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Twenty Years At Hull House by Jane Addams

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Among other people, he visited the German cobbler, who treated
him much as the others had done, but who, after the event had
made clear the identity of his visitor, was filled with the most
bitter remorse that he had failed to utilize his chance meeting
with the assassin to deter him from his purpose. He knew as well
as any psychologist who has read the history of such solitary men
that the only possible way to break down such a persistent and
secretive purpose, was by the kindliness which might have induced
confession, which might have restored the future assassin into
fellowship with normal men.

In the midst of his remorse, the cobbler told me a tale of his
own youth; that years before, when an ardent young fellow in
Germany, newly converted to the philosophy of anarchism, as he
called it, he had made up his mind that the Church, as much as
the State, was responsible for human oppression, and that this
fact could best be set forth "in the deed" by the public
destruction of a clergyman or priest; that he had carried
firearms for a year with this purpose in mind, but that one
pleasant summer evening, in a moment of weakness, he had confided
his intention to a friend, and that from that moment he not only
lost all desire to carry it out, but it seemed to him the most
preposterous thing imaginable. In concluding the story he said;
"That poor fellow sat just beside me on my bench; if I had only
put my hand on his shoulder and said, 'Now, look here, brother,
what is on your mind? What makes you talk such nonsense? Tell
me. I have seen much of life, and understand all kinds of men. I
have been young and hot-headed and foolish myself,' if he had
told me of his purpose then and there, he would never have
carried it out. The whole nation would have been spared this
horror." As he concluded he shook his gray head and sighed as if
the whole incident were more than he could bear--one of those
terrible sins of omission; one of the things he "ought to have
done," the memory of which is so hard to endure.

The attempt a Settlement makes to interpret American institutions
to those who are bewildered concerning them either because of their
personal experiences, or because of preconceived theories, would
seem to lie in the direct path of its public obligation, and yet it
is apparently impossible for the overwrought community to
distinguish between the excitement the Settlements are endeavoring
to understand and to allay and the attitude of the Settlement
itself. At times of public panic, fervid denunciation is held to
be the duty of every good citizen, and if a Settlement is convinced
that the incident should be used to vindicate the law and does not
at the moment give its strength to denunciation, its attitude is at
once taken to imply a championship of anarchy itself.

The public mind at such a moment falls into the old medieval
confusion--he who feeds or shelters a heretic is upon prima facie
evidence a heretic himself--he who knows intimately people among
whom anarchists arise is therefore an anarchist. I personally am
convinced that anarchy as a philosophy is dying down, not only in
Chicago, but everywhere; that their leading organs have
discontinued publication, and that their most eminent men in
America have deserted them. Even those groups which have
continued to meet are dividing, and the major half in almost
every instance calls itself socialist-anarchists, an apparent
contradiction of terms, whose members insist that the socialistic
organization of society must be the next stage of social
development and must be gone through with, so to speak, before
the ideal state of society can be reached, so nearly begging the
question that some orthodox socialists are willing to recognize
them. It is certainly true that just because anarchy questions
the very foundations of society, the most elemental sense of
protection demands that the method of meeting the challenge
should be intelligently considered.

Whether or not Hull-House has accomplished anything by its method
of meeting such a situation, or at least attempting to treat it
in a way which will not destroy confidence in the American
institutions so adored by refugees from foreign governmental
oppression, it is of course impossible for me to say.

And yet it was in connection with an effort to pursue an
intelligent policy in regard to a so-called "foreign anarchist"
that Hull-House again became associated with that creed six years
later. This again was an echo of the Russian revolution, but in
connection with one of its humblest representatives. A young
Russian Jew named Averbuch appeared in the early morning at the
house of the Chicago chief of police upon an obscure errand. It
was a moment of panic everwhere in regard to anarchists because
of a recent murder in Denver which had been charged to an Italian
anarchist, and the chief of police, assuming that the dark young
man standing in his hallway was an anarchist bent upon his
assassination, hastily called for help. In a panic born of fear
and self-defense, young Averbuch was shot to death. The members
of the Russian-Jewish colony on the west side of Chicago were
thrown into a state of intense excitement as soon as the
nationality of the young man became known. They were filled with
dark forebodings from a swift prescience of what it would mean to
them were the oduim of anarchy rightly or wrongly attached to one
of their members. It seemed to the residents of Hull-House most
important that every effort should be made to ascertain just what
did happen, that every means of securing information should be
exhausted before a final opinion should be formed, and this odium
fastened upon a colony of law-abiding citizens. The police might
be right or wrong in their assertion that the man was an
anarchist. It was, to our minds, also most unfortunate that the
Chicago police in the determination to uncover an anarchistic
plot should have utilized the most drastic methods of search
within the Russian-Jewish colony composed of families only too
familiar with the methods of Russian police. Therefore, when the
Chicago police ransacked all the printing offices they could
locate in the colony, when they raided a restaurant which they
regarded as suspicious because it had been supplying food at cost
to the unemployed, when they searched through private houses for
papers and photographs of revolutionaries, when they seized the
library of the Edelstadt group and carried the books, including
Shakespeare and Herbert Spencer, to the city hall, when they
arrested two friends of young Averbuch and kept them in the
police station forty-eight hours, when they mercilessly "sweated"
the sister, Olga, that she might be startled into a
confession--all these things so poignantly reminded them of
Russian methods that indignation fed both by old memory and
bitter disappointment in America, swept over the entire colony.
The older men asked whether constitutional rights gave no
guarantee against such violent aggression of police power, and
the hot-headed younger ones cried out at once that the only way
to deal with the police was to defy them, which was true of
police the world over. It was said many times that those who are
without influence and protection in a strange country fare
exactly as hard as do the poor in Europe; that all the talk of
guaranteed protection through political institutions is nonsense.

