Edited by Mary Lynn McCree Bryan, Barbara Bair, and Maree de Angury, with the assistance of Elizabeth Stevens, Stewart Burns, and Ellen Skerrett
Documenting a transitional period in the life of the preeminent American social activist and writer
Venturing into Usefulness, the second volume of The Selected Papers of Jane Addams, documents the experience of this major American historical figure, intellectual, social activist, and author between June 1881, when at twenty-one she had just graduated from Rockford Female Seminary, and early 1889, when she was on the verge of founding the Hull-House settlement with Ellen Gates Starr. During these years she was developing into the social reformer and advocate of women’s rights, socioeconomic justice, and world peace she would eventually become. She evolved from a high-minded but inexperienced graduate of a women’s seminary into an educated woman and seasoned traveler well-exposed to elite culture and circles of philanthropy.
Artfully annotated, The Selected Papers of Jane Addams offers an evocative choice of correspondence, photographs, and other primary documents, presenting a multi-layered narrative of Addams’s personal and emerging professional life. Themes inaugurated in the previous volume are expanded here, including dilemmas of family relations and gender roles; the history of education; the dynamics of female friendship; religious belief and ethical development; changes in opportunities for women; and the evolution of philanthropy, social welfare, and reform ideas.
“The papers are wisely chosen and elegantly arranged in an engaging narrative that will captivate and satisfy readers and scholars.”–Journal of Illinois History
“The biographical essays are engaging and accessible; the documents themselves are full of interest. Those who wish to delve into the endnotes’ thickets of detail will be richly rewarded with concrete information and with leads for further research. . . . I read these volumes with awe.”–Peace & Change
“This important and intriguing work will interest all of those who are fascinated by Jane Addams, as well as general readers interested in life in the 1880s, upper-middle-class family life, European travel, and medical education for women.”–Allen F. Davis, author of American Heroine: The Life and Legend of Jane Addams
“A fascinating collection, illuminating Jane Addams’s transition to an independent adult life dedicated to social reform. The book will be indispensable not only for scholars, but also for teachers and students interested in women’s education and for young women on the brink of deciding their own futures.”–Gwendolyn Mink, author of Welfare’s End
“Informed by the most up-to-date historiography, this second volume of Jane Addams’s letters examines a complicated period of apprenticeship and the influences and desires that made Addams such a towering figure. Scholars of women’s history and gender will find this volume indispensable. It will also appeal to those interested in the emergence of political and social reform, religious secularism, women’s education, and the inner lives, choices, and attitudes of a changing Victorian middle class.”–Regina Morantz-Sanchez, author of Conduct Unbecoming a Woman: Medicine on Trial in Turn-of-the-Century Brooklyn