sanitary Bureau, with the 
final discharge of eleven out of the entire force of 
twenty-four. The inspector in our neighborhood 
was a kindly old man, greatly distressed over the 
affair, and quite unable to understand why he 
should not have used his discretion as to the time 
when a landlord should be forced to put in modern 
appliances. If he was "very poor," or "just about 
to sell his place," or " sure that the house would 
be torn down to make room for a factory," why 
should one "inconvenience" him ^ The old man 
died soon after the trial, feeling persecuted to the 
very last and not in the least understanding what 
it was all about. We were amazed at the com- 
m.ercial ramifications which graft in the city hall 
involved and at the indignation which interfer- 
ence with it produced. Hull-House lost some large 



ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 299 

subscriptions as the result of this investigation, a 
loss which, if not easy to bear, was at least com- 
prehensible. We also uncovered unexpected graft 
in connection with the plumbers' unions, and but 
for the fearless testimony of one of their members, 
could never have brought the trial to a successful 
issue. 

Inevitable misunderstanding also developed in 
connection with the attempt on the part of Hull- 
House residents to prohibit the sale of cocaine to 
minors, which brought us into sharp conflict with 
many druggists. I recall an Italian druggist liv- 
ing on the edge of the neighborhood, who finally 
came with a committee of his fellow countrymen 
to see what Hull-House wanted of him, thoroughly 
convinced that no such effort could be disinter- 
ested. One dreary trial after another had been 
lost through the inadequacy of the existing legis- 
lation and after many attempts to secure better 
legal regulation of its sale, a new law with the 
cooperation of many agencies was finally secured 
in 1907. Through all this the Italian druggist, 
who had greatly profited by the sale of cocaine 
to boys, only felt outraged and abused. And yet 
the thought of this campaign brings before my 
mind with irresistible force, a young Italian boy 
who died, — a victim to the drug at the age of 
seventeen. He had been in our kindergarten as a 
handsome merry child, in our clubs as a vivacious 
boy, and then gradually there was an eclipse of 



300 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

all that was animated and joyous and promising, 
and when I at last saw him in his coffin, it was 
impossible to connect that haggard shriveled body 
with what I had known before. 

A midwife investigation, undertaken in connec- 
tion with the Chicago Medical Society, while 
showing the great need of further state regulation 
in the interest of the most ignorant mothers and 
helpless children, brought us into conflict with 
one of the most venerable of all customs. Was 
all this a part of the unending struggle between 
the old and new, or were these oppositions so un- 
expected and so unlooked for merely a reminder 
of that old bit of wisdom that ''there is no guard- 
ing against interpretations " ^ Perhaps more subtle 
still, they were due to that very super-refinement 
of disinterestedness which will not justify itself, 
that it may feel superior to public opinion. Some 
of our investigations of course had no such un- 
toward results, such as "An Intensive Study of 
Truancy" undertaken by a resident of Hull- 
House in connection with the compulsory educa- 
tion department of the Board of Education and 
the Visiting Nurses Association. The resident, 
Mrs. Britton, who, having had charge of our 
children's clubs for many years, knew thousands 
of children in the neighborhood, made a detailed 
study of three hundred families tracing back the 
habitual truancy of the children to economic 
and social causes. This investigation preceded a 



ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 301 

most interesting conference on truancy held under 
a committee of which I was a member from the 
Chicago Board of Education. It left lasting re- 
sults upon the administration of the truancy law 
as well as the cooperation of volunteer bodies. 

We continually conduct small but careful in- 
vestigations at Hull-House, which may guide us 
in our immediate doings such as two recently 
undertaken by Mrs. Britton, one upon the read- 
ing of school children before new books were 
bought for the children's club libraries, and an- 
other on the proportion of tuberculosis among 
school children, before we opened a little experi- 
mental outdoor school on one of our balconies. 
Some of the Hull-House investigations are purely 
negative in result ; we once made an attempt to 
test the fatigue of factory girls in order to deter- 
mine how far overwork superinduced the tuber- 
culosis to which such a surprising number of 
them were victims. The one scientific instrument 
it seemed possible to use was an ergograph, a com- 
plicated and expensive instrument kindly lent to 
us from the physiological laboratory of the Uni- 
versity of Chicago. I remember the imposing 
procession we made from Hull-House to the factory 
full of working women, in which the proprietor 
allowed us to make the tests ; first there was the 
precious instrument on a hand truck guarded by 
an anxious student and the young physician who 
was going to take the tests every afternoon ; then 



302 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

there was Dr. Hamilton the resident in charge of 
the investigation, walking with a scientist who 
was interested to see that the instrument was 
properly installed ; I followed in the rear to talk 
once more to the proprietor of the factory to be 
quite sure that he would permit the experiment to 
go on. The result of all this preparation, however, 
was to have the instrument record less fatigue at the 
end of the day than at the beginning, not because 
the girls had not worked hard and were not "dog 
tired" as they confessed, but because the instru- 
ment was not fitted to find it out. 

For many years we have administered a branch 
station of the federal post office at Hull-House, 
which we applied for in the first instance because 
our neighbors lost such a large percentage of the 
money they sent to Europe, through the commis- 
sions to middle men. The experience in the post 
office constantly gave us data for urging the estab- 
lishment of postal savings as we saw one per- 
plexed immigrant after another turning away in 
bewilderment when he was told that the United 
States post office did not receive savings. 

We find increasingly, however, that the best 
results are to be obtained in investigations as in 
other undertakings, by combining our researches 
with those of other public bodies or with the 
State itself. When all the Chicago Settlements 
found themselves distressed over the condition of 
the newsboys who, because they are merchants 



ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 303 

and not employees, do not come under the pro- 
visions of the Illinois child labor law, they 
united in the investigation of a thousand young 
newsboys, who were all interviewed on the streets 
during the same twenty-four hours. Their school 
and domestic status was easily determined later, 
for many of the boys lived in the immediate 
neighborhoods of the ten Settlements which had 
undertaken the investigation. The report em- 
bodying the results of the investigation recom- 
mended a city ordinance containing features from 
the Boston and Buffalo regulations, and although 
an ordinance was drawn up and a strenuous effort 
was made to bring it to the attention of the alder- 
men, none of them would introduce it into the city 
council without newspaper backing. We were able 
to agitate for it again at the annual meeting of the 
National Child Labor Committee which was held 
in Chicago in 1908, and which was of course re- 
ported in papers throughout the entire country. 
This meeting also demonstrated that local meas- 
ures can sometimes be urged most effectively when 
joined to the efforts of a national body. Undoubt- 
edly the best discussions ever held upon the opera- 
tion and status of the Illinois law, were those which 
took place then. The needs of the Illinois children 
were regarded in connection with the children of 
the nation and advanced health measures for Illi- 
nois were compared with those of other states. 
The investigations of Hull-House thus tend to be 



304 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

merged with those of larger organizations, from the 
investigation of the social value of saloons made 
for the Committee of Fifty in 1896, to the one on 
infant mortality in relation to nationality, made 
for the American Academy of Science in 1909. 
This is also true of Hull-House activities in regard 
to public movements, some of which are inaugu- 
rated by the residents of other Settlements, as the 
Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy, 
founded by the splendid efforts of Dr. Graham 
Taylor for many years head of Chicago Commons. 
All of our recent investigations into housing have 
been under the department of investigation of this 
school with which several of the Hull-House resi- 
dents are identified, quite as our active measures to 
secure better housing conditions have been carried 
on with the City Homes Association and through 
the cooperation of one of our residents who several 
years ago was appointed a sanitary inspector on 
the city staff. 

Perhaps Dr. Taylor himself offers the best 
possible example of the value of Settlement ex- 
perience to public undertakings, in his manifold 
public activities of which one might instance his 
work at the moment upon a commission recently 
appointed by the governor of Illinois to report upon 
the best method of Industrial Insurance or Em- 
ployer's Liability Acts, and his influence in securing 
another to study into the subject of Industrial 
Diseases. The actual factory investigation under 



ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 305 

the latter is in charge of Dr. Hamilton, of Hull- 
House, whose long residence in an industrial neigh- 
borhood as well as her scientific attainment, give 
her peculiar qualifications for the undertaking. 

And so a Settlement is led along from the con- 
crete to the abstract, as may easily be illustrated. 
Many years ago a tailors' union meeting at Hull- 
House asked our cooperation in tagging the vari- 
ous parts of a man's coat in such wise as to show 
the money paid to the people who had made it ; 
one tag for the cutting and another for the button- 
holes, another for the finishing and so on, the 
resulting total to be compared with the selling 
price of the coat itself. It quickly became evi- 
dent that we had no way of computing how much 
of this larger balance was spent for salesmen, 
commercial travelers, rent and management, and 
the poor tagged coat was finally left hanging 
limply in a closet as if discouraged with the at- 
tempt. But the desire of the manual worker to 
know the relation of his own labor to the whole 
is not only legitimate but must form the basis of 
any intelligent action for his improvement. It was 
therefore w4th the hope of reform in the sewing 
trades that the Hull-House residents testified be- 
fore the Federal Industrial Commission in 1900, 
and much later with genuine enthusiasm joined 
with trades-unionists and other public-spirited citi- 
zens in an industrial exhibit which made a graphic 
presentation of the conditions and rewards of labor. 



3o6 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

The large casino building in which it was held was 
filled every day and evening for two weeks, show- 
ing how popular such information is, if it can be 
presented graphically. As an illustration of this 
same moving from the smaller to the larger, I 
might instance the efforts of Miss McDowell of 
the University of Chicago Settlement and others, 
in urging upon Congress the necessity for a special 
investigation into the condition of women and 
children in industry because we had discovered the 
insuperable difficulties of smaller investigations, 
notably one undertaken for the Illinois Bureau of 
Labor by Mrs. Van der Vaart of Neighborhood 
House and by Miss Breckinridge of the University 
of Chicago. This investigation made clear that it 
was as impossible to detach the girls working in the 
stockyards from their sisters in industry, as it was 
to urge special legislation on their behalf. 

In the earlier years of the American Settlements, 
the residents were sometimes impatient with the 
accepted methods of charitable administration and 
hoped, through residence in an industrial neighbor- 
hood, to discover more cooperative and advanced 
methods of dealing with the problems of poverty 
which are so dependent upon industrial maladjust- 
ment. But during twenty years, the Settlements 
have seen the charitable people, through their very 
knowledge of the poor, constantly approach nearer 
to those methods formerly designated as radical. 
The residents, so far from holding aloof from 



ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 307 

organized charity, find testimony, certainly in the 
National Conferences, that out of the most persist- 
ent and intelligent efforts to alleviate poverty, will 
in all probability arise the most significant sug- 
gestions for eradicating poverty. In the hearing 
before a congressional committee for the estab- 
lishment of a Children's Bureau, residents in 
American Settlements joined their fellow philan- 
thropists in urging the need of this indispensable 
instrument for collecting and disseminating in- 
formation which would make possible concerted 
intelligent action on behalf of children. 

Mr. Howells has said that we are all so besotted 
with our novel reading that we have lost the power 
of seeing certain aspects of life with any sense of 
reality because we are continually looking for the 
possible romance. The description might apply to 
the earlier years of the American settlement, but 
certainly the later years are filled with discoveries 
in actual life as romantic as they are unexpected. 
If I may illustrate one of these romantic discoveries 
from my own experience, I would cite the indica- 
tions of an internationalism as sturdy and virile as 
it is unprecedented which I have seen in our cos- 
mopolitan neighborhood : when a South Italian 
Catholic is forced by the very exigencies of the 
situation to make friends with an Austrian Jew 
representing another nationality and another re- 
ligion, both of which cut into all his most cherished 
prejudices, he finds it harder to utilize them a 



3o8 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

second time and gradually loses them. He thus 
modifies his provincialism for if an old enemy work- 
ing by his side has turned into a friend, almost 
anything may happen. When, therefore, I became 
identified with the peace movement both in its 
International and National Conventions, I hoped 
that this internationalism engendered in the immi- 
grant quarters of American cities might be recog- 
nized as an effective instrument in the cause of 
peace. I first set it forth with some misgiving 
before the Convention held in Boston in 1904 and 
it is always a pleasure to recall the hearty assent 
given to it by Professor William James. 

I have always objected to the phrase ''socio- 
logical laboratory" applied to us, because Settle- 
ments should be something much more human 
and spontaneous than such a . phrase connotes, 
and yet it is inevitable that the residents should 
know their own neighborhoods more thoroughly 
than any other, and that their experiences there 
should affect their convictions. 

Years ago I was much entertained by a story 
told at the Chicago Woman's Club by one of its 
ablest members in the discussion following a paper 
of mine on "The Outgrowths of Toynbee Hall." 
She said that when she was a little girl playing in 
her mother's garden, she one day discovered a 
small toad who seemed to her very forlorn and 
lonely, although as she did not in the least know 
how to comfort him, she reluctantly left him to 



ACTIVITIES AND INVESTIGATIONS 309 

his fate ; later in the day, quite at the other end 
of the garden, she found a large toad, also ap- 
parently without family and friends. With a 
heart full of tender sympathy, she took a stick 
and by exercising infinite patience and some skill, 
she finally pushed the little toad through the 
entire length of the garden into the company of 
the big toad, when, to her inexpressible horror 
and surprise, the big toad opened his mouth and 
swallowed the little one. The moral of the tale 
w^as clear applied to people who lived ''where they 
did not naturally belong," although I protested 
that was exactly what we wanted — to be swal- 
lowed and digested, to disappear into the bulk of 
the people. 

Tw^enty years later I am willing to testify that 
something of the sort does take place after years 
of identification with an industrial community. 



CHAPTER XIV 
Civic Cooperation 

One of the first lessons we learned at Hull- 
House was that private beneficence is totally in- 
adequate to deal with the vast numbers of the 
city's disinherited. We also quickly came to 
realize that there are certain types of wretched- 
ness from which every private philanthropy 
shrinks and which are cared for only in those 
wards of the county hospital provided for the 
wrecks of vicious living or in the city's isolation 
hospital for smallpox patients. 

I have heard a broken-hearted mother exclaim 
when her erring daughter came home at last too 
broken and diseased to be taken into the family 
she had disgraced, "There is no place for her 
but the top floor of the County Hospital ; they 
will have to take her there," and this only after 
every possible expedient had been tried or sug- 
gested. This aspect of governmental responsi- 
bility was unforgetably borne in upon me during 
the smallpox epidemic following the World's Fair, 
when one of the residents, Mrs. Kelley, as State 
Factory Inspector was much concerned in dis- 
covering and destroying clothing which was being 

310 




Julia C. Lathrop. 



CIVIC COOPERATION 311 

finished in houses containing unreported cases of 
smallpox. The deputy most successful in locat- 
ing such cases lived at Hull-House during the 
epidemic because he did not wish to expose his 
own family. Another resident, Miss Lathrop, as 
a member of the State Board of Charities, went 
back and forth to the crowded pest house which 
had been hastily constructed on a stretch of 
prairie west of the city. As Hull-House was 
already so exposed, it seemed best for the special 
smallpox inspectors from the Board of Health to 
take their meals and change their clothing there 
before they went to their respective homes. All 
of these officials had accepted without question 
and as implicit in public office, the obligation to 
carry on the dangerous and difficult undertakings 
for which private philanthropy is unfitted, as if 
the commonalty of compassion represented by 
the State was more comprehending than that of 
any individual group. 

It was as early as our second winter on Hal- 
sted Street that one of the Hull-House residents 
received an appointment from the Cook County 
agent as a county visitor. She reported at the 
agency each morning, and all the cases within a 
radius of ten blocks from Hull-House were given 
to her for investigation. This gave her a legiti- 
mate opportunity for knowing the poorest people 
in the neighborhood and also for understanding 
the county method of outdoor relief. The com- 



312 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

missioners were at first dubious of the value of 
such a visitor and predicted that a woman would 
be a perfect "coal chute" for giving away county 
supplies, but they gradually came to depend 
upon her suggestion and advice. 

In 1893 this same resident, Miss Julia C. 
Lathrop, was appointed by the governor a mem- 
ber of the Illinois State Board of Charities. She 
served in this capacity for two consecutive terms 
and was later reappointed to a third term. Per- 
haps her most valuable contribution towards the 
enlargement and reorganization of the charitable 
institutions of the State came through her in- 
timate knowledge of the beneficiaries, and her 
experience demonstrated that it is only through 
long residence among the poor that an official 
could have learned to view public institutions as 
she did, from the standpoint of the inmates 
rather than from that of the managers. Since 
that early day, residents of Hull-House have spent 
much time in working for the civil service methods 
of appointment for employees in the county and 
State institutions ; for the establishment of State 
colonies for the care of epileptics ; and for a dozen 
other enterprises which occupy that borderland 
between charitable effort and legislation. In this 
borderland we cooperate in many civic enterprises 
for I think we may claim that Hull-House has 
always held its activities lightly, ready to hand them 
over to whosoever would carry them on properly. 



CIVIC COOPERATION 313 

Miss Starr had early made a collection of 
framed photographs, largely of the paintings 
studied in her art class, which became the basis 
of a loan collection first used by the Hull-House 
students and later extended to the public schools. 
It may be fair to suggest that this effort was the 
nucleus of the Public School Art Society which 
was later formed in the city and of which Miss 
Starr was the first president. 

In our first two summers we had maintained 
three baths in the basement of our own house 
for the use of the neighborhood and they afforded 
some experience and argument for the erection of 
the first public bathhouse in Chicago, which was 
built on a neighboring street and opened under 
the city Board of Health. The lot upon which 
it was erected belonged to a friend of Hull-House 
who offered it to the city without rent, and this 
enabled the city to erect the first public bath 
from the small appropriation of ten thousand 
dollars. Great fear was expressed by the public 
authorities that the baths would not be used 
and the old story of the bathtubs in model tene- 
ments which had been turned into coal bins was 
often quoted to us. We were supplied, however, 
with the incontrovertible argument that in our 
adjacent third square mile there were in 1892 
but three bathtubs and that this fact was much 
complained of by many of the tenement-house 
dwellers. Our contention was justified by the 



314 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

immediate and overflowing use of the public baths, 
as we had before been sustained in the contention 
that an immigrant population would respond to 







opportunities for reading when the Public Library 
Board had established a branch reading room at 
Hull-House. 



CIVIC COOPERATION 315 

We also quickly discovered that nothing brought 
us so absolutely into comradeship with our neigh- 
bors as mutual and sustained effort such as the 
paving of a street, the closing of a gambling house, 
or the restoration of a veteran police sergeant. 

Several of these earlier attempts at civic co- 
operation were undertaken in connection with the 
Hull-House Men's Club which had been organized 
in the spring of 1893, had been incorporated under 
a State charter of its own and had occupied a club 
room in the gymnasium building. This club ob- 
tained an early success in one of the political 
struggles in the ward and thus fastened upon 
itself a specious reputation for political power. It 
was at last so torn by the dissensions of two po- 
litical factions which attempted to capture it that, 
although it is still an existing organization, it has 
never regained the prestige of its first five years. 
Its early political success came in a campaign 
Hull-House had instigated against a powerful 
alderman who has held office for more than twenty 
years in the nineteenth ward, and who, although 
notoriously corrupt, is still firmly intrenched 
among his constituents. 

Hull-House has had to do with three cam- 
paigns organized against him. In the first one 
he was apparently only amused at our "Sunday 
School" effort and did little to oppose the elec- 
tion to the aldermanic office of a member of the 
Hull-House Men's Club who thus became his 



3i6 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

colleague in the city council. When Hull-House, 
however, made an effort in the following spring 
against the reelection of the alderman himself, we 
encountered the most determined and skillful 
opposition. In these campaigns we doubtless de- 
pended too much upon the idealistic appeal for we 
did not yet comprehend the element of reality 
always brought into the political struggle in such a 
neighborhood where politics deal so directly with 
getting a job and earning a living. 

We soon discovered that approximately one out 
of every five voters in the nineteenth ward at that 
time held a job dependent upon the good will of 
the alderman. There were no civil service rules to 
interfere and the unskilled voter swept the street 
and dug the sewer, as secure in his position as the 
more sophisticated voter tended a bridge or occu- 
pied an office chair in the city hall. The alderman 
was even more fortunate in finding places with the 
franchise-seeking corporations ; it took us some 
time to understand why so large a proportion of 
our neighbors were street-car employees and why 
we had such a large club composed solely of tele- 
phone girls. Our powerful alderman had various 
methods of intrenching himself. Many people 
were indebted to him for his kindly services in the 
police station and the justice courts, for in those 
days Irish constituents easily broke the peace, and 
before the establishment of the Juvenile Court, 
boys were arrested for very trivial offenses ; added 



CIVIC COOPERATION 317 

to these were hundreds of constituents indebted to 
him for personal kindness from the peddler who 
received a free license, to the business man who 
had a railroad pass to New York. Our third cam- 
paign against him, when we succeeded in making 
a serious impression upon his majority, evoked 
from his henchmen the same sort of hostility which 
a striker so inevitably feels against the man who 
would take his job, even sharpened by the sense 
that the movement for reform came from an alien 
source. 

Another result of the campaign was an expecta- 
tion on the part of our new political friends that 
Hull-House would perform like offices for them, 
and there resulted endless confusion and mis- 
understanding because in many cases we could 
not even attempt to do what the alderman con- 
stantly did with a right good will. When he pro- 
tected a law breaker from the legal consequences 
of his act, his kindness appeared, not only to him- 
self but to all beholders, like the deed of a powerful 
and kindly statesman. When Hull-House on the 
other hand insisted that a law must be enforced, 
it could but appear like the persecution of the 
offender. We were certainly not anxious for con- 
sistency nor for individual achievement, but in a 
desire to foster a higher political morality and not 
to lower our standards, we constantly clashed with 
the existing political code. We also unwittingly 
stumbled upon a powerful combination of which 



3i8 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

our alderman was the political head, with its bank- 
ing, its ecclesiastical, and its journalistic represent- 
atives, and as we followed up the clew and naively 
told all we discovered, we of course laid the foun- 
dations for opposition which has manifested itself 
in many forms ; the most striking expression of it 
was an attack upon Hull-House lasting through 
weeks and months by a Chicago daily newspaper 
which has since ceased publication. 

During the third campaign I received many 
anonymous letters — those from the men often 
obscene, those from the women revealing that 
curious connection between prostitution and the 
lowest type of politics which every city tries in 
vain to hide. I had offers from the men in the 
city prison to vote properly if released ; various 
communications from lodging-house keepers as to 
the prices of the vote they were ready to deliver; 
everywhere appeared that animosity which is 
evoked only when a man feels that his means of 
livelihood is threatened. 

As I look back, I am reminded of the state of 
mind of Kipling's newspaper men who witnessed a 
volcanic eruption at sea, in which unbelievable 
deep-sea creatures were expelled to the surface, 
among them an enormous white serpent, blind 
and smelling of musk, whose death throes thrashed 
the sea into a fury. With professional instinct 
unimpaired, the journalists carefully observed the 
uncanny creature never designed for the eyes of 



civic COOPERATION 319 

men ; but a few days later, when they found them- 
selves in a comfortable second-class carriage, 
traveling from Southampton to London between 
trim hedgerows and smug English villages, they 
concluded that the experience was too sensational 
to be put before the British public, and it became 
improbable even to themselves. 

Many subsequent years of living in kindly 
neighborhood fashion with the people of the 
nineteenth ward, has produced upon my memory 
the soothing effect of the second-class railroad 
carriage and many of these political experiences 
have not only become remote but already seem 
improbable. On the other hand, these campaigns 
were not without their rewards ; one of them was 
a quickened friendship both with the more sub- 
stantial citizens in the ward and with a group of 
fine young voters whose devotion to Hull-House 
has never since failed ; another was a sense of 
identification with public-spirited men throughout 
the city who contributed money and time to what 
they considered a gallant effort against political 
corruption. I remember a young professor from 
the University of Chicago who with his wife came 
to live at Hull-House, traveling the long distance 
every day throughout the autumn and winter that 
he might qualify as a nineteenth-ward voter in 
the spring campaign. He served as a watcher at 
the polls and it was but a poor reward for his 
devotion that he was literally set upon and beaten 



320 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

up, for in those good old days such things fre- 
quently occurred. Many another case of devotion 
to our standard so recklessly raised might be 
cited but perhaps more valuable than any of these 
was the sense of identification we obtained with 
the rest of Chicago. 

