Jane Addams, Sociologist

The lack of documentation of Addams as a sociologist is due toa number of factors. Looking first at her own ideas, she wasopposed to academic sociology, elitism, partriarchy, and intellectualism. Each of these belief systems is intrinsic to the assumptionsof sociology as it was practiced after World War I. Although sheconsidered herself a sociologist, she wanted the profession todevelop in a radically different direction than it did.

Addams was the greatest woman sociologist of her day. The factthat she was female is vital, for sociology had a sex-segregatedsystem. After World War I, these two tracks within the professionsplit into social work as female-dominated and sociology as male-dominated. Almost all the women trained in Chicago Sociology prior to 1918were ultimately channeled into social work positions. Discriminationagainst hiring women in academic sociology departments was rampant. The major professional association, the American SociologicalSociety (ASS), limited women's participation in most of its officesand programs; and the social thought developed after 1918, especiallyat the University of Chicago, was dramatically patriarchal andopposed to Addams' vision. [16] An applied, professional componentof sociology died when Addams' severance from sociology occurred,and it has never become a respected alternative to sociologistsin the academy. [17] Other social sciences, like geography, economics,and history have developed more than one professional career line,but sociology failed to do this to any considerable extent.

Finally, despite the extensive scholarly and popular study ofAddams' life, it is extremely difficult to trace her influenceon sociological thought. Because many sociologists claim thatshe is not a sociologist while many social workers claim thatshe is a social worker, it has appeared that Addams' "professionalhome" has been found. It is as if people assume she mustbe one or the other! This assumption has led to a profound misunderstandingof Addams' intellectual contributions and impact on sociology. There is absolutely no attempt here to minimize her impact onsocial work. Social workers correctly acknowledge Addams as amajor thinker and professional model. The problem lies not withsocial workers but with sociologists. Addams was a preeminentsociologist, and an understanding of her role in sociology isintegral to an understanding of this profession. To undertakeany analysis of the role of women sociologists or the sociologicalstudy of women during the era of interest in this book, Addams'sociological career and concepts must be considered. When Addamsis limited to membership in only one field, social work, the impactshe had on sociology is entirely overlooked. Concomitantly, thereis an unstated assumption that her ideas and model for actionwere adopted by social workers and rejected by sociologists. Instead of this dichotomy between two different specialties, acomplex pattern of incorporating and modifying her ideas in eachprofession has occurred. It is beyond the scope or intent ofthis book to trace Addams' influence on social work; the taskof discovering her role in sociology is difficult enough.

Addams' influence on sociology must often be inferred becausemost early sociologists rarely cited the work of their closestcolleagues. This has been a problem in documenting the interactionamong all the early Chicago men. People who coauthored writingsor trained students together, such as Park and Burgess, are easilyseen as important colleagues. But people who spoke to each otherwith great frequency, visited each other's homes, and engagedin organizational work together have few records of their sharedinterests that are easily accessible to scholars who study onlypublished writings. Academic sociologists tend to rely heavilyon academic publications, organizations, and institutions whileoverlooking applied sociology that is directed to nonacademicaudiences, organizations, and institutions. For applied sociologistssuch as Addams, indications of mutual influence must often besought in nonacademic records. Original archival data containingcorrespondence, newspaper reports, and organizational recordsrelevant to applied sociology can help to fill the gaps in ouracademic documentation. Such alternative resources are particularlyvital in a situation like Addams' where her influence has beenburied over the course of several decades.

Because of the lack of scholarship on Addams as a sociologist,some formal criteria are needed to begin this investigation. Kasler,studying early German sociologists. has determined that if oneof five criteria is met, then the individual was a member of theprofession. He wrote:

As sociologist I define those who fulfill at least one of thefollowing five criteria:

Addams meets not one but all of the above criteria, in additionto other more complex associations with the profession. Eachof these points is briefly examined here.


Addams lectured through the country, at numerous colleges andsocial settlements. For example,

In February 1899, she went on a typical lecture tour--leavingChicago on February 13, she spoke at Wells College in Aurora,New York on the 14th; at Auburn Seminary the next day; at Wellsagain on the 16th; then to New York for a quick stopover; thento Boston where she made two appearances at woman's (sic) clubson the 18th; two more appearances on Sunday; on to the Universityof Vermont on Monday; back to Boston for two more appearance (sic)on Tuesday; two more on Wednesday, and two on Thursday; then shewas off to Meadville, Pennsylvania; to Harrisburg, Richmond, Virginia,and Columbia, South Carolina, before returning home. [19]

Although many of these speeches were not academic, others were,and Addams' division between academic and everyday thought wasdramatically different from that of her male academic colleagues. In addition, she offered college courses through the ExtensionDivision of the University of Chicago. [20] The university offeredher at least two chances to become directly affiliated with itsstaff, both of which she refused. [21] Albion Small, chair ofthe Department of Sociology there, even offered her a half-timegraduate faculty position. [22] She declined these offers becauseshe wanted to be outside of the academy, although she was deeplydedicated to teaching. She wanted to teach adults who could nototherwise enter the academy, because of their poverty or lackof credentials. Furthermore, she was concerned about the limitsof speech and political activism associated with university settings.