Every Settlement has classes in citizenship in which the
principles of American institutions are expounded, and of these
the community, as a whole, approves. But the Settlements know
better than anyone else that while these classes and lectures are
useful, nothing can possibly give lessons in citizenship so
effectively and make so clear the constitutional basis of a
self-governing community as the current event itself. The
treatment at a given moment of that foreign colony which feels
itself outraged and misunderstood, either makes its constitutional
rights clear to it, or forever confuses it on the subject.

The only method by which a reasonable and loyal conception of
government may be substituted for the one formed upon Russian
experiences is that the actual experience of refugees with
government in America shall gradually demonstrate what a very
different thing government means here. Such an event as the
Averbuch affair affords an unprecedented opportunity to make
clear this difference and to demonstrate beyond the possibility
of misunderstanding that the guarantee of constitutional rights
implies that officialism shall be restrained and guarded at every
point, that the official represents, not the will of a small
administrative body, but the will of the entire people, and that
methods therefore have been constituted by which official
aggression may be restrained. The Averbuch incident gave an
opportunity to demonstrate this to that very body of people who
need it most; to those who have lived in Russia where autocratic
officers represent autocratic power and where government is
officialism. It seemed to the residents in the Settlements
nearest the Russian-Jewish colony that it was an obvious piece of
public spirit to try out all the legal value involved, to insist
that American institutions were stout enough to break down in
times of stress and public panic.

The belief of many Russians that the Averbuch incident would be
made a prelude to the constant use of the extradition treaty for
the sake of terrorizing revolutionists both at home and abroad
received a certain corroboration when an attempt was made in 1908
to extradite a Russian revolutionist named Rudovitz who was living
in Chicago. The first hearing before a United States Commissioner
gave a verdict favorable to the Russian Government although this
was afterward reversed by the Department of State in Washington.
Partly to educate American sentiment, partly to express sympathy
with the Russian refugees in their dire need, a series of public
meetings was arranged in which the operations of the extradition
treaty were discussed by many of us who had spoken at a meeting
held in protest against its ratification fifteen years before. It
is impossible for anyone unacquainted with the Russian colony to
realize the consternation produced by this attempted extradition. I
acted as treasurer of the fund collected to defray the expenses of
halls and printing in the campaign against the policy of extradition
and had many opportunities to talk with members of the colony. One
old man, tearing his hair and beard as he spoke, declared that all
his sons and grandsons might thus be sent back to Russia; in fact,
all of the younger men in the colony might be extradited, for every
high-spirited young Russian was, in a sense, a revolutionist.

Would it not provoke to ironic laughter that very nemesis which
presides over the destinies of nations, if the most autocratic
government yet remaining in civilization should succeed in
utilizing for its own autocratic methods the youngest and most
daring experiment in democratic government which the world has
ever seen? Stranger results have followed a course of stupidity
and injustice resulting from blindness and panic!

It is certainly true that if the decision of the federal office
in Chicago had not been reversed by the department of state in
Washington, the United States government would have been
committed to return thousands of spirited young refugees to the
punishments of the Russian autocracy.

It was perhaps significant of our need of what Napoleon called a
"revival of civic morals" that the public appeal against such a
reversal of our traditions had to be based largely upon the
contributions to American progress made from other revolutions;
the Puritans from the English, Lafayette from the French, Carl
Schurz and many another able man from the German upheavals in the
middle of the century.

A distinguished German scholar writing at the end of his long
life a description of his friends of 1848 who made a gallant
although premature effort to unite the German states and to
secure a constitutional government, thus concludes: "But not a
few saw the whole of their lives wrecked, either in prison or
poverty, though they had done no wrong, and in many cases were
the finest characters it has been my good fortune to know. They
were before their time; the fruit was not ripe, as it was in
1871, and Germany but lost her best sons in those miserable
years." When the time is ripe in Russia, when she finally yields
to those great forces which are molding and renovating
contemporary life, when her Cavour and her Bismark finally throw
into the first governmental forms all that yearning for juster
human relations which the idealistic Russian revolutionists
embody, we may look back upon these "miserable years" with a
sense of chagrin at our lack of sympathy and understanding.

Again it is far from easy to comprehend the great Russian
struggle. I recall a visit from the famous revolutionist
Gershuni, who had escaped from Siberia in a barrel of cabbage
rolled under the very fortress of the commandant himself, had
made his way through Manchuria and China to San Francisco, and on
his way back to Russia had stopped in Chicago for a few days.
Three months later we heard of his death, and whenever I recall
the conversation held with him, I find it invested with that
dignity which last words imply. Upon the request of a comrade,
Gershuni had repeated the substance of the famous speech he had
made to the court which sentenced him to Siberia. As
representing the government against which he had rebelled, he
told the court that he might in time be able to forgive all of
their outrages and injustices save one; the unforgivable outrage
would remain that hundreds of men like himself, who were
vegetarians because they were not willing to participate in the
destruction of living creatures, who had never struck a child
even in punishment, who were so consumed with tenderness for the
outcast and oppressed that they had lived for weeks among
starving peasants only that they might cheer and solace
them,--that these men should have been driven into terrorism,
until impelled to "execute," as they call it,--"assassinate" the
Anglo-Saxon would term it,--public officials, was something for
which he would never forgive the Russian government. It was,
perhaps, the heat of the argument, as much as conviction, which
led me to reply that it would be equally difficult for society to
forgive these very revolutionists for one thing they had done,
their institution of the use of force in such wise that it would
inevitably be imitated by men of less scruple and restraint; that
to have revived such a method in civilization, to have justified
it by their disinterestedness of purpose and nobility of
character, was perhaps the gravest responsibility that any group
of men could assume. With a smile of indulgent pity such as one
might grant to a mistaken child, he replied that such Tolstoyan
principles were as fitted to Russia as "these toilettes,"
pointing to the thin summer gowns of his listeners, "were fitted
to a Siberian winter." And yet I held the belief then, as I
certainly do now, that when the sense of justice seeks to express
itself quite outside the regular channels of established
government, it has set forth on a dangerous journey inevitably
ending in disaster, and that this is true in spite of the fact
that the adventure may have been inspired by noble motives.