So far as a Settlement can discern and bring to 
local consciousness neighborhood needs which are 
common needs, and can give vigorous help to the 
municipal measures through which such needs 
shall be met, it fulfills its most valuable function. 
To illustrate from our first eifort to improve the 
street paving in the vicinity, we found that when 
we had secured the consent of the majority of the 
property owners on a given street for a new paving, 
the alderman checked the entire plan through 
his kindly service to one man who had appealed to 
him to keep the assessments down. The street 
long remained a shocking mass of wet, dilapidated 
cedar blocks, where children were sometimes mired 
as they floated a surviving block in the water which 
speedily filled the holes whence other blocks had 
been extracted for fuel. And yet when we were 
able to demonstrate that the street paving had 
thus been reduced into cedar pulp by the heavily 
loaded wagons of an adjacent factory, that the 
expense of its repaving should be borne from a 
general fund and not by the poor property owners, 
we found that we could all unite in advocating 
reform in the method of repaving assessments, and 



CIVIC COOPERATION 



321 



the alderman himself was obliged to come into 
such a popular movement. The Nineteenth Ward 



«r— 



«5gs»i 



Fit ' "**»a*i 



— «t 




5 v' /f >;' «'* 









1 



:* 







^i^ 



Improvement Association which met at Hull-House 
during two winters, was the first body of citizens 



322 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

able to make a real impression upon the local 
paving situation. They secured an expert to 
watch the paving as it went down to be sure that 
their half of the paving money was well expended. 
In the belief that property values would be thus 
enhanced, the common aim brought together the 
more prosperous people of the vicinity, somewhat 
as the Hull-House Cooperative Coal Association 
brought together the poorer ones. 

I remember that during the second campaign 
against our alderman. Governor Pingree of Michi- 
gan came to visit at Hull-House. He said that 
the stronghold of such a man was not the place 
in which to start municipal regeneration ; that 
good aldermen should be elected from the promis- 
ing wards first, until a majority of honest men in 
the city council should make politics unprofitable 
for corrupt men. We replied that it was difficult 
to divide Chicago into good and bad wards, but 
that a new organization called the Municipal 
Voters' League was attempting to give to the 
well-meaning voter in every ward throughout the 
city, accurate information concerning the candi- 
dates and their relation, past and present, to vital 
issues. One of our trustees who was most active 
in inaugurating this League, always said that his 
nineteenth-ward experience had convinced him of 
the unity of city politics, and that he constantly 
used our campaign as a challenge to the unaroused 
citizens living in wards less conspicuously corrupt. 



CIVIC COOPERATION 323 

Certainly the need for civic cooperation was 
obvious in many directions, and in none more 
strikingly than in that organized effort which must 
be carried on unceasingly if young people are to 
be protected from the darker and coarser dangers 
of the city. The cooperation between Hull-House 
and the Juvenile Protective Association came 
about gradually, and it seems now almost inevi- 
tably. From our earliest days we saw many boys 
constantly arrested, and I had a number of most 
enlightening experiences in the police station with 
an Irish lad whose mother upon her deathbed 
had begged me "to look after him." We were 
distressed by the gangs of very little boys who 
would sally forth with an enterprising leader in 
search of old brass and iron, sometimes breaking 
into empty houses for the sake of the faucets or 
lead pipe which they would sell for a good price 
to a junk dealer. With the money thus obtained 
they would buy cigarettes and beer or even candy, 
which could be conspicuously consumed in the 
alleys where they might enjoy the excitement of 
being seen and suspected by the ''coppers." 
From the third year of Hull-House, one of the 
residents held a semi-official position in the nearest 
police station, at least the sergeant agreed to give 
her provisional charge of every boy and girl under 
arrest for a trivial offense. 

Mrs. Stevens, who performed this work for 
several years, became the first probation officer of 



324 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

the Juvenile Court when it was established in 
Cook County in 1899. She was the sole proba- 
tion officer at first, but at the time of her death, 
which occurred at Hull-House in 1900, she was 
the senior officer of a corps of six. Her entire 
experience had fitted her to deal wisely with way- 
ward children. She had gone into a New England 
cotton mill at the age of thirteen, where she had 
promptly lost the index finger of her right hand 
through '^ carelessness" she was told, and no one 
then seemed to understand that freedom from care 
was the prerogative of childhood. Later she be- 
came a typesetter and was one of the first women 
in America to become a member of the typo- 
graphical union, retaining her "card" through all 
the later years of editorial work. As the Juvenile 
Court developed, the committee of public-spirited 
citizens who first supplied only Mrs. Stevens' 
salary, later maintained a corps of twenty-two 
such officers ; several of these were Hull-House 
residents who brought to the house for many 
years a sad little procession of children struggling 
against all sorts of handicaps. When legislation 
was secured which placed the probation officers 
upon the pay roll of the county, it was a challenge 
to the efficiency of the civil service method of 
appointment to obtain by examination, men and 
women fitted for this delicate human task. As one 
of five people asked by the civil service commission 
to conduct this first examination for probation 



CIVIC COOPERATION 325 

officers, I became convinced that we were but at 
the beginning of the nonpolitical method of select- 
ing public servants, but even stiff and unbending 
as the examination may be, it is still our hope of 
political salvation. 

In 1907 the Juvenile Court was housed in a 
model court building of its own, containing a 
detention home and equipped with a competent 
staff. The committee of citizens largely respon- 
sible for this result, thereupon turned their atten- 
tion to the conditions which the records of the 
court indicated had led to the alarming amount 
of juvenile delinquency and crime. They organ- 
ized the Juvenile Protective Association, w^hose 
twenty-two officers meet weekly at Hull-House 
with their executive committee to report what 
they have found and to discuss city conditions 
affecting the lives of children and young people. 

The association discovers that there are certain 
temptations into which children so habitually fall 
that it is evident that the average child cannot 
withstand them. An overwhelming mass of data 
is accumulated showing the need of enforcing 
existing legislation and of securing new legislation, 
but it also indicates a hundred other directions in 
which the young people who so gayly w^alk our 
streets, often to their own destruction, need safe- 
guarding and protection. 

The effort of the association to treat the youth 
of the city with consideration and understanding, 



326 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

has rallied the most unexpected forces to its 
standard. Quite as the basic needs of life are 
supplied solely by those who make money out of 
the business, so the modern city has assumed 
that the craving for pleasure must be ministered 
to only by the sordid. This assumption, however, 
in a large measure broke down as soon as the 
Juvenile Protective Association courageously put 
it to the test. After persistent prosecutions, but 
also after many friendly interviews, the Druggists' 
Association itself prosecutes those of its members 
who sell indecent postal cards ; the Saloon Keep- 
ers' Protective Association not only declines to 
protect members who sell liquor to minors, but 
now takes drastic action to prevent such sales ; the 
Retail Grocers' Association forbids the selling of 
tobacco to minors ; the Association of Department 
Store Managers not only increased the vigilance in 
their waiting rooms by supplying more matrons, 
but as a body they have become regular contribu- 
tors to the association ; the special watchmen in 
all the railroad yards agree not to arrest trespass- 
ing boys but to report them to the association ; the 
firms manufacturing moving picture films not only 
submit their films to a volunteer inspection com- 
mittee, but ask for suggestions in regard to new 
matter; and the Five-Cent Theaters arrange for 
"stunts" which shall deal with the subject of 
public health and morals when the lecturers pro- 
vided are entertaining as well as instructive. 



CIVIC COOPERATION 327 

It is not difficult to arouse the impulse of pro- 
tection for the young, which would doubtless dic- 
tate the daily acts of many a bartender and pool- 
room keeper if they could only indulge it without 
thereby giving their rivals an advantage. When 
this difficulty is removed by an even-handed en- 
forcement of the law, that simple kindliness which 
the innocent always evoke goes from one to 
another like a slowly spreading flame of good will. 
Doubtless the most rewarding experience in any 
such undertaking as that of the Juvenile Protective 
Association, is the warm and intelligent coopera- 
tion coming from unexpected sources — official and 
commercial as well as philanthropic. Upon the 
suggestion of the association, social centers have 
been opened in various parts of the city, disused 
buildings turned into recreation rooms, vacant lots 
made into gardens, hiking parties organized for 
country excursions, bathing beaches established on 
the lake front, and public schools opened for social 
purposes. Through the efforts of public-spirited 
citizens a medical clinic and a Psychopathic In- 
stitute have become associated with the Juvenile 
Court of Chicago, in addition to which an exhaus- 
tive study of court-records has just been completed. 
To this carefully collected data concerning the 
abnormal child, the Juvenile Protective Association 
hopes in time to add knowledge of the normal child 
who lives under the most adverse city conditions. 

It was not without hope that I might be able 



328 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

to forward in the public school system the solu- 
tion of some of these problems of delinquency so 
dependent upon truancy and ill-adapted educa- 
tion, that I became a member of the Chicago 
Board of Education in July, 1905. It is impossi- 
ble to write of the situation as it became drama- 
tized in half a dozen strong personalities, but the 
entire experience was so illuminating as to the 
difficulties and limitations of democratic govern- 
ment, that it would be unfair in a chapter on Civic 
Cooperation not to attempt an outline. 

Even the briefest statement, however, necessi- 
tates a review of the preceding few years. For a 
decade the Chicago school teachers, or rather a 
majority of them who were organized into the 
Teachers' Federation, had been engaged in a 
conflict with the Board of Education both for 
more adequate salaries and for more self-direction 
in the conduct of the schools. In pursuance of 
the first object, they had attacked the tax dodger 
along the entire line of his defense, from the curb- 
stone to the Supreme Court. They began with 
an intricate investigation which uncovered the 
fact that in 1899, $235,000,000 of value of public 
utility corporations paid nothing in taxes. The 
Teachers' Federation brought a suit which was 
prosecuted through the Supreme Court of Illinois 
and resulted in an order entered against the State 
Board of Equalization, demanding that it tax the 
corporations mentioned in the bill. In spite of 



CIVIC COOPERATION 329 

the fact that the defendant companies sought 
federal aid and obtained an order which restrained 
the payment of a portion of the tax, each year 
since 1900, the Chicago Board of Education has 
benefited to the extent of more than a quarter 
of a million dollars. Although this result had 
been attained through the unaided efforts of the 
teachers, to their surprise and indignation their 
salaries were not increased. The Teachers' Fed- 
eration, therefore, brought a suit against the 
Board of Education for the advance which had 
been promised them three years earlier but never 
paid. The decision of the lower court was in 
their favor but the Board of Education appealed 
the case, and this was the situation when the 
seven new members appointed by Mayor Dunne 
in 1905 took their seats. The conservative public 
suspected that these new members were merely 
representatives of the Teachers' Federation. This 
opinion was founded upon the fact that Judge 
Dunne had rendered a favorable decision in the 
teachers'' suit and that the teachers had been very 
active in the campaign which had resulted in his 
election as mayor of the city. It seemed obvious 
that the teachers had entered into politics for the 
sake of securing their own representatives on the 
Board of Education. These suspicions were, of 
course, only confirmed when the new board voted 
to withdraw the suit of their predecessors from the 
Appellate Court and to act upon the decision of 



330 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

the lower court. The teachers, on the other hand, 
defended their long effort in the courts, the State 
Board of Equalization, and the Legislature, against 
the charge of ''dragging the schools into politics," 
and declared that the exposure of the indifference 
and cupidity of the politicians was a well-deserved 
rebuke, and that it was the politicians who had 
brought the schools to the verge of financial ruin ; 
they further insisted that the levy and collection 
of taxes, tenure of office, and pensions to civil serv- 
ants in Chicago were all entangled with the trac- 
tion situation, which in their minds at least had 
come to be an example of the struggle between the 
democratic and plutocratic administration of city 
affairs. The new appointees to the School Board 
represented no concerted policy of any kind, but 
were for the most part adherents to the new 
education. The teachers, confident that their 
cause was identical with the principles advocated 
by such educators as Colonel Parker, were there- 
fore sure that the plans of the "new education" 
members would of necessity coincide with the plans 
of the Teachers' Federation. In one sense the 
situation was an epitome of Mayor Dunne's entire 
administration, which was founded upon the belief 
that if those citizens representing social ideals 
and reform principles were but appointed to 
office, public welfare must be established. 

During my tenure of office I many times talked 
to the officers of the Teachers' Federation, but I 



CIVIC COOPERATION 331 

was seldom able to follow their suggestions and, 
although I gladly cooperated in their plans for a 
better pension system and other matters, only 
once did I try to influence the policy of the Fed- 
eration. When the withheld salaries were finally 
paid to the representatives of the Federation who 
had brought suit and were divided among the 
members who had suffered both financially and 
professionally during this long legal struggle, I was 
most anxious that the division should voluntarily be 
extended to all of the teachers who had experienced 
a loss of salary although they were not members 
of the Federation. It seemed to me a striking 
opportunity to refute the charge that the Federa- 
tion was self-seeking and to put the whole long 
effort in the minds of the public, exactly where 
it belonged, as one of devoted public service. 
But it was doubtless much easier for me to urge 
this altruistic policy than it was for those who 
had borne the heat and burden of the day, to act 
upon it. 

The second object of the Teachers' Federation 
also entailed much stress and storm. At the 
time of the financial stringency, and largely as a 
result of it, the Board had made the first sub- 
stantial advance in a teacher's salary dependent 
upon a so-called promotional examination, half 
of which was upon academic subjects entailing a 
long and severe preparation. The teachers re- 
sented this upon two lines of argument : first, that 



332 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

the scheme was unprofessional in that the teacher 
was advanced on her capacity as a student rather 
than on her professional ability ; and, second, 
that it added an intolerable and unnecessary 
burden to her already overfull day. The ad- 
ministration, on the other hand, contended with 
much justice that there was a constant danger in 
a great public school system that teachers lose 
pliancy and the open mind, and that many of 
them had obviously grown mechanical and indiffer- 
ent. The conservative public approved the pro- 
motional examinations as the symbol of an advanc- 
ing educational standard, and their sympathy with 
the superintendent was increased because they 
continually resented the affiliation of the Teachers' 
Federation with the Chicago Federation of Labor 
which had taken place several years before the 
election of Mayor Dunne on his traction platform. 
This much talked of affiliation between the teach- 
ers and the trades-unionists had been, at least 
in the first instance, but one more tactic in the 
long struggle against the tax-dodging corporations. 
The Teachers' Federation had won in their first 
skirmish against that public indifference which is 
generated in the accumulation of wealth and 
which has for its nucleus successful commercial 
men. When they found themselves in need of 
further legislation to keep the offending corpora- 
tions under control, they naturally turned for 
political influence and votes to the organization 



CIVIC COOPERATION 333 

representing worklngmen. The affiliation had none 
of the sinister meaning so often attached to it. 
The Teachers' Federation never obtained a charter 
from the American Federation of Labor and its 
main interest always centered in the legislative 
committee. 

And yet this statement of the difference be- 
tween the majority of the grade school teachers 
and the Chicago School Board is totally inade- 
quate, for the difficulties were stubborn and lay 
far back in the long effort of public school ad- 
ministration in America to free itself from the 
rule and exploitation of politics. In every city 
for many years the politician had secured positions 
for his friends as teachers and janitors ; he had 
received a rake-off in the contract for every new 
building or coal supply or adoption of school- 
books. In the long struggle against this po- 
litical corruption, the one remedy continually 
advocated was the transfer of authority in all 
educational matters from the Board to the super- 
intendent. The one cure for "pull" and corrup- 
tion was the authority of the "expert." The 
rules and records of the Chicago Board of Educa- 
tion are full of relics of this long struggle honestly 
waged by honest men, who unfortunately became 
content with the ideals of an "efficient business 
administration." These business men established 
an able superintendent with a large salary, with, 
his tenure of office secured by State law so that 



334 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

he would not be disturbed by the wrath of the 
balked politician. They instituted impersonal ex- 
aminations for the teachers both as to entrance 
into the system and promotion, and they pro- 
ceeded "to hold the superintendent responsible" 
for smooth-running schools. All this however 
dangerously approximated the commercialistic 
ideal of high salaries only for the management 
with the final test of a small expense account and 
a large output. 

In this long struggle for a quarter of a century to 
free the public schools from political interference, 
in Chicago at least, the high wall of defense 
erected around the school system in order "to keep 
the rascals out," unfortunately so restricted the 
teachers inside the system that they had no space 
in which to move about freely and the more adven- 
turous of them fairly panted for light and air. 
Any attempt to lower the wall for the sake of the 
teachers within, was regarded as giving an oppor- 
tunity to the politicians without, and they were 
often openly accused, with a show of truth, of 
being in league with each other. Whenever the 
Dunne members of the Board attempted to secure 
more liberty for the teachers, we were warned by 
tales of former difficulties with the politicians, and 
it seemed impossible that the struggle so long the 
focus of attention, should recede into the dullness 
of the achieved and allow the energy of the Board 
to be free for new effort. 



CIVIC COOPERATION 335 

The whole situation between the superintendent 
supported by a majority of the Board, and the 
Teachers' Federation had become an epitome of 
the struggle between efficiency and democracy ; 
on one side a well-intentioned expression of the 
bureaucracy necessary in a large system but 
which under pressure had become unnecessarily 
self-assertive, and on the other side a fairly mili- 
tant demand for self-government made in the 
name of freedom. Both sides inevitably exagger- 
ated the difficulties of the situation and both felt 
that they were standing by important principles. 

I certainly played a most inglorious part in 
this unnecessary conflict ; I was chairman of the 
School Management Committee during one year 
when a majority of the members seemed to me 
exasperatingly conservative, and during another 
year when they were frustratingly radical, and I 
was of course highly unsatisfactory to both. Cer- 
tainly a plan to retain the undoubted benefit of re- 
quired study for teachers in such wise as to lessen 
its burden, and various schemes devised to shift 
the emphasis from scholarship to professional work, 
were most impatiently repudiated by the Teachers' 
Federation, and when one badly mutilated plan 
finally passed the Board, it was most reluctantly 
administered by the superintendent. 

I at least became convinced that partisans 
would never tolerate the use of stepping-stones. 
They are much too impatient to look on while 



336 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

their beloved scheme is unstably balanced, and 
they would rather see it tumble into the stream 
at once than to have it brought to dry land in 
any such half-hearted fashion. Before my School 
Board experience, I thought that life had taught 
me at least one hard-earned lesson, that existing 
arrangements and the hoped for improvements 
must be mediated and reconciled to each other, 
that the new must be dovetailed into the old as 
it were, if it were to endure ; but on the School 
Board I discerned that all such efforts were looked 
upon as compromising and unworthy, by both par- 
tisans. In the general disorder and public excite- 
ment resulting from the illegal dismissal of a 
majority of the "Dunne" board and their re- 
instatement by a court decision, I found myself 
belonging to neither party. During the months 
following the upheaval and the loss of my most 
vigorous colleagues, under the regime of men rep- 
resenting the leading Commercial Club of the city 
who honestly believed that they were rescuing the 
schools from a condition of chaos, I saw one be- 
loved measure after another withdrawn. Although 
the new president scrupulously gave me the floor 
in the defense of each, it was impossible to con- 
sider them upon their merits in the lurid light which 
at the moment enveloped all the plans of the 
"uplifters." Thus the building of smaller school- 
rooms, such as in New York mechanically avoid 
overcrowding; the extension of the truant rooms 



I 



CIVIC COOPERATION 337 

so successfully inaugurated, the multiplication of 
school playgrounds and many another cherished 
plan was thrown out or at least indefinitely post- 
poned. 

The final discrediting of Mayor Dunne's ap- 
pointees to the School Board affords a very in- 
teresting study in social psychology; the news- 
papers had so constantly reflected and intensified 
the ideals of a business Board, and had so per- 
sistently ridiculed various administration plans for 
the municipal ownership of street railways, that 
from the beginning any attempt the new Board 
made to discuss educational matters, only excited 
their derision and contempt. Some of these dis- 
cussions were lengthy and disorderly and deserved 
the discipline of ridicule, but others which w^ere 
well conducted and in which educational problems 
were seriously set forth by men of authority, were 
ridiculed quite as sharply. I recall the surprise 
and indignation of a University professor who had 
consented to speak at a meeting arranged in the 
Board rooms, when next morning his nonpartisan 
and careful disquisition had been twisted into the 
most arrant uplift nonsense and so connected 
with a fake newspaper report of a trial marriage 
address delivered, not by himself, but by a col- 
league, that a leading clergyman of the city, having 
read the newspaper account, felt impelled to preach 
a sermon, calling upon all decent people to rally 
against the doctrines which were being taught to 



338 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

the children by an immoral School Board. As 
the bewildered professor had lectured in response 
to my invitation, I endeavored to find the animus 
of the complication, but neither from editor in chief 
nor from the reporter could I discover anything 
more sinister than that the public expected a good 
story out of these School Board ''talk fests," and 
that any man who even momentarily allied him- 
self with a radical administration, must expect to 
be ridiculed by those papers which considered the 
traction policy of the administration both foolish 
and dangerous. 

As I myself was treated with uniform courtesy 
by the leading papers, I may perhaps here record 
my discouragement over this complicated diffi- 
culty of open discussion, for democratic govern- 
ment is founded upon the assumption that differ- 
ing policies shall be freely discussed and that 
each party shall have an opportunity for at least 
a partisan presentation of its contentions. This 
attitude of the newspapers was doubtless intensi- 
fied because the Dunne School Board had insti- 
tuted a lawsuit challenging the validity of the lease 
for the school ground occupied by a newspaper 
building. This suit has since been decided in favor 
of the newspaper, and it may be that in their 
resentment they felt justified in doing everything 
possible to minimize the pro'secuting School Board. 
I am, however, inclined to think that the news- 
papers but reflected an opinion honestly held by 



CIVIC COOPERATION 339 

many people, and that their constant and partisan 
presentation of this opinion clearly demonstrates 
one of the greatest difficulties of governmental ad- 
ministration in a city grown too large for verbal 
discussions of public affairs. 

It is difficult to close this chapter without a 
reference to the efforts made in Chicago to secure 
the municipal franchise for women. During two 
long periods of agitation for a new city charter, 
a representative body of women appealed to the 
public, to the charter convention, and to the 
Illinois legislature ^for this very reasonable pro- 
vision. During the campaign when I acted as 
chairman of the federation of a hundred women's 
organizations, nothing impressed me so forcibly as 
the fact that the response came from bodies of 
women representing the most varied traditions. 
We were joined by a church society of hundreds of 
Lutheran women, because Scandinavian women 
had exercised the municipal franchise since the 
seventeenth century and had found American 
cities strangely conservative ; by organizations of 
working women who had keenly felt the need of 
the municipal franchise in order to secure for their 
workshops the most rudimentary sanitation and 
the consideration which the vote alone obtains for 
workingmen ; by federations of mothers' meetings, 
who were interested in clean milk and the extension 
of kindergartens ; by property-owning women, who 
had been powerless to protest against unjust taxa- 



340 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

tlon ; by organizations of professional women, of 
university students and of collegiate alumnae ; and 
by women's clubs interested in municipal reforms. 
There was a complete absence of the traditional 
women's rights clamor, but much impressive testi- 
mony from busy and useful women that they had 
reached the place where they needed the franchise 
in order to carry on their own affairs. A striking 
witness as to the need of the ballot, even for the 
women who are restricted to the most primitive and 
traditional activities, occurred when some Russian 
women waited upon me to ask whether under the 
new charter, they could vote for covered markets 
and so get rid of the shocking Chicago grime upon 
all their food ; and when some neighboring Italian 
women sent me word that they would certainly 
vote for public washhouses if they ever had the 
chance to vote at all. It was all so human, so 
spontaneous and so direct that it really seemed 
as if the time must be ripe for political expression 
of that public concern on the part of women 
which has so long been forced to seek indirection. 
None of these busy women wished to take the 
place of men nor to influence them in the direction 
of men's affairs, but they did seek an opportunity 
to cooperate directly in civic life through the use 
of the ballot in regard to their own affairs. 

