Women and the Nobel Peace Prize

Jane Addams, ca. 1915 (Swarthmore Peace Collection).

Jane Addams was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in the peace movement and social work, but who were the other women who have won the prize? Learn a little bit about each of the 16 total women winners and when they won their prizes.

  1. Bertha von Suttner (1905)-  Born in Austria-Hungary, she was a pacifist and novelist. She worked as a secretary for Alfred Nobel in 1876, but only a few months later quit her job and got married in Vienna. She kept in touch with Nobel and was not shy to share her objections of dynamites used for military purposes. She actively worked in the Austria and Germany peace movement and was awarded the Nobel Peace PRize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee after her death in 1889.
  2. Jane Addams (1931)- An Illinois native, Jane Addams was a novel pacifist, suffragist, and trailblazer in social work. She is known as the mother of social work, with her discovery of Hull House being a symbol of a way 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.” She was also the first president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Addams won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
  3. Emily Greene Balch (1946): Balch was born in Boston and was an American economist, sociologist, and pacifist. She always had an interest in social issues like poverty, immigration, and child labor and worked to reduce juvenile delinquency and aide poor immigrants. Balch collaborated with Jane Addams at the start of WWI and the two worked for the WILPF, with Balch’s work giving her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946. 
  4. Betty Williams (1976): Irish native Betty Williams was the Founder of the Northern Ireland Peace Movement, later renamed Community of Peace People. In the early 1970s, Williams joined an anti-violence campaign and grew interested in the grass-roots campaigning for peace and non-violence in Ireland. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 and is currently in charge of the World centers of Compassion for Children International.
  5. Mairead Corrigan (1976): Corrigan shares the Nobel Peace Prize with Williams and won her prize for her efforts in ending violence in Northern Ireland. When the Irish people became discouraged in the Peace People, Corrigan kept her hopes up and continued to support the cause with admirable devotion. Corrigan was also a founder of the Northern Ireland Peace Movement.
  6. Mother Teresa (1979): Born in Macedonia, at the time the Ottoman Empire, Mother Teresa got her call to God at the age of 12 and knew she was destined to spread the love of Christ. She dedicated her life to helping the poor; she built homes for orphans, nursing homes for lepers and hospice for the terminally ill in Calcutta. She created the Missionaries of Charity and in 2003, the Pope began her canonization and was declared a saint by Pope Francis in 2016.
  7. Alva Myrdal (1982): The Swedish native was an advocate of disarmament and was a diplomat, writer, and former Cabinet Minister in Sweden. She was also a campaigner for women’s rights and after WWII, Myrdal held prominent posts in the United Nations. In 1955, she was the Swedish Ambassador to India. She worked extensively to persuade world leaders to disarm and fought for nuclear weapons-free zones in Europe.
  8. Aung San Suu Kyi (1991): Born in Burma, she won the Nobel Peace Prize “for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.” She lead the opposition to the military junta that controlled Burma in 1962 and was a founder of the National League for Democracy (NLD). Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, she opposed all violence and called on leaders to give power to a civilian government. The military rule arrested members of the NLD, including her, yet the Peace Prize had a significant impact on her house arrest, that was supposed to last 21 years but only lasted almost 15 years. Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
  9. Rigoberta Menchú (1992): The Guatemala native was raised by an poor Indian peasant family and helped work on the family farm. She became involved in social reform through the Catholic Church and was a prominent figure in women’s right in her teen years. She continues to work for the rights of indigenous peoples, with the Nobel Peace Prize motivation being “in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.” She became a UN Ambassador for the world’ indigenous peoples.
  10. Jody Wlliams (1997): American pacifist Jody Williams always was interested in international politics and relations and was interested in war-torn El Salvador during the 1980s. She became interested in landmines and the serious threat they posed, so she become a trailblazer of an international campaign against landmines. By 1997, the International Campaign for Ban Landmines (ICBL) included 1,000 organizations and 60 countries as members. The Ottawa Convention will forever be associated with Williams, which banned the use, production, sale and stock-iling of anti-personnel mines. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.
  11. Shirin Ebadi (2003): Shirin Ebadi was born in Iran and was Iran’s first female judge. She defended people who were persecuted by authorities and in 2000 she was imprisoned for critizicing her country’s hierocracy. She became interested in fundamental human rights, specifically women’s and children’s rights and soon became and advocate for the separation of church and state in Iran. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 “for her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children.” The Nobel Committee attempted to heal tensions between the Islamic and Western Worlds after the September 2001 attacks in the United States, while lend a hand in the Iranian reform movement.
  12. Wangari Muta Maathai (2004):Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Kenya and opposed Daniel arap Moi’s regime and advocated for democracy in Kenya. After obtaining her doctorate in biology and being the first female professor ever in Kenya, she started the grass-roots movement at countering deforestation. She started the Green Belt movement and contributed to the planting of over thirty million trees. She was the first African women to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.
  13. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2011): She was born in Liberia and worked for the Liberian government and the United Nations. She ran for the Liberian presidency in 1997 but lost and ran for re-election in 2005 and won, and then won again in 2011. She is the first female head of state ever to be elected democratically in Africa and continues to work for peace, reconciliation, and social and economic development in Liberia. The prize motivation was “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” 
  14. Leymah Gbowee (2011): Alongside Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee won the prize in 2011, with the two sharing the same goals of peace in Liberia. Since 1989, she calls for women to come together, regardless of ethnic and religious backgrounds, to obtain peace. After raising enough money, she led a delegation of Liberian women to Ghana to pressure peace-talks, which contributed to ending the war.
  15. Tawakkol Karman (2011): Born in Yemen, Karman shared the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for the non-violent struggle in protecting women’s safety and building women’s rights along with peace-building efforts. In 2005, she founded Women Journalists Without Chains to promote freedom of expression and democratic rights and was an active participant in the 2011 protests that took place in numerous Arab countries.  
  16. Malala Yousafzai (2014): Malala Yousafzai is the younger person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize, at 16 years old. She was born in Pakistan and would blog for BBC since 2009 about her personal experiences with the Taliban’s growing influence and power. In 2012, the Taliban attempted to kill her, but after numerous surgeries in the UK she survived and still lives in the UK. She is known for her courage and dedication for the rights of girls to education.

