Amuse to Help Save Souls (Excerpt), October 9, 1910



Jane Addams Sees Help in Better Entertainment for Poor.


Ald. Merriam, Also Sunday Evening Club Speaker, Reviews City Needs.

The social, political, and religious needs of Chicago were referred to last night in papers read by Miss Jane Addams of Hull House, Ald. Charles E. Merriam and the Rev. Joseph A. Vance, pastor of the Hyde Park Presbytarian church, before the Chicago Sunday Evening club in Orchestra hall.

"Chicago's social needs," Miss Addams said, "are many. The court statistics of the last year showed that a large percentage of the city's young citizens, persons under the age of 25 years, were arrested. In almost all of these instances the arrested persons had started out in search of pleasure when they met their downfall. This calls for more and cleaner forms of amusement for the young people.

"I have in mind a case of two young girls who had been employed in a department store. They gave all of their earnings to their parents, who, in turn, supplied them with the few pleasures their financial conditions permitted. These girls were arrested last year after they had stolen a number of gold crowns from a dentist's office. One of the girls feigned a toothache and while she was in the dentist's chair the other stole the crowns.

"Wanted Amusement, So They Stole."

"I talked with both of the girls when they were arraigned in court. The only reason they were tempted to steal was because they wanted money to provide themselves with some form of amusement which they could have purchased with the money they sold the crowns for.

"Another girl borrowed $30 from a 'loan shark' only to come to grief a short time later. She, also, wanted to buy amusement.

"These instances and many more like them have shown me that the only solution of the social needs of the city is to provide more and better amusements for the young people and also better housing facilities so that they will not go out in the streets to find social diversions. In many of the residences in the city there is no place for the young people to read or study, and they are forced to seek outside places to amuse themselves."

At this point Miss Addams was attacked with a throat affection and was forced to discontinue reading the paper.

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