A Municipal Museum which was established in 
the Chicago public library building several years 
ago, largely through the activity of a group of 



CIVIC COOPERATION 341 

women who had served as jurors In the departments 
of social economy, of education and of sanitation 
in the World's Fair at St. Louis, showed nothing 
more clearly than that it is impossible to divide 
any of these departments from the political life 
of the modern city which is constantly forced to 
enlarge the boundary of its activity. 



CHAPTER XV 

The Value of Social Clubs 

From the early days at Hull-House, social clubs 
composed of English speaking American born 
young people grew apace. So eager were they for 
social life that no mistakes in management could 
drive them away. I remember one enthusiastic 
leader who read aloud to a club a translation of 
"Antigone," which she had selected because she 
believed that the great themes of the Greek poets 
were best suited to young people. She came into 
the club room one evening in time to hear the 
president call the restive members to order with 
the statement, ''You might just as well keep 
quiet for she is bound to finish it, and the quicker 
she gets to reading, the longer time we'll have for 
dancing." And yet the same club leader had the 
pleasure of lending four copies of the drama to 
four of the members, and one young man almost 
literally committed the entire play to memory. 

On the whole we were much impressed by the 
great desire for self-improvement, for study and 
debate, exhibited by many of the young men. 
This very tendency, in fact, brought one of the 
most promising of our earlier clubs to an untimely 

342 



THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS 343 

end. The young men in the club, twenty in num- 
ber, had grown much irritated by the frivoHty of 
the girls during their long debates, and had finally 
proposed that three of the most ''frivolous" be 
expelled. Pending a final vote, the three culprits 
appealed to certain of their friends who were 
members of the Hull-House Men's Club, between 
w^hom and the debating young men the incident 
became the cause of a quarrel so bitter that at 
length it led to a shooting. Fortunately the shot 
missed fire, or it may have been true that it was 
"only intended for a scare," but at any rate, we 
were all thoroughly frightened by this manifesta- 
tion of the hot blood w^hich the defense of woman 
has so often evoked. After many efforts to bring 
about a reconciliation, the debating club of twenty 
young men and the seventeen young women, who 
either were or pretended to be sober minded, 
rented a hall a mile west of Hull-House severing 
their connection with us because their ambitious 
and right-minded efforts had been unappreciated, 
basing this on the ground that we had not urged 
the expulsion of the so-called ''tough" members 
of the Men's Club, who had been involved in the 
difficulty. The seceding club invited me to the 
first meeting in their new quarters that I might 
present to them my version of the situation and 
set forth the incident from the standpoint of 
Hull-House. The discussion I had with the young 
people that evening has always remained with me 



344 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

as one of the moments of illumination which life in 
a Settlement so often affords. In response to my 
position that a desire to avoid all that was "tough" 
meant to walk only in the paths of smug 
self-seeking and personal improvement leading 
straight into the pit of self-righteousness and petty 
achievement and was exactly what the Settlement 
did not stand for, they contended with much 
justice that ambitious young people were obliged 
for their own reputation, if not for their own 
morals, to avoid all connection with that which 
bordered on the tough, and that it was quite 
another matter for the Hull-House residents who 
could afford a more generous judgment. It was 
in vain I urged that life teaches us nothing more 
inevitably than that right and wrong are most 
confusingly confounded ; that the blackest wrong 
may be within our own motives, and that at the 
best, right will not dazzle us by its radiant shin- 
ing, and can only be found by exerting patience 
and discrimination. They still maintained their 
wholesome bourgeois position, which I am now 
quite ready to admit was most reasonable. 

Of course there were many disappointments 
connected with these clubs when the rewards of 
political and commercial life easily drew the mem- 
bers away from the principles advocated in club 
meetings. One of the young men who had been 
a shining light in the advocacy of municipal re- 
form, deserted in the middle of a reform campaign 



THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS 345 

because he had been offered a lucrative office in 
the city hall ; another even after a course of lec- 
tures on business morality, *' worked" the club 
itself to secure orders for custom-made clothing 
from samples of cloth he displayed, although the 
orders were filled by ready-made suits slightly re- 
fitted and delivered at double their original price. 
But nevertheless, there was much to cheer us as 
we gradually became acquainted with the daily 
living of the vigorous young men and women who 
filled to overflowing all the social clubs. 

We have been much impressed during our 
twenty years, by the ready adaptation of city 
young people to the prosperity arising from their 
own increased wages or from the commercial 
success of their families. This quick adaptability 
is the great gift of the city child, his one reward 
for the hurried changing life which he has always 
led. The working girl has a distinct advantage in 
the task of transforming her whole family into the 
ways and connections of the prosperous when she 
works down town and becomes conversant with 
the manners and conditions of a cosmopolitan 
community. Therefore having lived in a Settle- 
ment twenty years, I see scores of young people 
who have successfully established themselves in 
life, and in my travels in the city and outside, I 
am constantly cheered by greetings from the rising 
young lawyer, the scholarly rabbi, the successful 
teacher, the prosperous young matron buying 



346 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 



clothes for her blooming children. ''Don't you 
remember me ? I used to belong to a Hull-House 
club." I once asked one of these young people, 
a man who held a good position on a Chicago 
daily, what special thing Hull-House had meant 

to him, and he promptly replied, 
''It was the first house I had 
ever been in where books and 
magazines just lay around as if 
there were plenty of them in the 
world. Don't you remember 
how much I used 
to read at that 
little round table 
at the back of the 
library? To have 
people regard 
reading as a rea- 
sonable occupa- 
tion changed the 
whole aspect of 
life to me and I began to have confidence in what 
I could do." 

Among the young men of the social clubs a 
large proportion of the Jewish ones at least obtain 
the advantages of a higher education. The parents 
miake every sacrifice to help them through the high 
school after which the young men attend uni- 
versities and professional schools, largely through 
their own efforts. From time to time they come 




i 



.2- V^I>i-'l. i ililtiSSrvl.^':' .V 



»^ ^- 



THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS 347 

back to us with their honors thick upon them ; 
I remember one who returned with the prize in 
oratory from a contest between several western 
State universities, proudly testifying that he had 
obtained his confidence in our Henry Clay Club ; 
another came back with a degree from Harvard 
University saying that he had made up his mind 
to go there the summer I read Royce's '' Aspects 
of Modern Philosophy " with a group of young 
men who had challenged my scathing remark that 
Herbert Spencer was not the only man who had 
ventured a solution of the riddles of the universe. 
Occasionally one of these learned young folk 
does not like to be reminded that he once lived 
in our vicinity, but that happens rarely, and for 
the most part they are loyal to us in much the 
same spirit as they are to their own families and 
traditions. Sometimes they go further and tell 
us that the standards of tastes and code of man- 
ners which Hull-House has enabled them to form, 
have made a very great difference in their percep- 
tions and estimates of the larger world as well as 
in their own reception there. Five out of one 
club of twenty-five young men who had held 
together for eleven years, entered the University 
of Chicago but although the rest of the Club 
called them the ''intellectuals," the old friendships 
still held. 

In addition to these rising young people given 
to debate and dramatics, and to the members of 



348 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

the public school alumni associations which meet 
in our rooms, there are hundreds of others who 
for years have come to Hull-House frankly in 
search of that pleasure and recreation which all 
young things crave and which those who have 
spent long hours in a factory or shop demand as a 
right. For these young people all sorts of pleasure 
clubs have been cherished, and large dancing classes 
have been organized. One supreme gayety has 
come to be an annual event of such importance 
that it is talked of from year to year. For six 
weeks before St. Patrick's day, a small group of 
residents put their best powers of invention and 
construction into preparation for a cotillion which 
is like a pageant in its gayety and vigor. The 
parents sit in the gallery, and the mothers appre- 
ciate more than any one else perhaps, the value of 
this ball to which an invitation is so highly prized ; 
although their standards of manners may differ 
widely from the conventional, they know full 
well when the companionship of the young people 
is safe and unsullied. 

As an illustration of this difference in standard, 
I may instance an early Hull-House picnic ar- 
ranged by a club of young people, who found at 
the last moment that the club director could not 
go and accepted the offer of the mother of one 
of the club members to take charge of them. 
When they trooped back in the evening, tired and 
happy, they displayed a photograph of the group 



THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS 349 

wherein each man's arm was carefully placed 
about a girl ; no feminine waist lacked an arm 
save that of the proud chaperon, who sat in the 
middle smiling upon all. Seeing that the photo- 
graph somewhat surprised us, the chaperon stoutly 
explained, ''This may look queer to you, but there 
wasn't one thing about that picnic that wasn't 
nice," and her statement was a perfectly truthful 
one. 

Although more conventional customs are care- 
fully enforced at our many parties and festivities, 
and while the dancing classes are as highly prized 
for the opportunity they afford for enforcing 
standards as for their ostensible aim, the residents 
at Hull-House, in their efforts to provide opportu- 
nities for clean recreation, receive the most valued 
help from the experienced wisdom of the older 
women of the neighborhood. Bowen Hall is con- 
stantly used for dancing parties with soft drinks 
established in its foyer. The parties given by the 
Hull-House clubs are by invitation and the young 
people themselves carefully maintain their stand- 
ard of entrance so that the most cautious mother 
may feel safe when her daughter goes to one of our 
parties. No club festivity is permitted without 
the presence of a director; no young man under 
the influence of liquor is allowed ; certain types of 
dancing often innocently started are strictly pro- 
hibited ; and above all, early closing is insisted 
upon. This standardizing of pleasure has always 



350 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

seemed an obligation to the residents of Hull-House, 
but we are, I hope, saved from that priggishness 
which young people so heartily resent, by the 
Mardi Gras dance and other festivities which the 
residents themselves arrange and successfully carry 
out. 

In spite of our belief that the standards of a 
ball may be almost as valuable to those without 
as to those within, the residents are constantly 
concerned for those many young people in the 
neighborhood who are too hedonistic to submit to 
the discipline of a dancing class or even to the 
claim of a pleasure club, but who go about in 
freebooter fashion to find pleasure wherever it 
may be cheaply on sale. 

Such young people, well meaning but impatient 
of control, become the easy victims of the worst 
type of public dance halls and of even darker 
places, whose purposes are hidden under music 
and dancing. We were thoroughly frightened 
when we learned that during the year which 
ended last December, more than twenty-five 
thousand young people under the age of twenty- 
five passed through the Juvenile and Municipal 
Courts of Chicago — approximately one out of 
every eighty of the entire population, or one out 
of every fifty-two of those under twenty-five years 
of age. One's heart aches for these young people 
caught by the outside glitter of city gayety, who 
make such a feverish attempt to snatch it for 



THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS 351 

themselves. The young people in our clubs are 
comparatively safe, but many instances come to 
the knowledge of Hull-House residents which 
make us long for the time when the city, through 
more small parks, municipal gymnasiums and 
schoolrooms open for recreation, can guard from 
disaster these young people who walk so care- 
lessly on the edge of the pit. 

The heedless girls believe that if they lived in 
big houses and possessed pianos and jewelry, the 
coveted social life would come to them. I know 
a Bohemian girl who surreptitiously saved her over- 
time wages until she had enough money to hire for 
a week a room with a piano in it where young 
men might come to call, as they could not do in 
her crowded untidy home. Of course she had no 
way of knowing the sort of young men who quickly 
discover an unprotected girl. 

Another girl of American parentage who had 
come to Chicago to seek her fortune, found at the 
end of a year that sorting shipping receipts in a 
dark corner of a warehouse not only failed of 
accumulate riches but did not even bring the 
"attentions" which her quiet country home 
afforded. By dint of long sacrifice she had saved 
fifteen dollars ; with five she bought an imitation 
sapphire necklace, and the balance she changed 
into a ten dollar bill. The evening her pathetic 
little snare was set, she walked home with one of 
the clerks in the establishment, told him that she 



352 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

had come into a fortune, and was obliged to wear 
the heirloom necklace to insure its safety, per- 
mitted him to see that she carried ten dollars in 
her glove for carfare and conducted him to a 
handsome Prairie Avenue residence. There she 
gayly bade him good-by and ran up the steps shut- 
ting herself in the vestibule from which she did 
not emerge until the dazzled and bewildered young 
man had vanished down the street. 

Then there is the ever recurring difficulty about 
dress ; the insistence of the young to be gayly be- 
decked to the utter consternation of the hard- 
working parents who are paying for a house and 
lot. The Polish girl who stole five dollars from 
her employer's till with which to buy a white 
dress for a church picnic was turned away from 
home by her indignant father who replaced the 
money to save the family honor, but would harbor 
no ''thief" in a household of growing children 
who, in spite of the sister's revolt, continued to be 
dressed in dark heavy clothes through all the hot 
summer. There are a multitude of working girls 
who for hours carry hair ribbons and jewelry in 
their pockets or stockings, for they can wear them 
only during the journey to and from work. Some- 
times this desire to taste pleasure, to escape into 
a world of congenial companionship takes more 
elaborate forms and often ends disastrously. I 
recall a charming young girl, the oldest daughter 
of a respectable German family, whom I first saw 



THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS 353 

one spring afternoon issuing from a tall factory. 
She wore a blue print gown which so deepened the 
blue of her eyes that Wordsworth's line fairly sung 
itself : — 

The pliant harebell swinging in the breeze 
On some gray rock. 

I was grimly reminded of that moment a year 
later when I heard the tale of this seventeen-year- 
old girl, who had worked steadily in the same 
factory for four years before she resolved "to see 
life." In order not to arouse her parents' sus- 
picions, she borrowed thirty dollars from one 
of those loan sharks who require no security from 
a pretty girl, so that she might start from home 
every morning as if to go to work. For three 
weeks she spent the first part of each dearly 
bought day In a department store where she 
lunched and unfortunately made some dubious 
acquaintances ; in the afternoon she established 
herself in a theater and sat contentedly hour 
after hour watching the endless vaudeville until 
the usual time for returning home. At the end 
of each week she gave her parents her usual wage, 
but when her thirty dollars was exhausted it 
seemed unendurable that she should return to the 
monotony of the factory. In the light of her 
newly acquired experience she had learned that 
possibility which the city ever holds open to the 
restless girl. 

2A 



354 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 



That more such girls do not come to grief is 
due to those mothers who understand the in- 
satiable demand for a good time, and if all of the 
mothers did understand, those pathetic statistics 
which show that four fifths of all prostitutes are 

under twenty 
years of age would 
be marvelously 
changed. We are 
told that ''the will 
to live " is aroused 
in each baby by 
his mother's ir- 
resistible desire to 
p) play with him, 
the physiological 
value of joy that 
a child is born, 
and that the high 
death rate in in- 
stitutions is in- 
creased by " the 
discontented 
babies" whom no one persuades into living. 
Something of the same sort is necessary in that 
second birth at adolescence. The young people 
need affection and understanding each one for 
himself, if they are to be induced to live in an 
inheritance of decorum and safety and to under- 
stand the foundations upon which this orderly 




THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS 355 

world rests. No one comprehends their needs so 
sympathetically as those mothers who iron the 
flimsy starched finery of their grown-up daughters 
late into the night, and who pay for a red velvet 
parlor set on the installment plan, although the 
younger children may sadly need new shoes. 
These mothers apparently understand the sharp 
demand for social pleasure and do their best to 
respond to it, although at the same time they 
constantly minister to all the physical needs of an 
exigent family of little children. We often come 
to a realization of the truth of Walt Whitman's 
statement, that one of the surest sources of wis- 
dom is the mother of a large family. 

It is but natural, perhaps, that the members of 
the Hull-House Woman's Club whose prosperity 
has given them some leisure and a chance to re- 
move their own families to neighborhoods less 
full of temptations, should have offered their 
assistance in our attempt to provide recreation for 
these restless young people. In many instances 
their experience in the club itself has enabled 
them to perceive these needs. One day a Juvenile 
Court officer told me that a woman's club mem- 
ber, who has a large family of her own and one 
boy sufficiently difficult, had undertaken to care 
for a ward of the Juvenile Court who lived only 
a block from her house, and that she had kept 
him in the path of rectitude for six months. In 
reply to my congratulations upon this successful 



3S6 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

bit of reform to the club woman herself, she said 
that she was quite ashamed that she had not 
undertaken the task earlier for she had for years 
known the boy's mother who scrubbed a down- 
town office building, leaving home every evening 
at five and returning at eleven during the very 
time the boy could most easily find opportunities 
for wrongdoing. She said that her obligation 
toward this boy had not occurred to her until one 
day when the club members were making pillow- 
cases for the Detention Home of the Juvenile 
Court, it suddenly seemed perfectly obvious that 
her share in the salvation of wayward children 
was to care for this particular boy and she had 
asked the Juvenile Court officer to commit him to 
her. She invited the boy to her house to supper 
every day that she might know just where he 
was at the crucial moment of twilight, and she 
adroitly managed to keep him under her own roof 
for the evening if she did not approve of the 
plans he had made. She concluded with the 
remark that it was queer that the sight of 
the boy himself hadn't appealed to her but that 
the suggestion had come to her in such a round- 
about way. 

She was, of course, reflecting upon a common 
trait in human nature, — that we much more easily 
see the duty at hand when we see it in relation 
to the social duty of which it is a part. When 
she knew that an effort was being made through- 



/ 



THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS 357 

out all the large cities in the United States to 
reclaim the wayward boy, to provide him with 
reasonable amusement, to give him his chance for 
growth and development, and when she became 
ready to take her share in that movement, she 
suddenly saw the concrete case which she had not 
recognized before. 

We are slowly learning that social advance de- 
pends quite as much upon an increase in moral 
sensibility as it does upon a sense of duty, and of 
this one could cite many illustrations. I was at 
one time chairman of the Child Labor Committee 
in the General Federation of Woman's Clubs, 
which sent out a schedule asking each club in the 
United States to report as nearly as possible all 
the w^orking children under fourteen living in its 
vicinity. A Florida club filled out the schedule 
w^ith an astonishing number of Cuban children who 
were at work in sugar mills, and the club members 
registered a complaint that our committee had sent 
the schedule too late, for if they had realized the 
conditions earlier, they might have presented a 
bill to the legislature which had now adjourned. 
Of course the children had been working in the 
sugar mills for years, and had probably gone back 
and forth under the very eyes of the club women, 
but the women had never seen them, much less 
felt any obligation to protect them, until they 
joined a club, and the club joined a Federation, 
and the Federation appointed a Child Labor 



3S8 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Committee who sent them a schedule. With 
their quickened perceptions they then saw the 
rescue of these familiar children in the light of a 
social obligation. Through some such experi- 
ences the members of the Hull-House Women's 
Club have obtained the power of seeing the con- 
crete through the general and have entered into 
various undertakings. 

Very early in its history the club formed what 
was called "A Social Extension Committee." 
Once a month this committee gives parties to 
people in the neighborhood who for any reason 
seem forlorn and without much social pleasure. 
One evening they invited only Italian women, 
thereby crossing a distinct social ''gulf," for there 
certainly exists as great a sense of social difference 
between the prosperous Irish-American women and 
the South-Italian peasants as between any two sets 
of people in the city of Chicago. The Italian 
women, who were almost eastern in their habits, 
all stayed at home and sent their husbands, and 
the social extension committee entered the drawing- 
room to find it occupied by rows of Italian work- 
ingmen, who seemed to prefer to sit in chairs along 
the wall. They were quite ready to be "socially 
extended," but plainly puzzled as to what it was 
all about. The evening finally developed into a 
very successful party, not so much because the 
committee were equal to it, as because the Italian 
men rose to the occasion. 



THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS 359 

Untiring pairs of them danced the tarantella ; 
they sang Neapolitan songs ; one of them per- 
formed some of those wonderful sleight-of-hand 
tricks so often seen on the streets of Naples ; they 
explained the coral finger of St. Januarius which 
they wore ; they politely ate the strange American 
refreshments ; and when the evening was over, 
one of the committee said to me, ''Do you know 
I am ashamed of the way I have always talked 
about 'dagos,' they are quite like other people, 
only one must take a little more pains with them. 
I have been nagging my husband to move off 
M Street because they are moving in, but I am going 
to try staying awhile and see if I can make a real 
acquaintance with some of them." To my mind 
at that moment the speaker had passed from the 
region of the uncultivated person into the possi- 
bilities of the cultivated person. The former is 
bounded by a narrow outlook on life, unable to 
overcome differences of dress and habit, and his 
interests are slowly contracting within a circum- 
scribed area ; while the latter constantly tends to 
be more a citizen of the world because of his 
growing understanding of all kinds of people 
with their varying experiences. We send our 
young people to Europe that they may lose 
their provincialism and be able to judge their 
fellows by a more universal test, as we send 
them to college that they may attain the cul- 
tural background and a larger outlook ; all of 



36o TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

these it is possible to acquire in other ways, as 
this member of the woman's club had discovered 
for herself. 

This social extension committee under the leader- 
ship of an ex-president of the Club, a Hull-House 
resident with a wide acquaintance, also discover 
many of those lonely people of which every city 
contains so large a number. We are only slowly 
apprehending the very real danger to the individual 
who fails to establish some sort of genuine relation 
with the people who surround him. We are all 
more or less familiar with the results of isolation 
in rural districts ; the Bronte sisters have portrayed 
the hideous immorality and savagery of the remote 
dwellers on the bleak moorlands of northern Eng- 
land ; Miss Wilkins has written of the overdevel- 
oped will of the solitary New Englander ; but tales 
still wait to be told of the isolated city dweller. In 
addition to the lonely young man recently come to 
town, and the country family who have not yet 
made their connections, are many other people 
who, because of temperament or from an estimate 
of themselves which will not permit them to make 
friends with the "people around here," or who, 
because they are victims to a combination of cir- 
cumstances, lead a life as lonely and untouched by 
the city about them as if they were in remote 
country districts. The very fact that it requires 
an effort to preserve isolation from the tenement- 
house life which flows all about them, makes the 



THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS 361 

character stiffer and harsher than mere country 
solitude could do. 

Many instances of this come into my mind : 
the faded, ladylike hairdresser, who came and 
went to her work for twenty years, carefully con- 
cealing her dwelling place from the '^ other people 
in the shop," moving whenever they seemed too 
curious about it, and priding herself that no 
neighbor had ever "stepped inside her door," and 
yet when discovered through an asthma which 
forced her to crave friendly offices, she was most 
responsive and even gay in a social atmosphere. 
Another woman made a long effort to conceal 
the poverty resulting from her husband's inveter- 
ate gambling and to secure for her children the 
educational advantages to which her family had 
always been accustomed. Her five children, who 
are now university graduates, do not realize how 
hard and solitary was her early married life when 
we first knew her, and she was beginning to regret 
the isolation in which her children were being 
reared, for she saw that their lack of early compan- 
ionship would always cripple their power to make 
friends. She was glad to avail herself of the social 
resources of Hull-House for them, and at last 
even for herself. 

The leader of the social extension committee 
has also been able, through her connection wdth 
the vacant lot garden movement in Chicago, to 
maintain a most flourishing ''friendly club" largely 



362 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

composed of people who cultivate these garden 
plots. During the club evening at least, they re- 
gain something of the ease of the man who is 
being estimated by the bushels per acre of potatoes 
he has raised,, and not by that flimsy city judg- 
ment so often based upon store clothes. Their 
jollity and enthusiasm are unbounded, expressing 
itself in clog dances and rousing old songs often 
in sharp contrast to the overworked, worn aspects 
of the members. 

Of course there are surprising possibilities dis- 
covered through other clubs, in one of Greek 
women or in the "circolo Italiano," for a social 
club often affords a sheltered space in which the 
gentler social usages may be exercised, as the 
more vigorous clubs afford a point of departure 
into larger social concerns. 

The experiences of the Hull-House Woman's 
Club constantly react upon the family life of the 
members. Their husbands come with them to the 
annual midwinter reception, to club concerts and 
entertainments ; the little children come to the 
May party, with its dancing and games ; the 
older children, to the day in June when prizes are 
given to those sons and daughters of the members 
who present a good school record as graduates 
either from the eighth grade or from a high school. 

