Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Jane Addams: Dangerous Woman

In 1931, Jane Addams became the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.  The co-founder of Hull House in Chicago, she was a leader in the field of social work and sociology, a suffragist, author and a pacifist.  

Hull House was founded in 1889 by Addams and Ellen Gates Starr.  It was a center of hub for the neighborhood of working class people, many of them immigrants.  I remember reading once that Addams had given parties that included the socially elite and the poorer immigrants.  

She was once called "the most dangerous woman in America" by Edgar Hoover.  Hull House not only taught immigrants language and other subjects but celebrated the diversity the immigrants brought to our new world--including folk crafts.  Hull House celebrated the contributions that different cultures brought to our country.

The ladies spinning are Irish and Italian.

Syrian woman spinning.

In 1907, Addams gave a talk at Carnegie Music Hall called The Possibilities of the American Immigrant.  The focus of her speech was the crafts that immigrants brought to this country.

"There is nothing more surprising ...than the amazing potentialities of the immigrant classes.  In most of them there is the possibility of material achievement in the crafts," she told the audience.

Many of us are aware that our sewing is not considered valuable, sometimes even by our loved ones.  Don't you love the idea that something as humble as spinning, sewing, and other crafts can bridge the differences between people?  

I do.

Have a safe and happy day!

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