Addams Signature

Ongoing Support for the Jane Addams Papers Project

Ongoing Support for the Jane Addams Papers Project


The project to identify the whereabouts of Jane Addams’s papers began in the mid-1970s with crucial support and encouragement from the National Historical Publications Commission in Washington, DC—the forerunner of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission—and the National Endowment for the Humanities. 


From the outset, descendants of Jane Addams generously granted permission to undertake the project, providing access to family papers as well as financial support.  Through the years, the NHPRC and the NEH have continued their enthusiastic support of the documentary project, along with numerous private foundations and individual donors.


More recently, the Dr. Scholl Foundation in Chicago has funded the creation of the Jane Addams Papers Project web site.  Developed for a general audience as well as for historians and scholars of Hull-House and the settlement movement, this web site features primary source documents that shed new light on the life and work of Jane Addams.


Initially, the Jane Addams Papers Project was headquartered at the Jane Addams Hull-House on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Working in an upstairs office of the original settlement building, the 1856 home of Charles Hull, the editor began tracking down the Jane Addams papers.  Nearly forty years had passed since Addams’s death and the task of collecting her correspondence took on a sense of urgency. 


With ongoing support from the University of Illinois Library, the editor gathered documents from around the country, organizing them and labeling each one as to physical description, author, date, and the repository/collection in which the original appeared. The next step was preparing the Jane Addams material for microfilming and overseeing that process. 


In 1983, the Jane Addams Papers became associated with the History Department of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. 


In 1985, the eighty-two reel microfilm edition of The Jane Addams Papers (JAPM) was published.  Shortly thereafter, the team of editors began work on a detailed finding aid published in 1996 as The Jane Addams Papers: A Comprehensive Guide


Among the largest supporters of the project over the past 10 years have been the editors themselves. Working with less than full salary out of their individual homes, they have continued to collaborate on volumes 1 and 2 of The Selected Letters of Jane Addams, published by the University of Illinois Press.


The project team is currently at work on volume 3 of the edition.  Containing documents , contextual annotation, and illustrations for the period 1889-1900, it continues the story of Jane Addams and the founding of Hull-House, as well as her growing stature as a reformer and social justice advocate. Themes for the volume will encompass the growth of the social settlement movement, social reform in Chicago and Illinois, and developing roles for women in society, education, and the labor movement. 

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