Selected Papers, Volumes 4-7

The Selected Papers of Jane Addams, Volumes 4-7

Volumes 4-7 will be edited by Stacy Lynn and the staff of the Jane Addams Papers at Ramapo College.

Volume 4: 1901-1907


Jane Addams, ca. 1910

Work on Volume 4 was completed in 2022 and it was submitted to the press. We anticipate publication in late 2024. The volume documents Addams’s work as she moved beyond Hull-House’s neighborhood to city, state, and national organizations. Addams worked to secure protection for women and child workers, juvenile courts, recreation services, and other efforts to improve the environments for working-class and immigrant people. Addams expanded her reach, joining city and state-level groups such as the Chicago Board of Education, the Illinois Branch of the National Child Labor Committee, and the Illinois Federation of Women’s Clubs. She also reached national prominence with organizations like the National Child Labor Committee, the board of the Women’s Trade Union League, the National Conference of Charities and Correction, and National Federation of Settlements. After 1906, Addams began taking a more prominent role in the woman suffrage fight, working with the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Addams argued that as women’s roles changed, they needed the vote in order to fulfill their traditional roles of taking care of the house and children. She also urged women’s participation in the public sphere in order to ensure the welfare of all.   

Addams was a prolific speaker, touring and attending meetings across the country. She wrote two of her best-known books in these years, Democracy and Social Ethics (1902) and Newer Ideals of Peace (1907).  

Important correspondents include: Anita McCormick Blaine, Richard Ely, Emma Goldman, Sarah Alice Addams Haldeman, Florence Kelley, Mary Rozet Smith, and Lillian Wald. Our goal is to document Addams’s correspondence with family and friends, her burgeoning public and professional life, and her intellectual life, including examples of her writings.   

Volume 5: 1908-1913

We are currently completing research on Volume 5. At the start of this grant period we expect to be in the fact-checking stage. Between 1908 and 1913 Addams began to focus more of her attention on woman suffrage. She worked tirelessly at the local, state, and national level, lecturing, writing articles, and leading the National Woman Suffrage Association and other suffrage organizations. Addams’s commitment to the powerless in society—immigrants, African-Americans, women, and children—drove her to take on unpopular causes, like defending anarchists in 1908, helping to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909, and participating in a Chicago labor strike in 1911. As her national prominence rose, Addams became more engaged in politics, seeking support for suffrage from major parties before finally allying with the Progressive Party, and supporting Theodore Roosevelt’s 1912 campaign for the presidency. Addams’s choice to stay at the Progressive Party convention after African-American delegates were turned away underscored the difficulty of participating in such a political system. After the election, Addams worked with the Progressive Service Department, a group that researched issues, drafted legislation, and conducted outreach, until mid-1913. These events will be a highlight of the volume.   

Addams continued to tour the country, speaking to groups and attending conferences and meetings. She published prolifically in these years, releasing The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets (1909), Twenty Years at Hull-House (1910), and A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil (1912). She was a well-known theorist and lecturer, and incoming letters record the impact that she had on members of the public, particularly women. In 1908, the Ladies’ Home Journal dubbed Addams “America’s foremost woman,” and despite her inability to vote, her influence on politics and society was substantial.   

Major correspondents include: Anita McCormick Blaine, Sophonisba Breckinridge, Sarah Alice Addams Haldeman, Ida Harper, Florence Kelley, Benjamin B. Lindsey, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Mary Rozet Smith, Lillian Wald, and Woodrow Wilson.  

Volume 6: 1914-1922


Volume 6 will focus on Jane Addams’s growing activism in the peace movement and her advancement to international prominence. With the outbreak of World War I in Europe, Addams joined other women leaders in calling for peace and mediation, forming national and international organizations to lobby belligerent governments and influence American foreign policy. She became president of the Woman’s Peace Party in 1915, and led an American delegation to the International Congress of Women at The Hague in April of 1915, where she was elected president of the International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace. In the United States, however, Addams’s message was unpopular and she began receiving negative press, especially as the United States moved closer to entering the conflict. Addams was a vocal opponent of war preparedness, lobbying Congress to prevent an increase of the military budget and meeting with President Wilson to discuss America’s role as a mediator for peace. Once that battle was lost, and the United States entered the war, Addams and other peace activists were faced with a difficult decision–to continue to oppose the war and work against the U.S. government or to fall in line behind the government and support the war effort. Addams chose the former and continued to speak out against war and for peace. She was vocal in her opposition to conscription laws and the 1917 Espionage Act, which criminalized opposition to the government.  

Addams was roundly criticized, even by former allies and Hull-House residents, as pro-German, anti-American, or just a foolish woman. As press and public opinion turned against her, she was even accused of treason. This had a serious impact on Hull-House, which lost support and donations during these years.  Addams joined others to start the Civil Liberties Bureau (later the ACLU) in 1920 to defend the civil rights of those who disagreed with the government. With the end of hostilities, Addams and other peace activists hoped to influence the terms set for peace. They were critical of the punitive terms negotiated in Paris and worked with the American government, the Red Cross, and Quaker groups on relief efforts for women and children. The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) was founded in 1919, with Addams as president, to bring women together to work for peace, equality, and improved relations between nations.   