Still more perplexing than the use of force by the revolutionists
is the employment of the agent-provocateur on the part of the
Russian government. The visit of Vladimir Bourtzeff to Chicago
just after his exposure of the famous secret agent, Azeff, filled
one with perplexity in regard to a government which would connive
at the violent death of a faithful official and that of a member
of the royal household for the sake of bringing opprobrium and
punishment to the revolutionists and credit to the secret police.

The Settlement has also suffered through its effort to secure
open discussion of the methods of the Russian government. During
the excitement connected with the visit of Gorki to this country,
three different committees of Russians came to Hull-House begging
that I would secure a statement in at least one of the Chicago
dailies of their own view, that the agents of the Czar had
cleverly centered public attention upon Gorki's private life and
had fomented a scandal so successfully that the object of Gorki's
visit to America had been foiled; he who had known intimately the
most wretched of the Czar's subjects, who was best able to
sympathetically portray their wretchedness, not only failed to
get a hearing before an American audience, but could scarcely
find the shelter of a roof. I told two of the Russian committees
that it was hopeless to undertake any explanation of the bitter
attack until public excitement had somewhat subsided; but one
Sunday afternoon when a third committee arrived, I said that I
would endeavor to have reprinted in a Chicago daily the few
scattered articles written for the magazines which tried to
explain the situation, one by the head professor in political
economy of a leading university, and others by publicists well
informed as to Russian affairs.

I hoped that a cosmopolitan newspaper might feel an obligation to
recognize the desire for fair play on the part of thousands of its
readers among the Russians, Poles, and Finns, at least to the
extent of reproducing these magazine articles under a noncommittal
caption. That same Sunday evening, in company with one of the
residents, I visited a newspaper office only to hear its
representative say that my plan was quite out of the question, as
the whole subject was what newspaper men called "a sacred cow." He
said, however, that he would willingly print an article which I
myself should write and sign. I declined this offer with the
statement that one who had my opportunities to see the struggles
of poor women in securing support for their children, found it
impossible to write anything which would however remotely justify
the loosening of marriage bonds, even if the defense of Gorki made
by the Russian committees was sound. We left the newspaper office
somewhat discouraged with what we thought one more unsuccessful
effort to procure a hearing for the immigrants.

I had considered the incident closed, when to my horror and
surprise several months afterward it was made the basis of a
story with every possible vicious interpretation. One of the
Chicago newspapers had been indicted by Mayor Dunne for what he
considered an actionable attack upon his appointees to the
Chicago School Board of whom I was one, and the incident enlarged
and coarsened was submitted as evidence to the Grand Jury in
regard to my views and influence. Although the evidence was
thrown out, an attempt was again made to revive this story by the
managers of Mayor Dunne's second campaign, this time to show how
"the protector of the oppressed" was traduced. The incident is
related here as an example of the clever use of that old device
which throws upon the radical in religion, in education, and in
social reform, the oduim of encouraging "harlots and sinners" and
of defending their doctrines.

If the under dog were always right, one might quite easily try to
defend him. The trouble is that very often he is but obscurely
right, sometimes only partially right, and often quite wrong; but
perhaps he is never so altogether wrong and pig-headed and
utterly reprehensible as he is represented to be by those who add
the possession of prejudices to the other almost insuperable
difficulties of understanding him. It was, perhaps, not
surprising that with these excellent opportunities for misjudging
Hull-House, we should have suffered attack from time to time
whenever any untoward event gave an opening as when an Italian
immigrant murdered a priest in Denver, Colorado. Although the
wretched man had never been in Chicago, much less at Hull-House,
a Chicago ecclesiastic asserted that he had learned hatred of the
Church as a member of the Giordano Bruno Club, an Italian Club,
one of whose members lived at Hull-House, and which had
occasionally met there, although it had long maintained clubrooms
of its own. This club had its origin in the old struggles of
united Italy against the temporal power of the Pope, one of the
European echoes with which Chicago resounds. The Italian
resident, as the editor of a paper representing new Italy, had
come in sharp conflict with the Chicago ecclesiastic, first in
regard to naming a public school of the vicinity after Garibaldi,
which was of course not tolerated by the Church, and then in
regard to many another issue arising in anticlericalism, which,
although a political party, is constantly involved, from the very
nature of the case, in theological difficulties. The contest had
been carried on with a bitterness impossible for an American to
understand, but its origin and implications were so obvious that
it did not occur to any of us that it could be associated with
Hull-House either in its motive or direction.