It seemed, therefore, but a fit recognition of 
their efforts when the president of the club 
erected a building planned especially for their 



THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS 363 

needs, with their own library and a hall large 
enough for their various social undertakings, 











although of course Bowen Hall is constantly put 
to many other uses. 

It was under the leadership of this same able 
president that the club achieved its wider purposes 
and took its place with the other forces for city 



364 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

betterment. The club had begun, as nearly all 
women's clubs do, upon the basis of self-improve- 
ment, although the foundations for this later devel- 
opment had been laid by one of their earliest presi- 
dents, who was the first probation officer of the 
Juvenile Court, and who had so shared her experi- 
ences with the club that each member felt the truth 
as well as the pathos of the lines inscribed on her 
memorial tablet erected in their club library: — 

"As more exposed to sufTering and distress 
Thence also more alive to tenderness." 

Each woman had discovered opportunities in her 
own experience for this same tender understand- 
ing, and under its succeeding president, Mrs. 
Pelham, in its determination to be of use to the 
needy and distressed, the club developed many 
philanthropic undertakings from the humble be- 
ginnings of a linen chest kept constantly filled 
with clothing for the sick and poor. It required, 
however, an adequate knowledge of adverse city 
conditions so productive of juvenile delinquency 
and a sympathy which could enkindle itself in 
many others of divers faiths and training, to 
arouse the club to its finest public spirit. This 
was done by a later president, Mrs. Bowen, who, 
as head of the Juvenile Protective Association, 
had learned that the moralized energy of a group 
is best fitted to cope with the complicated prob- 
lems of a city; but it required ability of an un- 



THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS 365 

usual order to evoke a sense of social obligation 
from the very knowledge of adverse city condi- 
tions which the club members possessed, and to 
connect it with the many civic and philanthropic 
organizations of the city in such wise as to make 
it socially useful. This financial and representa- 
tive connection with outside organizations, is 
valuable to the club only as it expresses its sym- 
pathy and kindliness at the same time in concrete 
form. A group of members who lunch with Mrs. 
Bowen each week at Hull-House discuss, not only 
topics of public interest, sometimes with experts 
whom they have long known through their mutual 
undertakings, but also their own club affairs in 
the light of this larger knowledge. 

Thus the value of social clubs broadens out in 
one's mind to an instrument of companionship 
through which many may be led from a sense 
of isolation to one of civic responsibility, even as 
another type of club provides recreational facili- 
ties for those who have had only meaningless 
excitements, or, as a third type, opens new and 
interesting vistas of life to those who are ambitious. 

The entire organization of the social life at 
Hull-House, while it has been fostered and directed 
by residents and others, has been largely pushed 
and vitalized from within by the club members 
themselves. Sir Walter Besant once told me that 
Hull-House stood in his mind more nearly for the 
ideal of the "Palace of Delight" than did the 



366 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

"London People's Palace" because we had de- 
pended upon the social resources of the people 
using it. He begged me not to allow Hull-House 
to become too educational. He believed it much 
easier to develop a polytechnic institute than a 
large recreational center, but he doubted whether 
the former was as useful. 

The social clubs form a basis of acquaintance- 
ship for many people living in other parts of the 
city. Through friendly relations with individuals, 
which is perhaps the sanest method of approach, 
they are thus brought into contact, many of them 
for the first time, with the industrial and social 
problems challenging the moral resources of our 
contemporary life. During our twenty years hun- 
dreds of these non-residents have directed clubs and 
classes, and have increased the number of Chicago 
citizens who are conversant with adverse social 
conditions and conscious that only by the un- 
ceasing devotion of each, according to his strength, 
shall the compulsions and hardships, the stupidi- 
ties and cruelties of life be overcome. The num- 
ber of people thus informed is constantly increas- 
ing in all our American cities, and they may in 
time remove the reproach of social neglect and 
indifference which has so long rested upon the 
citizens of the new world. I recall the experience 
of an Englishman who, not only because he was a 
member of the Queen's Cabinet and bore a title, 
but also because he was an able statesman, was 



THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS 367 



entertained with great enthusiasm by the leading 
citizens of Chicago. At a large dinner party he 
asked the lady sitting next to him what our tene- 
ment-house legislation was in regard to the cubic 
feet of air required for each occupant of a tene- 
ment bedroom; 
upon her disclaim- 
ing any knowl- 
edge of the sub- 
ject, the inquiry 
was put to all the 
diners at the lono: 
table, all of whom 
showed surprise 
that they should 
be expected to 
possess this in- 
formation. In 
telling me the in- 
cident afterward, 
the English guect 
said that such in- 
difference could 
not have been found among the leading citizens 
of London, whose public spirit had been aroused to 
provide such housing conditions as should protect 
tenement dwellers at least from wanton loss of vital- 
ity and lowered industrial efficiency. When I met 
the same Englishman in London five years after- 
wards, he immediately asked me whether Chicago 




368 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

citizens were still so indifferent to the conditions of 
the poor that they took no interest in their proper 
housing. I was quick with that defense which an 
American is obliged to use so often in Europe, that 
our very democracy so long presupposed that each 
citizen could care for himself that we are slow to 
develop a sense of social obligation. He smiled at 
the familiar phrases and was still inclined to attrib- 
ute our indifference to sheer ignorance of social 
conditions. 

The entire social development of Hull-House is 
so unlike what I predicted twenty years ago, that 
I venture to quote from that ancient writing as 
an end to this chapter. 

The social organism has broken down through large 
districts of our great cities. Many of the people 
living there are very poor, the majority of them with- 
out leisure or energy for anything but the gain of 
subsistence. 

They live for the moment side by side, many of 
them without knowledge of each other, without fellow- 
ship, without local tradition or public spirit, without 
social organization of any kind. Practically nothing is 
done to remedy this. The people who might do it, 
who have the social tact and training, the large houses, 
and the traditions and customs of hospitality, live in 
other parts of the city. The club houses, libraries, 
galleries and semi-public conveniences for social life 
are also blocks away. We find workingmen organ- 
ized into armies of producers because men of executive 
ability and business sagacity have found it to their 



THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CLUBS 369 

interests thus to organize them. But these working 
men are not organized socially ; although lodging in 
crowded tenement houses, they are living without a 
corresponding social contact. The chaos is as great as 
it would be were they working in huge factories with- 
out foreman or superintendent. Their ideas and re- 
sources are cramped, and the desire for higher social 
pleasure becomes extinct. They have no share in the 
traditions and social energy which make for progress. 
Too often their only place of meeting is a saloon, their 
only host a bartender; a local demagogue forms their 
public opinion. Men of ability and refinement, of 
social power and university cultivation, stay away 
from them. Personally, I believe the men who lose 
most are those who thus stay away. But the paradox 
is here : when cultivated people do stay away from a 
certain portion of the population, when all social ad- 
vantages are persistently withheld, it may be for years, 
the result itself is pointed to as a reason and is used as 
an argument, for the continued withholding. 

It is constantlv said that because the masses have 
never had social advantages, they do not want them, 
that they are heavy and dull, and that it will take 
political or philanthropic machinery to change them. 
This divides a city into rich and poor ; into the favored, 
who express their sense of the social obligation by gifts 
of money, and into the unfavored, who express it by 
clamoring for a "share" — both of them actuated by a 
vague sense of justice. This division of the city 
would be more justifiable, however, if the people who 
thus isolate themselves on certain streets and use their 
social ability for each other, gained enough thereby and 
added sufficient to the sum total of social progress to 

2 £ 



370 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

justify the withholding of the pleasures and results of 
that progress, from so many people who ought to have 
them. But they cannot accomplish this for the social 
spirit discharges itself in many forms, and no one 
form is adequate to its total expression. 




A Hull-House Studio. 



CHAPTER XVI 
Arts at Hull-House 

The first building erected for Hull-House con- 
tained an art gallery well lighted for day and even- 
ing use and our first exhibit of loaned pictures was 
opened in June, 1891, by Mr. and Mrs. Barnett of 
London. It is always pleasant to associate their 
hearty sympathy with that first exhibit, and thus 
to connect it with their pioneer efforts at Toynbee 
Hall to secure for working people the opportunity 
to know the best art, and with their establishment 
of the first permanent art gallery in an industrial 
quarter. 

We took pride in the fact that our first exhibit 
contained some of the best pictures Chicago af- 
forded, and we conscientiously insured them against 
fire and carefully guarded them by night and day. 

We had five of these exhibits during two years, 
after the gallery was completed : two of oil paint- 
ings, one of old engravings and etchings, one of 
water colors, and one of pictures especially selected 
for use in the public schools. These exhibits were 
surprisingly well attended and thousands of votes 
were cast for the most popular pictures. Their value 
to the neighborhood of course had to be deter- 

371 



372 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

mined by each one of us according to the value he 
attached to beauty and the escape it offers from 
dreary reality into the realm of the imagination. 
Miss Starr always insisted that the arts should 
receive adequate recognition at Hull-House and 
urged that one must always remember "the hungry 
individual soul which without art will have passed 
unsolaced and unfed, followed by other souls who 
lack the impulse his should have given." 

The exhibits afforded pathetic evidence that the 
older immigrants do not expect the solace of art 
in this country; an Italian expressed great sur- 
prise when he found that we, although Americans, 
still liked pictures, and said quite naively that he 
didn't know that Americans cared for anything 
but dollars — that looking at pictures was some- 
thing people only did in Italy. 

The extreme isolation of the Italian colony was 
demonstrated by the fact that he did not know that 
there was a public art gallery in the city nor any 
houses in which pictures were regarded as treasures. 

A Greek was much surprised to see a photograph 
of the Acropolis at Hull-House because he had lived 
in Chicago for thirteen years and had never before 
met any Americans who knew about this foremost 
glory of the w^orld. Before he left Greece he had 
imagined that Americans would be most eager to 
see pictures of Athens, and as he was a graduate of a 
school of technology, he had prepared a book of 
colored drawings and had made a collection of 



ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE 373 

photographs which he was sure Americans would 
enjoy. But although from his fruit stand near one 
of the large railroad stations he had conversed with 
many Americans and had often tried to lead the 
conversation back to ancient Greece, no one had 
responded, and he had at last concluded that ''the 
people of Chicago knew nothing of ancient times." 

The loan exhibits were continued until the Chi- 
cago Art Institute was opened free to the public on 
Sunday afternoons and parties were arranged at 
Hull-House and conducted there by a guide. In 
time even these parties were discontinued as the 
galleries became better known in all parts of the 
city and the Art Institute management did much 
to make pictures popular. 

From the first a studio was maintained at Hull- 
House which has developed through the changing 
years under the direction of Miss Benedict, one of 
the residents who is a member of the faculty in the 
Art Institute. Buildings on the Hull-House quad- 
rangle furnish studios for artists who find something 
of the same spirit in the contiguous Italian colony 
that the French artist is traditionally supposed to 
discover in his beloved Latin Quarter. These 
artists uncover something of the picturesque in the 
foreign colonies, which they have reproduced in 
painting, etching, and lithography. They find 
their classes filled not only by young people pos- 
sessing facility and sometimes talent, but also by 
older people to whom the studio affords the one 



374 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

opportunity of escape from dreariness ; a widow 
with four children who supplemented a very inade- 
quate Income by teaching the piano, for six years 
never missed her weekly painting lesson because it 




cc 



was "her one pleasure"; another woman whose 
youth and strength had gone into the care of an 
invalid father, poured into her afternoon in the 
studio once a week, all of the longing for self-ex- 
pression which she habitually suppressed. 

Perhaps the most satisfactory results of the studio 



ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE 375 

have been obtained through the classes of young 
men who are engaged in the commercial arts, and 
who are glad to have an opportunity to work out 
their own ideas. This is true of young engravers 
and lithographers ; of the men who have to do with 
posters and illustrations in various ways. The 
little pile of stones and the lithographer's hand- 
press in a corner of the studio have been used in 
many an experiment, as has a set of beautiful 
type loaned to Hull-House by a bibliophile. 

The work of the studio almost imperceptibly 
merged into the crafts and well within the first 
decade a shop was opened at Hull-House under 
the direction of several residents who were also 
members of the Chicago Arts and Crafts Society. 
This shop is not merely a school where people are 
taught and then sent forth to use their teaching 
in art according to their individual initiative and 
opportunity, but where those who have already 
been carefully trained, may express the best they 
can in wood or metal. The Settlement soon dis- 
covers how difficult it is to put a fringe of art on the 
end of a day spent in a factory. We constantly 
see young people doing overhurried work. Wrap- 
ping bars of soap in pieces of paper might at least 
give the pleasure of accuracy and repetition if it 
could be done at a normal pace, but when paid for 
by the piece, speed becomes the sole requirement 
and the last suggestion of human interest is taken 
away. In contrast to this the Hull-House shop 



376 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

affords many examples of the restorative power In 
the exercise of a genuine craft ; a young Russian 
who, like too many of his countrymen, had made a 
desperate effort to fit himself for a learned profes- 
sion, and who had almost finished his course in a 
night law school, used to watch constantly the 
work being done in the metal shop at Hull-House. 
One evening in a moment of sudden resolve, he 
took off his coat, sat down at one of the benches, 
and began to work, obviously as a very clever 
silversmith. He had long concealed his craft 
because he thought it would hurt his efforts as a 
lawyer and because he imagined an office more 
honorable and ''more American" than a shop. 
As he worked on during his two leisure evenings 
each week, his entire bearing and conversation 
registered the relief of one who abandons the effort 
he is not fitted for and becomes a man on his own 
feet, expressing himself through a familiar and deli- 
cate technique. 

Miss Starr at length found herself quite impatient 
with her role of lecturer on the arts, while all the 
handicraft about her was untouched by beauty 
and did not even reflect the interest of the v/orkman. 
She took a training in bookbinding in London under 
Mr. Cobden-Sanderson and established her bind- 
ery at Hull-House in which design and workman- 
ship, beauty and thoroughness are taught to a 
small number of apprentices. 

From the very first winter, concerts which are 



ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE 377 

still continued were given every Sunday after- 
noon in the Hull-House drawing-room and later, 
as the audiences increased, in the larger halls. For 
these we are indebted to musicians from every 
part of the city. Mr. William Tomlins early 
trained large choruses of adults as his assistants 
did of children, and the response to all of these 
showed that while the number of people in our 
vicinity caring for the best music was not large, 
they constituted a steady and appreciative group. 
It was in connection with these first choruses that 
a public-spirited citizen of Chicago offered a prize 
for the best labor song, competition to be open to 
the entire country. The responses to the offer 
literally filled three large barrels and speaking at 
least for myself as one of the bewildered judges, 
we were more disheartened by their quality than 
even by their overwhelming bulk. Apparently 
the workers of America are not yet ready to sing, 
although I recall a creditable chorus trained at 
Hull-House for a large meeting in sympathy with 
the anthracite coal strike in which the swinging 

lines 

" Who was it made the coal } 
Our God as well as theirs." 

seemed to relieve the tension of the moment. 
Miss Eleanor Smith, the head of the Hull-House 
Music School, who had put the words to music, 
performed the same office for the ''Sweatshop" 
of the Yiddish poet, the translation of which 



378 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

presents so graphically the bewilderment and 
tedium of the New York shop that it might be 
applied to almost any other machine industry as 
the first verse indicates : — 

"The roaring of the wheels has filled my ears, 
The clashing and the clamor shut me in, 
Myself, my soul, in chaos disappears, 
I cannot think or feel amid the din." 

It may be that this plaint explains the lack of 
labor songs in this period of industrial malad- 
justment when the worker is overmastered by his 
very tools. In addition to sharing with our neigh- 
borhood the best music we could procure, we have 
conscientiously provided careful musical instruc- 
tion that at least a few young people might under- 
stand those old usages of art; that they might 
master its trade secrets, for after all it is only 
through a careful technique that artistic ability 
can express itself and be preserved. 

From the beginning we had classes in music, 
and the Hull-House Music School, which is housed 
in quarters of its own in our quieter court, was 
opened in 1893. The school is designed to give 
a thorough musical instruction to a limited num- 
ber of children. From the first lessons they are 
taught to compose and to reduce to order the 
musical suggestions which may come to them, 
and in this wise the school has sometimes been 
able to recover the songs of the immigrants through 
their children. Some of these folk songs have 



ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE 



379 



(J 




38o TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

never been committed to paper, but have survived 
through the centuries because of a touch of undy- 
ing poetry which the world has always cherished ; 
as in the song of a Russian who is digging a 
post hole and finds his task dull and difficult until 
he strikes a stratum of red sand, which, in ad- 
dition to making digging easy, reminds him of the 
red hair of his sweetheart, and all goes merrily as 
the song lifts into a joyous melody. I recall 
again the almost hilarious enjoyment of the adult 
audience to whom it was sung by the children 
who had revived it, as well as the more sober 
appreciation of the hymns taken from the lips of 
the cantor, whose father before him had officiated 
in the synagogue. 

The recitals and concerts given by the school 
are attended by large and appreciative audiences. 
On the Sunday before Christmas the program of 
Christmas songs draws together people of the most 
diverging faiths. In the deep tones of the me- 
morial organ erected at Hull-House, we realize 
that music is perhaps the most potent agent for 
making the universal appeal and inducing men to 
forget their differences. 

Some of the pupils in the music school have 
developed during the years into trained musicians 
and are supporting themselves in their chosen 
profession. On the other hand, we constantly see 
the most promising musical ability extinguished 
when the young people enter industries which so 



ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE 381 

sap their vitality that they cannot carry on serious 
study in the scanty hours outside of factory work. 
Many cases indisputably illustrate this : a Bo- 
hemian girl, who, in order to earn money for press- 
ing family needs, first ruined her voice in a six 
months' constant vaudeville engagement, returned 
to her trade working overtime in a vain effort to 
continue the vaudeville income ; another young girl 
whom Hull-House had sent to the high school so 
long as her parents consented, because we realized 
that a beautiful voice is often unavailable through 
lack of the informing mind, later extinguished her 
promise in a tobacco factory ; a third girl who 
had supported her little sisters since she was 
fourteen, eagerly used her fine voice for earning 
money at entertainments held late after her day's 
work, until exposure and fatigue ruined her 
health as well as a musician's future ; a young 
man whose music-loving family gave him every 
possible opportunity, and who produced some 
charming and even joyous songs during the long 
struggle with tuberculosis which preceded his 
death, had made a brave beginning, not only as a 
teacher of music but as a composer. In the little 
service held at Hull-House in his memory, when 
the children sang his composition, ''How Sweet is 
the Shepherd's Sweet Lot," it was hard to realize 
that such an interpretive pastoral could have been 
produced by one whose childhood had been passed 
in a crowded city quarter. 



382 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Even that bitter experience did not prepare us 
for the sorrowful year when six promising pupils 
out of a class of fifteen, developed tuberculosis. 
It required but little penetration to see that during 
the eight years the class of fifteen school children 
had come together to the music school, they had 
approximately an even chance, but as soon as they 
reached the legal working age only a scanty moiety 
of those who became self-supporting could endure 
the strain of long hours and bad air. Thus the 
average human youth, ''With all the sweetness 
of the common dawn," is flung into the vortex of 
industrial life wherein the everyday tragedy escapes 
us save when one of them becomes conspicuously 
unfortunate. Twice in one year we were com- 
pelled 

"To find the inheritance of this poor child 
His little kingdom of a forced grave." 

It has been pointed out many times that Art 
lives by devouring her own offspring and the 
world has come to justify even that sacrifice, but 
we are unfortified and unsolaced when we see 
the children of Art devoured, not by her, but by 
the uncouth stranger. Modern Industry, who, 
needlessly ruthless and brutal to her own children, 
is quickly fatal to the offspring of the gentler 
mother. And so schools in art for those who go 
to work at the age when more fortunate young 
people are still sheltered and educated, constantly 
epitomize one of the haunting problems of life; 



ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE 



383 



why do we permit the waste of this most precious 
human faculty, this consummate possession of civil- 
ization ? When we fail to provide the vessel in 
which it may be treasured, it runs out upon the 
ground and is irretrievably lost. 

The universal desire for the portrayal of life 
lying quite outside of personal experience evinces 




Itself in many forms. One of the conspicuous 
features of our neighborhood, as of all industrial 
quarters, is the persistency with which the entire 
population attends the theater. The very first 
day I saw Halsted Street a long line of young 
men and boys stood outside the gallery entrance 
of the Bijou Theater, waiting for the Sunday 
matinee to begin at two o'clock, although it was 
only high noon. This waiting crowd might have 



384 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

been seen every Sunday afternoon during the 
twenty years which have elapsed since then. Our 
first Sunday evening in Hull-House, when a group 
of small boys sat on our piazza and told us "about 
things around here," their talk was all of the 
theater and of the astonishing things they had 
seen that afternoon. 

But quite as it was difficult to discover the habits 
and purposes of this group of boys because they 
much preferred talking about the theater to contem- 
plating their own lives, so it was all along the 
line ; the young men told us their ambitions in the 
phrases of stage heroes, and the girls, so far as their 
romantic dreams could be shyly put into words, 
possessed no others but those soiled by long use 
in the melodrama. All of these young people 
looked upon an afternoon a week in the gallery of 
a Halsted Street theater as their one opportunity 
to see life. The sort of melodrama they see there 
has recently been described as ''the ten command- 
ments written in red fire." Certainly the villain 
always comes to a violent end, and the young and 
handsome hero is rewarded by marriage with a 
beautiful girl, usually the daughter of a millionaire, 
but after all that is not a portrayal of the morality 
of the ten commandments any more than of life 
itself. 

Nevertheless the theater, such as it was, appeared 
to be the one agency which freed the boys and girls 
from that destructive isolation of those who drag 



ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE 385 

themselves up to maturity by themselves, and It 
gave them a glimpse of that order and beauty into 
which even the poorest drama endeavors to restore 
the bewildering facts of life. The most prosaic 
young people bear testimony to this overmastering 
desire. A striking illustration of this came to us 
during our second year's residence on Halsted 
Street through an incident in the Italian colony, 
where the men have always boasted that they were 
able to guard their daughters from the dangers of 
city life, and until evil Italians entered the business 
of the "white slave traffic," their boast was well 
founded. The first Italian girl to go astray known 
to the residents of Hull-House, was so fascinated 
by the stage that on her way home from work 
she always loitered outside a theater before the en- 
ticing posters. Three months after her elopement 
with an actor, her distracted mother received a 
picture of her dressed in the men's clothes in which 
she appeared in vaudeville. Her family mourned 
her as dead and her name was never mentioned 
among them nor in the entire colony. In further 
illustration of an overmastering desire to see life as 
portrayed on the stage are two young girls whose 
sober parents did not approve of the theater and 
would allow no money for such foolish purposes. 
In sheer desperation the sisters evolved a plot that 
one of them would feign a toothache, and while she 
was having her tooth pulled by a neighboring den- 
tist the other would steal the gold crowns from his 
2 c 



386 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

table, and with the money thus procured they could 
attend the vaudeville theater every night on their 
way home from work. Apparently the pain and 
wrongdoing did not weigh for a moment against 
the anticipated pleasure. The plan was carried out 
to the point of selling the gold crowns to a pawn- 
broker when the disappointed girls were arrested. 

All this effort to see the play took place in the 
years before the five-cent theaters had become a 
feature of every crowded city thoroughfare and 
before their popularity had induced the attendance 
of two and a quarter million people in the United 
States every twenty-four hours. The eagerness of 
the penniless children to get into these magic 
spaces is responsible for an entire crop of petty 
crimes made more easy because two children are 
admitted for one nickel at the last performance 
when the hour is late and the theater nearly de- 
serted. The Hull-House residents were aghast 
at the early popularity of these mimic shows, 
and in the days before the inspection of films and 
the present regulations for the five-cent theaters 
we established at Hull-House a moving picture 
show. Although its success justified its existence, 
it was so obviously but one in the midst of hundreds 
that it seemed much more advisable to turn our 
attention to the improvement of all of them or 
rather to assist as best we could, the successful 
efforts in this direction by the Juvenile Protective 
Association. 



ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE 387 

However, long before the five-cent theater was 
even heard of, we had accumulated much testimony 
as to the power of the drama, and we would have 
been dull indeed if we had not availed ourselves of 
the use of the play at Hull-House, not only as an 
agent of recreation and education, but as a vehicle 
of self-expression for the teeming young life all 
about us. 

