Twenty Years at Hull-House (Signet Classics)

by Jane Addams

Other authorsHenry Steele Commager (Foreword)
Paperback, 1961




Signet Classics (1995), Edition: Rei, 320 pages


Adams, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her philanthropic work, tells of her famed settlement house in Chicago's West Side slums at the turn of the century in this Signet classic. This new edition features an Afterward by Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, who examines the current state of settlement houses in America.


½ (62 ratings; 3.7)

Media reviews

Book News, Inc.
Originally published in 1910, this was Jane Addams' most successful book. Now regarded as a classic of American social history, this first annotated edition is issued on the occasion of the Hull-House centennial. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

User reviews

LibraryThing member Citizenjoyce
Jane Addams was one of those remarkable rare creatures, a true citizen of the world. She used her intelligence and humanity to assist disadvantaged people in Chicago to develop intellectually, artistically, intellectually, physically, and emotionally. As a social scientist she formulated ideas and
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plans then was always ready to change them when new information about people and societies showed the need. You could say she was for the underdog, but not just for the underdog, because she realized the underdog could sometimes act on ideas that were not beneficial to society. This put her on the bad side of some underdogs. She tolerated and supported all religions at her settlement, which put her on the bad side of many religious people. She supported people who were wrongly accused of anarchism this put her on the bad side of many politically conservative people. In fact she said that rather than ignoring human rights in order to prosecute anarchists the government should show how the government assisted people through the support of their political and human rights. She encouraged play, pleasure and humor saying that drudgery and hard work could not be all humans had to look forward to. Above all, she knew the necessity of community, the way the individual could thrive only by assisting community in whatever individual way he or she could. If there were such a thing as a secular saint, I'd nominate Jane Addams. I would encourage everyone to read this book before they vote.
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
Written in the early 1900s, this is the story of the beginnings of Social Services in America. Jane Addams tells not only about her experiment with Hull House, but about her philosophy of what social service is or can be, the need for it and some of the episodes with the people she helped. It is
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quite dry, more of an intellectual observation than a personal story. I admire her for trying to stay clear of being identified with or owned by other social movements of the times. Still, I couldn't finish this book. More my problem than a problem with the book, but it didn't involve me in it, too much observation and not enough personal experiences I suppose. I quit reading about half way through.
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LibraryThing member rivkat
Interesting historically. Addams was an assimilationist who spoke fairly respectfully about Southern European and Jewish traditions; a reformer who sought government by experts but also the franchise for women; a believer that labor rights mattered and that bad conditions produced bad behavior
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rather than the reverse; and a condemner of prostitution who both thought that many women were tricked or coerced into sex work and that sex work ruined any woman who engaged in it such that other “good” people were justified in excluding them from polite society no matter how repentant they were.
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

320 p.; 4.16 inches


0451523830 / 9780451523839
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