The ecclesiastic himself had lived for years in Rome, and as I
had often discussed the problems of Italian politics with him, I
was quite sure he understood the raison d'etre for the Giordano
Bruno Club. Fortunately in the midst of the rhetorical attack,
our friendly relations remained unbroken with the neighboring
priests from whom we continued to receive uniform courtesy as we
cooperated in cases of sorrow and need. Hundreds of devout
communicants identified with the various Hull-House clubs and
classes were deeply distressed by the incident, but assured us it
was all a misunderstanding. Easter came soon afterwards, and it
was not difficult to make a connection between the attack and the
myriad of Easter cards which filled my mail.

Thus a Settlement becomes involved in the many difficulties of
its neighbors as its experiences make vivid the consciousness of
modern internationalism. And yet the very fact that the sense of
reality is so keen and the obligation of the Settlement so
obvious may perhaps in itself explain the opposition Hull-House
has encountered when it expressed its sympathy with the Russian
revolution. We were much entertained, although somewhat
ruefully, when a Chicago woman withdrew from us a large annual
subscription because Hull-House had defended a Russian refugee
while she, who had seen much of the Russian aristocracy in
Europe, knew from them that all the revolutionary agitation was
both unreasonable and unnecessary!

It is, of course impossible to say whether these oppositions were
inevitable or whether they were indications that Hull-House had
somehow bungled at its task. Many times I have been driven to
the confession of the blundering Amiel: "It requires ability to
make what we seem agree with what we are."

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers. Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Jill Thoren.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

[A Celebration of Women Writers]

"Chapter XVIII: Socialized Education." by Jane Addams (1860-1935)
From: Twenty Years at Hull-House with Autobiographical Notes. by
Jane Addams. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912 (c.1910) pp.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]



In a paper written years ago I deplored at some length the fact
that educational matters are more democratic in their political
than in their social aspect, and I quote the following extract
from it as throwing some light upon the earlier educational
undertakings at Hull-House:-

Teaching in a Settlement requires distinct methods, for it
is true of people who have been allowed to remain
undeveloped and whose facilities are inert and sterile,
that they cannot take their learning heavily. It has to be
diffused in a social atmosphere, information must be held
in solution, in a medium of fellowship and good will.

Intellectual life requires for its expansion and
manifestation the influences and assimilation of the
interests and affections of others. Mazzini, that
greatest of all democrats, who broke his heart over the
condition of the South European peasantry, said:
"Education is not merely a necessity of true life by which
the individual renews his vital force in the vital force
of humanity; it is a Holy Communion with generations dead
and living, by which he fecundates all his faculties.
When he is withheld from this Communion for generations,
as the Italian peasant has been, we say, 'He is like a
beast of the field; he must be controlled by force.'" Even
to this it is sometimes added that it is absurd to educate
him, immoral to disturb his content. We stupidly use the
effect as an argument for a continuance of the cause. It
is needless to say that a Settlement is a protest against
a restricted view of education.

In line with this declaration, Hull-House in the very beginning
opened what we called College Extension Classes with a faculty
finally numbering thirty-five college men and women, many of whom
held their pupils for consecutive years. As these classes
antedated in Chicago the University Extension and Normal
Extension classes and supplied a demand for stimulating
instruction, the attendance strained to their utmost capacity the
spacious rooms in the old house. The relation of students and
faculty to each other and to the residents was that of guest and
hostess, and at the close of each term the residents gave a
reception to students and faculty which was one of the chief
social events of the season. Upon this comfortable social basis
some very good work was done.

In connection with these classes a Hull-House summer school was
instituted at Rockford College, which was most generously placed at
our disposal by the trustees. For ten years one hundred women
gathered there for six weeks, in addition there were always men on
the faculty, and a small group of young men among the students who
were lodged in the gymnasium building. The outdoor classes in bird
study and botany, the serious reading of literary masterpieces, the
boat excursions on the Rock River, the cooperative spirit of doing
the housework together, the satirical commencements in
parti-colored caps and gowns, lent themselves toward a reproduction
of the comradeship which college life fosters.

As each member of the faculty, as well as the students, paid
three dollars a week, and as we had little outlay beyond the
actual cost of food, we easily defrayed our expenses. The
undertaking was so simple and gratifying in results that it might
well be reproduced in many college buildings which are set in the
midst of beautiful surroundings, unused during the two months of
the year when hundreds of people, able to pay only a moderate
price for lodgings in the country, can find nothing comfortable
and no mental food more satisfying than piazza gossip.

Every Thursday evening during the first years, a public lecture
came to be an expected event in the neighborhood, and Hull-House
became one of the early University Extension centers, first in
connection with an independent society and later with the
University of Chicago. One of the Hull-House trustees was so
impressed with the value of this orderly and continuous
presentation of economic subjects that he endowed three courses
in a downtown center, in which the lectures were free to anyone
who chose to come. He was much pleased that these lectures were
largely attended by workingmen who ordinarily prefer that an
economic subject shall be presented by a partisan, and who are
supremely indifferent to examinations and credits. They also
dislike the balancing of pro and con which scholarly instruction
implies, and prefer to be "inebriated on raw truth" rather than
to sip a carefully prepared draught of knowledge.

Nevertheless Bowen Hall, which seats seven hundred and fifty
people, is often none too large to hold the audiences of men who
come to Hull-House every Sunday evening during the winter to attend
the illustrated lectures provided by the faculty of the University
of Chicago and others who kindly give their services. These courses
differ enormously in their popularity: one on European capitals and
their social significance was followed with the most vivid
attention and sense of participation indicated by groans and hisses
when the audience was reminded of an unforgettable feud between
Austria and her Slavic subjects, or when they wildly applauded a
Polish hero endeared through his tragic failure.

