Social Work Pioneer Jane Addams

SocialWork Pioneer: Jane Addams

SocialWork Pioneer: Jane Addams

JaneAddams lived in 1860 to 1935 is among the most popular social workersin the history of the world. She established one of the world’sfirst settlement houses known as the Hull House in Chicago. She livedwith the homeless poor of Chicago and understood their needs andtribulations, which helped her in serving them (Massat,McDonald &amp Flynn, 2006).She built houses and services in accordance to the needs of the poorin Chicago. Among the services she offered included a gymnasium, alibrary, and provided classes for children and adults, as well asculture and interest for social progress (Lundblad,1995).

HullHouse was the first settlement house that served European immigrantsin Near West Side. The Toynbee Hall model inspired Jane not to referto her residents as clients and did not fully recognize youngersocial workers, whose work was limited to eight hours a day and wereliving far away from the informal settlements of the immigrants inthe area. Besides working with the poor, Addams actively participatedin political action to see that new laws were put in place to protectthis group (Lundblad,1995).

Throughher actions, the beginning of 20thcentury led to an increase interest in women liberation, new sociallaws and concern for racial and social issues. Their neighborhoodservices helped in contributing to a more structural politicalapproach. The group contributed to social sciences through mappingwhich helped establish the number of ethnic groups and their livingconditions in the area, child labor and working conditions in sweatshops. Ultimately, the Hull House group under the servant leadershipof Addams professionalized women contribution to social work (Massat,McDonald &amp Flynn, 2006).Through professionalism and research, Addams managed to establish aspecific basis for social work not only in the United States, butalso world over.


Lundblad,K. S. (1995). Jane Addams and social reform: A role model for the1990s. SocialWork,40(5),661-669.

Massat,C. R., McDonald, S., &amp Flynn, J. P. (2006). Schoolsocial work: Practice, policy, and research.Lyceum Books.