Long before the Hull-House theater was built 
we had many plays, first in the drawing-room and 
later in the gymnasium. The young people's 
clubs never tired of rehearsing and preparing for 
these dramatic occasions, and we also discovered 
that older people were almost equally ready and 
talented. We quickly learned that no celebration 
at Thanksgiving was so popular as a graphic por- 
trayal on the stage of the Pilgrim Fathers, and we 
were often put to it to reduce to dramatic effects 
the great days of patriotism and religion. 

At one of our early Christmas celebrations 
Longfellow's "Golden Legend" was given, the 
actors portraying it with the touch of the miracle 
play spirit which it reflects. I remember an old 
blind man, who took the part of a shepherd, said, 
at the end of the last performance, ''Kind Heart," 
a name by which he always addressed me, "it 
seems to me that I have been waiting all my life 
to hear some of these things said. I am glad we 
had so many performances, for I think I can re- 
member them to the end. It is getting hard for 



388 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

me to listen to reading, but the different voices and 
all made this very plain." Had he not perhaps 
made a legitimate demand upon the drama, that 
it shall express for us that which we have not been 
able to formulate for ourselves, that it shall warm 
us with a sense of companionship with the experi- 
ences of others ; does not every genuine drama 
present our relations to each other and to the world 
in which we find ourselves in such wise as may 
fortify us to the end of the journey ? 

The immigrants in the neighborhood of Hull- 
House have utilized our little stage in an endeavor 
to reproduce the past of their own nations through 
those immortal dramas which have escaped from 
the restraining bond of one country into the land 
of the universal. 

A large colony of Greeks near Hull-House, who 
often feel that their history and classic back- 
ground are completely ignored by Americans, 
and that they are easily confused with the more 
ignorant immigrants from other parts of south- 
eastern Europe, welcome an occasion to present 
Greek plays in the ancient text. With expert 
help in the difficulties of staging and rehearsing a 
classic play, they reproduced the Aj ax of Sophocles 
upon the Hull-House stage. It was a genuine 
triumph to the actors who felt that they were 
''showing forth the glory of Greece" to ''ignorant 
Americans." The scholar who came with a copy 
of Sophocles in hand and followed the play with 



ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE 389 

real enjoyment, did not in the least realize that the 
revelation of the love of Greek poets was mutual 
between the audience and the actors. The Greeks 
have quite recently assisted an enthusiast in pro- 
ducing ''Electra," while the Lithuanians, the 
Poles, and other Russian subjects often use the 
Hull-House stage to present plays in their own 
tongue, which shall at one and the same time 
keep alive their sense of participation in the great 
Russian revolution and relieve their feelings in 
regard to it. There is something still more appeal- 
ing in the yearning efforts the immigrants some- 
times make to formulate their situation in America. 
I recall a play written by an Italian playwright of 
our neighborhood, which depicted the insolent 
break between Americanized sons and old coun- 
try parents, so touchingly that it moved to tears 
all the older Italians in the audience. Did the 
tears of each express relief in finding that others 
had had the same experience as himself, and did 
the knowledge free each one from a sense of isola- 
tion and an injured belief that his children were 
the worst of all ^ 

This effort to understand life through its dra- 
matic portrayal, to see one's own participation 
intelligibly set forth, becomes difficult when one 
enters the field of social development, but even 
here it is not impossible if a Settlement group is 
constantly searching for new material. 

A labor story appearing in the Atlantic Monthly 



390 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

was kindly dramatized for us by the author who 
also superintended its presentation upon the 
Hull-House stage. The little drama presented the 
untutored effort of a trades-union man to secure 
for his side the beauty of self-sacrifice, the glamour 
of martyrdom, which so often seems to belong 
solely to the nonunion forces. The presentation 
of the play was attended by an audience of trades- 
unionists and employers and those other people 
who are supposed to make public opinion. To- 
gether they felt the moral beauty of the man's 
conclusion that "it's the side that suffers most 
that will win out in this war — the saints is the 
only ones that has got the world under their feet 
— we've got to do the way they done if the unions 
is to stand," so completely that it seemed quite 
natural that he should forfeit his life upon the 
truth of this statement. 

The dramatic arts have gradually been de- 
veloped at Hull-House through amateur com- 
panies, one of which has held together for more 
than fifteen years. The members were originally 
selected from the young people who had evinced 
talent in the plays the social clubs were always 
giving, but the association now adds to itself only 
as a vacancy occurs. Some of them have de- 
veloped almost a professional ability, although 
contrary to all predictions and in spite of several 
offers, none of them have taken to a stage career. 
They present all sorts of plays from melodrama 



ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE 391 

and comedy to those of Shaw, Ibsen, and Gals- 
worthy. The latter are surprisingly popular, per- 
haps because of their sincere attempt to expose 
the shams and pretenses of contemporary life and 
to penetrate into some of its perplexing social and 
domestic situations. Through such plays the 
stage may become a pioneer teacher of social 
righteousness. 

I have come to believe, however, that the stage 
may do more than teach, that much of our current 
moral instruction will not endure the test of being 
cast into a lifelike mold, and when presented in 
dramatic form will reveal itself as platitudinous 
and effete. That which may have sounded like 
righteous teaching w^hen it was remote and wordy, 
will be challenged afresh w^hen it is obliged to 
simulate life itself. 

This function of the stage, as a reconstructing 
and reorganizing agent of accepted moral truths, 
came to me with overwhelming force as I listened 
to the Passion Play at Oberammergau one beau- 
tiful summer's day in 1900. The peasants who 
portrayed exactly the successive scenes of the 
wonderful Life, who used only the very words 
found in the accepted version of the Gospels, yet 
curiously modernized and reorientated the mes- 
sage. They made clear that the opposition to the 
young Teacher sprang from the merchants w^hose 
traffic in the temple He had disturbed and from 
the Pharisees who were dependent upon therri for 



392 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

support. Their query was curiously familiar, as 
they demanded the antecedents of the Radical 
who dared to touch vested interests, who presumed 
to dictate the morality of trade, and who insulted 
the marts of honest merchants by calling them 
"a den of thieves." As the play developed, it 
became clear that this powerful opposition had 
friends in Church and State, that they controlled 
influences which ramified in all directions. They 
obviously believed in their statement of the case 
and their very wealth and position in the com- 
munity gave their words such weight that finally 
all of their hearers were convinced that the young 
Agitator must be done away with in order that 
the highest interests of society might be con- 
served. These simple peasants made it clear that 
it was the money power which induced one of the 
Agitator's closest friends to betray him, and the 
villain of the piece, Judas himself, was only a 
man who was so dazzled by money, so under the 
domination of all it represented, that he was 
perpetually blind to the spiritual vision unrolling 
before him. As I sat through the long summer 
day, seeing the shadows on the beautiful moun- 
tain back of the open stage shift from one side to 
the other and finally grow long and pointed in 
the soft evening light, my mind was filled with 
perplexing questions. Did the dramatization of 
the life of Jesus set forth its meaning more clearly 
and conclusively than talking and preaching could 



ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE 393 

possibly do as a shadowy following of the com- 
mand ''to do the will" ? 

The peasant actors whom I had seen returning 
from mass that morning had prayed only to por- 
tray the life as He had lived it and, behold, out of 
their simplicity and piety arose this modern version 
which even Harnack was only then venturing to 
suggest to his advanced colleagues in Berlin. Yet 
the Oberammergau folk were very like thousands 
of immigrant men and women of Chicago, both in 
their experiences and in their familiarity with the 
hard facts of life, and throughout that day as my 
mind dwelt on my far-away neighbors, I was re- 
proached with the sense of an ungarnered harvest. 

Of course such a generally uplifted state comes 
only at rare moments, while the development of 
the little theater at Hull-House has not depended 
upon the moods of any one, but upon the genuine 
enthusiasm and sustained effort of a group of resi- 
dents, several of them artists who have ungrudg- 
ingly given their time to it year after year. This 
group has long fostered junior dramatic associa- 
tions, through which it seems possible to give a 
training in manners and morals more directly than 
through any other medium. They have learned to 
determine very cleverly the ages at which various 
types of the drama are most congruous and expres- 
sive of the sentiments of the little troupes, from the 
fairy plays such as "Snow-White" and "Puss-in- 
Boots" which appeal to the youngest children, to 



394 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

the heroic plays of "William Tell," ''King John," 
and ''Wat Tyler" for the older lads, and to the 
romances and comedies which set forth in stately 
fashion the elaborated life which so many young 
people admire. A group of Jewish boys gave a 
dramatic version of the story of Joseph and his 
brethren and again of Queen Esther. They had 
almost a sense of proprietorship in the fine old lines 
and were pleased to bring from home bits of Tal- 
mudic lore for the stage setting. The same club of 
boys at one time will buoyantly give a roaring com- 
edy and five years later will solemnly demand a 
drama dealing with modern industrial conditions. 
The Hull-House theater is also rented from time to 
time to members of the Young People's Socialist 
League who give plays both in Yiddish and English 
which reduce their propaganda to conversation. 
Through such humble experiments as the Hull- 
House stage, as well as through the more ambitious 
reforms which are attempted in various parts of 
the country, the theater may at last be restored to 
its rightful place in the community. 

There have been times when our little stage was 
able to serve the theatre libre. A Chicago troupe, 
finding it difficult to break into a trust theater, 
used it one winter twice a week for the presenta- 
tion of Ibsen and old French comedy. A visit 
from the Irish poet Yeats inspired us to do our 
share towards freeing the stage from its slavery to 
expensive scene setting, and a forest of stiff con- 



ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE 395 

ventional trees against a gilt sky still remains with 
us as a reminder of an attempt not wholly unsuc- 
cessful, in this direction. 

This group of Hull-House artists have filled our 
little foyer with a series of charming playbills and 
by dint of painting their own scenery and making 
their own costumes have obtained beguiling re- 
sults in stage setting. Sometimes all the artistic 
resources of the House unite in a Wagnerian combi- 
nation; thus the text of the "Troll's Holiday" was 
written by one resident, set to music by another ; 
sung by the Music School, and placed upon the 
stage under the careful direction and training of 
the dramatic committee ; and the little brown 
trolls could never have tumbled about so grace- 
fully in their gleaming caves unless they had been 
taught in the gymnasium. 

Some such synthesis takes place every year at 
the Hull-House annual exhibition, when an effort 
is made to bring together in a spirit of holiday the 
nine thousand people who come to the House every 
week during duller times. Curiously enough the 
central feature at the annual exhibition seems to be 
the brass band of the boys' club which apparently 
dominates the situation by sheer size and noise, but 
perhaps their fresh boyish enthusiasm expresses 
that which the older people take more soberly. 

As the stage of our little theater had attempted to 
portray the heroes of many lands, so we planned 
one early spring seven years ago, to carry out a 



396 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

scheme of mural decoration upon the walls of the 
theater itself, which should portray those cosmo- 
politan heroes who have become great through 
identification with the common lot, in preference 
to the heroes of mere achievement. In addition to 
the group of artists living at Hull-House several 
others were in temporary residence, and they all 
threw themselves enthusiastically into the plan. 
The series began with Tolstoy plowing his field 
which was painted by an artist of the Glasgow 
school, and the next was of the young Lincoln 
pushing his flatboat down the Mississippi River 
at the moment he received his first impression of 
the "great iniquity." This was done by a promis- 
ing young artist of Chicago, and the wall spaces 
nearest to the two selected heroes were quickly 
filled with their immortal sayings. 

A spirited discussion thereupon ensued in regard 
to the heroes for the two remaining large wall 
spaces, when to the surprise of all of us the group 
of twenty-five residents who had lived in un- 
broken harmony for more than ten years, suddenly 
broke up into cults and even camps of hero wor- 
ship. Each cult exhibited drawings of its own 
hero in his most heroic moment, and of course 
each drawing received enthusiastic backing from 
the neighborhood, each according to the nation- 
ality of the hero. Thus Phidias standing high on 
his scaifold as he finished the heroic head of 
Athene; the young David dreamily playing his 



ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE 397 

harp as he tended his father's sheep at Bethle- 
hem ; St. Francis washing the feet of the leper ; 
the young slave Patrick guiding his master through 
the bogs of Ireland, which he later rid of their 
dangers ; the poet Hans Sachs cobbling shoes ; 
Jeanne d'Arc dropping her spindle in startled won- 
der before the heavenly visitants, naturally all 
obtained such enthusiastic following from our 
cosmopolitan neighborhood that it was certain to 
give offense if any two were selected. Then there 
was the cult of residents who wished to keep the 
series contemporaneous with the two heroes al- 
ready painted, and they advocated William Morris 
at his loom, Walt Whitman tramping the open 
road, Pasteur in his laboratory, or Florence Night- 
ingale seeking the wounded on the field of battle. 
But beyond the socialists, few of the neighbors 
had heard of William Morris, and the fame of Walt 
Whitman was still more apocryphal ; Pasteur 
was considered merely a clever scientist without 
the romance which evokes popular aifection and 
in the provisional drawing submitted for votes, 
gentle Florence Nightingale was said "to look 
more as if she were robbing the dead than succor- 
ing the wounded." The remark shows how high the 
feeling ran, and then, as something must be done 
quickly, we tried to unite upon strictly local heroes 
such as the famous fire marshal who had lived 
for many years in our neighborhood, — but why 
prolong this description which demonstrates once 



398 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 



more that art, if not always the handmaid of 
religion, yet insists upon serving those deeper 
sentiments for which we unexpectedly find our- 
selves ready to fight. When we were all fatigued 
and hopeless of compromise, we took refuge in a 



^H'k- 






I 'Y-|/#' 



'.'1/ M •••;>.> 3 A iV |§p^rt^'^C;5- 




^m"t 




■ 'Mm ^'^- 



wmWw^t 






series of landscapes connected with our two heroes 
by a quotation from Wordsworth slightly dis- 
torted to meet our dire need, but still stating his 
impassioned belief in the efficacious spirit capable 
of companionship with man which resides in 
particular spots." Certainly peace emanates 



a 



ARTS AT HULL-HOUSE 399 

from the particular folding of the hills in one of 
our treasured mural landscapes, yet occasionally 
when a guest with a bewildered air looks from one 
side of the theater to the other, we are forced to 
conclude that the connection is not convincing. 

In spite of its stormy career this attempt at 
mural decoration connects itself quite naturally 
with the spirit of our earlier efforts to make Hull- 
House as beautiful as we could, which had in it a 
desire to embody in the outward aspect of the 
House something of the reminiscence and aspira- 
tion of the neighborhood life. 

As the House enlarged for new needs and 
mellowed through slow-growing associations, we 
endeavpred to fashion it from without, as it were, 
as well as from within. A tiny wall fountain 
modeled in classic pattern, for us penetrates into 
the world of the past, but for the Italian immi- 
grant it may defy distance and barriers as he 
dimly responds to that typical beauty in which 
Italy has ever written its message, even as classic 
art knew no region of the gods which was not also 
sensuous, and as the art of Dante mysteriously 
blended the material and the spiritual. 

Perhaps the early devotion of the Hull-House 
residents to the pre-Raphaelites recognized that 
they above all English speaking poets and painters 
reveal 'Hhe sense of the expressiveness of out- 
ward things" which is at once the glory and the 
limitation of the arts. 



CHAPTER XVII 

Echoes of the Russian Revolution 

The residents of Hull-House have always seen 
many evidences of the Russian Revolution ; a 
forlorn family of little children whose parents 
have been massacred at Kishinev are received and 
supported by their relatives in our Chicago neigh- 
borhood ; or a Russian woman, her face streaming 
with tears of indignation and pity, asks you to 
look at the scarred back of her sister, a ^ young 
girl, who has escaped with her life from the whips 
of the Cossack soldiers ; or a studious young 
woman suddenly disappears from the Hull-House 
classes because she has returned to Kiev to be 
near her brother while he is in prison, that she 
may earn money for the nourishing food which 
alone will keep him from contracting tuberculosis ; 
or we attend a protest meeting against the newest 
outrages of the Russian government in which the 
speeches are interrupted by the groans of those 
whose sons have been sacrified and by the hisses 
of others who cannot repress their indignation. 
At such moments an American is acutelv con- 
scious of our ignorance of this greatest tragedy of 
modern times, and at our indifference to the 

400 



ECHOES OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 401 




2D 



402 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

waste of perhaps the noblest human material 
among our contemporaries. Certain it is, as the 
distinguished Russian revolutionists have come to 
Chicago, they have impressed me, as no one else 
ever has done, as belonging to that noble com- 
pany of martyrs who have ever and again poured 
forth blood that human progress might be ad- 
vanced. Sometimes these men and women have 
addressed audiences gathered quite outside the 
Russian colony and have filled to overflowing 
Chicago's largest halls with American citizens 
deeply touched by this message of martyrdom. 
One significant meeting was addressed by a mem- 
ber of the Russian Duma and by one. of Russia's 
oldest and sanest revolutionists ; another by 
Madame Breshkovsky, who later languished a 
prisoner in the fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul. 

In this wonderful procession of revolutionists. 
Prince Kropotkin, or, as he prefers to be called, 
Peter Kropotkin, was doubtless the most dis- 
tinguished. When he came to America to lecture, 
he was heard throughout the country with great 
interest and respect ; that he was a guest of Hull- 
House during his stay in Chicago attracted little 
attention at tjie time, but two years later, when the 
assassination of President McKinley occurred, the 
visit of this kindly scholar, who had always called 
himself an "anarchist" and had certainly written 
fiery tracts in his younger manhood, was made the 
basis of an attack upon Hull-House by a daily 



ECHOES OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 403 

newspaper, which ignored the fact that while 
Prince Kropotkin had addressed the Chicago Arts 
and Crafts Society at Hull-House, giving a digest 
of his remarkable book on "Fields, Factories, and 
Workshops," he had also spoken at the State Uni- 
versities of Illinois and Wisconsin and before the 
leading literary and scientific societies of Chicago. 
These institutions and societies were not, therefore, 
called anarchistic. Hull-House had doubtless laid 
itself open to this attack through an incident con- 
nected with the imprisonment of the editor of an 
anarchistic paper, who was arrested in Chicago 
immediately after the assassination of President 
McKinley. In the excitement following the na- 
tional calamity and the avowal by the assassin of 
the influence of the anarchistic lecture to which he 
had listened, arrests were made in Chicago of every 
one suspected of anarchy, in the belief that a wide- 
spread plot would be uncovered. The editor's 
house was searched for incriminating literature, his 
wife and daughter taken to a police station, and 
his son and himself, with several other suspected 
anarchists, were placed in the disused cells in the 
basement of the city hall. 

It is impossible to overstate the public excite- 
ment of the moment and the unfathomable sense 
of horror with which the community regarded an 
attack upon the chief executive of the nation, as a 
crime against government itself which compels 
an instinctive recoil from all law-abiding citizens. 



404 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Doubtless both the horror and recoil have their 
roots deep down in human experience ; the earliest 
forms of government implied a group which offered 
competent resistance to outsiders, but assuming 
no protection was necessary between any two of its 
own members, promptly punished with death the 
traitor who had assaulted any one within. An 
anarchistic attack against an official thus furnishes 
an accredited basis both for unreasoning hatred and 
for prompt punishment. Both the hatred and the 
determination to punish reached the highest pitch 
in Chicago after the assassination of President 
McKinley, and the group of wretched men detained 
in the old-fashioned, scarcely habitable cells, had 
not the least idea of their ultimate fate. They were 
not allowed to see an attorney and were kept "in 
communicado" as their excited friends called it. 
I had seen the editor and his family only during 
Prince Kropotkin's stay at Hull-House, when they 
had come to visit him several times. The editor 
had impressed me as a quiet, scholarly man, chal- 
lenging the social order by the philosophic touch- 
stone of Bakunin and of Herbert Spencer, somewhat 
startled by the radicalism of his fiery young son and 
much comforted by the German domesticity of his 
wife and daughter. Perhaps it was but my hys- 
terical symptom of the universal excitement, but 
it certainly seemed to me more than I could bear 
when a group of his individualistic friends, who had 
come to ask for help, said : "You see what becomes 



ECHOES OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 405 

of your boasted law; the authorities won't even 
allow an attorney, nor will they accept bail for these 
men, against whom nothing can be proved, al- 
though the veriest criminals are not denied such a 
right." Challenged by an anarchist, one is always 
sensitive for the honor of legally constituted society, 
and I replied that of course the men could have an 
attorney, that the assassin himself would eventually 
be furnished with one, that the fact that a man was 
an anarchist had nothing to do with his rights be- 
fore the law ! I was met with the retort that that 
might do for a theory, but that the fact still re- 
mained that these men had been absolutely iso- 
lated, seeing no one but policemen, who constantly 
frightened them with tales of public clamor and 
threatened lynching. 

This conversation took place on Saturday night 
and, as the final police authority rests in the mayor, 
with a friend who was equally disturbed over the 
situation, I repaired to his house on Sunday morn- 
ing to appeal to him in the interest of a law and 
order that should not yield to panic. We con- 
tended that to the anarchist above all men it must 
be demonstrated that law is impartial and stands 
the test of every strain. The mayor heard us 
through with the ready sympathy of the successful 
politician. He insisted, however, that the men 
thus far had merely been properly protected against 
lynching, but that it might now be safe to allow 
them to see some one ; he would not yet, however, 



4o6 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

take the responsibility of permitting an attorney, 
but if I myself chose to see them on the humani- 
tarian errand of an assurance of fair play, he would 
write me a permit at once. I promptly fell into the 
trap, if trap it was, and within half an hour was 
in a corridor in the city hall basement, talking 
to the distracted editor and surrounded by a cordon 
of police, who assured me that it was not safe to per- 
mit him out of his cell. The editor, who had grown 
thin and haggard under his suspense, asked imme- 
diately as to the whereabouts of his wife and 
daughter, concerning whom he had heard not a 
word since he had seen them arrested. Gradually 
he became composed as he learned, not that his 
testimony had been believed to the effect that he 
had never seen the assassin but once, and had 
then considered him a foolish half-witted creature, 
but that the most thoroughgoing "dragnet" in- 
vestigations on the part of the united police of 
the country had failed to discover a plot and that 
the public was gradually becoming convinced that 
the dastardly act was that of a solitary man with 
no political or social affiliations. 

The entire conversation was simple and did not 
seem to me unlike, in motive or character, interviews 
I had had with many another forlorn man who had 
fallen into prison. I had scarce returned to Hull- 
House, however, before it was filled with reporters, 
and I at once discovered that whether or not I 
had helped a brother out of a pit, I had fallen into a 



ECHOES OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 407 

deep one myself. A period of sharp public oppro- 
brium followed, traces of which, I suppose, will 
always remain. And yet in the midst of the letters 
of protest and accusation which made my mail a 
horror every morning came a few letters of another 
sort, one from a federal judge whom I had never 
seen and another from a distinguished professor in 
constitutional law, who congratulated me on what 
they termed a sane attempt to uphold the law in 
time of panic. 

Although one or two ardent young people rushed 
into print to defend me from the charge of "abet- 
ting anarchy," it seemed to me at the time that mere 
words would not avail. I had felt that the pro- 
tection of the law itself extended to the most un- 
popular citizen was the only reply to the anarchistic 
argument, to the effect that this moment of panic 
revealed the truth of their theory of government ; 
that the custodians of law and order have become 
the government itself quite as the armed men hired 
by the medieval guilds to protect them in the peace- 
ful pursuit of their avocations, through sheer 
possession of arms finally made themselves rulers 
of the city. At that moment I was firmly convinced 
that the public could only be convicted of the blind- 
ness of its course, when a body of people with a 
hundred-fold of the moral energy possessed by a 
Settlement group, should make clear that there is 
no method by which any community can be 
guarded against sporadic efforts on the part of half- 



4o8 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

crazed, discouraged men, save by a sense of mutual 
rights and securities which will Include the veriest 
outcast. 

