Lecture on the University Social Settlement, October 29, 1901



Miss Jane Addams of Hull House, Chicago, Talks Before a Large Audience at Second Presbyterian Church

--Over 600 people gathered in the Second Presbyterian church last night to heard Miss Jane Addams, of Hull House, Chicago, talk on the University Social settlement work, with which she is closely identified. the lecture was given under the auspices of the Woman's club of this city, and the large audience which the announcement of it drew forth, attests the interest which is taken in this work in the city of Bloomington.  As soon as the doors of the church were thrown open, the auditorium began to fill rapidly, and when the Normal cars arrived at 7:40 there was a procession from Main street to the church which reminded one of the exciting rallies of a political campaign.

President Felmley, of the Normal University, introduced Miss Addams. In doing so he spoke of the demand for the social settlement work which had grown up as a result of the congestion in the large cities incident to the tendency to gravitate towards large centers of population by the great mass of the people. He announced that one philanthropic gentleman of Bloomington had declared that if the Woman's club would take up the social settlement work in Bloomington he would pay all the expenses of it for the first six months. The proposition met instant favor among the women of the club, and in furtherance of the project they secured Miss Addams to come here and tell of the results accomplished by this form of philanthropy. He said that Miss Addams and social settlements were synonymous in the minds of most people, and she had been the one most prominently identified with the work in thos country and had given it most careful study.


Miss Addams spoke in substance as follows:

The first of these social settlements was at Toynbee, London, and was organized in 1885 by Mr. Barnett, at that time the vicar of St. Jude in East London and later appointed canon of Bristol. There were really two causes leading to its organization. One was at the school at Oxford and was advocated by such men as Richard Hill Graham, Dennison and others equally prominent.  The second cause was the public interest in the situation created by the exposure of the Pall Mall Gazette and other publications. Mr. Barnett suggested that the congregation of a number of university men in East London in preference to a more comfortable quarter would have an uplifting and educating influence, provided they would give a part of their time to the work and help create an improvement in the educational, social and civic conditions, more especially the latter. Of course the laws were the same in East London as they were in other parts of the city, but they were not enforced; there was no paving and the school conditions were bad. The first colony of these university men consisted of thirty men and there have been from that time from fifteen to thirty men engaged in the work all the time. This settlement was non-sectarian, and gave to the community an uplifting influence in that quarter of the city of London, besides giving it an energy previously unknown. The question of university extension was debated and promoted and there were various workingman's societies formed, besides there were meetings held for the purpose of interesting people in the advancement of social, educational and civic conditions.


The second of these settlements to be formed was that of Oxford House which was intended to be a kind of contrast to the first one, and was strictly high church, the location being at Bethel Green; the third was the Mansfield settlement, a congregational one, followed by the dock settlement, near the docks, the Mrs. Humphrey Ward settlement near the British museum and a number of others.

The movement did not reach New York till nearly five year later, in 1889, both at the present time there are twenty-four in New York, thirteen in Chicago, five in Boston, and others in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and most of the other large cities.  

Hull House, where Miss Addams is personally interested, and has been for twelve years, was given as a typical settlement because she is better acquainted with the conditions. They have eight buildings in the Nineteenth ward, at the corner of Polk and Halsted streets, and the work brings them into contact with nineteen nationalities, including Italians, Russian Jews, Greeks, Armenians, etc. They have taken the estimate of the number of nationalities in a radius of a mile and a half from the place. They have a house for children, men's gymnasium, coffee house, house for men's social organizations, etc. To comply with the requirements of the law a board of directors has charge of the buildings, but otherwise there is practically no organization of the working force, there being twenty-six residents there this winter. There are from 4,000 to 5,000 people who come there every week.

The lecturer then divided the work into the civil, social, and educational beads and showed what these twenty-six people are trying to do. Miss Addams is the founder of the settlement, and while she has always been interested in educating and uplifting the lower classes, Hull House is the result of her observations and study abroad.

The fundamental principle is the intermingling of the different nationalities with the intention of uplifting their morals and broadening their ideas. The Hull House idea is that the clannish collecting of uneducated races together, that is the [illegible] of one nationality from another nationality, is degenerating, and they are striving to remedy that condition with considerable success.