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Twenty Years at Hull-House: With Autobiographical Notes
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Twenty Years at Hull-House: With Autobiographical Notes

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3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  570 ratings  ·  56 reviews
In 1889, while many Americans were disdainful of newly arrived immigrants, Jane Addams established Hull-House as a refuge for Chicago's poor. The settlement house provided an unprecedented variety of social services.In this inspiring autobiography, Addamschronicles the institution's early years and discussesthe ever-relevant philosophy of social justice that served as its...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 4th 2008 by Dover Publications (first published 1910)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,343)
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Frank Stein
The first part of this book is simply beautiful. In it Addams provides a strange and insightful look at what it was like to grow up the daughter of a well-off miller in rural Cedarville, Illinois in the 19th century. Surprisingly for a Victorian-era social reformer, she's eminently relatable and self-reflective. She describes in detail things like a nightmare she had as a young girl where everyone in the world was dead except her, and the world depended upon her solitary work as a blacksmith to...more
Nick Klagge
As with all of my very favorite books, it's difficult for me to put into words what "Twenty Years at Hull-House" meant to me.

Although I am not generally a big annotator, I was kicking myself for checking this out of the library and not having bought my own copy so that I couldn't underline, write notes, etc. At the same time, I couldn't keep myself from reading it until I bought a copy. All in all this was not too upsetting, because I definitely intend to read this book again in the future, pro...more
Dayla
She taught the poor Shakespeare, and they loved it. Great work by one of my favorite feminists during an era when feminists were not welcome most places.

Lincoln wrote to Ms. Addams, saying that she and her father were "The double D Addams." Lincoln noticed everything.

I am always surprised when a school is named Jane Addams, and no one seems to know a thing about Jane Addams.

Hopefully, someone at all the schools will fall in love with Jane Addams once her story is uncovered. This book does a g...more
Stephen
I truly believe that I should be given some sort of prize for reading this book. It was an incredible bore and many times I found myself half way down the page when, to my chagrin, I would realize I'd been thinking about what I'd make for dinner and I'd have to start all over again at the top. Other times I just plunged ahead. There were a few amusing bits such as when Miss Addams gloats over her achievement of getting Chicago drug stores to stop selling cocaine to children.
Jane Mettee
I found an old (1945) copy at a sale. As a public health nurse I have always heard about Hull House, a settlement house in Chicago. Jane Addams with her friend Ellen Starr founded the Hull House in 1989. The purpose was to provide social, public health, and advocacy services to the low income people (mostly immigrants) in the area. Hull House is recognized as the model for social service reform in this country. Accomplishments include improving sanitation (ie:garbage collection and sewage dispos...more
Cyndi
Jane Addams looks back on 20 years at Hull House a settlement house in Chicago that she founded to ameliorate the effects of industrialization and immigration. These houses were set up in different cities throughout the country by people who were either rich or had access to money and wanted to dedicate their lives to charity. Addams championed the downtrodden, victimized and oppressed who were taken advantage of by unscrupulous bosses, people and even criminals. Conditions faced by immigrants i...more
Elise
Well, since Nick read this book about a year ago, and was deeply influenced by Jane Addams's thinking, TYAHH has been on my short list for awhile. Because Addams has become so important to Nick, he's talked about her with me a lot; as a result, reading TYAHH for the first time felt like a familiar experience. Perhaps I'd be giving an additional star if my reading were a mind-blowing first encounter with JA; however, that's not to say that I didn't enjoy the book. My favorite chapters were the on...more
Suzy
Jun 07, 2011 Suzy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Elise, Meagan, Teri
Recommended to Suzy by: Nick
Reading about the creation and evolution of one of America's greatest "settlements" was very interesting on several different levels. Being in a similar line of work, I was intrigued to note how many differences and similarities there are between serving the poor, mostly immigrant, class one hundred years ago and now. Many of their problems then are their problems now, but one big difference is that it was the likes of Jane Addams who worked hard and took great personal risks to persuade governm...more
Jayme
I am a great admirer of Jane Addams and her work creating the first settlement house in the United States, Hull-House, for Chicago’s urban poor in 1889. I went into reading this book hoping to learn more about the settlement movement and Ms. Addams’s role as America’s first social worker.

Twenty Years at Hull House was written by Jane Addams because several inaccurate biographies had been written and Addams wanted to ”set the record straight.” In the first quarter of the book Addams inundates the...more
Cheryl
The book is not light reading, but is not a difficult read, either. I found the material extremely informative and enlightening, especially since I have spent more than 20 years as a State PTA leader. The events of this book overlap and deal with many of the same issues as why the National PTA was founded...child labor issues, poor public education, the importance of the arts, an understanding of other cultures, etc. Jane Addams has long been one of my socio-political heroines. She put into acti...more
Claudia
A book that is as relevant today as the era it chronicles.

It is a Herculean effort fraught with all manner of frustrations to alleviate human suffering in times of economic deprivation.

Just to supply many thousands of people with the bottom rung of Maslow's Hierarchy of needs is difficult, but to educate, enrich the mind and elevate the spirit during times of economic hardship is insuperable.