It seemed to me then that In the millions of 
words uttered and written at that time, no one 
adequately urged that public-spirited citizens set 
themselves the task of patiently discovering how 
these sporadic acts of violence against govern- 
ment may be understood and averted. We do 
not know whether they occur among the dis- 
couraged and unasslmllated Immigrants who might 
be cared for In such a way as enormously to lessen 
the probability of these acts, or whether they are 
the result of anarchistic teaching. By hastily 
concluding that the latter Is the sole explanation 
for them, we make no attempt to heal and cure 
the situation. Failure to make a proper diagnosis 
may mean treatment of a disease which does not 
exist, or It may furthermore mean that the dire 
malady from which the patient Is suffering be 
permitted to develop unchecked. And yet as the 
details of the meager life of the President's as- 
sassin were disclosed, they were a challenge to the 
forces for social betterment In American cities. 
Was It not an Indictment to all those whose busi- 
ness It Is to Interpret and solace the wretched, 
that a boy should have grown up In an American 
city so uncared for, so untouched by higher Issues, 
his wounds of life so unhealed by religion that the 
first talk he ever heard dealing with life's wrongs, 



ECHOES OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 409 

although anarchistic and violent, should yet ap- 
pear to point a way of relief ? 

The conviction that a sense of fellowship is 
the only implement which will break into the 
locked purpose of a half-crazed creature bent 
upon destruction in the name of justice, came to 
me through an experience recited to me at this 
time by an old anarchist. 

He was a German cobbler who, through all the 
changes in the manufacturing of shoes, had 
steadily clung to his little shop on a Chicago 
thoroughfare, partly as an expression of his in- 
dividualism and partly because he preferred bitter 
poverty in a place of his own to good wages under 
a disciplinary foreman. The assassin of President 
McKinley on his way through Chicago only a 
few days before he committed his dastardly deed, 
had visited all the anarchists whom he could find 
in the city, asking them for "the password" as 
he called it. They, of course, possessed no such 
thing, and had turned him away, some with dis- 
gust and all with a certain degree of impatience, 
as a type of the ill-balanced man who, as they 
put it, was always "hanging around the move- 
ment, without the slightest conception of its 
meaning." Among other people, he visited the 
German cobbler, who treated him much as the 
others had done, but who, after the event had 
made clear the identity of his visitor, was filled 
with the most bitter remorse that he had failed 



4IO TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

to utilize his chance meeting with the assassin to 
deter him from his purpose. He knew as well as 
any psychologist who has read the history of such 
solitary men that the only possible way to break 
down such a persistent and secretive purpose, was 
by the kindliness which might have induced con- 
fession, which might have restored the future 
assassin into fellowship with normal men. 

In the midst of his remorse, the cobbler told 
me a tale of his own youth ; that years before, 
when an ardent young fellow in Germany, newly 
converted to the philosophy of anarchism, as he 
called it, he had made up his mind that the Church, 
as much as the State, was responsible for human 
oppression, and that this fact could best be set 
forth "in the deed" by the public destruction of 
a clergyman or priest ; that he had carried fire- 
arms for a year with this purpose in mind, but 
that one pleasant summer evening, in a moment 
of weakness, he had confided his intention to a 
friend, and that from that moment he not only 
lost all desire to carry it out, but it seemed to 
him the most preposterous thing imaginable. In 
concluding the story he said : " That poor fellow 
sat just beside me on my bench ; if I had only 
put my hand on his shoulder and said, 'Now, look 
here, brother, what is on your mind ? What 
makes you talk such nonsense ^ Tell me. I 
have seen much of life, and understand all kinds 
of men. I have been young and hot-headed and 



ECHOES OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTION. 411 

foolish myself;' if he had told me of his purpose 
then and there, he would never have carried it 
out. The whole nation would have been spared 
this horror." As he concluded he shook his gray 
head and sighed as if the whole incident were 
more than he could bear — one of those terrible 
sins of omission; one of the things he "ought to 
have done," the memory of which is so hard to 
endure. 

The attempt a Settlement makes to interpret 
American institutions to those who are bewildered 
concerning them either because of their personal 
experiences, or because of preconceived theories, 
would seem to lie in the direct path of its public 
obligation, and yet it is apparently impossible for 
the overwrought community to distinguish between 
the excitement the Settlements are endeavoring to 
understand and to allay and the attitude of the 
Settlement itself. At times of public panic, fervid 
denunciation is held to be the duty of every good 
citizen, and if a Settlement is convinced that the 
incident should be used to vindicate the law and 
does not at the moment give its strength to de- 
nunciation, Its attitude is at once taken to imply 
a championship of anarchy itself. 

The public mind at such a moment falls into 
the old medieval confusion — he who feeds or 
shelters a heretic is upon prima facie evidence a 
heretic himself — he who knows intimately people 
among whom anarchists arise, is therefore an 



412 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

anarchist. I personally am convinced that an- 
archy as a philosophy is dying down, not only in 
Chicago, but everywhere ; that their leading organs 
have discontinued publication, and that their 
most eminent men in America have deserted 
them. Even those groups which have continued 
to meet are dividing, and the major half in almost 
every instance calls itself socialist-anarchists, an 
apparent contradiction of terms, whose members 
insist that the socialistic organization of society 
must be the next stage of social development and 
must be gone through with, so to speak, before 
the ideal state of society can be reached, so nearly 
begging the question that some orthodox social- 
ists are willing to recognize them. It is certainly 
true that just because anarchy questions the very 
foundations of society, the most elemental sense of 
protection demands that the method of meeting 
the challenge should be intelligently considered. 

Whether or not Hull-House has accomplished 
anything by its method of meeting such a situa- 
tion, or at least attempting to treat it in a way 
which will not destroy confidence in the American 
institutions so adored by refugees from foreign 
governmental oppression, it is of course impossible 
for me to say. 

And yet it was in connection with an effort to 
pursue an intelligent policy in regard to a so- 
called "foreign anarchist" that Hull-House again 
became associated with that creed six years later. 



ECHOES OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 413 

This again was an echo of the Russian revolution, 
but in connection with one of its humblest repre- 
sentatives. A young Russian Jew named Aver- 
buch appeared in the early morning at the house 
of the Chicago chief of police upon an obscure 
errand. It was a moment of panic everyw^here in 
regard to anarchists because of a recent murder 
in Denver which had been charged to an Italian 
anarchist, and the chief of police, assuming that 
the dark young man standing in his hallway was 
an anarchist bent upon his assassination, hastily 
called for help. In a panic born of fear and self- 
defense, young Averbuch was shot to death. The 
members of the Russian-Jewish colony on the west 
side of Chicago were thrown into a state of intense 
excitement as soon as the nationality of the 
young man became known. They were filled with 
dark forebodings from a swift prescience of what 
it would mean to them were the odium of an- 
archy rightly or wrongly attached to one of their 
members. It seemed to the residents of Hull- 
House most important that every effort should 
be made to ascertain just what did happen, 
that every means of securing information should 
be exhausted before a final opinion should be 
formed, and this odium fastened upon a colony 
of law-abiding citizens. The police might be 
right or wrong in their assertion that the man 
was an anarchist. It was, to our minds, also most 
unfortunate that the Chicago police in the deter- 



414 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

mination to uncover an anarchistic plot should 
have utilized the most drastic methods of search 
within the Russian-Jewish colony composed of 
families only too familiar with the methods of 
the Russian police. Therefore, when the Chicago 
police ransacked all the printing offices they could 
locate in the colony, when they raided a restaurant 
which they regarded as suspicious because it had 
been supplying food at cost to the unemployed, 
when they searched through private houses for 
papers and photographs of revolutionaries, when 
they seized the library of the Edelstadt group and 
carried the books, including Shakespeare and Her- 
bert Spencer, to the city hall, when they arrested 
two friends of young Averbuch and kept them in 
the police station forty-eight hours, when they 
mercilessly "sweated" the sister, Olga, that she 
might be startled into a confession — all these 
things so poignantly reminded them of Russian 
methods, that indignation fed both by old memory 
and bitter disappointment in America, swept over 
the entire colony. The older men asked whether 
constitutional rights gave no guarantee against 
such violent aggression of police power, and the 
hot-headed younger ones cried out at once that 
the only way to deal with the police was to defy 
them, which was true of police the world over. 
It was said many times that those who are with- 
out influence and protection in a strange country 
fare exactly as hard as do the poor in Europe; 



ECHOES OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 415 

that all the talk of guaranteed protection through 
political institutions Is nonsense. 

Every Settlement has classes In citizenship In 
which the principles of American institutions are 
expounded and of these the community, as a whole, 
approves. But the Settlements know better than 
any one else that while these classes and lectures 
are useful, nothing can possibly give lessons In 
citizenship so effectively and make so clear the 
constitutional basis of a self-governing community 
as the current event itself. The treatment at a 
given moment of that foreign colony which feels 
Itself outraged and misunderstood, either makes 
Its constitutional rights clear to It, or forever con- 
fuses it on the subject. 

The only method by which a reasonable and loyal 
conception of government may be substituted for 
the one formed upon Russian experiences. Is that 
the actual experience of refugees with government 
in America shall gradually demonstrate what a 
very different thing government means here. Such 
an event as the Averbuch aif air affords an unprece- 
dented opportunity to make clear this diiference 
and to demonstrate beyond the possibility of mis- 
understanding that the guarantee of constitutional 
rights Implies that officialism shall be restrained 
and guarded at every point, that the official repre- 
sents, not the will of a small administrative body, 
but the will of the entire people, and that methods 
therefore have been constituted by which official 



4i6 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 



aggression may be restrained. The Averbuch Inci- 
dent gave an opportunity to demonstrate this to 
that very body of people who need it most ; to 
those who have lived in Russia where autocratic 
officers represent autocratic power and where gov- 

,,„.., ernment is officialism. 

if/ ,,..in''"" .{ J-t seemed to the resi- 
■'£0n . '■ dents in the Settle- 
ments nearest the 
Russian-Jewish col- 
ony that it was an 
obvious piece of pub- 
lic spirit to try out 
all the legal value 
involved, to insist 
that American in- 
stitutions were stout 
enough not to break 
down in times of 
stress and public 
panic. 

The belief of many 
Russians that the 
Averbuch incident would be made a prelude to the 
constant use of the extradition treaty for the sake 
of terrorizing revolutionists both at home and 
abroad, received a certain corroboration when an 
attempt was made in 1908 to extradite a Russian 
revolutionist named Rudovitz who was living in 
Chicago. The first hearing before a United States 




ECHOES OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 417 

Commissioner gave a verdict favorable to the 
Russian Government although this was afterwards 
reversed by the Department of State in Wash- 
ington. Partly to educate American sentiment, 
partly to express sympathy with the Russian 
refugees in their dire need, a series of public 
meetings was arranged in which the operations 
of the extradition treaty were discussed by many 
of us who had spoken at a meeting held in pro- 
test against its ratification fifteen years before. 
It is impossible for any one unacquainted with 
the Russian colony to realize the consternation 
produced by this attempted extradition. I acted 
as treasurer of the fund collected to defray the 
expenses of halls and printing in the campaign 
against the policy of extradition and had many 
opportunities to talk with members of the colony, 
One old man, tearing his hair and beard as he spoke, 
declared that all his sons and grandsons might thus 
be sent back to Russia ; in fact, all of the younger 
men in the colony might be extradited, for every 
high-spirited young Russian was, in a sense, a 
revolutionist. 

Would it not provoke to Ironic laughter that 
very nemesis which presides over the destinies of 
nations, if the most autocratic government yet 
remaining in civilization should succeed in utilizing 
for its own autocratic methods the youngest and 
most daring experiment in democratic government 
which the world has ever seen ? Stranger results 

2£ 



4i8 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

have followed a course of stupidity and injustice 
resulting from blindness and panic ! 

It is certainly true that if the decision of the 
federal office in Chicago had not been reversed by 
the department of state in Washington, the United 
States government would have been committed 
to return thousands of spirited young refugees to 
the punishments of the Russian autocracy. 

It was perhaps significant of our need of what 
Napoleon called a ''revival of civic morals" that 
the public appeal against such a reversal of our 
traditions had to be based largely upon the con- 
tributions to American progress made from other 
revolutions ; the Puritans from the English, La- 
fayette from the French, Carl Schurz and many 
another able man from the German upheavals in 
the middle of the century. 

A distinguished German scholar writing at the 
end of his long life a description of his friends of 
1848 who made a gallant although premature effort 
to unite the German states and to secure a consti- 
tutional government, thus concludes : ''But not a 
few saw the whole of their lives wrecked, either in 
prison or poverty, though they had done no wrong, 
and in many cases were the finest characters it has 
been my good fortune to know. They were before 
their time ; the fruit was not ripe, as it was in 1871, 
and Germany but lost her best sons in those miser- 
able years." When the time is ripe in Russia, 
when she finally yields to those great forces which 



ECHOES OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 419 

are molding and renovating contemporary life, 
when her Cavour and her Bismarck finally throw 
into the first governmental forms all that yearning 
for juster human relations which the idealistic 
Russian revolutionists embody, we may look back 
upon these ''miserable years" with a sense of 
chagrin at our lack of sympathy and understanding. 
Again it is far from easy to comprehend the great 
Russian struggle. I recall a visit from the famous 
revolutionist Gershuni, who had escaped from 
Siberia in a barrel of cabbage rolled under the very 
fortress of the commandant himself, had made his 
way through Manchuria and China to San Fran- 
cisco, and on his way back to Russia had stopped 
in Chicago for a few days. Three months later we 
heard of his death, and whenever I recall the con- 
versation held with him, I find it invested with that 
dignity which last words imply. Upon the request 
of a comrade, Gershuni had repeated the substance 
of the famous speech he had made to the court 
which sentenced him to Siberia. As representing 
the government against which he had rebelled, he 
told the court that he might in time be able to for- 
give all of their outrages and injustices save one ; the 
unforgivable outrage would remain that hundreds 
of men like himself, who were vegetarians because 
they were not willing to participate in the destruc- 
tion of living creatures, who had never struck a 
child even in punishment, who were so consumed 
with tenderness for the outcast and oppressed that 



420 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

they had lived for weeks among starving peasants 
only that they might cheer and solace them, — that 
these men should have been driven into terrorism, 
until impelled to "execute," as they call it, — '* assas- 
sinate " the Anglo-Saxon would term it, — public ofE- 
cials, was something for which he would never for- 
give the Russian government. It was, perhaps, the 
heat of the argument, as much as conviction, which 
led me to reply that it would be equally difficult 
for society to forgive these very revolutionists for 
one thing they had done, their institution of the use 
of force in such wise that it would inevitably be 
imitated by men of less scruple and restraint ; that 
to have revived such a method in civilization, to 
have justified it by their disinterestedness of pur- 
pose and nobility of character, was perhaps the 
gravest responsibility that any group of men could 
assume. With a smile of indulgent pity such as 
one might grant to a mistaken child, he replied 
that such Tolstoyan principles were as fitted to 
Russia as "these toilettes," pointing to the thin 
summer gowns of his listeners, "were fitted to a 
Siberian winter." And yet I held the belief then, 
as I certainly do now, that when the sense of justice 
seeks to express itself quite outside the regular chan- 
nels of established government, it has set forth on 
a dangerous journey inevitably ending in disaster, 
and that this is true In spite of the fact that the ad- 
venture may have been inspired by noble motives. 
Still more perplexing than the use of force by 



ECHOES OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 421 

the revolutionists Is the employment of the agent- 
provacateur on the part of the Russian government. 
The visit of Vladimir Bourtzeif to Chicago just 
after his exposure of the famous secret agent, Azeff, 
filled one with perplexity In regard to a government 
which would connive at the violent death of a 
faithful official and that of a member of the royal 
household for the sake of bringing opprobrium and 
punishment to the revolutionists and credit to the 
secret police. 

The Settlement has also suffered through its ef- 
fort to secure open discussion of the methods of 
the Russian government. During the excitement 
connected with the visit of Gorki to this coun- 
try, three different committees of Russians came 
to Hull-House begging that I would secure a 
statement In at least one of the Chicago dallies of 
their own view, that the agents of the Czar had 
cleverly centered public attention upon Gorki's 
private life and had fomented a scandal so success- 
fully that the object of Gorki's visit to America 
had been foiled ; he who had known intimately 
the most wretched of the Czar's subjects, who 
was best able to sympathetically portray their 
wretchedness, not only failed to get a hearing 
before an American audience, but could scarcely 
find the shelter of a roof. I told two of the Rus- 
sian committees that It was hopeless to undertake 
any explanation of the bitter attack until public ex- 
citement had somewhat subsided ; but one Sunday 



422 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

afternoon when a third committee arrived, I said 
that I would endeavor to have reprinted in a 
Chicago daily the few scattered articles written 
for the magazines which tried to explain the situa- 
tion, one by the head professor in political economy 
of a leading university, and others by publicists 
well informed as to Russian affairs. 

I hoped that a cosmopolitan newspaper might 
feel an obligation to recognize the desire for fair 
play on the part of thousands of its readers among 
the Russians, Poles, and Finns, at least to the 
extent of reproducing these magazine articles 
under a noncommittal caption. That same Sun- 
day evening in company with one of the residents, 
I visited a newspaper office only to hear its repre- 
sentative say that my plan was quite out of the 
question, as the whole subject was what news- 
paper men called "a sacred cow." He said, how- 
ever, that he would willingly print an article 
which I myself should write and sign. I declined 
this offer with the statement that one who had 
my opportunities to see the struggles of poor 
women in securing support for their children, 
found it impossible to write anything which would 
however remotely justify the loosening of mar- 
riage bonds, even if the defense of Gorki made 
by the Russian committees was sound. We left 
the newspaper office somewhat discouraged with 
what we thought one more unsuccessful effort to 
procure a hearing for the immigrants. 



ECHOES OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 423 

I had considered the incident closed, when to 
my horror and surprise several months afterwards 
it was made the basis of a story with every pos- 
sible vicious interpretation. One of the Chicago 
newspapers had been indicted by Mayor Dunne 
for what he considered an actionable attack upon 
his appointees to the Chicago School Board of 
whom I was one, and the incident enlarged and 
coarsened was submitted as evidence to the 
Grand Jury in regard to my views and influence. 
Although the evidence was thrown out, an attempt 
was again made to revive this story by the mana- 
gers of Mayor Dunne's second campaign, this 
time to show how ''the protector of the oppressed" 
was traduced. The incident is related here as an 
example of the clever use of that old device which 
throws upon the radical in religion, in education, and 
in social reform, the odium of encouraging "harlots 
and sinners" and of defending their doctrines. 

If the under dog were always right, one might 
quite easily try to defend him. The trouble is 
that very often he is but obscurely right, some- 
times only partially right, and often quite wrong ; 
but perhaps he is never so altogether wrong and 
pig-headed and utterly reprehensible as he is 
represented to be by those who add the possession 
of prejudices to the other almost insuperable diffi- 
culties of understanding him. It was, perhaps, not 
surprising that with these excellent opportunities 
for misjudging Hull-House, we should have suffered 



424 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

attack from time to time whenever any untoward 
event gave an opening as when an Italian immi- 
grant murdered a priest in Denver, Colorado. 
Although the wretched man had never been in 
Chicago, much less at Hull-House, a Chicago eccle- 
siastic asserted that he had learned hatred of the 
Church as a member of the Giordano Bruno Club, 
an Italian Club, one of whose members lived at 
Hull-House, and which had occasionally met there, 
although it had long maintained clubrooms of its 
own. This club had its origin in the old struggles 
of united Italy against the temporal power of the 
Pope, one of the European echoes with which 
Chicago resounds. The Italian resident, as the 
editor of a paper representing new Italy, had 
come in sharp conflict with the Chicago ecclesi- 
astic, first in regard to naming a public school of 
the vicinity after Garibaldi, which was of course 
not tolerated by the Church, and then in regard 
to many another issue arising in anticlericalism, 
which, although a political party, is constantly in- 
volved, from the very nature of the case, in theo- 
logical difficulties. The contest had been carried 
on with a bitterness impossible for an American 
to understand, but its origin and implications were 
so obvious that it did not occur to any of us that 
it could be associated with Hull-House either in 
its motive or direction. 

The ecclesiastic himself had lived for years in 
Rome, and as I had often discussed the prob- 



ECHOES OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 425 

lems of Italian politics with him, I was quite 
sure he understood the raison d'etre for the Gior- 
dano Bruno Club. Fortunately in the midst of 
the rhetorical attack, our friendly relations re- 
mained unbroken with the neighboring priests 
from whom we continued to receive uniform cour- 
tesy as we cooperated in cases of sorrow and need. 
Hundreds of devout communicants identified with 
the various Hull-House clubs and classes were 
deeply distressed by the incident, but assured us 
it was all a misunderstanding. Easter came soon 
afterwards, and it was not difficult to make a con- 
nection between the attack and the myriad of 
Easter cards which filled my mail. 

Thus a Settlement becomes involved in the 
many difficulties of its neighbors as its experiences 
make vivid the consciousness of modern inter- 
nationalism. And yet the very fact that the 
sense of reality is so keen and the obligation of 
the Settlement so obvious, may perhaps in itself 
explain the opposition Hull-House has encountered 
when it expressed its sympathy with the Russian 
revolution. We were much entertained, although 
somewhat ruefully, when a Chicago woman with- 
drew from us a large annual subscription because 
Hull-House had defended a Russian refugee while 
she, who had seen much of the Russian aristoc- 
racy in Europe, knew from them that all the revo- 
lutionary agitation was both unreasonable and 
unnecessary ! 



426 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

It is, of course, Impossible to say whether these 
oppositions were inevitable or whether they were 
indications that Hull-House had somehow bungled 
at its task. Many times I have been driven to 
the confession of the blundering Amiel : "It re- 
quires ability to make what we seem agree with 
what we are." 





A View between Hull-House Gymnasium and Theater. 



, CHAPTER XVIII 

Socialized Education 

In a paper written years ago I deplored at some 
length the fact that educational matters are more 
democratic in their political than in their social 
aspect, and I quote the following extract from it 
as throwing some light upon the earlier educa- 
tional undertakings at Hull-House: — 

Teaching in a Settlement requires distinct methods, 
for it is true of people who have been allowed to re- 
main undeveloped and whose faculties are inert and 
sterile, that they cannot take their learning heavily. 
It has to be diffused in a social atmosphere, informa- 
tion must be held in solution, in a medium of fellowship 
and good will. 

Intellectual life requires for its expansion and 
manifestation the influence and assimilation of the 
interests and affections of others. Mazzini, that 
greatest of all democrats, who broke his heart over 
the condition of the South European peasantry, said : 
"Education is not merely a necessity of true life by 
which the individual renews his vital force in the vital 
force of humanity; it is a Holy Communion with 
generations dead and living, by which he fecundates 
all his faculties. When he is withheld from this Com- 
munion for generations, as the Italian peasant has 

427 



428 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

been, we say, 'He is like a beast of the field; he must 
be controlled by force.'" Even to this it is some- 
times added that it is absurd to educate him, immoral 
to disturb his content. We stupidly use the effect as 
an argument for a continuance of the cause. It is 
needless to say that a Settlement is a protest against a 
restricted view of education. 

In line with this declaration, 'Hull-House in the 
very beginning opened what we called College 
Extension Classes with a faculty finally numbering 
thirty-five college men and women, many of whom 
held their pupils for consecutive years. As these 
classes antedated in Chicago the University Exten- 
sion and Normal Extension classes and supplied a 
demand for stimulating instruction, the attend- 
ance strained to their utmost capacity the spacious 
rooms in the old house. The relation of students 
and faculty to each other and to the residents 
was that of guest and hostess and at the close of 
each term the residents gave a reception to stu- 
dents and faculty which was one of the chief 
social events of the season. Upon this comfort- 
able social basis some very good work was done. 

In connection with these classes a Hull-House 
summer school was instituted at Rockford Col- 
lege, which was most generously placed at our 
disposal by the trustees. For ten years one hun- 
dred women gathered there for six weeks, in addi- 
tion there were^ always men on the faculty, and a 
small group of young men among the students 



SOCIALIZED EDUCATION 429 

who were lodged in the gymnasium building. The 
outdoor classes in bird study and botany, the 
serious reading of literary masterpieces, the boat 
excursions on the Rock River, the cooperative 
spirit of doing the housework together, the satirical 
commencements in parti-colored caps and gowns, 
lent themselves toward a reproduction of the 
comradeship which college life fosters. 