In spite of the success of these Sunday evening courses, it has
never been an easy undertaking to find acceptable lectures. A
course of lectures on astronomy illustrated by stereopticon slides
will attract a large audience the first week, who hope to hear of
the wonders of the heavens and the relation of our earth thereto,
but instead are treated to spectrum analyses of star dust, or the
latest theory concerning the milky way. The habit of research and
the desire to say the latest word upon any subject often overcomes
the sympathetic understanding of his audience which the lecturer
might otherwise develop, and he insensibly drops into the dull
terminology of the classroom. There are, of course, notable
exceptions; we had twelve gloriously popular talks on organic
evolution, but the lecturer was not yet a professor--merely a
university instructor--and his mind was still eager over the
marvel of it all. Fortunately there is an increasing number of
lecturers whose matter is so real, so definite, and so valuable,
that in an attempt to give it an exact equivalence in words, they
utilize the most direct forms of expression.

It sometimes seems as if the men of substantial scholarship were
content to leave to the charletan the teaching of those things
which deeply concern the welfare of mankind, and that the mass of
men get their intellectual food from the outcasts of scholarship,
who provide millions of books, pictures, and shows, not to
instruct and guide, but for the sake of their own financial
profit. A Settlement soon discovers that simple people are
interested in large and vital subjects, and the Hull-House
residents themselves at one time, with only partial success,
undertook to give a series of lectures on the history of the
world, beginning with the nebular hypothesis and reaching Chicago
itself in the twenty-fifth lecture! Absurd as the hasty review
appears, there is no doubt that the beginner in knowledge is
always eager for the general statement, as those wise old teachers
of the people well knew, when they put the history of creation on
the stage and the monks themselves became the actors. I recall
that in planning my first European journey I had soberly hoped in
two years to trace the entire pattern of human excellence as we
passed from one country to another, in the shrines popular
affection had consecrated to the saints, in the frequented statues
erected to heroes, and in the "worn blasonry of funeral
brasses"--an illustration that when we are young we all long for
those mountaintops upon which we may soberly stand and dream of
our own ephemeral and uncertain attempts at righteousness. I have
had many other illustrations of this; a statement was recently
made to me by a member of the Hull-House Boys' club, who had been
unjustly arrested as an accomplice to a young thief and held in
the police station for three days, that during his detention he
"had remembered the way Jean Valjean behaved when he was
everlastingly pursued by that policeman who was only trying to do
right"; "I kept seeing the pictures in that illustrated lecture
you gave about him, and I thought it would be queer if I couldn't
behave well for three days when he had kept it up for years."

The power of dramatic action may unfortunately be illustrated in
other ways. During the weeks when all the daily papers were full
of the details of a notorious murder trial in New York and all
the hideous events which preceded the crime, one evening I saw in
the street a knot of working girls leaning over a newspaper,
admiring the clothes, the beauty, and "sorrowful expression" of
the unhappy heroine. In the midst of the trial a woman whom I
had known for years came to talk to me about her daughter,
shamefacedly confessing that the girl was trying to dress and
look like the notorious girl in New York, and that she had even
said to her mother in a moment of defiance, "Some day I shall be
taken into court and then I shall dress just as Evelyn did and
face my accusers as she did in innocence and beauty."

If one makes calls on a Sunday afternoon in the homes of the
immigrant colonies near Hull-House, one finds the family absorbed
in the Sunday edition of a sensational daily newspaper, even
those who cannot read, quite easily following the comic
adventures portrayed in the colored pictures of the supplement or
tracing the clew of a murderer carefully depicted by a black line
drawn through a plan of the houses and streets.

Sometimes lessons in the great loyalties and group affections come
through life itself and yet in such a manner that one cannot but
deplore it. During the teamsters' strike in Chicago several years
ago when class bitterness rose to a dramatic climax, I remember
going to visit a neighborhood boy who had been severely injured
when he had taken the place of a union driver upon a coal wagon.
As I approached the house in which he lived, a large group of boys
and girls, some of them very little children, surrounded me to
convey the exciting information that "Jack T. was a 'scab'," and
that I couldn't go in there. I explained to the excited children
that his mother, who was a friend of mine, was in trouble, quite
irrespective of the way her boy had been hurt. The crowd around
me outside of the house of the "scab" constantly grew larger and
I, finally abandoning my attempt at explanation, walked in only to
have the mother say: "Please don't come here. You will only get
hurt, too." Of course I did not get hurt, but the episode left
upon my mind one of the most painful impressions I have ever
received in connection with the children of the neighborhood. In
addition to all else are the lessons of loyalty and comradeship to
come to them as the mere reversals of class antagonism? And yet
it was but a trifling incident out of the general spirit of
bitterness and strife which filled the city.

Therefore the residents of Hull-House place increasing emphasis
upon the great inspirations and solaces of literature and are
unwilling that it should ever languish as a subject for class
instruction or for reading parties. The Shakespeare club has
lived a continuous existence at Hull-House for sixteen years
during which time its members have heard the leading interpreters
of Shakespeare, both among scholars and players. I recall that
one of its earliest members said that her mind was peopled with
Shakespeare characters during her long hours of sewing in a shop,
that she couldn't remember what she thought about before she
joined the club, and concluded that she hadn't thought about
anything at all. To feed the mind of the worker, to lift it above
the monotony of his task, and to connect it with the larger world,
outside of his immediate surroundings, has always been the object
of art, perhaps never more nobly fulfilled than by the great
English bard. Miss Starr has held classes in Dante and Browning
for many years, and the great lines are conned with never failing
enthusiasm. I recall Miss Lathrop's Plato club and an audience
who listened to a series of lectures by Dr. John Dewey on "Social
Psychology" as geniune intellectual groups consisting largely of
people from the immediate neighborhood, who were willing to make
"that effort from which we all shrink, the effort of thought." But
while we prize these classes as we do the help we are able to give
to the exceptional young man or woman who reaches the college and
university and leaves the neighborhood of his childhood behind
him, the residents of Hull-House feel increasingly that the
educational efforts of a Settlement should not be directed
primarily to reproduce the college type of culture, but to work
out a method and an ideal adapted to the immediate situation.
They feel that they should promote a culture which will not set
its possessor aside in a class with others like himself, but which
will, on the contrary, connect him with all sorts of people by his
ability to understand them as well as by his power to supplement
their present surroundings with the historic background. Among
the hundreds of immigrants who have for years attended classes at
Hull-House designed primarily to teach the English language,
dozens of them have struggled to express in the newly acquired
tongue some of these hopes and longings which had so much to do
with their emigration.