The 1915 Trojan Women Tour

1915 was a momentous year for women’s efforts for peace and suffrage. Jane Addams and others established the Women’s Peace Party (WPP), met at the International Congress for Women, formed the International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace (ICWPP), (known today as the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom [WILPF]), and held a massive Suffrage parade in New York City, N.Y. While they worked together for one ultimate goal — equality — they used a variety of methods, one of which was revisiting Ancient Greece.

Continue reading “The 1915 Trojan Women Tour”

“From Hull-House to Herland”: Lorraine Krall McCrary’s Guest Blog Post

I had the pleasure of asking Lorraine Krall McCrary about her new article “From Hull-House to Herland: Engaged and Extended Care in Jane Addams and Charlotte Perkins Gilman,” (Politics & Gender, August 2018, 1-21). She examines the writings and activities of Jane Addams and Charlotte Perkins Gliman and how the two activists’ opinions on the roles women have in politics, society, and family differed. Here’s what she had to say: Jane Addams and Charlotte Perkins Gilman (author of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” among many other writings) were exact contemporaries; they were both born in 1860 and died in 1935. Both worked on issues related to women and social reform and their efforts overlapped. They  were both involved with the beginning of the women’s peace movement, worked on the feminist magazine The Woman’s Journal, and were active in the American Sociological Society from its founding (Gilman 1997). Their work in sociology and on feminist projects brought them together—Gilman stayed at Hull-House for several months in 1895, and her visit to Hull-House influenced her fictional utopias.

 

Continue reading ““From Hull-House to Herland”: Lorraine Krall McCrary’s Guest Blog Post”

Give Peace a Chance: Some Ideas Sent to Jane Addams

Jane Addams and other members of the American delegation on the S.S. Noordam, sailing through embattled waters to attend the International Congress of Women in April 1915. (Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2014698779/)

If you were given three wishes, what would they be? One of the most common answers is world peace. It’s only natural that people want peace, especially with the barrage of headlines screaming about war and conflict. World peace means happiness and freedom for all people and nations. Though it may not seem like it, statistically speaking, we live in the most peaceful era since the 1400s, according to Max Roser, who created a chart that visualizes the global death rate from war over the past 600 years. Some of the deadliest times were during the 20th century due to both World Wars.

Global Deaths in Combat since 1400. For more visualizations on this theme see https://ourworldindata.org/war-and-peace

During the First World War, Americans developed many ideas on how to pave the way for international peace, and often sent them to notable peace activists and politicians, such as Jane Addams, Woodrow Wilson, and Andrew Carnegie. Starting in 1914, Addams began receiving letters that contained proposals on how to secure international peace in a time of war. Some were pragmatic, others idealistic, and some fanciful. All shared the same goal, however, which was to stop war.

James Woodburn Hamilton’s Children’s Creed and International Memorial Day

 James Woodburn Hamilton, a mining engineer, sent his peace plan to Addams in November of 1916. Believing that children play a crucial role in the future of international peace, he wrote a “creed” for children in the United States which read:

Passport photo of James W. Hamilton.

“I believe in the God of all nations who over ruleth all things for His own great purposes. I believe in my country, America, born in the love of liberty and purified in the fires of maintaining it. I believe in her destiny as the great exemplar of freedom; in her honesty of purpose; in her high ideals for the best service of all humanity; a service of which I will be a part and which I will do my best to keep pure.”

“I owe allegiance and honor to her flag and constitution before any earthly interest, and conceive it to be my highest duty to so live day by day a clean and upright life that later on I may be worthy of American Citizenship.

