Addams Signature

Chronology: Page 4

Summer 1927  Addams joins efforts to prevent the execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italian immigrants accused of a murder in South Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1920.  The petition bearing her signature is presented to Governor Alvan Fuller hours before the execution on August 23rd.


1928  During the presidential election, Addams supports Republican Herbert Hoover, who had championed efforts by American women from W.I.L.P.F. to distribute food in Germany, rather than Al Smith, a Catholic Democrat who believed Prohibition should be outlawed.


August 1928  Addams presides at the first Pan-Pacific Women’s Association Conference, Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii.


November 16, 1928  Addams signs a petition to President Calvin Coolidge asking that civil rights be restored to Americans citizens convicted of espionage during the World War.


August 1929  Addams becomes honorary president for life at the sixth International Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in Prague, Czechoslovakia.  It is the last congress she will ever attend.


May 9—11, 1930  Addams and former Hull-House residents, workers, and neighbors, celebrate the 40th anniversary of the settlement on Halsted Street.  Among the featured speakers are John Dewey, philosopher; Julia Lathrop, former chief of the Children’s Bureau; Dr. Alice Hamilton; Edith Abbott, dean of the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration; and Florence Kelley, Secretary of the National Consumers’ League.  Because of spinal paralysis, Hull-House co-founder Ellen Gates Starr is unable to attend, but sends best wishes to Addams from her bed in New York City’s Orthopaedic Hospital.


November 1930  Macmillan publishes The Second Twenty Years at Hull-House, in which Addams reflects on changes to the settlement and its role in the neighborhood—and the nation—since 1909. She also offers clear perspective on the effects of the First World War, Prohibition, and restrictive quotas against immigrants.


December. 8, 1931  Addams becomes the first American woman awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, a vindication of her steadfast adherence to pacifism during the First World War.  News that Addams was sharing the honor with Columbia President Nicholas Murray Butler, who had supported America’s entry into the war, prompted Julia Lathrop to observe that, “She should have had the whole loaf.”


January 1932  Recovering from ovarian cyst surgery performed during December 1931 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Addams redoubles her activities on behalf of international peace.  She earmarks $12,000 of her Nobel prize money ($16,367) to fund the central Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom office in Geneva, Switzerland, with the remainder to be used for general expenses and debts.


March 1932  In her most personal book, The Excellent Becomes the Permanent, published by Macmillan, Addams honors the lives of several important women connected to Hull-House, including Jenny Dow, Mary Wilmarth, and Sarah Smith, mother of Mary Rozet Smith.


1933  Addams plays a crucial role in the creation of a peace exhibit and a social settlement exhibit for the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago and delivers frequent lectures.


February 22, 1934  Mary Rozet Smith dies unexpectedly from pneumonia in her Chicago home. Addams, near death herself from a second heart attack, is unaware of the tragedy taking place in the spacious house at 12 West Walton Street where she is presently convalescing.  Jane Addams remains bedridden in her second floor room with Dr. Alice Hamilton in attendance while the funeral for her dearest friend is conducted on the first floor.  The Hull-House Music School performs at Smith’s funeral before her burial in Graceland Cemetery.


1934  Despite being confined to bed, Addams serves as a board member of the National Committee for Immigration Welfare and chairman of the Illinois Committee on Old Age Pensions.  During her convalescence at Dr. Alice Hamilton’s summer home in Hadlyme, Connecticut, she continues work on a biography of Hull-House resident Julia Lathrop.


Winter 1935  At the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona, as a guest of Louise deKoven Bowen, long a close Addams friend and financial supporter of Hull House, Addams reads and edits the first nine chapters of the biography of her written by her nephew, University of Chicago professor James Weber Linn, and completes the manuscript for My Friend, Julia Lathrop.


March 23, 1935  Addams receives an honorary law degree from The University of California at Berkeley, the last of her thirteen honorary degree awards.


May 2, 1935  Addams is feted by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and more than twelve hundred guests at a dinner in Washington, D.C., marking the 20th anniversary of the Women’s International League.  Among the former Hull-House residents joining in the tribute to the League’s founder and honorary president are Dr. Alice Hamilton and Gerard Swope, president of General Electric Company.  Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes calls Addams a “field marshal in the war that is being waged for peace” and reminds the audience that, “Jane Addams has dared to believe that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States were written in good faith and that the rights declared in them are rights that are available to the humblest of our citizens.”


May 3, 1935  The public tribute to Addams continues with the world’s first radio “peace program.” Gathered in Washington’s McPherson Square, ambassadors from Britain, Japan, and Russia and the French Charge D’Affairs introduce speakers in London, Toyko, Moscow, and Paris.  Because of her health, Addams joins the program from a radio broadcast station.  Setting aside her prepared remarks, she speaks extemporaneously about the legacy of the Women’s International League and its goal of substituting “law for war [and] political processes for brute force.”


May 5, 1935  Addams returns to Chicago in good spirits.  Over the next few days she continues working on the book manuscript about Julia Lathrop, presides at dinner for residents at Hull-House, travels to Bowen Country Club, and visits ailing Chicago friends, including Frances Crane Lillie in Hyde Park.


May 15, 1935  During her stay at Louise de Koven Bowen’s home at 1430 N. Astor Street, Addams experiences abdominal pain and her doctors advise surgery which takes place on May 18th at Chicago’s Passavant Hospital.  She is not informed that she has inoperable cancer.  She rallies briefly and then slips into a coma.  Keeping vigil at Addams’s bedside are longtime Hull-House residents, Dr. Alice Hamilton, and Ida Mott-Smith Lovett, who sometimes served as Addams’s secretary and companion.  Newspapers across the country carry updates on her condition and editorials of praise after her death.


May 21, 1935  Addams dies at the age of seventy-four.  The Chicago Tribune, which had lambasted her pacifism and support of civil rights during the “Red Scare” after World War I, lauds Addams as a veteran social worker and claims that her “practical work in behalf of the poor won widest acclaim.”  As a mark of respect and honor accorded great heroines, a death mask is made of Addams’s face.


May 23, 1935  Chicagoans and dignitaries from around the country crowd the Hull-House courtyard to attend Addams’s funeral.


May 24, 1935  The body of Jane Addams is taken by hearse from Hull-House to the Twelfth Street Station of the Illinois Central Railroad for the final trip to Cedarville.  When the train stops at Freeport, Illinois all the church bells toll as the procession passes through the town.  Once in Cedarville, Addams’s coffin is placed in the room of the house in which she was born in 1860 so that the neighbors might pay their respects.  School children line the path to the cemetery where Addams is buried in the family plot.


November 1935  My Friend, Julia Lathrop, is published posthumously by Macmillan.


Hull-House settlement continues to operate after Jane Addams’s death for more than twenty-five years in the physical setting she constructed until its destruction in 1963 to make way for the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois.

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