Interview at the National Conference of Charities and Corrections, May 22, 1910

"Woman's Sphere Growing Wider"
                          -- JANE ADDAMS

Miss Jane Addams, the noted social worker of Chicago, who is attending the National Conference of Charities and Corrections, said to a Star representative, in her apartments at the Jefferson Hotel, that she believed women were destined to play a more important part in the world's history [page 2] as the years go by, at least woman's sphere is widening and broadening out, instead of contracting or remaining unchanged, according to Miss Addams' view. This, she pointed out, did not mean a desertion of the domestic realm, but simply that her life would embrace more activities and become increasingly useful.

"Do you know Mrs. Ella Flagg Young?" Miss Addams was asked.

"Yes," she replied, enthusiastically, "I know and admire her sincerely."

"In your opinion, will the success of her administration as Superintendent of the Chicago Schools have a deep influence on the public attitude toward women in office?"

"It undoubtedly will mean much to women generally, but more particularly to those who are associated with her in educational work, who might reasonably hope to follow in her footsteps."


"Do you think that the United States will ever have a woman as its chief executive?" Miss Addams was then asked.

"That," she replied, smiling, "I cannot predict, as it goes quite so far into the future as to require prophecy on a question which I would prefer not to discuss."

"Recently there has been efforts made in Illinois and Missouri to procure State-wide prohibition. Are you in favor of this movement?"

"That, too, I shall have to decline talking up." Miss Addams answered pleasantly though firmly, plainly indicating that she did not care to go on record as to her political views.

"What is your impression of the settlement work in St. Louis, as compared with the same institutions in Chicago?"

"I have not had opportunity to visit the various settlements yet, but the impression received when I was here several years ago was most favorable. Of course, the movement is older in Chicago, where we have about thirty centers and twenty settlements. As you doubtless know, the first social settlement was opened in London,[page 3] England, at [Toynbee] Hall, in 1885, and was later adopted by Dr. Stanton Coit in New York and Hull House in Chicago."

"We have been much exercised in St. Louis over the question of stage censorship, many of its advocates claiming that the state often exerts a pernicious influence over the youth of the country, and that the drama needs purification. What is the attitude of Chicagoans on this point?"

"In Chicago we have no censorship of the stage," Miss Addams replied, "but the police have every power to suppress what is obviously indecent, and through this authority they are enabled to take immoral plays off the stage. Their most active work in this direction, however, is in connection with the Juvenile Protective Association, in censoring the moving picture shows. For this work a sergeant and five assistants are employed, to whom the films used at such places are submitted before they are put on, and such as are not deemed proper are thrown out, while the others are approved and notice to that effect hung on the walls of the various theaters. In this way we are able to eliminate all pictures which tend to inflame the imagination and [incite?] crime."

Miss Addams stated that in Chicago the churches were beginning to consider settlement work in an undenominational way, and that very commendable headway in that direction was being made.


A delicate compliment was paid the city administration by Miss Addams, who took occasion to state that from her observation she found the streets of St. Louis much improved over what they were at the time of her former visit, several years ago.

Miss Addams has a strong personality, that makes itself felt at once through her vital intellectuality and her warm, genial manner. She is of medium stature with bright, luminous penetrating eyes of a blue-gray shade, which are keen and searching.

An intense love of mankind pervades Miss Addams' every word and look. Her prominent cast of features are accentuated by the soft gray with which her hair is just beginning to be sprinkled, and there is a certain nobility and distinction about her carriage which would mark her a central figure in any assemblage, even though her name and fame had not preceded her. It is easy to be led by such a woman, and in the great work to which she has dedicated her life, there is a special field for the qualities with which she is so richly endowed, in the uplifting and betterment of her fellow-beings.

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