James Woodburn Hamilton, “Peace Plans,” Nov. 27, 1916.

Hamilton also proposed an International Memorial Day, a day of “mourning and humiliation,” that would remind the world of trauma and human cost of war. While Decoration Day, later Memorial Day, were celebrated in the United States, the somber reason for the day has devolved into barbecues, baseball games and the unofficial start of summer.

Samuel Ware Packard’s Federated Government

In December 1915, Samuel Ware Packard proposed that the only way to insure peace was to establish a Federated Government of nations, resembling the structure of the United States government. This government would issue bonds to “disarm all nations would have the capabilities for world peace. Packard’s  Federated Government would have a congress with representatives from each nation, a supreme court for the settling of international disputes, and a president selected by vote. It would tax the exports and imports  of any nation that “did not voluntarily pay its fair proportion of the expenses of maintaining the Federated Government.” As Packard wrote:

1904 Lithograph cartoon of Samuel Ware Packard

“The warring nations in Europe deprecate the present war, but do not dare to give up until there is some guarantee for future peace. At present each side seems to believe that the only way to attain lasting peace is by the complete defeat or exhaustion of their enemies. The foregoing plan would enable these warring nations to obtain lasting and permanent peace without humiliation or dishonor; and the enormous waste of life and resources which each side must sustain if the war is continued would seem to be reason suficient to make every nation willing to submit the adjustment of their differences to an impartial tribunal — when assured that the decisions of such tribunal would be carried into effect.”

Samuel Ware Packard, “Plan for Permanent Peace by the Disarmament of Every Nation in the World, Dec. 1915.

Packard argued that there would be no need for military competition without armaments. Distrust between nations would decrease alongside the need to conquer and dominate the globe. With the Federated Government, each nation would be cared for and protected by all other nations, living together in harmonious peace.

Charles Leopold Bernheimer’s International Public Conscience

Charles Leopold Bernheimer crafted a peace proposal styled as “A Business Man’s Plan for Settling the War In Europe” in January 1915. Similar to Packard’s plan, Bernheimer suggested the creation of a council called the International Public Conscience. He wanted to apply a businessman’s principle of arbitrating commercial disputes” to international relations.

Charles L. Bernheimer’s passport photograph

“War is the phenomenon — the negation of the rule of reason.” he argued.  “The causes are frequently misunderstanding, selfishness, inconsiderateness; the reasons for the perpetration of this war do not yet seem to have been frankly and fully stated. There can be misunderstandings and differences of opinion between nations as there can be between individuals. War will not settle them, — at least not with a settlement that endures, for such a settlement must be built upon reason and acceptance of ethical standards.War will not settle them — at least not with a settlement that endures, for such a settlement must be built upon reason and acceptance of ethical standards.

Charles Leopold Bernheimer, “Peace Proposal,” January 12, 1915.

The International Public Conscience would diffuse these tensions, by building outlets for commercial, civic, religious, labor, agricultural and other disputes. An “International Public Opinion,” would provide a megaphone for public opinion, which would help start dialogues. Other organizations, such as the Commision on Immediate Action, the International Conference, the Council of Nine, and the Treaty of Peace with would be designed to take effective action. 

Elsie M. Gill and Paul Edmund Frind’s Telepathic Peace Movement

Many of the proposals above operated on a pragmatic analysis of the problem. Others were more experimental and radical. In March 1915, Addams received a 6-page telegram from Vancouver, Canada from Elise M. Gill and Paul Edmund Frind. The pair had already written to President Wilson without receiving an answer, so appealed to Jane Addams for help spreading word about their idea. 

Gill’s idea for peace involves spreading peace through telepathy. Telepathy, or extrasensory perception (ESP), involves the transferring of information outside of the natural five senses. Gill wanted to use telepathy as a means of spreading peace and hoped that Addams would use her connections with the Woman’s Peace Party and other peace leagues to get the word out.

“It is impossible to doubt but that the objective would be attained the direct result of thousands of minds thinking peace urgently desiring peace living solely in the thought of peace assisted by minds that have been specially trained in the science of telepathic projection occultists would be to attain the consummation of our earnest desire, universal and eternal peace. I am in touch with several people who are greatly gifted and trained the the practical use of the science of telepathic projection and I would spare neither time nor money in the interests of such as peace movement.”

Elsie Gill and Paul Frind to Jane Addams, March 17, 1915

When faced with what seemed a senseless and increasingly extended World War, people sought to develop proposals that could not only bring the warring nations to sense, but could also prevent the next war. Whether it was the creation of an international government, prayer and moral instruction, arbitration, or telepathic pacifism, people then and now hoped to encourage world peace. With all of the ways the world has tried, not much success has come, so who can say that these methods should be dismissed?

Documents mentioned in this post will be available via the Jane Addams Digital Edition in the near future.

