Jane Addams – Urban Saint

Day 122 of Colourisation Project – September 6

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

Born this day on September 6, 1860, in Cedarville, Illinois, Jane Addams, won worldwide recognition in the early twentieth century as a pioneer social worker, feminist, peace activist and internationalist. In 1910 she received the first honorary degree ever awarded to a woman by Yale University and in 1931 she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

One of the most distinguished of the first generation of college-educated women, Addams became America’s most famous and decorated female social worker. In 1889 inspired by a visit to Toynbee House in London, Addams co-founded one of the world’s first settlement houses – the renowned Hull House in Chicago. She lived and worked here until her death in 1935, earning herself the nickname, Saint Jane and building a reputation as the country’s most prominent woman in the area of social welfare.

Jane Addams

Photographer Unknown: Swarthmore College Collection  –   Jane Addams c 1898  –  Coloured by Loredana Crupi

Addams became intimately familiar with the problems of Chicago’s poor and her grass roots work in this area led to a position on the Chicago Board of Education and the School Management Committee. She founded the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy and became the first female president of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections. Addams also served as the first female president of the National Conference of Social Work.

Between 1911-1914 she served as a Vice President of the National Woman Suffrage Association and simultaneously was involved in wider efforts for social reform, including housing and sanitation issues, the 8 hour day and women, immigrants and factory worker’s rights.

Addams, a pacifist became involved in the peace movement during the First World War  and became president of the International Congress of Women at the Hague in 1915. Publicly opposed to America’s entry into the war in 1917, she founded the Women’s Peace Party (WILPF), which became the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in 1919, of which she was its first president. She was also a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920.

Attacked in the press for her anti-war push and expelled from the Daughters of the American Revolution, Addams directed her humanitarian impulses towards providing relief supplies of food to the women and children of the enemy nations, the story of which she recounts in her book, Peace and Bread in Time of War (1922).

Her lifelong work and dedication to improving the plight of the poor and socially disadvantaged did not abate. It culminated with the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize, awarded for her social work and long involvement in international efforts to end war.

She died four years later in 1935, at the age of 74.

Today, Addams is remembered not only as a pioneer in the field of social work, but as one of the nation’s leading pacifists. Hull House is now a museum and in Illinois, Jane Addams Day is celebrated on the 10th of December each year and the social work department of the University of Illinois at Chicago is named after her: Jane Addams College of Social Work.


“America’s future will be determined by the home and the school. The child becomes largely what he is taught; hence we must watch what we teach, and how we live.”  –  Jane Addams

This entry was posted in Colorization, Colourisation, History, Photography, USA, Women, Women writers and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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