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Jane Addams: A Resource Guide

A notable figure in the history of social work, Addams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. This guide compiles materials from the Library of Congress collections about this important changemaker in the women’s movement.


Gerhard Sisters, photographer. Jane Addams. ca. 1914. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Jane Addams (1860-1935) was a groundbreaking social reformer, peace activist, and co-winner of the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize. A graduate of Rockford Female Seminary in Illinois, Addams traveled to London in 1888 and drew inspiration from Toynbee Hall, a settlement house that provided services to the indigent. In 1889, Addams founded one of the first settlement houses in the United States, Hull House in Chicago, that provided educational workshops and social services to thousands of the city's poor, including immigrants.

Addams was a tireless advocate for the rights of women, people of color, and children. Addams was an officer in the National American Women's Suffrage Association, one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and a founding member of the National Child Labor Committee.

An ardent pacifist, Addams co-founded the Women's Peace Party in 1915 and served as the president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Addams was a vocal anti-war advocate during World War I and was eventually awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 for her years of activism.