“Trolls” Have Been Around For Years

Jane Addams, ca. 1915 (Swarthmore Peace Collection).

People blame the Internet for what seems like the spread of anger, meanness and bad manners. While the internet makes it easier to reach more people with much more speed, the things that people share is not so terribly different. Internet trolls, hecklers, and flame warriors seem to be modern phenomena, but it is the method, not the content that is modern. In Jane Addams’ day they just used letters. After having lunch with Addams, journalist Arthur Gleason wrote a long diatribe, including:

“She doesn’t care about people. She doesn’t like you. She likes to move you & bend you. . . This is no Florence Nightingale, nor bread-feeding legendary nun! How troubled she would look & empty beside a life of purpose like Moody’s. The lady is just one more consummate trick performer. She only looks one in the eye occasionally & she wears a stoop & forward tilt of the head from constantly speaking into the ear of politicians & getting legislation & into the ear of millionaires and getting money.”–Arthur Gleason to Leila Seward Gleason, May 4, 1906

Trolls spread false information and try to foster anger and emotional outbursts by posting provocative or outrageous comments and reactions to content. Back in Addams’ day it was “hate mail” and while its audience was more focused, the emotions and anger behind it were strikingly similar.

Despite her reputation as America’s best-loved woman, Jane Addams received anonymous and signed attacks. In 1912, when she supported Theodore Roosevelt’s candidacy for President, her mail became a mine field, peppered with angry missives questioning her intelligence and honesty.

Theodore Roosevelt on the campaign trail, 1912. Roosevelt’s candidacy brought out strong feelings, both for and against him. (Library of Congress).

One letter, written by G.H. Bastian, begins by calling Addams “possibly blind to the fact that ‘Evil Communications Corrupt Good Manners.'” The letter goes on to savage Roosevelt,

Out of his own mouth a Liar, a most audacious liar, Lied about himself, about the President, about numberless persons and things. An international burglar “I took it,” he shamelessly prates, in reference to his theft of Columbian possession Panama. A consuming perjurer in that he violated his oath of office, an open flagrant violator of every confidence ever [reposed] in him. A shameless dirty mouthed black-guard whose vile tongue spoke evil of our best of men and women, even went so low as to label men “liars,” Crooks, brigands, 2nd story men, vampires and numberless other names degrading and dirty, can there be a doubt, a doubt in this day of [reckoning], in the day of exposé that Theodore Roosevelt is about the most unclean, the most vile, and contaminating citizen in the whole Country. – G.H. Bastion to Addams, August 26, 1912.

But then he turns towards Addams, and in language archaic, but with sentiments all  too familiar to what we see on Twitter and in web comment sections:

Can it be possible that in all New England a woman — Yes even in this vast Country a woman can be found who would be willing to stoop low enough to espouse such a man. Now in order to be Consistent you should at once move to New York. Secure an office in the Tenderloin, in the Red light district, in fact you should display a red light in the front window, and label the door a “Negro Assignation House in the rear.” In addition to espousing the noble degrading cause of Rooseveltism you could handle a few “white slaves.”- G.H. Bastion to Addams, August 26, 1912.

Similarly, Addams received an anonymous letter from a woman complaining:

I have been reading after you for some time and I thought you would be a help to Ignorant [women] — but I see Instead: you are only a dupe to Roosevelt. [He] never has been; nor never will be any help to [womankind] — outside of the use that man makes of them for their [passion] sake. . . –Anonymous to Jane Addams, 1912.

The author compares women supporting Roosevelt to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Adam (Roosevelt) was only looking out for himself, and “If women is going to vote the same spiteful way that men are voting It will only add fuel to their hellfire and women and girls will only be slaughtered more than we are now.” The letter goes on explaining that women have to work hard to “Redeem their Honor.”

Buffalo Times, January 25, 1919.

A study of internet “trolls” found that they score higher on the “Dark Tetrad” of personality traits (narcissism, sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism). A 2016 study found that they espouse “negative social potency,” — their cruelty and willingness to hurt other’s for personal gain or pleasure.  It is interesting to see what kinds of behaviors provoke such reactions. One of the instances when Addams received the most criticism and hate was in the early days of America’s entry into World War I. Addams had opposed the war since its outbreak, but unlike others, continued to speak out against it after the United States joined the Allies. It was not just individuals who called her out, it was the government, the press, and even former friends.

Newspaper editorials blasted her for stepping outside of her “place” and the attacks turned personal quite quickly. The Courier-Journal:

The World takes Miss Jane too seriously. She is by no means a mystic. Properly construed there is nothing ‘inexplicable’ about her. A commonplace woman of limited mentality, somewhat over-educated, she made a useful place for herself at Hull House. . . . But when, unsatisfied with plain, everyday settlement work, for which she seemed to have been fitted, she began to fancy herself a philosopher and started out as a writer and lecturer, she got away beyond her depth.” –Quoted in the Montgomery Advertiser, June 23, 1917.