A series of plays was thus written by a young Bohemian; essays by
a Russian youth, outpouring sorrows rivaling Werther himself and
yet containing the precious stuff of youth's perennial revolt
against accepted wrong; stories of Russian oppression and petty
injustices throughout which the desire for free America became a
crystallized hope; an attempt to portray the Jewish day of
Atonement, in such wise that even individualistic Americans may
catch a glimpse of that deeper national life which has survived
all transplanting and expresses itself in forms so ancient that
they appear grotesque to the ignorant spectator. I remember a
pathetic effort on the part of a young Russian Jewess to describe
the vivid inner life of an old Talmud scholar, probably her uncle
or father, as of one persistently occupied with the grave and
important things of the spirit, although when brought into sharp
contact with busy and overworked people, he inevitably appeared
self-absorbed and slothful. Certainly no one who had read her
paper could again see such an old man in his praying shawl bent
over his crabbed book, without a sense of understanding.

On the other hand, one of the most pitiful periods in the drama
of the much-praised young American who attempts to rise in life,
is the time when his educational requirements seem to have locked
him up and made him rigid. He fancies himself shut off from his
uneducated family and misunderstood by his friends. He is bowed
down by his mental accumulations and often gets no farther than
to carry them through life as a great burden, and not once does
he obtain a glimpse of the delights of knowledge.

The teacher in a Settlement is constantly put upon his mettle to
discover methods of instruction which shall make knowledge
quickly available to his pupils, and I should like here to pay my
tribute of admiration to the dean of our educational department,
Miss Landsberg, and to the many men and women who every winter
come regularly to Hull-House, putting untiring energy into the
endless task of teaching the newly arrived immigrant the first
use of a language of which he has such desperate need. Even a
meager knowledge of English may mean an opportunity to work in a
factory versus nonemployment, or it may mean a question of life
or death when a sharp command must be understood in order to
avoid the danger of a descending crane.

In response to a demand for an education which should be
immediately available, classes have been established and grown
apace in cooking, dressmaking, and millinery. A girl who attends
them will often say that she "expects to marry a workingman next
spring," and because she has worked in a factory so long she
knows "little about a house." Sometimes classes are composed of
young matrons of like factory experiences. I recall one of them
whose husband had become so desperate after two years of her
unskilled cooking that he had threatened to desert her and go
where he could get "decent food," as she confided to me in a
tearful interview, when she followed my advice to take the
Hull-House courses in cooking, and at the end of six months
reported a united and happy home.

Two distinct trends are found in response to these classes; the
first is for domestic training, and the other is for trade
teaching which shall enable the poor little milliner and
dressmaker apprentices to shorten the years of errand running
which is supposed to teach them their trade.

The beginning of trade instruction has been already evolved in
connection with the Hull-House Boys' club. The ample Boys' club
building presented to Hull-House three years ago by one of our
trustees has afforded well-equipped shops for work in wood, iron,
and brass; for smithing in copper and tin; for commercial
photography, for printing, for telegraphy, and electrical
construction. These shops have been filled with boys who are
eager for that which seems to give them a clew to the industrial
life all about them. These classes meet twice a week and are
taught by intelligent workingmen who apparently give the boys
what they want better than do the strictly professional teachers.
While these classes in no sense provide a trade training, they
often enable a boy to discover his aptitude and help him in the
selection of what he "wants to be" by reducing the trades to
embryonic forms. The factories are so complicated that the boy
brought in contact with them, unless he has some preliminary
preparation, is apt to become confused. In pedagogical terms, he
loses his "power of orderly reaction" and is often so discouraged
or so overstimulated in his very first years of factory life that
his future usefulness is seriously impaired.

One of Chicago's most significant experiments in the direction of
correlating the schools with actual industry was for several years
carried on in a public school building situated near Hull-House,
in which the bricklayers' apprentices were taught eight hours a
day in special classes during the non-bricklaying season. This
early public school venture anticipated the very successful
arrangement later carried on in Cincinnati, in Pittsburgh and in
Chicago itself, whereby a group of boys at work in a factory
alternate month by month with another group who are in school and
are thus intelligently conducted into the complicated processes of
modern industry. But for a certain type of boy who has been
demoralized by the constant change and excitement of street life,
even these apprenticeship classes are too strenuous, and he has to
be lured into the path of knowledge by all sorts of appeals.

