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Infidels, Freethinkers, Humanists, and Unbelievers
Addams, Jane (1863-1935)
The very word woman in the writings of the church fathers stood for the basest of temptations.... As women were lowered in the moral scale because of their identification with her at the very bottom of the pit, so they cannot rise themselves save as they succeed in lifting her with whose sins they are weighed.

-- Jane Addams

American social worker, sociologist, philosopher and reformer, known in America as the "mother of social work". Born in Cedarville, Illinois, Jane Addams was educated in the United States and Europe, graduating from the Rockford Female Seminary (now Rockford College) in Rockford, Illinois.

In 1889 she and Ellen Gates Starr co-founded Hull House in Chicago, Illinois, one of the first settlement houses in the United States. Influenced by Toynbee Hall in the East End of London, settlement houses provided welfare for a neighborhood's poor and a center for social reform. At its height, Hull House was visited each week by around two thousand people. Its facilities included a night school for adults; kindergarten classes; clubs for older children; a public kitchen; an art gallery; a coffeehouse; a gymnasium; a girls club; a swimming pool; a book bindery; a music school; a drama group; a library; and labor-related divisions.

Hull House also served as a women's sociological institution. Addams was a friend and colleague to the early members of the Chicago School of Sociology, influencing their thought through her work in applied sociology and, in 1893, co-authoring the Hull-House Maps and Papers that came to define the interests and methodologies of the School. She worked with George H. Mead on social reform issues including women's rights and the 1910 Garment Workers' Strike. Although academic sociologists of the time defined her work as "social work", Addams did not consider herself a social worker. She combined the central concepts of symbolic interactionism with the theories of cultural feminism and pragmatism to form her sociological ideas. (Deegan, 1988)

Addams had a stellar reputation for her work with Hull House, and was respected as a committed humanitarian. However, her staunch pacifist stance on World War I cost her much support, and she was expelled from the Daughters of the American Revolution for refusing to back U.S. involvement in that war.

In addition to her involvement in the American Anti-Imperialist League and the American Sociology Association, she was also a formative member of both the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1911 she helped to establish the National Foundation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers and became its first president. She was also a leader in women's suffrage and pacifist movements, and took part in the creation of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in 1915. In 1931 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with American educator Nicholas Murray Butler.

 
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