Throughout the history of the industrialized world humans are caught in a whirlpool of misery while te...more
Dusty
More than just a chronicle of the first two decades of Hull-House, the experimental social improvement site Jane Addams established in the late 19th century in one of Chicago's many impoverished immigrant quarters, this book is a spirited defense of pluralistic and democratic ideals. It is a plea for world citizens to hold their nations accountable when they run astray of democracy. And unfortunately, though under-served urban neighborhoods are increasingly populated by African Americans and Lat...more
Melanie
A modest, thoughtful look at Chicago's innovative Hull House Settlement as well as a fascinating glimpse into the personal development and accomplishments of Jane Addams. I wound up really liking and relating to Jane Addams as a person--occasionally, her reflections on her own foibles, naivete, and growth are hilarious. And the political and community work done by Hull-House--the empowerment framework in which it was done, before there was the word 'empowerment'-- was astonishing. I should have...more
Erin
This tiny little book took me months to get through and I could not usually read more than 10 or so pages in 1 sitting. But, it was very worth trudging through. It is dense, but it is so historically packed with info on the history of social services, labor movements, women's rights, immigration, poverty, democracy, grassroots organizing, and Chicago and the mid-west. The "settlement movement" as it is referred to in the book, encompasses the many social services that exist today, but highlights...more
Mayra
I had to read this for school. Without realizing it I think I may have read a third of this book without really processing any of the information because it's just so uninteresting. In theory there are some good stories hidden within but you don't expect them because the whole book is laid out in this monotonous style. In order to make sense of this you have to take about five minutes to read each line. I am attempting to read it again now.
Sue
I couldn't find the edition I read on here (introduction by Victoria B Brown, Bedford/St. Martin), but I would definitely recommend it. I assigned this for a class. The introduction was excellent for providing context. The book itself generated a good discussion by the students.
Jessica
One of the most amazing women in history, Jane Addams led an extraordinary life dedicated to helping those around her. This beautiful piece is an incredible look into her brainchild, the Hull House in Chicago. It was here that Jane, along with Ellen Gates Starr, reinvented community activism through their fight for equality for the immigrants of the region. This is an in-depth look at the trials and successes she encountered while building her settlement house from the ground up.



The beauty of t...more
Spencer
After reading "Atlas Shrugged" I spent a year in the circle-jerk libertarian mindset. Then I picked up this book and it slapped me silly and told me I was an idiot and completely ignorant of the way the world worked. If I had to pick out one book that made me a better person, it's this one.
Jess
I really wanted to like this book since I admire the work of Jane Addams. There were some interesting paragraphs, but then it would get boring. I read a few chapters, but had to stop reading it because it wasn't fun for me & started to feel like a chore.
Laura Schmidt-dockter
I was looking for information on Jane Addams when I purchased this book. While interesting, the book does not provide a complete view of Addams herself. Hull House is a provocative sociological study of life in Chicago in the mid to late nineteenth century.
Stefan
Real, old school Social Justice. Jane Addams really is a great women who we can all hold up as an example of what being American means. Even the old timey prose didn't turn me off, most of which is decipherable if you don't stop during the sentence.
Peter
This is an important book, though often a sluggish read. Addams was a social reformer, after all, but not an artist - her prose is often excessively wordy and awkward, especially when she's describing more abstract topics. But when she writes specific anecdotes about Hull-House residents and associates, the passages are wonderfully vivid and moving. And her discussions of meeting Tolstoy and, later, fighting against claims that Hull-House promoted anarchy (as damning then as an accusation of Com...more
Monica
Dry. And no devil baby anecdotes. *sigh*
Jean Sheldon
A remarkable book, written by a remarkable woman. Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr understood that everyone has something to offer society. They succeeded in helping newly arrived immigrants adjust by listening to and learning from those they were trying to help. 'Twenty Years at Hull House' is an opportunity to see how in the struggle for freedom and equality, some things have changed, and some continue to challenge the evolution of humanity.
Juliet
A chronicle of the first twenty years at Hull-House through Jane Addams' words and experience, this book is a remarkable record of an imperfectly beautiful social movement. Told humbly but with much detail and feeling, the text was a bit challenging and dry at first but once I warmed to it, I couldn't put it down. More to ponder, especially in comparison to our lives today and how far, or not, we've grown.
Deb Kochman
Addams autobiography, Twenty Years at Hull House, traces her life from schoolgirl to academic to influential Chicagoan to international feminist speaker. It recounts the inspiration behind Hull House, its founding years, its successes as well as its tragedies and portrays the life work of Jane Addams, a woman “sickened by advantages,” who sought to use education as a force for social change.
Starbubbles
This book discusses the motivations leading Jane Addams toward social reform and settlement housing. Jane Addams describes the projects of Hull House in the first 20 years of its existance as well as the people who came to help and those it helped. It's a very interesting book which is a must read for anyone who is interested in social reform.
Casey Dukes
I read this for a 6th grade project on notable American women. As memory serves, it was incredibly dull (no doubt because I was a kid when I read it). Jane Addams was quite a remarkable lady, but if wikipedia had existed back then, I surely would have done some research to find a more colorful character.
Lexish
I have always been interested in the settlement house movement and wrote a paper on it in high school. I believe I read this book back then, but couldn't remember it. Unless one is interested in settlement houses I'm not sure how much attention it would capture, but I enjoyed reading it again.
Patty
Beautifully written and thematically dense. The scene in which Addams describes the impoverished people of London bidding on rotten vegetables, their pale hands clutching at food that should rightly have been on a trash heap, will stay with me for a very long time.
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Jane Addams was born in Cedarville, Illinois. Her mother died when she was two, and she was raised by her father and, later, a stepmother. She graduated from Rockford Female Seminary in 1881, among the first students to take a course of study equivalent to that of men at other institutions. Her father, whom she admired tremendously, died that same year, 1881.

Jane Addams attended Woman's Medical Co...more
More about Jane Addams...
Democracy and Social Ethics Peace and Bread in Time of War The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets (1912) The Long Road of Woman's Memory Women at the Hague: The International Peace Congress of 1915

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“In the unceasing 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.” 22 likes
“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.” 4 likes
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