Membership in the American Sociological Society

Addams was a charter member of the ASS, founded in 1905. Sheremained an active member from then until at least 1930. [23] She addressed the group, one of the few women to do so, in 1912,1915, and 1919. These major presentations resulted from invitationsextended by the presidents of the association. In 1918 she againaddressed the group and was a discussant of a paper in 1908. [24] So not only was she a member, she was the most active and illustriouswoman member during this period.

Coauthorship of Sociological Articles or Textbooks

The most prestigious and central journal to the new discipline,the American Journal of Sociology (AJS), was establishedat the University of Chicago in 1895. Although Addams publishedin a number of popular and scholarly journals, using only theAJS as one indicator of her sociological publications, she publishedfive articles there plus a discussion of another paper. [25] In addition, five of her books were reviewed in the journal'spages, often by leading sociologists. [26] Clearly her work wasread and recognized by sociologists of her day.

Most telling of all, however, is her publication and editing ofthe most central text to Chicago sociology, Hull-House Mapsand Papers. This groundbreaking book outlined the major issuesof the Chicago School of Sociology and used a methodological techniqueemployed by Chicago sociologists during the next forty years afterits publication. Chapter 3 here is an analysis of its role insociological thought.

Addams believed that her books were to be read and used by sociologists. Concern with ethics was central to the work of sociologists atthis time; especially to Albion Small, Charles Henderson, andCharles Zeublin, all Chicago Sociologists. Thus her book Democracyand Social Ethics was a major sociological and theoreticalstatement on the construction of social order and its meaning.[27] Again, while writing on women's self-reflection, she feltthat her daily observation of this phenomenon while living "ina Settlement with sociological tendencies" almost impelledher to write of this event. [28] The reviews of these two latterbooks and others in AJS indicate that both Addams and sociologistsbelieved them to be sociological treatises.

Self-Definition as "Sociologist"

Addams was opposed to formal titles and ties. For example, shefelt forced to assume the title of "Head" of the settlementfor its board of trustees. In her own speech, however, she referredto herself only as "Jane Addams of Hull-House." [29] Opposed to hierarchical and elitist structures, she resistedall formal categorizing of her work and profession. Nonetheless,she did consider herself a sociologist during the period studiedhere. For example, Farrell noted:

Miss Addams later identified herself professionally with thesesociologists. In 1908 she wrote of her attendance at the AmericanSociological Association: "I simply have to take care ofmy professional interests once in a while and this little tripwas full of inspiration." [30]

Similarly, in her writings she referred to her sociological work[31] and clearly taught sociology, wrote it, and participatedin sociological events.

Addams worked within a sociological network, as well. For example,when a representative from the MacMillan Company requested namesof college professors who might be interested in her book NewerIdeals of Peace, Addams responded that she only wantedthose professors who knew her personally to receive a copy. Themale sociologists (the largest single category of professors)included on her list were: Charles Henderson, George H. Mead,George Vincent, William I. Thomas, John Dewey, Graham Taylor,Charles Zeublin, Charles H. Cooley, and Sidney Webb. [32]

Definition by Others as "Sociologist"

All of the above information indicates the high esteem of hercolleagues. In this book, her extensive collegial contacts withthe men of the Chicago School are documented. She was therebya resource for both the most influential sociological school ofthought of her day and for the succeeding generation of sociologistswho expanded and modified this early work.

Addams was also considered a major sociologist by men outsideof the Chicago school. E.A. Ross. one of the leading early figuresin sociology, was a frequent visitor to and lecturer at Hull-House. Whenever he came to Chicago he lived at the settlement, and extendedher two invitations to speak at the ASS when he was an officer.[33] Furthermore, Addams shared the platform with sociologistFranklin Giddings in 1892 when they taught at the Summer Schoolof Applied Philanthropy and Ethics. At this meeting, crucialto women sociologists, it was Addams and not Giddings who madethe most impressive statements, thereby drawing a group of womenaround her and organizing their interests through her leadership.[34] A year later she again assumed a leadership position whenshe presided over a two-day conference at the Chicago World'sFair. Sponsored by the International Parliament of Sociology,Addams chaired the sessions as a worldwide leader in applied sociology.[35]

