In 1887, Jane Addams came across a story about a “settlement house” in London — an organization that provided both social services for the poor and opportunities for college-educated women like herself to support working families. She believed such a settlement house could offer a solution to poverty in American cities. With her partner, Ellen Gates Starr, Addams opened Hull House in Chicago in 1889, offering neighborhood residents — most of them immigrants — childcare, health care, and other social services alongside recreation, cultural events, and a safe space to gather and play. Hull House inspired a movement: by 1900, there were at least 100 settlement houses across the U.S.
Galleries & Exhibits
- 11865-1925: Hunger in the Industrial City
- 21929-1940: America in Crisis and Recovery
- 31945-1965: WWII and the Paradoxes of the Postwar Era
- 41955-1980: The Fight for the Right to Food
- 51975-1996: The Unmaking of the Great Society
- 61997-Present: How It Is — And How It Should Be