Jane Addams worked on a Settlement plan for eight years- it opened in 1889. She was inspired by the English Settlement- Toynbee Hall- and she will maintain close connection to Europe throughout.
Themes I found interesting:
The half lives of intellectuals as a motivation for the Settlement movement
- The accumulation of knowledge and receiving impressions from others has led to a loss in the simple and automatic response to human appeal
- To be educated and not have how to deploy the theories in practice is like “eating a sweet desert first thing in the morning”
- Fatal harmony between their theory and their lives
- Sense of uselessness leads to an atrophy of function [cultivated young people with no outlet for their active faculties]
- They are as pitiful as those with destitute lives
The Settlement is a response to the whole not a particular group
- For children, young people, older people
- For immigrants and their children
- For poor people
- The stories in the book describe the essence of people-e.g. it can serve those who have been educated but never became what they wanted; they are caricatures of what they were meant to be.
- It responded to the individual as well as the group- there are many stories where individuals went in to ask for help- they did not attend a club per se or an activity.
The Settlement must be grounded in a philosophy whose foundation is on:
- The solidarity of the human race
- which will not waver when the race happens to be represented by a drunken woman or an idiot boy.
- Its residents must be emptied of all conceit of opinion and all self‐assertion, and ready to arouse and interpret the public opinion of their neighbourhood.
- they must be content to live quietly side by side with their neighbours, until they grow into a sense of relationship and mutual interests.
- It is not a sociological laboratory, it is something more human and spontaneous but its residents have a duty to know their own neighbourhood.
- High morality- Addams refused many times what she called ‘tainted money’.
- To be swallowed and digested, to disappear in the bulk of people.
A focus on investigation and experiment
- Many investigations took place in the Hull House- sweatshops and child labour; city garbage collection; housing conditions and tuberculosis; typhoid fever and methods of plumbing; drugs; study of truancy (300 families whose children did not go to school)
- Most were negative in results; best were in partnership with others, State included (e.g. State Bureau of Labour; Juvenile Protection Association)
- Most were led/initiated by residents of Hull House and created pull from its members
- Very Era 3 in the way of working; finding out the truth not proving something; modify and adapt; failure
Working with other bodies and the State
- Addams is clear that it was by working with the State and its respective bodies that the Settlement would achieve its aim; in some cases, e.g. concerning disease like tuberculosis, they depended on the State to take responsibility for treating people
- She also describes one of the functions of the Settlement which was like an interpretation and information bureau between the people and the institutions- she says, the institutions are like vague rumours for people who need them most.
On the value of social clubs
- Settlements are social, not just dealing with the stress of people.
- E.g. of clubs at Hull House: Hull-House Men’s Club; Hull-House Woman’s Club; Social Extension committee club
- Through companionship, social clubs brought:
- civic responsibility
- opened up the world for those who had ambitions (from a narrower to a wider life) outlook
- Addams also talks about standardising of pleasure- meaning each club and corresponding events were run in a particular way.
- Bringing people together was a sane method to get people to understand social problems.
On the Arts
- There was a studio where young people could work on art projects (for some, it was people’s one pleasure); that space was about slowing them down from doing over-hurried work
- Music school- a group were teaching a few young people music
- People’s appetite for theatre was so great (she talks about seeing people in their area queuing up for five penny plays)- opportunity to see life; they opened a theatre in Hull House—> the thinking was that drama was a better way of reconstructing and recognising accepted moral truths than preaching or teaching
In search of secular religion
For some people without church affiliations the vague humanitarianism the Settlement represented was the nearest approach they could find to an expression of their religious sentiments.