It sometimes happens that boys are held in the Hull-House classes
for weeks by their desire for the excitement of placing burglar
alarms under the door mats. But to enable the possessor of even
a little knowledge to thus play with it, is to decoy his feet at
least through the first steps of the long, hard road of learning,
although even in this, the teacher must proceed warily. A
typical street boy who was utterly absorbed in a wood-carving
class, abruptly left never to return when he was told to use some
simple calculations in the laying out of the points. He
evidently scented the approach of his old enemy, arithmetic, and
fled the field. On the other hand, we have come across many
cases in which boys have vainly tried to secure such
opportunities for themselves. During the trial of a boy of ten
recently arrested for truancy, it developed that he had spent
many hours watching the electrical construction in a downtown
building, and many others in the public library "reading about
electricity." Another boy who was taken from school early, when
his father lost both of his legs in a factory accident, tried in
vain to find a place for himself "with machinery." He was
declared too small for any such position, and for four years
worked as an errand boy, during which time he steadily turned in
his unopened pay envelope for the use of the household. At the
end of the fourth year the boy disappeared, to the great distress
of his invalid father and his poor mother whose day washings
became the sole support of the family. He had beaten his way to
Kansas City, hoping "they wouldn't be so particular there about a
fellow's size." He came back at the end of six weeks because he
felt sorry for his mother who, aroused at last to a realization
of his unbending purpose, applied for help to the Juvenile
Protective Association. They found a position for the boy in a
machine shop and an opportunity for evening classes.

Out of the fifteen hundred members of the Hull-House Boy's club,
hundreds seem to respond only to the opportunities for
recreation, and many of the older ones apparently care only for
the bowling and the billiards. And yet tournaments and match
games under supervision and regulated hours are a great advance
over the sensual and exhausting pleasures to be found so easily
outside the club. These organized sports readily connect
themselves with the Hull-House gymnasium and with all those
enthusiasms which are so mysteriously aroused by athletics.

Our gymnasium has been filled with large and enthusiastic classes
for eighteen years in spite of the popularity of dancing and other
possible substitutes, while the Saturday evening athletic contests
have become a feature of the neighborhood. The Settlement strives
for that type of gymnastics which is at least partly a matter of
character, for that training which presupposes abstinence and the
curbing of impulse, as well as for those athletic contests in
which the mind of the contestant must be vigilant to keep the body
closely to the rules of the game. As one sees in rhythmic motion
the slim bodies of a class of lads, "that scrupulous and
uncontaminate purity of form which recommended itself even to the
Greeks as befitting messengers from the gods, if such messengers
should come," one offers up in awkward prosaic form the very
essence of that old prayer, "Grant them with feet so light to pass
through life." But while the glory stored up for Olympian winners
was at the most a handful of parsley, an ode, fame for family and
city, on the other hand, when the men and boys from the Hull-House
gymnasium bring back their cups and medals, one's mind is filled
with something like foreboding in the reflection that too much
success may lead the winners into the professionalism which is so
associated with betting and so close to pugilism. Candor,
however, compels me to state that a long acquaintance with the
acrobatic folk who have to do with the circus, a large number of
whom practice in our gymnasium every winter, has raised our
estimate of that profession.

Young people who work long hours at sedentary occupations,
factories and offices, need perhaps more than anything else the
freedom and ease to be acquired from a symmetrical muscular
development and are quick to respond to that fellowship which
athletics apparently affords more easily than anything else. The
Greek immigrants form large classes and are eager to reproduce
the remnants of old methods of wrestling, and other bits of
classic lore which they still possess, and when one of the Greeks
won a medal in a wrestling match which represented the
championship of the entire city, it was quite impossible that he
should present it to the Hull-House trophy chest without a
classic phrase which he recited most gravely and charmingly.

It was in connection with a large association of Greek lads that
Hull-House finally lifted its long restriction against military
drill. If athletic contests are the residuum of warfare first
waged against the conqueror without and then against the tyrants
within the State, the modern Greek youth is still in the first
stage so far as his inherited attitude against the Turk is
concerned. Each lad believes that at any moment he may be called
home to fight this long-time enemy of Greece. With such a
genuine motive at hand, it seemed mere affectation to deny the
use of our boys' club building and gymnasium for organized drill,
although happily it forms but a small part of the activities of
the Greek Educational Association.

Having thus confessed to military drill countenanced if not
encouraged at Hull-House, it is perhaps only fair to relate an
early experience of mine with the "Columbian Guards," and
organization of the World's Fair summer. Although the Hull-House
squad was organized as the others were with the motto of a clean
city, it was very anxious for military drill. This request not
only shocked my nonresistant principles, but seemed to afford an
opportunity to find a substitute for the military tactics which
were used in the boys' brigades everywhere, even in those
connected with churches. As the cleaning of the filthy streets
and alleys was the ostensible purpose of the Columbian guards, I
suggested to the boys that we work out a drill with sewer spades,
which with their long narrow blades and shortened handles were
not so unlike bayoneted guns in size, weight, and general
appearance, but that much of the usual military drill could be
readapted. While I myself was present at the gymnasium to
explain that it was nobler to drill in imitation of removing
disease-breeding filth than to drill in simulation of warfare;
while I distractedly readapted tales of chivalry to this modern
rescuing of the endangered and distressed, the new drill went
forward in some sort of fashion, but so surely as I withdrew, the
drillmaster would complain that our troops would first grow
self-conscious, then demoralized, and finally flatly refuse to go
on. Throughout the years since the failure of this Quixotic
experiment, I occasionally find one of these sewer spades in a
Hull-House storeroom, too truncated to be used for its original
purpose and too prosaic to serve the purpose for which it was
bought. I can only look at it in the forlorn hope that it may
foreshadow that piping time when the weapons of warfare shall be
turned into the implements of civic salvation.

Before closing this chapter on Socialized Education, it is only
fair to speak of the education accruing to the Hull-House
residents themselves during their years of living in what at least
purports to be a center for social and educational activity.