As each member of the faculty, as well as the 
students, paid three dollars a week, and as we 
had little outlay beyond the actual cost of food, 
we easily defrayed our expenses. The under- 
taking w^as so simple and gratifying in results that 
it might w^ell be reproduced in many college build- 
ings which are set in the midst of beautiful sur- 
roundings, unused during the two months of the 
year, when hundreds of people, able to pay only a 
moderate price for lodgings in the country, can 
find nothing comfortable and no mental food 
more satisfying than piazza gossip. 

Every Thursday evening during the first years, 
a public lecture came to be an expected event in 
the neighborhood, and Hull-House became one of 
the early University Extension centers, first in 
connection with an independent society and later 
with the University of Chicago. One of the Hull- 
House trustees was so impressed with the value of 
this orderly and continuous presentation of eco- 
nomic subjects that he endowed three courses in a 
downtown center, in which the lectures were free 



430 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

to any one who chose to come. He was much 
pleased that these lectures were largely attended 
by workingmen who ordinarily prefer that an eco- 
nomic subject shall be presented by a partisan, 
and who are supremely indifferent to examinations 
and credits. They also dislike the balancing of 
pro and con which scholarly instruction implies, 
and prefer to be "inebriated on raw truth" rather 
than to sip a carefully prepared draught of knowl- 
edge. 

Nevertheless Bowen Hall, which seats seven 
hundred and fifty people, is often none too large 
to hold the audiences of men who come to Hull- 
House every Sunday evening during the winter to 
attend the illustrated lectures provided by the 
faculty of the University of Chicago, and others 
who kindly give their services. These courses 
differ enormously in their popularity : one on 
European capitals and their social significance was 
followed with the most vivid attention and sense 
of participation indicated by groans and hisses 
when the audience was reminded of an unforget- 
able feud between Austria and her Slavic subjects, 
or when they wildly applauded a Polish hero 
endeared through his tragic failure. 

In spite of the success of these Sunday evening 
courses, it has never been an easy undertaking to 
find acceptable lecturers. A course of lectures on 
astronomy illustrated by stereopticon slides will 
attract a large audience the first week, who hope 



SOCIALIZED EDUCATION 431 

to hear of the wonders of the heavens and the 
relation of our earth thereto, but Instead are 
treated to spectrum analyses of star dust, or the 
latest theory concerning the milky way. The 
habit of research and the desire to say the latest 
word upon any subject often overcomes the sym- 
pathetic understanding of his audience which the 
lecturer might otherwise develop, and he insensibly 
drops into the dull terminology of the classroom. 
There are, of course, notable exceptions ; we had 
twelve gloriously popular talks on organic evolu- 
tion, but the lecturer was not yet a professor 
— merely a university instructor — and his mind 
was still eager over the marvel of It all. Fortu- 
nately there are an increasing number of lecturers 
whose matter is so real, so definite and so valu- 
able, that In an attempt to give it an exact equiva- 
lence in words, they utilize the most direct forms 
of expression. 

It sometimes seems as if the men of substantial 
scholarship were content to leave to the charletan 
the teaching of those things which deeply concern 
the welfare of mankind, and that the mass of men 
get their Intellectual food from the outcasts of 
scholarship, who provide millions of books, pic- 
tures, and shows, not to instruct and guide, but 
for the sake of their own financial profit. A Settle- 
ment soon discovers that simple people are Inter- 
ested In large and vital subjects and the Hull- 
House residents themselves at one time, with only 



432 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

partial success, undertook to give a series of lec- 
tures on the history of the world, beginning with 
the nebular hypothesis and reaching Chicago itself 
in the twenty-fifth lecture ! Absurd as the hasty 
review appears, there is no doubt that the beginner 
in knowledge is always eager for the general state- 
ment, as those wise old teachers of the people well 
knew, when they put the history of creation on the 
stage and the monks themselves became the actors. 
I recall that in planning my first European journey 
I had soberly hoped in two years to trace the entire 
pattern of human excellence as we passed from one 
country to another, in the shrines popular affection 
had consecrated to the saints, in the frequented 
statues erected to heroes, and in the "worn bla- 
sonry of funeral brasses," — an illustration that 
when we are young we all long for those mountain 
tops upon which we may soberly stand and dream 
of our own ephemeral and uncertain attempts at 
righteousness. I have had many other illustrations 
of this ; a statement was recently made to me by a 
member of the Hull-House Boys' club, who had 
been unjustly arrested as an accomplice to a young 
thief and held in the police station for three days, 
that during his detention he "had remembered the 
way Jean Valjean behaved when he was everlast- 
ingly pursued by that policeman who was only 
trying to do right" ; "I kept seeing the pictures in 
that illustrated lecture you gave about him, and I 
thought it would be queer if I couldn't behave 



SOCIALIZED EDUCATION 433 

well for three days when he had kept it up for 
years." 

The power of dramatic action may unfortunately 
be illustrated in other ways. During the weeks 
when all the daily papers were full of the details 
of a notorious murder trial in New York and all 
the hideous events which preceded the crime, one 
evening I saw in the street cars a knot of working 
girls leaning over a newspaper, admiring the 
clothes, the beauty, and "sorrowful expression" 
of the unhappy heroine. In the midst of the trial 
a woman whom I had known for years came to 
talk to me about her daughter, shamefacedly con- 
fessing that the girl was trying to dress and look 
like the notorious girl in New York, and that she 
had even said to her mother in a moment of 
defiance, ''Some day I shall be taken into court 
and then I shall dress just as Evelyn did and face 
my accusers as she did in innocence and beauty." 

If one makes calls on a Sunday afternoon in the 
homes of the immigrant colonies near Hull-House, 
one finds the family absorbed in the Sunday edition 
of a sensational daily newspaper, even those who 
cannot read, quite easily following, the comic 
adventures portrayed in the colored pictures of the 
supplement or tracing the clew of a murderer 
carefully depicted by a black line drawn through a 
plan of the houses and streets. 

Sometimes lessons in the great loyalties and group 
affections come through life itself and yet in such 

2F 



434 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

a manner that one cannot but deplore it. During 
the teamsters' strike in Chicago several years ago 
when class bitterness rose to a dramatic climax, I 
remember going to visit a neighborhood boy who 
had been severely injured when he had taken the 
place of a union driver upon a coal wagon. As I 
approached the house in which he lived, a large 
group of boys and girls, some of them very little 
children, surrounded me to convey the exciting in- 
formation that "Jack T. was a 'scab,'" and that I 
couldn't go in there. I explained to the excited 
children that his mother, who was a friend of mine, 
was in trouble, quite irrespective of the way her boy 
had been hurt. The crowd around me outside of 
the house of the "scab" constantly grew larger 
and I, finally abandoning my attempt at explana- 
tion, walked in only to have the mother say : 
"Please don't come here. You will only get hurt, 
too." Of course I did not get hurt, but the epi- 
sode left upon my mind one of the most painful 
impressions I have ever received in connection w4th 
the children of the neighborhood. In addition to 
all else are the lessons of loyalty and comradeship 
to come to them as the mere reversals of class 
antagonism } And yet it was but a trifling inci- 
dent out of the general spirit of bitterness and 
strife which filled the city. 

Therefore the residents of Hull-House place 
increasing emphasis upon the great inspirations 
and solaces of literature and are unwilling that it 



SOCIALIZED EDUCATION 435 

should ever languish as a subject for class instruc- 
tion or for reading parties. The Shakespeare 
club has lived a continuous existence at Hull- 
House for sixteen years during which time its 
members have heard the leading interpreters of 
Shakespeare, both among scholars and players. I 
recall that one of its earliest members said that her 
mind was peopled with Shakespeare characters 
during her long hours of sewing in a shop, that she 
couldn't remember what she thought about before 
she joined the club, and concluded that she hadn't 
thought about anything at all. To feed the mind 
of the worker, to lift it above the monotony of his 
task, and to connect it with the larger world, outside 
of his immediate surroundings, has always been 
the object of art, perhaps never more nobly fulfilled 
than by the great English bard. Miss Starr has 
held classes in Dante and Browning for many 
years and the great lines are conned with never 
failing enthusiasm. I recall Miss Lathrop's Plato 
club and an audience who listened to a series of lec- 
tures by Dr. John Dewey on "Social Psychology," 
as genuine intellectual groups consisting largely of 
people from the immediate neighborhood, who were 
willing to make "that effort from which we all 
shrink, the effort of thought." But while we 
prize these classes as we do the help we are able 
to give to the exceptional young man or woman 
who reaches the college and university and leaves 
the neighborhood of his childhood behind him, the 



436 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

residents of Hull-House feel increasingly that the 
educational efforts of a Settlement should not be 
directed primarily to reproduce the college type of 
culture, but to work out a method and an Ideal 
adapted to the Immediate situation. They feel 
that they should promote a culture which will not 
set Its possessor aside In a class with others like 
himself, but which will, on the contrary, connect 
him with all sorts of people by his ability to under- 
stand them as well as by his power to supplement 
their present surroundings with the historic back- 
ground. Among the hundreds of Immigrants who 
have for years attended classes at Hull-House 
designed primarily to teach the English language, 
dozens of them have struggled to express In the 
newly acquired tongue some of those hopes and 
longings which had so much to do with their emi- 
gration. 

A series of plays was thus written by a young 
Bohemian ; essays by a Russian youth, outpouring 
sorrows rivaling Werther himself and yet. contain- 
ing the precious stuff of youth's perennial revolt 
against accepted wrong ; stories of Russian oppres- 
sion and petty Injustices throughout which the 
desire for free America became a crystallized hope ; 
an attempt to portray the Jewish day of Atone- 
ment, In such wise that even individualistic Ameri- 
cans may catch a glimpse of that deeper national 
life which has survived all transplanting and ex- 
presses Itself in forms so ancient that they appear 



SOCIALIZED EDUCATION 437 

grotesque to the Ignorant spectator. I remember 
a pathetic effort on the part of a young Russian 
Jewess to describe the vivid inner life of an old 
Talmud scholar, probably her uncle or father, as of 
one persistently occupied with the grave and im- 
portant things of the spirit, although when brought 
into sharp contact with busy and overworked people, 
he inevitably appeared self-absorbed and slothful. 
Certainly no one who had read her paper could 
again see such an old man in his praying shawl bent 
over his crabbed book, without a sense of under- 
standing. 

On the other hand, one of the most pitiful 
periods in the drama of the much-praised young 
American who attempts to rise in life, is the time 
when his educational requirements seem to have 
locked him up and made him rigid. He fancies 
himself shut off from his uneducated family and 
misunderstood by his friends. He is bowed down 
by his mental accumulations and often gets no 
farther than to carry them through life as a great 
burden, and not once does he obtain a glimpse of 
the delights of knowledge. 

The teacher in a Settlement is constantly put 
upon his mettle to discover methods of instruction 
which shall make knowledge quickly available to 
his pupils, and I should like here to pay my tribute 
of admiration to the dean of our educational de- 
partment, Miss Landsberg, and to the many men 
and women who every winter come regularly to 



438 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Hull-House, putting untiring energy into the end- 
less task of teaching the newly arrived immigrant 
the first use of a language of which he has such 
desperate need. Even a meager knowledge of 
English may mean an opportunity to work in a 
factory versus nonemployment, or it may mean 
a question of life or death when a sharp com- 
mand must be understood in order to avoid the 
danger of a descending crane. 

In response to a demand for an education 
which should be immediately available, classes 
have been established and grown apace in cook- 
ing, dressmaking, and millinery. A girl who at- 
tends them will often say that she "expects to 
marry a workingman next spring," and because 
she has worked in a factory so long she knows 
"little about a house." Sometimes classes are 
composed of young matrons of like factory ex- 
periences. I recall one of them whose husband 
had become so desperate after two years of her 
unskilled cooking that he had threatened to desert 
her and go where he could get "decent food," as 
she confided to me in a tearful interview, when 
she followed my advice to take the Hull-House 
courses in cooking, and at the end of six months 
reported a united and happy home. 

Two distinct trends are found in response to 
these classes ; the first is for domestic training, 
and the other is for trade teaching which shall 
enable the poor little milliner and dressmaker 



SOCIALIZED EDUCATION 



439 



apprentices to shorten the two years of errand 
running which is supposed to teach them their 
trade. 

The beginning of trade instruction has been 
already evolved in connection with the Hull- 
House Boys' club. The ample Boys' club build- 
ing presented to Hull-House three years ago by 
one. of our trustees has afforded well-equipped 
shops for work in wood, iron, and brass ; for 
smithing in 
copper and tin; 
for commercial 
photography, 
for printing, 
for telegraphy, 
and electrical 
construction. 
These shops 
have been filled 
with bovs who 
are eager for that which seems to give them a 
clew to the industrial life all about them. These 
classes meet twice a week and are taught by in- 
telligent workingmen who apparently give the 
boys what they want better than do the strictly 
professional teachers. While these classes in no 
sense provide a trade training, they often enable a 
boy to discover his aptitude and help him in the 
selection of what he 'Svants to be" by reducing 
the trades to embryonic forms. The factories are 




440 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

so complicated that the boy brought in contact 
with them, unless he has some preliminary prepa- 
ration, is apt to become confused. In pedagogical 
terms, he loses his "power of orderly reaction" 
and is often so discouraged or so overstimulated in 
his very first years of factory life that his future 
usefulness is seriously impaired. 

One of Chicago's most significant experiments in 
the direction of correlating the schools with actual 
industry was for several years carried on in a 
public school building situated near Hull-House, 
in which the bricklayers' apprentices were taught 
eight hours a day in special classes during the 
non-bricklaying season. This early public school 
venture anticipated the very successful arrange- 
ment later carried on in Cincinnati, in Pittsburg, 
and in Chicago itself, whereby a group of boys 
at work in a factory alternate month by month 
with another group who are in school and are 
thus intelligently conducted into the complicated 
processes of modern industry. But for a certain 
type of boy who has been demoralized by the 
constant change and excitement of street life, 
even these apprenticeship classes are too strenu- 
ous, and he has to be lured into the path of knowl- 
edge by all sorts of appeals. 

It sometimes happens that boys are held in the 
Hull-House classes for weeks by their desire for 
the excitement of placing burglar alarms under the 
door mats. But to enable the possessor of even a 



SOCIALIZED EDUCATION 441 

little knowledge to thus play with it, is to decoy his 
feet at least through the first steps of the long, 
hard road of learning, although even in this, the 
teacher must proceed warily. A typical street boy 
who was utterly absorbed in a wood-carving class, 
abruptly left never to return when he was told 
to use some simple calculations in the laying out 
of the points. He evidently scented the approach 
of his old enemy, arithmetic, and fled the field. 
On the other hand, we have come across many 
cases in which boys have vainly tried to secure 
such opportunities for themselves. During the 
trial of a boy of ten recently arrested for truancy, 
it developed that he had spent many hours watch- 
ing the electrical construction in a downtown 
building, and many others in the public library 
'^ reading about electricity." Another boy who 
was taken from school early, when his father lost 
both of his legs in a factory accident, tried in 
vain to find a place for himself "with machinery." 
He was declared too small for any such position, 
and for four years worked as an errand boy, during 
which time he steadily turned in his unopened 
pay envelope for the use of the household. At 
the end of the fourth year the boy disappeared, 
to the great distress of his invalid father and his 
poor mother whose day washings became the 
sole support of the family. He had beaten his 
way to Kansas City, hoping ''they wouldn't be 
so particular there about a fellow's size." He came 



442 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

back at the end of six weeks because he felt sorry 
for his mother who, aroused at last to a realiza- 
tion of his unbending purpose, applied for help to 
the Juvenile Protective Association. They found 
a position for the boy in a machine shop and an 
opportunity for evening classes. 

Out of the fifteen hundred members of the 
Hull-House Boys' club, hundreds seem to respond 
only to the opportunities for recreation, and many 
of the older ones apparently care only for the 
bowling and the billiards. And yet tournaments 
and match games under supervision and regulated 
hours are a great advance over the sensual and 
exhausting pleasures to be found so easily outside 
the club. These organized sports readily connect 
themselves with the Hull-House gymnasium and 
with all those enthusiasms which are so mys- 
teriously aroused by athletics. 

Our gymnasium has been filled with large and 
enthusiastic classes for eighteen years in spite of 
the popularity of dancing and other possible sub- 
stitutes, while the Saturday evening athletic con- 
tests have become a feature of the neighborhood. 
The Settlement strives for that type of gymnastics 
which is at least partly a matter of character, for 
that training which presupposes abstinence and 
the curbing of impulse, as well as for those ath- 
letic contests in which the mind of the contestant 
must be vigilant to keep the body closely to the 
rules of the game. As one sees in rhythmic motion 



SOCIALIZED EDUCATION 443 

the slim bodies of a class of lads, "that scrupulous 
and uncontaminate purity of form which recom- 
mended itself even to the Greeks as befitting 
messengers from the gods, if such messengers 
should come, " one offers up in awkward prosaic 
form the very essence of that old prayer, '^ Grant 
them with feet so light to pass through life." 
But while the glory stored up for Olympian win- 
ners was at most a handful of parsley, an ode, 
fame for family and city, on the other hand, 
when the men and boys from the Hull-House 
gymnasium bring back their cups and medals, 
one's mind is filled with something like foreboding 
in the reflection that too much success may lead 
the winners into that professionalism which is so 
associated with betting and so close to pugilism. 
Candor, however, compels me to state that a long 
acquaintance with the acrobatic folk who have 
to do with the circus, a large number of whom 
practice in our gymnasium every winter, has raised 
our estimate of that profession. 

Young people who work long hours at sedentary 
occupations, factories and offices, need perhaps 
more than anything else the freedom and ease to 
be acquired from a symmetrical muscular develop- 
ment and are quick to respond to that fellowship 
which athletics apparently afford more easily than 
anything else. The Greek immigrants form large 
classes and are eager to reproduce the remnants 
of old methods of wrestling, and other bits of classic 



444 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

lore which they still possess, and when one of the 
Greeks won a medal in a wrestling match which 
represented the championship of the entire city, 
it was quite impossible that he should present it to 
the Hull-House trophy chest without a classic phrase 
which he recited most gravely and charmingly. 

It was in connection with a large association of 
Greek lads that Hull-House finally lifted its long 
restriction against military drill. If athletic con- 
tests are the residuum of warfare first waged against 
the conqueror without and then against the 
tyrants within the State, the modern Greek youth 
is still in the first stage so far as his inherited 
attitude against the Turk is concerned. Each lad 
believes that at any moment he may be called 
home to fight this long time enemy of Greece. 
With such a genuine motive at hand, it seemed 
mere affectation to deny the use of our boys' club 
building and gymnasium for organized drill, al- 
though happily it forms but a small part of the 
activities of the Greek Educational Association. 

Having thus confessed to military drill coun- 
tenanced if not encouraged at Hull-House, it is 
perhaps only fair to relate an early experience of 
mine with the "Columbian Guards," an organiza- 
tion of the World's Fair summer. Although the 
Hull-House squad was organized as the others 
were with the motto of a clean city, it was 
very anxious for military drill. This request not 
only shocked my nonresistant principles, but 



SOCIALIZED EDUCATION 445 

seemed to afford an opportunity to find a sub- 
stitute for the military tactics which were used in 
the boys' brigades everywhere, even in those 
connected with churches. As the cleaning of the 
filthy streets and alleys was the ostensible pur- 
pose of the Columbian guards, I suggested to the 
boys that we work out a drill with sewer spades, 
which with their long narrow blades and shortened 
handles were not so unlike bayoneted guns in size, 
weight, and general appearance, but that much 
of the usual military drill could be readapted. 
While I myself was present at the gymnasium to 
explain that it was nobler to drill in imitation of 
removing disease-breeding filth than to drill in 
simulation of warfare ; while I distractedly re- 
adapted tales of chivalry to this modern rescuing 
of the endangered and distressed, the new drill 
went forward in some sort of fashion, but so surely 
as I withdrew, the drillmaster would complain 
that our troops would first grow self-conscious, 
then demoralized and finally flatly refuse to go on. 
Throughout the years since the failure of this 
Quixotic experiment, I occasionally find one of 
these sewer spades in a Hull-House storeroom, 
too truncated to be used for its original purpose 
and too prosaic to serve the purpose for which it 
was bought. I can only look at it in the forlorn 
hope that it may foreshadow that piping time 
when the weapons of warfare shall be turned into 
the implements of civic salvation. 



446 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

Before closing this chapter on Socialized Educa- 
tion, it is only fair to speak of the education accruing 
to the Hull-House residents themselves during 
their years of living in what at least purports to 
be a center for social and educational activity. 

While a certain number of the residents are 
primarily interested in charitable administration 
and the amelioration which can be suggested only 
by those who know actual conditions, there are 
other residents identified with the House from its 
earlier years to whom the groups of immigrants 
make the historic appeal, and who use, not only their 
linguistic ability, but all the resource they can com- 
mand of travel and reading to qualify themselves 
for intelligent living in the immigrant quarter of 
the city. I remember one resident lately returned 
from a visit in Sicily, who was able to interpret to a 
bewildered judge the ancient privilege of a jilted 
lover to scratch the cheek of his faithless sweetheart 
with the edge of a coin. Although the custom in 
America had degenerated into a knife slashing 
after the manner of foreign customs here, and al- 
though the Sicilian deserved punishment, the inci- 
dent was yet lifted out of the slough of mere brutal 
assault, and the interpretation won the gratitude of 
many Sicilians. 

There is no doubt that residents in a Settlement 
too often move towards their ends "with hurried 
and ignoble gait," putting forth thorns in their 
eagerness to bear grapes. It is always easy for 



SOCIALIZED EDUCATION 



447 



those in pursuit of ends which they consider of 
overwhelming importance to become themselves 
thin and impoverished in spirit and temper, to 
gradually develop a dark mistaken eagerness al- 



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'^'J',*!-^ 






r 



I 






f 




^ ...::i ..■^MMfW^T'^^'^^ ' < 






ternating with fatigue, which supersedes *Hhe great 
and gracious ways" so much more congruous 
with worthy aims. 

Partly because of this universal tendency, partly 
because a Settlement shares the perplexities of its 
times and is never too dogmatic concerning the 



448 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

final truth, the residents would be glad to make the 
daily life at the Settlement " conform to every 
shape and mode of excellence." 
It may not be true 

"That the good are always the merry 
Save by an evil chance," 

but a Settlement would make clear that one need 
not be heartless and flippant in order to be merry, 
nor solemn in order to be wise. Therefore quite 
as Hull-House tries to redeem billiard tables from 
the association of gambling, and dancing from the 
temptations of the public dance halls, so it would 
associate with a life of upright purpose those more 
engaging qualities which in the experience of the 
neighborhood are too often connected with dubious 
aims. 

Throughout the history of Hull-House many 
inquiries have been made concerning the religion 
of the residents, and the reply that they are as di- 
versified in belief and in the ardor of the inner life 
as any like number of people in a college or similar 
group, apparently does not carry conviction. I 
recall that after a house for men residents had been 
opened on Polk Street and the residential force at 
Hull-House numbered twenty, we made an effort 
to come together on Sunday evenings in a household 
service, hoping thus to express our moral unity in 
spite of the fact that we represented many creeds. 
But although all of us reverently knelt when the 



SOCIALIZED EDUCATION 449 

High Church resident read the evening service and 
bowed our heads when the evangelical resident led 
in prayer after his chapter, and although we sat 
respectfully through the twilight when a resident 
read her favorite passages from Plato and another 
from Abt Vogler, we concluded at the end of the 
winter that this was not religious fellowship and 
that we did not care for another reading club. So 
it was reluctantly given up, and we found that it 
was quite as necessary to come together on the basis 
of the deed and our common aim inside the house- 
hold as it was in the neighborhood itself. I once 
had a conversation on the subject with the warden 
of Oxford House, who kindly invited me to the even- 
ing service held for the residents in a little chapel 
on the top floor of the Settlement. All the resi- 
dents were High Churchmen to whom the service 
was an important and reverent part of the day. 
Upon my reply to a query of the warden that the 
residents of Hull-House could not come together 
for religious worship because there were among 
us Jews, Roman Catholics, English Churchmen, 
Dissenters, and a few agnostics, and that we had 
found unsatisfactory the diluted form of worship 
which we could carry on together, he replied that 
it must be most difl[icult to work with a group so 
diversified, for he depended upon the evening 
service to clear away any difliculties which the day 
had involved and to bring the residents to a religious 
consciousness of their common aim. I replied that 

2 G 



4SO TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

this diversity of creed was part of the situation 
in American Settlements, as it was our task to live 
in a neighborhood of many nationalities and faiths, 
and that it might be possible that among such 
diversified people it was better that the Settle- 
ment corp should also represent varying religious 
beliefs. 

