Hull-House: An Experiment in Social Service, March 12, 1923 (excerpts)


Social Problems in U.S. Interest Natives of India

Miss Jane Addams of Hull House Questioned During Lecture at Madras.


Also Curious About Habits of Thrift, Negroes in Hull House, Beggars and the Destitute.

(Special to The Omaha Daily News.)

Madras, India, May 5. -- Miss Jane Addams, a leading social worker of America and an author of several books on social problems, arrived in Madras from Rangoon on Sunday. She is a recognized authority on social problems and is the founder of Hull House, a social settlement in Chicago, which has made a contribution of considerable value to all interested in social work.

Miss Addams, as a result of spending her life among the people who have emigrated to America from Europe and elsewhere, has been a student of international problems and an enthusiastic supporter of all movements toward world peace. She addressed a public meeting last evening in the Y.M.C.A. auditorium on "Hull House: An Experiment in Social Service." O. [Kandaswamy] Chetti, the well known philanthropist and social uplifter of Madras, presided.

Miss Addams said that Hull House, which was started thirty-three and a half years ago, was situated in a part of Chicago which was occupied very largely by people who had come from Italy, Russia, Poland, Bohemia and some other parts of Europe. They were all scattered in small, separate colonies. Their habits, customs, traditions, language and food differed widely. It was, therefore, felt that something ought to be done to bring them together along the essentials in which they were very much alike. The people of the different nationalities were anxious that their children should become Americanized. They were induced to attend certain lectures and classes.

Miss Addams Invited Questions.

Proceeding, Miss Addams, a lady of distinguished bearing and an able speaker, said that the Bombay Social Service league with its membership of 15,000 -- larger than their own Chicago Social Service league -- was struggling with many problems which they, in America, were trying to solve.

She then invited questions to be put to her. Many interesting questions were asked, all of which she readily answered well. The following are some of the more important:

"Did you not have difficulty with the drink problem?"

She replied that in their immediate neighborhood there were a good many Irish people who were given to drinking whisky. They spent too large a proportion of their income for it. The prohibition campaign in the country improved their conditions very much, and as a result there were fewer arrests than before. They began to spend more of their income for their families.

The second question was about the methods adopted to inculcate habits of thrift. She answered by saying that women were given lessons in household management, cooking and other matters of that kind. Thus a great deal of thrift was effected.

Few in Hull House.

"Have you Negroes in Hull House?"

"In point of fact, there are very few, but we do not distinguish against them at all. There are a few Negro women in the cooking class and a few men in the gymnasium."

"What of the financial side of Hull House?"

"We have a little endowment and rent out a good many buildings in the neighborhood. Money is received in several other ways to make the house self-supporting."

Indians Hope for Real Unity.

"Are there any Indians interested in Hull House?"

She said that there were some Indian students studying in the University of Chicago. One man was a teacher in the State University of Iowa. There were a few Indians interested in the Hull House movement.

Never Solved Yet.

"How do you solve the problem of the beggars, the destitute and the disabled round your vicinity?"

"I think all that we can do is to get some data or information and then see what can be done for them. The problem has never been solved yet. The poverty of the world is a very sad thing."

Mr. Chetti thanked the lecturer for her interesting speech and said that if it is possible for Miss Addams and her [coworkers] to manufacture American citizenship out of diverse elements of the human race, "we in India should be able to create a common humanity and a real unity through social service and social reform, divided though we are by different castes and creeds."

After a vote of thanks to Miss Addams and the chairman the meeting adjourned.

Miss Addams, international chairman of the Women's International League [for] of Peace and Freedom, sailed from New York November 21, last, to attend a meeting of the league at The Hague. Starting from London in January, she began a tour of the world to sound out opinion as a means to bring about economic reconstruction and peace.