The Education of Jane Addams

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"When she penned her autobiography Twenty Years at Hull-House in 1909, Jane Addams was one of the most famous and influential women in the country. Committed pacifist and champion of social progress, she was also deemed by the contemporary media to be the only saint America had produced. Writing from that lofty perch at the height of the Progressive era, Addams aimed to use an attractive, accessible life story as a vehicle for advancing her reform philosophy rather than for self-revelation. The result, as historian Victoria Bissell Brown shows, leaves an intriguing gap between the sleek, engaging tale she told in her autobiography and the more intricate and challenging story that emerges from her papers and the actual events of her life." The Education of Jane Addams traces, with unprecedented care, Addams's three-decade journey from a privileged prairie girlhood through her years as the competent spinster daughter in a demanding, fatherless family to her early seasoning on the Chicago reform scene. It weaves her spiritual struggles with Christianity into her political struggles with elitism and her emotional struggles with intimacy. Finally, it reveals the logic of her journey to Chicago and makes biographical sense of the political and personal choices she made once she arrived there. The founder of Chicago's Hull-House and, later, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom is portrayed here as a complicated young woman who summoned the energy to pursue public life, the honesty to admit her own arrogance, and the imagination to see joy in collective endeavor.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The brilliance of Brown's The Education of Jane Addams is that Brown asks how Jane Addams became the Jane Addams of the litany of accomplishments."—Women's Review of Books

"A rich contribution. . . . Essential."—Choice

"Excellent. . . . Focused on the years between Addams's birth in 1860 and her emergence as the most widely acclaimed leader of the social settlement movement in the United States in the mid 1890s, The Education of Jane Addams provides a detailed, wonderfully complex analysis of Addams's ideas, life, and work."—Journal of American History

"A remarkably perceptive account of how the devoted daughter of a well-to-do mill owner and banker in a small Midwestern town became a heroic advocate for working-class residents of the city perhaps most identified in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with industrialism and labor strife."—Iowa Heritage Illustrated

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812237474
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/28/2003
  • Series: Politics and Culture in Modern America Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Victoria Bissell Brown is Associate Professor of History at Grinnell College.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Self-Made Man 13
2 The Predominant Elements of Her Character 24
3 Sober, Serious, and Earnest 39
4 Bread Givers 55
5 My Relations to God and the Universe 72
6 Cassandra 92
7 Claims So Keenly Felt 110
8 Scenes Among Gods and Giants 130
9 Never the Typical Old Maid 148
10 Some Curious Conclusions 166
11 The Subjective Necessity for the Social Settlement 185
12 Power in Me and Will to Dominate 210
13 The Luminous Medium 227
14 Unity of Action 247
15 What We Know Is Right 271
Epilogue 295
Notes 299
Selected Bibliography 401
Index 407
Acknowledgments 419
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