Atlanta Constitution, August 10, 1917.

In another case, Addams was attacked by Mildred Rutherford who called Addams “pro-German,” a believer in “the amalgamation of the races,” and that her father “was a white slave trafficker.” In this case, Addams’s response was published in the Atlanta Constitution (right).

Most times, Addams did not respond to these jibes and slanders, preferring to follow the advice most apply when confronted with such people — Don’t feed the troll.

 

 

 

 

To read some of the criticisms, both mild and fierce, that Addams received, click here.

A Guest Blog Post by Taylor Mills on The New Women of Chicago’s World’s Fairs (1893-1934)

I was fortunate enough to get in contact with Taylor Mills, current curator at the Chisholm Trail Museum and recent graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma, who wrote her MA thesis on the women of the Chicago’s World’s Fairs from 1893-1934. She spoke of her interest in the topic, what her research focuses on, and her thesis process.

Picture: Arnold, C. D., “Looking West From Peristyle, Court of Honor and Grand Basin of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition (Chicago, Illinois).” Official Views Of The World’s Columbian Exposition

My recent research focused on women’s roles in world’s fairs and the connection these roles had to women’s transitioning roles in society. I studied Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, 1925-1928 Woman’s World’s Fairs, and the 1933-1934 Century of Progress Exposition to determine the correlation between women’s representation within the fairs and the evolution of the new woman in the United States between 1893 and 1934. I was particularly interested in the concept of the new woman, which evolved from concepts of true womanhood, real womanhood, and public womanhood. Women’s roles in society and the expositions, I found, depended on and influenced the transformation of society’s understanding of womanhood.

My interest in this topic emerged from a fascination with world’s fairs, specifically those in Chicago, Illinois, during the Gilded Age and Progressive Eras. Paired with an interest in the women’s rights movement, it was only natural that I would find interest in women’s roles within the expositions. In my readings, though, I had noticed that women were often consigned to the sidelines of the narrative; furthermore, the research that recognized women’s roles were either too narrow or too broad in scope. For instance, Jeanne Weimann’s The Fair Women: The Story of the Women’s Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893 (1981) details women’s roles within the sphere of the Women’s Building, which unfortunately limits the research to an aristocratic focus.[i] Several other resources within the historiography either resembled this manner of studying women in relation to world’s fairs, or they presented broad studies of the fairs with limited mention of women’s roles within the fairs. Examples of this would be Abigail Markwyn’s Empress San Francisco: The Pacific Rim, the Great West, and California at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (2014) and Robert Rydell’s All the World’s a Fair: Visions of Empire at American International Expositions (1984), 1876-1916, World of Fairs: The Century of Progress Expositions (1993), and Fair America: World’s Fairs in the United States (2000).[ii] In these monographs, the authors examined the overall significance of world’s fairs, which unfortunately limited the amount of research focused on women involved within those fairs.

In response to this historiography, I argue that it is impossible to understand the significance of the world’s fair without fully understanding the influence it had on women’s roles in society. In 1893, the Board of Lady Managers controlled their own space within the World’s Columbian Exposition; though it was a space designed specifically for affluent and influential women, it was fully owned and operated by women. This, I argue, produced a clear image of the new woman in 1893 as representing women’s advancements in education, industry, and reform. By 1933 and 1934, the new woman embodied personal freedoms alongside those elements of the 1893 new woman; I argue that spaces within and immediately outside the 1933 Exposition—Chicago Woman’s Club Building, the Social Science Hall, the Hall of Science, the Illinois State Building, the Streets of Paris—provided women with a space to demonstrate their progress and preview future progression. I conclude the thesis by arguing that it is imperative to recognize this growth of the new woman in order to study both women’s rights and world’s fairs, for the two studies go hand in hand.

[i] Jeanne Weimann, The Fair Women: The Story of the Women’s Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893 (Chicago: Academy Chicago, 1981).

[ii] Abigail Markwyn, Empress San Francisco: The Pacific Rim, the Great West, and California at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2014); Robert Rydell, All the World’s a Fair: Visions of Empire at American International Expositions, 1876-1916 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984); Robert Rydell, World of Fairs: The Century of Progress Expositions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993); Robert Rydell, John E. Findling, and Kimberly D. Pelle, Fair America: World’s Fairs in the United States (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 2000).

The Tragic Case of Baby Bollinger

Photo of Anna Bollinger and Henry Haiselden, Chicago Tribune, March 31, 1917.

A little over 100 years ago, the case of an infant allowed to die in a Chicago hospital captured the nation’s attention. Born on November 12, 1915, “Baby Bollinger” died five days later on November 17, after physician Harry Haiselden refused to operate to save his life. Haiselden made his decision because the child was born with deformities and he believed the the boy was was mentally and morally defective. He convinced the child’s mother, who said “the doctor told me it would be, perhaps, an imbecile, a criminal. Left to itself it has no chance to live. I consented to let nature take its course.” (Boston Globe, Nov. 17, 191

5, p. 1.)  Haiselden’s controversial decision led to a heated debate in newspapers across the country.

