A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, 2004.
Edited by Mary Lynn McCree Bryan, Barbara Bair, and Maree de Angury
Filling a void in Jane Addams scholarship, this first volume of The Selected Papers of Jane Addams collects extant documents from the formative years of the major American historical figure, intellectual, social activist, and author. Documenting the early development of Addams’s social principles, the documents reveal the leadership skills that led her into a life of public commitment.
For all her compassion and her visibility as an outspoken pacifist, Progressive reformer, and founder of Hull-House, Addams was an intensely private person who revealed herself personally only to family and close friends. Drawing on letters, diaries, and other writings from her childhood in Cedarville, Illinois, and her years at the Rockford Female Seminary, this volume provides heretofore unavailable insight into her educational experiences, developing ideas, and personal relationships.
More than just biographical records, The Selected Papers of Jane Addams defines the era in which Addams lived. Unique yet representative of the spiritual ideals and political sensibilities of educated post-Civil War women and society, Addams’s lesser-known, more personal writings are important reading for scholars, historians, and the general public. The editors’ rich annotations on the individuals and events featured in the documents and an appendix of biographical profiles represent a trove of primary research and place the papers in historical context.
“This first volume of what promises to be a magisterial series of The Selected Papers of Jane Addams goes beyond documenting Addams’s formative years. The series of biographical essays conveys the full cast of characters in Addams’s family circle and the political, social and cultural texture of the world in which she grew up. The selection is comprehensive, and the presentation splendidly documented.”–Jill Ker Conway
“The publication of volume 1 of The Selected Papers of Jane Addams is an important landmark. It takes its place alongside the papers of Woodrow Wilson and Benjamin Franklin in terms of scholarship and readability. The most famous woman of her generation, Jane Addams was important as a reformer, peace advocate and writer. This volume reveals her formative years and her complex family in more fascinating detail than we have had before. It will not only be important for those interested in Jane Addams and her circle, but it will also be invaluable to those concerned with the migration of families west, domestic life in the nineteenth century, education, religion, the first generation of American college women, and a great many other topics.”–Allen F. Davis, author of American Heroine: The Life and Legend of Jane Addams
“This first volume of The Selected Papers of Jane Addams makes a wonderful contribution to the history of American women by offering extraordinary documents of the early life of Jane Addams. Historians will gain new insights into her childhood, family, and education by reading the editors’ superb sectional introductions and the accompanying selection of Addams’s writings. This is a gem of a collection.”–Mari Jo Buhle, William R. Kenan Jr. University Professor of History at Brown University