Addams' writings were rarely cited by her male colleagues as significantinfluences. There were, however, notable exceptions. CharlesCooley, an early president of the American Sociological Society,for example, cited Addams seven times in his seminal text SocialOrganization. [36] E.A. Ross (another early president ofthe American Sociological Society) also used Addams as a sociologicalreference and authority. For example, Ross recommended her bookThe Spirit of Youth to a student who wanted "thebest sociological books" to read. Ross also assigned herwritings in his coursework. His syllabus for a "Seminaryon the American Family" used Addams' Spirit of Youth,Twenty Years at Hull-House, and Democracy and SocialEthics for major reading material, and her A New Conscienceand an Ancient Evil was an additional reference work. [37] E.S. Bogardus, yet another leading early sociologist, providesfurther documentation of her works being used in sociology seminars.[38] Since her books were reviewed in AJS, as noted above,these specific references are only documenting a small portionof her use in sociological coursework and acknowledgement as acolleague.

In addition to recognition by her sociological contemporaries,Addams was often referred to as a sociologist by the popular press. In 1912, one Philadelphia newspaper reported her holding thistitle. [39] She was also called a sociologist when she presenteda paper on crime and the ineffective action of the criminal justicesystem. Both the publication of the proceedings of the conferenceand its newspaper reporting endowed her with this title. [40]

Thus, by all formal criteria, Addams more than meets the definitionof a sociologist. But these qualifications only reveal a smallportion of her influence. For she was the leader of a large numberof women sociologists whose work and influence on sociology havealso been neglected. The criteria listed above were primarilyevidence of male sociologists' recognition. To women, Addamsprovided a new legitimate career as a female sociologist. Sheepitomized the woman who lived outside of the traditional femalerole and who was esteemed and honored as a result. Addams wasnot only the image of a society's "good woman" but shealso served as a role model for women professionals. She articulateda vision of sociology adopted by many women, all of whom havebeen deleted from the annals of sociological history.

Male American sociologists otherwise ignored or ostracized fromthe profession a number of sociologists who were also associatedwith Addams. For example, she was a close friend and colleagueof W.E.B. DuBois, the great Black sociologist. Together theyformed a sociological network marginal to academic thought, butcentral to American political and social thought. [41] Similarly,Addams was directly associated with British sociology, exemplifiedin the work of Beatrice and Sidney Webb. This British influence,however, never flourished in mainstream American male sociologicalthought, which was dominated by Germanic and French influences.

Finally, Hull-House itself was a central institution to sociology. The home to several women sociologists, it was a meeting placefor intellectual discussion and debate. Sociologists, both maleand female, visited the settlement frequently, thereby influencingAmerican sociological thought. Addams, as the leading figurein the settlement, played a key role in the institutional powerof Hull-House, an additional criterion for her inclusion as asociologist. These wider influences are beyond the scope of thisbook. Here one central aspect of her sociological influence isstudied: her work with the Chicago men, each of whom is introducedlater in this chapter.


16. See Mary Jo Deegan, "Early Women Sociologists and theAmerican Sociological Society."

17. The role of nonacademic sociologists has been problematicfor decades. Professional debates about their unequal statusin the profession abound and efforts to develop "appliedsociology" are continually being made. See discussions,in Footnotes (January 1983):2-3; and newsletters of theClinical Sociology Association and the Humanist Sociologists.

18. Dirk Kasler, "Methodological Problems of a SociologicalHistory of Early German Sociology." paper presented at theDepartment of Education, University of Chicago, 5 November 1981.

19. Davis, American Heroine, p. 125.

20. Addams is listed as lecturer in the Extension Division ofthe University of Chicago for several years (e.g.. 1902, 1909.1912). For a copy of the syllabus of one of her courses, see"Survivals and Intimations in Social Ethics," Ely Papers,Wisconsin State Historical Society, 1900. Farrell noted the syllabusof another course in his footnotes. see Beloved Lady, p.83. This was titled "A Syllabus of a Course of Twelve Lectures,Democracy and Social Ethics."

21. Addams declined Harper's offers to annex Hull-House withthe university on at least two occasions. She refers to this ina letter to William R. Harper, then president of the Universityof Chicago, on 19 December, 1895, Presidents' Papers. box 1, folder9, University of Chicago Special Collections, hereafter referredto as UCSC. This attempt to affiliate Hull-House with the universityis discussed in depth in chapter 7 in this volume.

22. Small to Addams, 1913, Addams Papers, DG1, box 4, SwarthmoreCollege Peace Collection, hereafter referred to as SCPC.

23. The Publications of the Sociological Society includeda list of members in each of their annual publications from 1906to 1930. This practice was discontinued after the latter date.

24. Discussant of John Commons, "Class Conflict in America,"Publications of the American Sociological Society,vol. 2 (1907), pp. 152-55; "Recreation as a Public Functionin Urban Communities." Publications of the American SociologicalSociety, vol. 6 (1911), pp. 35-39: "Americanization,"Publications of the American Sociological Society , vol.14 (1919). pp. 206-14.