Anna Bollinger, who never saw her baby, issued a statement on November 17, supporting Dr. Haiselden’s decision.

 

The baby, John Bollinger, was the fourth child of Anna and Allen Bollinger of Chicago, was born with noticeable disabilities, such as a missing ear and a defect in sk

in development that made it appear that the baby had no neck. Operating on the baby might have saved his life, but Haiselden and other doctors were concerned that as a “defective” the life ahead for the family would be challenging, and that the child would be a burden to society.

A portion of Addams’ statement, published in the Richmond Item, November 18, 1915.

When news of Haiselden’s decision became public, people began calling and begging the doctor and hospital to reconsider the decision. There were threats to kidnap the baby and take him to another hospital.  Leaders weighed in on the issue, including Jane Addams. As a firm believer in equal rights for all, Addams was appalled by Haiselden’s decision. “A physician or hospital board has not the right to assume the prerogative to say that any person shall be killed, but is required by the highest moral law to save every life that possibly can be saved.” (Richmond Item. November 18, 1915.)

Addams offered a list of famous, notable, and historical people who suffered from disabilities (see full article). Helen Keller, John Milton, Lord Byron, and Robert Louis Stevenson were a few named on Addams’ list. Each had made great contributions to society; notwithstanding their disabilities.

Another critic was Dr. James Walsh, who wrote:

The physician has assumed the exercise of a power that is not his. Doctors have the care of life, not death. Physicians are educated to care for the health of their patients, but so far at least as I know we have no courses in our medical colleges as yet which teach how to judge when a patient’s life may be of no service to the community so as to let him or her die properly. Some of us physicians may thank God that we are not yet the licensed executioners of the unfit for the community, and some of us know how fallacious our judgments are even with regard to the few things we know (www.psychologytoday.com)

Haiselden’s critics made moral arguments, claiming that every person has a right to live and doctors must not play God and determine who lives or who dies, but should respect the lives of all patients and give them the best care and treatment. Many believed that the hospital had committed murder and demanded answers.

Some supported Haiselden’s decision, explaining that it was “a mercy to let babies with disabilities die rather than to allow them to experience a lifetime of ‘pain, shame, humiliation, and distress.'” Dr. William Rausch, Jr. from Albany, New York, was one supporter. He wrote that it was humane to “forget” to cut the cord of newborns with disabilities and let them hemorrhage. Even some parents of children with disabilities wrote in support, saying that death might have  been better instead of subjecting their children to abuse in asylums, not knowing where to turn, or worrying about what would happen to their child after its parent’s died.

Helen Keller’s comments in the Pittsburgh Press, November 29, 1915.

Helen Keller issued a statement that “a human life is sacred only when it may be of some use to itself and the world. The world is already flooded with unhappy, unhealthy, mentally sound people who should never have been born.” (Pittsburgh Press, November 28, 1915, p. 14.)

An autopsy was performed that vindicated Haiselden. On November 18 the coroner’s physician claimed that though the operation may have saved the child’s life, “the baby, if it had lived, would have been a paralytic and a cripple all its life.”  Haiselden testi

Advertisement for the Black Stork, Chicago Tribune, March 31, 1917.

fied before a jury of physicians charged with determining whether he should be prosecuted. He was not charged, though the jury censured him mildly. Haiselden was also tried by the Chicago Medical Society’s Ethics Board, for breaching ethics by publishing a book about the case and talking to newspapers during the events. He claimed that he received no monetary gain from the case, and that the “publicity the case had received had been of great benefit to the cause of eugenics.” In 1916, Haiselden was dropped as a member of the Society, but continued working as a physician on similar cases and speaking out for his point of view. In the same year Haiselden created and starred in a film entitled The Black Stork, which promoted euthanasia and continued commenting on the case and issue itself. The film was ridiculed and heavily criticized. A Billboard review said the film was, “a mere cataloguing of the pitiable mess of human dregs which is left, crawling, crippled and criminal, after the fire has burned out.”

Haiselden did not live to enjoy his fame. He died in 1919 of a cerebral hemmorhage. The mother of the child, Anna Bollinger, died in 1917 after two years of “settled melancholy” over the case.


For more on the case, see Elliot Hosman, The Short Life and Eugenic Death of Baby John Bollinger, Psychology Today, October 12, 2015.

Addams’ Living Legacy in Color

Giusti’s “Civilization,” made of india ink and gouache on paper, is owned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The inspirational legacy and work Jane Addams left behind is no secret; from Hull House to social reform to woman’s suffrage, Addams’ was a revolutionary thinker for her time and a true inspiration for so many people, including artist George Giusti (1908-1990) who was inspired to take Addams’ vision of equality and bring it to life in one of his best regarded pieces of art.

