The Social Problem of the College Graduate (excerpts), March 19, 1904



Miss Jane Addams of Hull House, Chicago, Talks of Opportunities Among Immigrants.

WELLESLEY, March 19 -- It was a very-much-to-the-point talk which Miss Jane Addams of Hull House, Chicago, gave the Wellesley girls this afternoon. Her subject was "The Social Problem of the College Graduate," and one solution of that problem she finds in the application of knowledge acquired to bring out the latent possibilities to be found in the [ofttimes] despised immigrant from Europe.

"Among them," said Miss Addams, "we find much of that historic feeling that knowledge of and reverence for the past which is so needed in this country, and it is by contact with those of us who have common ground with them, who know both America and the past, that this feeling may be fostered and preserved to them and their children.

"I have a charge to make against the college graduate of today. She takes her learning too heavily and detaches herself from her opportunities. She does not recognize that her Italian is not purely for the sake of reading Italian literature.

"If college alumnae as a body are to have any force in the world they must do something, must be held together, not simply by the bonds of past life, but by some common interest and activity."

In speaking of the methods of going to work among the immigrants who have come into this country, Miss Addams told of the Hull House Labor Museum, where the various processes of spinning, weaving, etc., of the different European countries are illustrated by actual work on European spindles, wheels, etc.

Another interesting point of her lecture was made in connection with the public schools, where nature is taught to the exclusion of human nature. Why should it not be as important to know if a man is an Italian or a Greek as to know if a flower is a buttercup or a dandelion?

After the lecture a reception was held, when Miss Addams talked informally to the girls.

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