Jane Addams: A Short Biography

Topics: Jane Addams, Social work, Peace Pages: 6 (1917 words) Published: February 12, 2013
This biography explores the life of social worker pioneer Jane Addams whose accomplishments continues even today to provide a platform of discussion of issues both past and present. Jane Addams achievements continue to have a significant impact on the Social work field of practice today. Some of the challenges she wanted to overcome was to mandate legislation on a local, state, and federal level, which allowed all people to receive the assistance they needed regardless of race, sex social class or religion. Jane came from a family that was considered well to do, but her desire was to be a selfless giver to the poor, advocate for women’s rights, and to change laws that may help to put an end to poverty. She advocated for laws against child labor, limits working hours of women, mandate schooling for children, and wanted to protect immigrants from exploration. Due to her willingness to fight for the poor she was called a feminist, a lesbian, but she was actually a social reformer, a mover and shaker, and thanks to her laws was changed to protect the poor.

Social Work Pioneers
Introduction of Pioneer
According to Allen (1973), Laura Jane Addams was born in September 6, 1860, in Cedarville, Illinois and died in May 21, 1935. During her life span, Jane grew up during the Civil War and the development of significant innovations such as the origin of species. She experienced a good life since she came from a family of a famous politician and a mill owner named John Addams. Jane’s mother died when in hospital as she delivered her ninth child, living Jane a two year old and others in the care of their father. At an early age of four, Jane developed a disease of tuberculosis of the spine that caused a curving on her back and contributed to health problems during her lifetime. Jane became close to her father emotionally and intellectually. Although John Addams was not involved in feminism, he provided his daughter a good education by sending her to Rockford Seminary, which was a women’s institution in Rockford Illinois. Jane became the first woman in her family to attend school. During her studies at Rockford, she became empowered by living in a women background, where she gained skills, and became an academic and social leader. She organized an effort to introduce baccalaureate degrees in the school, and got one after serving a class of Valedictorian. After her graduation at Rockford in 1931, her father died of a disease known as appendicitis leaving all his wealth to his children.

Jane Addams had her own religious beliefs and had a strong desire of uplifting Christianity. She had very strong religious perspectives, which were due to numerous experiences in college. At Rockford College, Jane had studied the Bible through her courses, and had gained knowledge regarding the New Testament. Additionally, she was supposed to know a bible verse daily when in college and listen to a daily verse sermon. Presbyterian Church was her main denomination, but she also attended the ethical society in Chicago and the Unitarian Church. She also established a relationship with recognized members of the Jewish community (Allen, 1973). Politically, Jane Addams was involved in the process of campaigning for Theodore Roosevelt in 1912, during the presidential campaign of the progressive Party. She was also involved in the party platform, despite the fact the party was more dedicated to developing more battleships. By 1915, Jane was elected as the national chairperson to represent women in various capacities. This position required frequent visits to Europe and Asia following World War I. During this period, she visited The Hague, attended the international Women’s Conference, where she was chosen to find a solution that would end the war. In 1917, she joined the fellowship of reconciliation USA, and later the Fellowship Counsel. Pioneers Contribution to Social Work Practice

Settings/Fields of Social Work...

References: Allen, D. (1973). American heroine: The life and legend of Jane Addams. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Brown, V. (2004). The education of Jane Addams. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Katherine, J. (2004). Jane Addams: A writer 's life. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.
Social Care Institute for Excellence. (2010). Personalisation briefing - Implications for social workers in adults’ services. Retrieved 27 January 2013. From, http://www.scie.org.uk/publications/ataglance/ataglance29.asp
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