Jane Addams was an advocate for social justice including inclusivity regardless of skin color. Addams’ wanted to give every person and equal opportunity shown through her lifelong effort to fight for social reform and offer all an equal opportunity for a better life in Hull House. After her passing, her work was still unfinished but she gave hope and opened the door for true equality for all.

Flash forward 20 years after Addams’ death, Italian-born artist, George Giusti, created his Civilization is a method of living, an attitude of equal respect for all men.”–Jane Addams, Speech, Honolulu, 1933. From the series Great Ideas of Western Man in 1955. Giusti wanted to avoid classical art and focus on a more modern and relevant effect, which shows through many of his pieces. Giusti’s works did not relate to the time period he created them in, giving them a futuristic effect that modern society still relates to.

So why did Giusti pick  Addams’ quote for the title? Well, Addams was a known advocate for equality regardless of race. The drawing that Giusti created illustrates a sense of  community, unity and equality, all goals to which Addams had dedicated her life. Her goals were not realized in her lifetime and by the 1950s were still plaguing American society. Racial tension in American society divided the nation, and Giusti was inspired to visualize Addams’ quote as a call for equality.

Despite years of advocating and pushing for change, social reform is still an issue in today’s society. Giusti’s drawing received numerous awards and recognition, while Addams’ work has lead her to be one of the most historical and influential figures of the 20th century. Her unfinished business still inspires thousands to this day, with no sign of slowing down.


Civilization is a method of living, an attitude of equal respect for all men.”–Jane Addams, Speech, Honolulu, 1933. From the series Great Ideas of Western Man. (Smithsonian American Art Museum.)

George Giusti,” ADC Hall of Fame, 1979.

 

Addams’ Rhetoric on Home, City, and World: A Guest Blog Post by Dr. Liane Malinowski

Dr. Liane Malinowski is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Marist College. Her research explores Hull House residents’ rhetoric as it relates to their planning of domestic and urban spaces. This post derives from her recently-completed dissertation titled Civic Domesticity: Rhetoric, Women, and Space at Hull House, 1889-1910. Find her on Twitter @lianemalinowski.

My recent research on Addams and her Hull House colleagues focuses on how they reimagined urban space through visual, verbal, and material means. I was particularly interested in how women at Hull House claimed the authority to speak and write about urban space to local and national audiences, especially in the late-nineteenth century when women were not conferred the status of citizen, and rhetorical convention discouraged women from speaking in public.

I was motivated to take up this project in part because I think of Addams as an important but understudied speaker, writer, and theorist of concepts important to rhetorical studies, such as democracy, ethics, and memory. After surveying published and archival sources, I found that Addams and colleagues were prolific producers of experimental and hybrid texts that drew from parlor rhetoric traditions, domestic literature, social science genres, and city planning discourses. The Jane Addams Papers Project was a wonderful resource for studying documents related to Addams, Hull House, other residents, and the interconnected web of social welfare organizations in Chicago and beyond.

Regarding Hull House residents’ rhetorics of urban space, I argue Addams, along with Ellen Gates Starr, Julia Lathrop, Florence Kelley and others represented city spaces at a variety of scales as cosmopolitan, or nationally-diverse. These spaces included their West Side neighborhood and Hull House itself. An obvious example of this kind of representation is Florence Kelley’s “Nationalities Map,” in the collaboratively-written Hull House Maps and Papers, in which she visually locates families of varying national backgrounds in Hull House’s neighborhood.

Not only did residents represent urban space as cosmopolitan in documents, they also curated cosmopolitan spaces for rhetorical purposes. For example, upon founding Hull House, Addams and Starr curated it to reflect a cosmopolitan aesthetic through its artwork and artisan-made furniture and wares. They were motivated to do this in order to establish common ground with their immigrant neighbors with whom they believed they shared an interest in European art, music, and literature.[1]

Hull House Labor Museum

Residents who represented spaces as cosmopolitan, however, did so with troubling political implications because they often spoke about and for their immigrant neighbors, and in so doing, flattened the specificity of their neighbors’ national identity in favor of emphasizing diversity. As part of this problematic history of claiming authority over cosmopolitan geographies, residents often extended their representations of urban space to include nationally-diverse people as objects of display. For example, in the early 20th century, Hull House residents curated a Labor Museum that displayed local immigrants performing artisan labor such as spinning textiles and weaving baskets. Residents also disseminated texts about the museum, such as the First Report of the Labor Museum in 1902. In this report, Addams argued that the Labor Museum presented an evolutionary narrative of work to audiences, and showed manual, pre-industrial labor as preceding industrial labor. She hoped younger people in the neighborhood would learn to appreciate their parents’ and grandparents’ artisan skills that were rendered obsolete by the industrial economy in Chicago. At the same time the museum performed this teaching function, I argue it also objectified immigrant artisans and their cultural artifacts by reinscribing older, neighborhood artisans as outside the contemporary moment by placing them and their labor prior to present industrial conditions. And, while Addams constructed herself as an authority over the entire museum and its message in the First Report of the Labor Museum, neighborhood women were figured as objects of display through photographs, captioned to suggest they are representatives of different kinds of foreign womanhood (the captions read “Italian Woman,” “Syrian Woman,” and “Irish Woman,” for example). Through the museum itself, and also texts such as the First Report, Addams and other residents participated in a trend of American women asserting their privilege to claim knowledge over foreign places and people as a way to join in public discourse about civic space and identity.[2]