25. Jane Addams' American Journal of Sociology articles:"A Belated Industry," I (March 1896):536-50; ''TradeUnions and Public Duty." 4 (January 1899):488-62: "Problemsof Municipal Administration," 10 (January 1905):425-44; "Recreationas a Public Function in Urban Communities," 17 (March 1912):615-19;"AModern Devil Baby,î 20 (July 1914):117-18. Addams also wrotea comment on an article by John R. Commons, "Class Conflictin America," 13 (May 1908):772-3.

26. Book reviews in American Journal of Sociology onAddams books: Charles R. Henderson, "Review of Democracyand Social Ethics," 8 (July 1902):136-38; George H. Mead,''Review of The Newer Ideals of Peace," 13(July 1907):121-28; Harriet Thomas and William James. "Reviewof The Spirit of Youth City Streets," 15 (January1910):550-53; Florence Kelley, "Review of A New Conscienceand an Ancient Evil," 18 (September 1912):271-72; JessieS. Ravitch, ''Review of The Child, the Clinic and theCourt," 31 (July 1925):834-35.

27. Democracy and Social Ethics (New York: Macmillan.1902).

28. The Long Road of Women's Memory (New York: Macmillan.1916), p. xi.

29. Lionel Lane. "Jane Addams and the Development of ProfessionalSocial Work," p. 2. Unpublished paper, Addams Papers, DG1,Box 10, Series 4, SCPC.

30. Farrell, Beloved Lady, p. 68.

31. Hull-House Maps and Papers, by Residents of Hull-House,A Social Settlement, A Presentation of Nationalities and Wagesin a Congested District of Chicago, Together With Comments andEssays on Problems Growing Out of the Social Conditions (NewYork: Crowell, 1895), p. iv; and The Long Road of Woman'sMemory, p. xi.

32. Addams to A. Huelson. n.d. (attached to letter from Huelsonto Addams, 11 January, 1907), Addams Papers, DG1, SCPC. The pragmatistsJanes Tufts, Ella Flagg Young, and William James were also onthe list.

33. Ross to Addams, 12 January, 1912, Ross Papers, box 5, Rossto Addams, 12 September, 1915, Ross Papers, box 7, Wisconsin StateHistorical Society, hereafter referred to as "Ross Papers".

34. Addams' paper on "The Subjective Necessity of SocialSettlements" became a classic statement on the need for settlementworkers to be in that setting and relying on their neighbors andfriends. See Philanthropy and Social Progress: Seven Essaysby Miss Jane Addams, Robert A. Woods, Father J. O. S. Huntington,Professor Franklin H. Giddings and Bernard Rosanquet, intro.Henry C. Adams (New York: Crowell, 1893), pp. 1-26.

35. E.W. Krackowizer, "The Settlement Idea," BostonEvening Transcript (8 June 1895), in Hull-House Scrapbooks,B-27, p. 40, SCPC.

36. See C. H. Cooley, Social Organization (New York:Scribner's, 1909), pp. 431-32.

37. E. A. Ross to Dean F. B. Taylor. 25 February, 1914; RossPapers, box 6; E.A. Ross, Seminary On the American Family, Economics262 (discipline boundaries, as this book continually notes, werevery blurred during these years), "List of Books on Reserve"and "List of Additional Books and Bulletins Not on Reserve."These lists were submitted in 1926 but the course itself is undated.Dummer Papers, box 409, Schlesinger Library.

38. E.S. Bogardus. "Leading Sociology Books Published in1916," Journal of Applied Sociology 4 (May 1917):14.

39. "More Campaign Contributions," North American,Philadelphia (2 October 1912):647-45; (p. 148; J.A. Scrapbooks,#5. SCPC).

40. "Problem of Crime Unresolved, Let Us Start at It Anew,"by Jane Addams; "Famous Sociological Authority of Hull House,Chicago," The Proceedings and Cure of Crime, 1929;and "Jane Addams Discusses Problem of Crime," BaltimoreAmerican (3 July 1927):2-E + . Series 3, box 7, Addams Papers,DG1, SCPC.

41. Addams was one of the founders of the National Associationfor the Advancement of Colored People, which DuBois led. Theclose relationship between DuBois and Addams is noted in severalplaces and deserves an analysis beyond the scope of this topic. For example, see references to their joint activities in TwentyYears, p. 255; Levine, Jane Addams and the Liberal Tradition,pp. 134, 185. See also W.E.B. DuBois to Addams, 11 January. 1932,Addams Papers, DG 1, SCPC.

From Mary Jo Deegan, Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918.New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Books, 1986, pp. 7-13.

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