A wise man has told us that "men are once for 
all so made that they prefer a rational world to 
believe in and to live in," but that it is no easy 
matter to find a world rational as to its intellectual, 
aesthetic, moral, and practical aspects. Certainly 
it is no easy matter if the place selected is of the 
very sort where the four aspects are apparently 
furthest from perfection, but an undertaking resem- 
bling this is what the Settlement gradually becomes 
committed to, as its function is revealed through the 
reaction on its consciousness of its own experiences. 
Because of this fourfold undertaking, the Settle- 
ment has gathered into residence people of widely 
diversified tastes and interests and in Hull-House, 
at least, the group has been surprisingly permanent. 
The majority of the present corp of forty residents 
support themselves by their business and profes- 
sional occupations in the city giving only their 
leisure time to Settlement undertakings. This in 
itself tends to continuity of residence and has 
certain advantages. Among the present staff of 
whom the larger number have been in residence for 
more than twelve years, there are the secretary of 



SOCIALIZED EDUCATION 451 

the City club, two practicing physicians, several 
attorneys, newspaper men, business men, teachers, 
scientists, artists, musicians, lecturers in the School 
of Civics and Philanthropy, officers in The Juve- 
nile Protective Association and in The League for 
the Protection of Immigrants, a visiting nurse, a 
sanitary inspector and others. 

We have also worked out during our years of 
residence a plan of living which may be called 
cooperative, for the families and individuals who 
rent the Hull-House apartments have the use of 
the central kitchen and dining room so far as they 
care for them ; many of them work for hours every 
week in the studios and shops ; the theater and 
drawing-rooms are available for such social or- 
ganization as they care to form ; the entire group 
of thirteen buildings is heated and lighted from a 
central plant. During the years, the common 
human experiences have gathered about the House ; 
funeral services have been held there, marriages 
and christenings, and many memories hold us to 
each other as well as to our neighbors. Each 
resident, of course, carefully defrays his own ex- 
penses, and his relations to his fellow residents are 
not unlike those of a college professor to his col- 
leagues. The depth and strength of his relation 
to the neighborhood must depend very largely 
upon himself and upon the genuine friendships he 
has been able to make. His relation to the city 
as a whole comes largely through his identification 



452 TWENTY YEARS AT HULL-HOUSE 

with those groups who are carrying forward the re- 
forms which a Settlement neighborhood so sadly 
needs and with which residence has made him 
familiar. 

Life In the Settlement discovers above all what 
has been called "the extraordinary pliability of 
human nature," and It seems Impossible to set 
any bounds to the moral capabilities which might 
unfold under Ideal civic and educational con- 
ditions. But in order to obtain these conditions, 
the Settlement recognizes the need of cooperation, 
both with the radical and the conservative, and 
from the very nature of the case the Settlement 
cannot limit Its friends to any one political party 
or economic school. 

The Settlement casts aside none of those things 
which cultivated men have come to consider reason- 
able and goodly, but It Insists that those belong 
as well to that great body of people who, because 
of toilsome and underpaid labor, are unable to 
procure them for themselves. Added to this Is a 
profound conviction that the common stock of 
intellectual enjoyment should not be difficult of 
access because of the economic position of him who 
would approach it, that those "best results of 
civilization" upon which depend the finer and freer 
aspects of living must be Incorporated into our 
common life and have free mobility through all 
elements of society If we would have our democracy 
endure. 



SOCIALIZED EDUCATION 



453 



The educational activities of a Settlement, as 
well as Its philanthropic, civic, and social under- 
takings, are but differing manifestations of the 
attempt to socialize democracy, as Is the very exist- 
ence of the Settlement itself. 










INDEX 



Abbott, Grace, 222. 
Addams, John H., 

early impressions of, i. 

imitation of, 9. 

social views of, 13. 

religious discussion with, 14. 

discussion on death with, 20. 

cosmopolitanism of, 21. 

sense of fellowship with, 22. 

his estimate of Lincoln, 23. 

member of State Senate, 30. 

letters of Lincoln to, 31. 

address to Old Settlers' meeting, 35. 

death of, 52. 
Alcott, Bronson, 50. 
Altgelt, Governor, 206, 207. 
x\narchist, 

Sunday school, 91. 

his solution of injustice, 180. 

a safe type of, 185. 

newspaper editor arrested, 403, 406. 

attitude of Chicago police toward, 

413- 
Anarchy, cure for, 178. 

and Hull- House, 412. 

attitude of public toward, 407, 411. 

dying down of, 412. 
Andover House, 113. 
Arbitration Law, 218. 
Aristotle, quotation from, 45. 
Averbuch, 413. 
Azeff, 421. 

B 

Ball, Sidney, 37. 
Barnett, Canon, 

reasons for Living in a Settlement, 
112. 



founder of Toynbee Hall, 121. 

warden of Toynbee Hall, 139. 

views on tainted money, 140. 

visit to Hull-House, 292. 

art exhibit opened by, 371. 
Benedict, Enella, 373. 
Berger, Victor, 194. 
Bermondsey Settlement, 266. 
Besant, Sir Walter, 121, 365. 
Blaisdell, Professor of Beloit College, 

52, 53- 
Blatchford, Robert, 264. 
Board of Education, 

compulsory department of, 300. 

Jane Addams member of, 301. 

conflict with Teachers' Federation, 

328-338- 
Jane Addams, chairman School 
Management Committee of, 

335- 
newspaper attitude toward, 338, 

423- 

Booth, Charles, 163. 

Bourtzeff, Vladirir, 421. 

Bowen, Lou'se de Koven, 

president of Hull-House Woman's 

Club, 362, 364. 
president of the Juvenile Protec- 
tive Association, 365. 

" Bread Labor," 271, 276. 

Breckinridge, Sophronisba P., 306. 

Breshkovsky, Mme., 402, 

Britton, Mrs. Gertrude Howe, 300, 
301. 

Browning, Elizabeth, 22. 

Browning, Robert, 47. 

Browning House, 265. 

BuU fight, 85-86. 

Bums, John, 263, 294, 295. 



455 



4S6 



INDEX 



Caird, Edward, 39, 40. 
Carlyle, Thomas, 

"Heroes and Hero Worship," 36. 

quotation from, 45. 

" Frederick the Great," 65. 
Catacombs, study of, 77. 

lectures on, 8^. 

an interpretation of early Chris- 
tianity, 84. 
Cathedrals, 

at Ulm, 82-83. 

of Humanit}'-, 83, 149. 
Charity Organization Society, 158, 

161,307. 
Chicago Arts and Crafts Society, 

375- 
Chicago Federation of Labor, 225. 
Chicago Pohce, methods of, 414. 
Chicago School of Civics and Philan- 
thropy, 304. 
Chicago Woman's Trades-Union 

League, 227. 
Child Labor, 198-200. 

investigations, 201. 

annual meeting of National Com- 
mittee, 303. 

Committee on, 357. 
Child Labor Law, 

in Illinois, 199, 201, 303. 

hardship worked by, 205. 

attitude of mothers toward, 205. 

bitter opposition to, 205. 
Christian Socialists, 190. 
Church and the workingman, 191. 
City Gardens Association, 252. 
City Homes Association, 294, 304. 
City Missionaries, 91. 
Civic Cooperation, 

public baths, 313. 

public librar}% 314. 

and Hull-House Men's Club, 315. 

paying, 320, 



Nineteenth Ward Improvement 
Association, 321. 

need of, 323. 
Civic Federation, 160, 213. 
Civic significance of industrial condi- 
tions, 195. 
Civil Service, 289, 312, 316. 

methods, 324. 
Civil War, recollections of, 23-27. 
Commonwealth Colony, 277-279. 
Consumers' League, 210. 
Culver, Miss Helen, 93, 94. 

D 

Davidson, Thomas, 89, 90. 
Death, 

first contact with, 19, 20. 

protest against shielding children 
from knowledge of, 20, 21. 

as a universal experience, 53. 
Denver priest, murder of, 424. 
De Quincey, 

influence of, 46. 

"Vision of Sudden Death," 70. 
Dewey, John, 236, 237. 

lectures on social psychology, 435. 
DuBois, Professor W. E. B., 255. 
Dudley, Helena, 114. 
Dukhobors, 280. 
Dunne, Mayor, 329, 330, 332, 337, 

423- 
Diirer, Albrecht, his social message, 

75- 

E 

East London market on Saturday 

night, 66-68. 
Economic discussion, 177, 188. 
Economic experiments, 79-81. 
Education Bill, Enghsh, 263. 
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 50. 
Employment bureaus, State, 221, 222. 
Extradition, 416, 



INDEX 



4S7 



Factory law, :^:^, 201, 202. 

eight-hour clause, 204. 

associated with radicalism, 206. 

Sulzer Bill, 209. 
Free speech, defense of, 185. 
Fremantle, Canon, 87. 



Gage, Lyman, 178. 
Garbage collecting, 

investigation of, 281. 

death rate and, 284. 

civil ser\'ice and, 287, 289. 

neighborhood women's attitude 
toward, 287. 

result of, 288. 
Garbage inspector, Jane Addams' 

experiences as, 285. 
Garibaldi, 256, 424. 
George, Henry, 181. 
Gershuni, 419. 
Gillette, Dr., 56. 
Giordano Bruno Club, 424. 
Gladden, Washington, 141. 
Gorki's visit to America, 421. 

newspaper attitude toward, 422. 
Gorst, Sir John, 263. 
Green, Thomas Hill, 37. 

H 

Halsted Street, description of, 97. 
Hamilton, Ahce, 297, 302, 305. 
Hardie, James Keir, 263. 
Harrison, Frederic, 193. 
Haymarket riot, 177, 178, 206. 
Henrotin, Mrs. Ellen, 202. 
Herron, Professor, 189. 
Hill, Octavia, 264. 
Hobson, John, 265. 
Housing conditions, 

pubHc authorities and, 98, 100. 



investigation of, 289. 

congested, 294-296. 
Howells, Wm. D., 307. 
Hull, Charles J., 93. 
Hull-House, 

attempt to bribe, 33. 

Lincoln as inspiration to, 31. 

reputation for irreligion, 84, 150. 

theory of, 91. 

renting of, 93. 

history of, 93. 

furnishing of, 94. 

first guest of, 96. 

neighborhood of, 98. 

first resident of, loi. 

first kindergarten teacher at, 102. 

first kindergarten at, 103. 

Old Settlers' Party, 107. 

neighborhood services of, 109. 

motives for opening, 125. 

first coffee house at, 128, 131, 132. 

Cooperative Coal Association, 134, 
144. 

test of, 137. 

art at, 148. 

ideal of Hull-House, 149. 

finances of, 150. 

residents of, loi, 131, 151, 177, 194, 
196, 208, 210, 217, 273, 311, 386, 

449, 450- 
day nursery at, 169. 
establishment of, 177. 
reputation for radicalism, 183. 
and theorists, 194, 196. 
unions organized at, 212. 
and law enforcement, 295. 
celebration of national events at, 

256-258. 
playground of, 290-291. 
attitude of, misunderstood, 299, 

407, 423, 425. 
post-office at, 302. 
in politics, 315, 318, 344. 
influence on individuals, 346. 



458 



INDEX 



Hull House, — Contimied. 
pleasures at, 348. 
art exhibitions at, 371. 
studio at, 373. 
shops at, 375. 
concerts at, 376. 
chorus, 377. 

music school, 377, 380, 395. 
theater, 387, 393, 395. 
newspaper attack on, 402. 
college extension, 428, 429. 
summer school, 428. 
gymnasium, 442, 
military drill at, 444. 
economic lectures at, 429. 
University Extension at, 429. 
Sunday evening at, 430. 
classes at, 435, 438. 
religion at, 448. 
cooperative living at, 451. 
Hull-House Buildings, 
Jane Club, 137. 
Butler Gallery, 148, 371. 
Children's House, 169. 
Bowen Hall, 349, 362, 430. 
Music School, 378. 
Theater, 387, 
Boys' Club, 439. 
Gymnasium, 442. 
Hull-House Clubs, 

"The Young Heroes," 104. 

Boys' Club, 105, 442. 

Children's Clubs, 105, 106. 

Young People's Clubs, 131. 

Men's Club, 133, 31 5, 343- 

Jane Club, 136, 139, 207. 

"The Working People's Social 

Science Club," 179, 182, 185, 

188, 190, 196. 
Eight-Hour Club, 204. 
Woman's Club, 284, 288, 355, 357, 

362. 
Social Clubs, aims of, 342, 366. 
standards of, 343, 348. 



adaptability of members, 345. 

rules of, 349. 

value of, 365, 366. 
Friendly Club, 361. 
Circolo Italiano, 362. 
Dramatic Association, 390. 
Shakespeare Club, 434. 
Hull-House Cooperative Activities, 
employment agencies investiga- 
tion, 221. 
newsboy investigation, 303. 
infant mortality, 304. 
School of Civics and Philanthropy, 

social value of saloons investiga- 
tion, 304. 

industrial exhibition, 305. 

public baths, 313. 
Hull-House Investigations, 

garbage collection, 284. 

housing, 290. 

typhoid epidemic, 296. 

tuberculosis, 296. 

cocaine, 299. 

midwifery, 300. 

truancy, 300. 

children's reading, 301. 

fatigue, 301. 
Hull-House Labor Museum, 235-245. 
"Hull-House ]\Iaps and Papers," 153. 
Hull-House theater, 387. 

plays given in, 378, 388, 389, 391, 

393, 394, 395- 
mural decoration of, 396. 
Huntington, Father, 181. 



Illinois Ten- Hour Law for Women, 

227. 
Immigrants, 

differing creeds and standards of, 39. 
contrast between first and second 
generation of, 231. 



INDEX 



459 



Immigrants, — Continued. 

colonization of, 232. 

Italian neighbors, 232, 246, 372. 

German neighbors, 233. 

Bohemian neighbors, 234, 246. 

parents and children, 235, 243, 
247. 

in the Labor Museum, 240-242. 

their contribution to American 
life, 246. 

public school and, 253, 254. 

Greek neighbors, 372. 

Hull-House theater and, 388-390. 
Ingram, Canon, 265. 
International League for Labor Legis- 
lation, 230. 
Isolation in the city, 117, 360. 
Italian agricultural colony, 232. 



James, Professor Wm., 308. 
Jane Club, 137-139. 
Jones, Samuel, 188. 
Juvenile Court, 251, 252, 316. 
establishment of, 324. 
building of, 325. 
psychopathic institute of, 327. 
cooperation of Hull-House Wo- 
man's Club with, 355. 
Juvenile Protective Association, 
yoimgest offenders, and, 250. 
cooperation with Hull-House, 323. 
organization of, 325. 
cooperation with Druggists' Asso- 
ciation, Saloonkeepers' Pro- 
tective Association, Retail 
Grocers' Association, Associa- 
tion of Department Store 
Managers, Five-Cent Thea- 
ters, 326. 
and the abnormal child, 327. 
and the Hull-House Woman's 
Club, 364. 



and the Five-Cent Theater, 386. 
application to, 442. 



K 



Kelley, Florence, 201. 

and child labor, 201. 

first factory inspector, 207. 

State factory inspector, 310. 
Keyser, Mary, 94. 
Kidd, Benjamin, 194. 
Korolenko, 266. 
Kropotkin, Peter, 402, 403, 405. 



Lathrop, Julia C, 

at Plymouth, 114. 

memlDer of State Board of Chari- 
ties, 311, 312. 

Plato Club, 435. 
League for the Protection of Immi- 
grants, 222. 
Liebknecht, 264. 
Lincoln, Abraham, 

death of, 23. 

letters from, 31. 

pictures of, 31. 

inspiration of, 32. 

admiration of contemporaries, 34. 

"appreciation of," 36. 

his power of utilizing past ex- 
periences, 37. 

interpretation, 40. 

and democracy, 42. 
Lloyd, Henry D., 142. 
London County Council, 262. 
Longfellow, " Golden Legend," 387. 

M 

Mason, Colonel, 92. 
Masurek, Professor, 234. 



460 



INDEX 



Maude, Mr. and Mrs. Aylmer, 267, 

280. 
Maurice, Frederick Denison, ^8. 
Marx, Karl, daughter, 264. 
Mazzini, Joseph, 

death of, 21. 

influence of, 77, 

hundredth anniversary of birth 
of, 257, 426. 
McDowell, Mary, 223, 306. 
McKinley, President, 

assassination of, 403. 

assassin of, 408, 409. 
Military drill, 

Greek, 444. 

Columbian Guards, 444. 
Mill, 

situation of, 3. 

early associations with, 9-12. 

old Settlers' meeting beside the, 35. 
Mill, John Stuart, 189. 
Missionaries, 

classmates, 48. 

at Hull-House, 49. 

pressure at college, 49. 
Morley, John, 193. 
Municipal Voters' League, 322. 
Municipal Franchise for Women, 339. 

N 

National Woman 's Trades-Union 

League, 213. 
Neighborly ofi&ces, in early days, 109- 

IIO. 

Night work for women, 203. 
Nineteenth Ward Improvement As- 
sociation, 321. 
Nonresistance, 273. 



O 



Oglesby, Governor, 
visit of, 30. 



Old Settlers' Party, 107. 
Oxford, 

visit to, 37. 

call on Edward Caird at, 39-41. 
Oxford House, 265, 449. 



Paris Exposition, juror at, 143. 
Passion Play at Oberammergau, 391. 
Pater, Walter, quotation from, 26. 
Peace convention, 308. 
Peddlers, Protective Association of 

Jewish, 255. 
Pelham, Laura Dainty, 364. 
Pingree, Governor, 322. 
Plato, 53. 
Play, 

of country children, 16-18. 

contrasted with city children, 17. 
Plunkett, Sir Horace, 143. 
Plutarch's " Lives," 47. 
Plymouth, the summer school at, 

113- 
Port Royalists, 51. 
Poverty, 

first sight oi,Sj- 

in East London, 66-68. 

in Europe, 69. 

on lUinois farm, 79. 

London match girls, 81. 

old age and, 154. 

bitterness of, 158, 159. 

heroism and, 169, 175-176. 

tragedies of, 173, 381. 

problem of, 307. 
Public school and the immigrant, 

153-254. 
Pullman strike, 137. 

weakness revealed by, 213. 

class bitterness revealed by, 214- 

218. 
reaction on Settlements, 228. 
Purleigh, colony at, 280. 



INDEX 



461 



R 



Race problems, 255, 307, 
Recreation, need for, 351. 
Richards, Mrs Ellen H., 130. 
Rockford, College, 43. 

atmosphere of intensity, 44. 

attitude toward life at, 45. 

De Quincey's "Dreams," 46. 

reading at, 47. 

class motto, 48. 

careers of classmates, 48. 

missionary appeal at, 49. 

evangelical pressure at, 49-50. 

Bronson Alcott's lecture at, 50. 

Greek testament reading at, 51. 

daily regime at, 51. 

philosophical reflections at, 58. 

deciding on career at, 61. 

graduating essay, 61. 

veneration for science at, 61-6^ 

degree of B.A., 63. 
Rome, the enchantment of, 77, 

second visit to, 84. 
Rudovitz, Christian, 416. 
Ruskin, John, 

road-building episode of, 38-39. 

reading of, 47. 



Schurz, Carl, 36, 418. 
Scudder, Vida D., 114. 
Settlement, 

meaning of the term, 41. 

first plan of, 85. 

collective Living at, 90. 

subjective need for, 115. 

originated in England, 121. 

spiritual force in, 1 24. 

analysis of, 125. 

attitude toward, 137. 

no religious instruction in, 141. 

humanitarianism of, 152. 



relation to neighbors, 164. 
functions of, 166-167, 41 1- 
distrust of, 184, 448. 
and Chicago Woman's Trades- 
Union League, 227. 
and strikes, 228. 
and the International League of 

Labor Legislation, 230. 
teaching in, 427. 
as interpreters, 411, 446. 
Small parks, 132, 351. 
Smith, Eleanor, 377. 
Smith, Mary Rozet, 262, 263, 267, 

274, 277. 
Social Extension Committee of Hull- 
House Woman's Club, 358, 
361. 
Social maladjustment, 120, 177, 259, 

409. 
Social obligation in America, sense 

of, 367-370. 
Social theor>' and practice, 276. 
Socialism, a cure for toothache, 
179. 
inability to accept tenets of, 186. 
Settlements and, 229. 
Socialists, 

methods of attack of, 57. 
enthusiasm of, 180. 
devoted efforts of, 186. 
social responsibility of, 187. 
Starr, Ellen Gates, 87, 89, 94. 
reading from George Eliot, loi. 
president Public School Art Society, 

313- 
pupil of Cobden-Sanderson, 376. 
Dante and Bro\\Tiing Classes of, 

435- 
State Board of Conciliation and 

Arbitration, 214. 
Stead, Herbert, 266. 
Stead, Wm. T., 160. 
Stevens, Alzina Parsons, 207, 323, 

324- 



462 



INDEX 



Strikes, 

London match girls, 81. 

shoe factory, 213-218. 

typographical, 191. 

Pullman, 213-218. 

garment workers, 218. 

cutters, 219. 

Chicago stock yards, 223, 228, 229. 

teamsters, 224, 228, 434. 

value of, 224. 
Swing, Professor David, 88. 



"Tainted money," 138-141. 

Taylor, Dr. Graham, 304. 

Teachers' Federation, law suit of, 328, 

331- 

promotional examinations opposed 
by, 331. 

affiliated with Chicago Federation 
of Labor, 332. 

demand for self-government, 335. 
Theater and life, popularity of, 383. 

Five-Cent, 386. 

functions of, 391. 
Tillet, Ben, 263. 
Tolstoy, Count Leo, 

"The Snare of Preparation," 88. 

indictment of Moscow, 194. 

"what to do," 260-262. 

visit to, 267-273. 

and nonresistance, 273. 

bread labor, 274. 

colonies, 277. 

"Resurrection" fund, 280. 
Tomlins, Wm., 377. 
Toynbee, Arnold, 37, 41. 
Toynbee Hall, 87, 89, 90, 113, 121, 

139, 371- 
Trades-Unions, 

arbitration for, 59-60. 
attempt at bettering conditions, 
189. 



and sweating system, 202, 208. 

garment makers, 202, 208. 

label, 209. 

women's, 211. 

Dorcas Federal Union, 212. 

Woman's Union Label League, 212. 

National Woman's League, 213. 
corruption in, 225. 

Scrub Woman's Union, 226. 

Settlements and, 227, 228. 

tailor's, 305. 

and industrial exhibit, 305. 
Trevor, John, 152. 

Trumbull, Lyman, talk at Hull- 
House, 34. 



U 



Unemployment, 160, 221. 
University of Chicago, 140, 182, 429. 
University of Chicago Settlement, 223. 



Van der Vaart, Harriet, 306. 
Visiting Nurse Association, 158, 300. 



W 



Ward, Mrs. Humphry, 265. 
Webb, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney, 265. 
Wilmarth, Mrs. Mary, 89. 
Wisconsin, University of, 

Doctor's Degree, 30. 
Woman's Medical College, 65. 
Woman's suffrage, 54. 

Municipal franchise, 339. 

Scandinavian women and, 339. 
Woman's Trades-Union League, 227. 
Woods, Robert A., 113. 
World's Fair, 

winter after the, 159-165. 

congresses of, 181. 
Wyckoff, Walter, 260. 



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