After researching Hull House residents’ representations of cosmopolitan spaces in the 1890s and 1900s, I appreciate there is still much to explore about Addams’ rhetoric, especially surrounding her theorizing of how culture and class identities play a role in enabling and constraining communication. Based on my research experiences, I would encourage others undertaking study of Addams’ rhetoric to look across the JAPP Microfilm Edition, the JAPP Digital Edition, and traditional archives dedicated to Addams and Hull House in libraries. Each of these resources is organized in different ways, which can help researchers make new connections between documents. For example, some of the traditional, library archives file documents organized by author name, whereas the JAPP Microfilm Edition is largely filed by the kind of text produced at Hull House (letters, meeting minutes, financial records, etc), and the JAPP Digital Edition gets even more specific because it tags documents by key terms. Triangulating my search for documents across these resources was incredibly generative for my reading of Addams’ rhetoric.

 

[1] To gain a sense of Hull House’s cosmopolitan aesthetic, see Nora Marks’s “Two Women’s Work: The Misses Addams and Starr Astonish the West Siders,” Chicago Tribune. 19 May 1890, or the photographs included in Hull House Maps and Papers.1895. Urbana: UI Press, 2007.

[2] Kristin Hoganson’s Consumers’ Imperium: The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865-1920. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2007, helped me understand the broader contours of American women’s claims to cosmopolitan geographies.

“Peace, War and World Order”- Dr. James Marquardt’s Web-based Timeline

The influence Jane Addams had on society is no secret; we still talk about her beliefs, achievements and historical footprint today. Jane Addams has done so much in her life that Dr. James Marquardt, Associate Professor of Politics and the Chair of International Relations Program at Lake Forest College, and his students have created an online timeline of her achievements. The timeline is called Jane Addams- Peace, War and World Order: A Web-based timeline.

The abstract of the timeline acknowledges her strides to improve the lives and living conditions for immigrants and the poor, but this timeline focuses more on her “peace advocacy,” during World War I. After looking over numerous primary and secondary sources Dr. Marquardt and his students have completed their timeline, successfully illustrating Jane Addams’ pacifist beliefs and opposition to international armament and war.

“I started digging into her primary writings on the war,” said Dr. Marquardt, “and I decided that I wanted to do this a little more elaborately so I offered a course called Jane Addams Peace Advocate. It mostly focused on her international peace advocacy before, during and after the war.”

After Lake Forest College received a grant for the school to develop digital pages and Chicago-related events, phenomena and historical developments in the humanities and social sciences, Dr. Marquardt then applied for a grant to build a page dedicated to Jane Addams peace advocacy and her historical significance, which he received and then began hiring students. Together they began studying, analyzing and building the Jane Addams – Peace, War and World Order timeline.

The timeline focuses mostly on Addams’ involvement in WWI and her opposition of the war, but Dr. Marquardt plans to continue to study Addams with the hopes of continuing to expand the timeline from her involvement in the Peace Movement with it ending when Addams received the Nobel Peace Prize. He plans on taking all of his knowledge about Addams and writing a book entitled “Jane Addams: The Great War and Her Quest to Transform National Relations.”

He’s not the only one who feels passionate about Addams; Dr. Marquardt explained that his students are very passionate about her as well. “They’re really into [the project]. Addams is such an inspirational figure that they’re a little too generous towards her, in terms of their writing and their public presentations that they’ve made about her.”

Since the timeline highlights Jane Addams’ peace advocacy I had to ask Dr. Marquardt to define peace advocacy in his own words.

“I would define it as actions, writings, ideas related to efforts to end war. That’s my thinking about it, but my students have a much more generous viewing of peace advocacy, they see peace as not simply something we ought to strive for in our international relations in our social relations generally.”  

Dr. Marquardt has learned a lot from his students during this process. “Their understanding was that advocating for peace is not simply a global issue but an issue of interpersonal relations. It’s about the end of violence along racial lines, it’s about the end of violence against women, violence against children, hunger, deprivation, unemployment.” They share the same vision and beliefs that Jane Addams did and they carry on Addams’ beliefs and visions for a brighter future for everyone.  

The website went live last week and for those interested in viewing Dr. Marquardt and his students work the link is here: http://digitalchicago.lakeforest.edu/exhibits/show/jane-addams/our-purpose.