The years following the war were dark ones for Addams, as America turned away from her ideals of cooperation and progressive social reform. The government cracked down on dissent, deporting and arresting anarchists and communists. Congress rejected the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 in part because it proposed to bind the United States to the League of Nations. The one beacon of hope came with the 1920 passage of the woman suffrage amendment. The volume ends with Addams’s Peace and Bread in Time of War, published in 1922, in which she described peace as more than the absence of war, but as a condition under which people could work together for the betterment of society. In her personal life, Addams lost her beloved sister, Alice, in 1915.  

There are approximately 6,300 documents to select from in this period, though a larger proportion of these are incoming letters. Again, some 90-125 will be included in the volume. Potential correspondents in this volume include: Nina Allender, Emily Greene Balch, Roger  Baldwin, Sophonisba Breckinridge, Carrie Chapman Catt, Crystal Eastman, Henry Ford, Samuel Gompers, Marcet Haldeman, Alice Hamilton, Emily Hobhouse, Paul Kellogg, Aletta Jacobs, David  Starr Jordan, Louis Lochner, Lucia Mead, Alice Post, Adena Rich, Julius Rosenwald, Rosika Schwimmer, Mary Rozet Smith, Anna Spencer, Helena Swanwick, Norman Thomas, Wilbur Thomas, Lillian Wald, Julia Wales, Woodrow Wilson, and L. Hollingsworth Wood. 

Volume 7: 1923-1935

UNDATED HANDOUT. Jane Addams reads to children at Hull House, which served as a laboratory for an experiment in building a genuinely democratic community. Photos from University of Illinois, Jane Addams Memorial Collection. (Groups, History)

Addams’s final twelve years will be covered in this volume, years in which her reputation rebounded even as her health began a steady decline. The volume begins by documenting Addams’s extended world tour undertaken with Mary Rozet Smith, during which she worked to found additional WILPF chapters. It will focus on her work with the WILPF and the National Council of Social Work. She continued pressing for peace, hosting a meeting of the WILPF in Washington in 1924 that attracted the ire of the War Department. Though she retired from the presidency of the WILPF in 1929, she remained honorary president until her death. Addams continued her work for peace in the United States as well, presenting a peace platform at both Democratic and Republican conventions in 1932. The volume will explore the early effects of the Great Depression on the work of Hull-House and its community, as Addams spoke widely on welfare, relief, and unemployment. And it will touch on the growing menace of Fascism in Germany and the WILPF’s concern over the rise of totalitarian governments, including requests to Addams to join anti-Nazi rallies. Addams continued writing, publishing Second Twenty Years at Hull-House (1930), The Excellent Becomes the Permanent (1932), and My Friend, Julia Lathrop (1935). 

Addams’s reputation recovered from the battering it took during World War I. She received honors, accolades, and honorary degrees, highlighted by her receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. This cemented her revived public status as she was the first American woman to win the coveted award. At the end of her life, her nephew James Weber Linn began work on a biography, and her letters to him provide an opportunity to reflect on her life and its key events.    

Addams’s health suffered in 1923 when she had an emergency mastectomy in Japan. She survived heart attacks in 1926 and 1934 and had ovarian cysts removed in 1932. Her circle of close friends shrank as Florence Kelley and Julia Lathrop died. In 1934, she faced the most difficult blow—the death of Mary Rozet Smith. This left Addams alone for the first time in forty years. A few weeks after presiding over the 20th anniversary celebration of the WILPF, Addams succumbed to colon cancer in May 1935 at the age of 74. In addition to selections of 90-125 letters and writings, Volume 7 will also include an epilogue that includes a short selection of eulogies, obituaries, and opinion pieces that provide insight into Addams’s legacy and place in history at the time of her death.  

There are approximately 10,200 documents in this period, almost 1,000 of which are congratulatory letters and telegrams about Addams’s Nobel Prize. The percentage of Addams-authored letters in this period is smaller than other volumes, which will help to narrow the pool. Correspondents in this time period are” Grace Abbott, Louis Affelder, Emily Greene Balch, Charles Beard, Jessie Binford, Franz Boas, Kathleen Courtney, Dorothy Detzer, John Dewey, Madeleine Doty, Will Durant, Albert Einstein, Mohandas Gandhi, Vilma Glücklich, Harold Ickes, Helen Keller, Clara Landsberg, Ida  Lovett, Alice Hamilton, Herbert Hoover, Florence Kelley, Paul Kellogg, Catherine Marshall, Anne Martin, Henry and Josephine Morgenthau Sr., Sylvia Pankhurst, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Schweitzer, Rosika Schwimmer, Mary Sheepshanks, Mary Rozet Smith, Helena Swanwick, Tomi Wada, Lillian Wald, and Sidney Webb.