While a certain number of the residents are primarily interested
in charitable administration and the amelioration which can be
suggested only by those who know actual conditions, there are
other residents identified with the House from its earlier years
to whom the groups of immigrants make the historic appeal, and who
use, not only their linguistic ability, but all the resource they
can command of travel and reading to qualify themselves for
intelligent living in the immigrant quarter of the city. I
remember one resident lately returned from a visit in Sicily, who
was able to interpret to a bewildered judge the ancient privilege
of a jilted lover to scratch the cheek of his faithless sweetheart
with the edge of a coin. Although the custom in America had
degenerated into a knife slashing after the manner of foreign
customs here, and although the Sicilian deserved punishment, the
incident was yet lifted out of the slough of mere brutal assault,
and the interpretation won the gratitude of many Sicilians.

There is no doubt that residents in a Settlement too often move
toward their ends "with hurried and ignoble gait," putting forth
thorns in their eagerness to bear grapes. It is always easy for
those in pursuit of ends which they consider of overwhelming
importance to become themselves thin and impoverished in spirit
and temper, to gradually develop a dark mistaken eagerness
alternating with fatigue, which supersedes "the great and
gracious ways" so much more congruous with worthy aims.

Partly because of this universal tendency, partly because a
Settlement shares the perplexities of its times and is never too
dogmatic concerning the final truth, the residents would be glad
to make the daily life at the Settlement "conform to every shape
and mode of excellence."

It may not be true

"That the good are always the merry
Save by an evil chance,"

but a Settlement would make clear that one need not be heartless
and flippant in order to be merry, nor solemn in order to be wise.
Therefore quite as Hull-House tries to redeem billiard tables from
the association of gambling, and dancing from the temptations of
the public dance halls, so it would associate with a life of
upright purpose those more engaging qualities which in the experience
of the neighborhood are too often connected with dubious aims.

Throughout the history of Hull-House many inquiries have been made
concerning the religion of the residents, and the reply that they
are as diversified in belief and in the ardor of the inner life as
any like number of people in a college or similar group, apparently
does not carry conviction. I recall that after a house for men
residents had been opened on Polk Street and the residential force
at Hull-House numbered twenty, we made an effort to come together
on Sunday evenings in a household service, hoping thus to express
our moral unity in spite of the fact that we represented many
creeds. But although all of us reverently knelt when the High
Church resident read the evening service and bowed our heads when
the evangelical resident led in prayer after his chapter, and
although we sat respectfully through the twilight when a resident
read her favorite passages from Plato and another from Abt Vogler,
we concluded at the end of the winter that this was not religious
fellowship and that we did not care for another reading club. So
it was reluctantly given up, and we found that it was quite as
necessary to come together on the basis of the deed and our common
aim inside the household as it was in the neighborhood itself. I
once had a conversation on the subject with the warden of Oxford
House, who kindly invited me to the evening service held for the
residents in a little chapel on the top floor of the Settlement.
All the residents were High Churchmen to whom the service was an
important and reverent part of the day. Upon my reply to a query
of the warden that the residents of Hull-House could not come
together for religious worship because there were among us Jews,
Roman Catholics, English Churchmen, Dissenters, and a few
agnostics, and that we had found unsatisfactory the diluted form of
worship which we could carry on together, he replied that it must
be most difficult to work with a group so diversified, for he
depended upon the evening service to clear away any difficulties
which the day had involved and to bring the residents to a
religious consciousness of their common aim. I replied that this
diversity of creed was part of the situation in American
Settlements, as it was our task to live in a neighborhood of many
nationalities and faiths, and that it might be possible that among
such diversified people it was better that the Settlement corps
should also represent varying religious beliefs.

A wise man has told us that "men are once for all so made that
they prefer a rational world to believe in and to live in," but
that it is no easy matter to find a world rational as to its
intellectual, aesthetic, moral, and practical aspects. Certainly
it is no easy matter if the place selected is of the very sort
where the four aspects are apparently furthest from perfection,
but an undertaking resembling this is what the Settlement
gradually becomes committed to, as its function is revealed
through the reaction on its consciousness of its own experiences.
Because of this fourfold undertaking, the Settlement has gathered
into residence people of widely diversified tastes and interests,
and in Hull-House, at least, the group has been surprisingly
permanent. The majority of the present corp of forty residents
support themselves by their business and professional occupations
in the city, giving only their leisure time to Settlement
undertakings. This in itself tends to continuity of residence
and has certain advantages. Among the present staff, of whom the
larger number have been in residence for more than twelve years,
there are the secretary of the City club, two practicing
physicians, several attorneys, newspapermen, businessmen,
teachers, scientists, artists, musicians, lecturers in the School
of Civics and Philanthropy, officers in The Juvenile Protective
Association and in The League for the Protection of Immigrants, a
visiting nurse, a sanitary inspector, and others.

We have also worked out during our years of residence a plan of
living which may be called cooperative, for the families and
individuals who rent the Hull-House apartments have the use of
the central kitchen and dining room so far as they care for them;
many of them work for hours every week in the studios and shops;
the theater and drawing-rooms are available for such social
organization as they care to form; the entire group of thirteen
buildings is heated and lighted from a central plant. During the
years, the common human experiences have gathered about the
House; funeral services have been held there, marriages and
christenings, and many memories hold us to each other as well as
to our neighbors. Each resident, of course, carefully defrays
his own expenses, and his relations to his fellow residents are
not unlike those of a college professor to his colleagues. The
depth and strength of his relation to the neighborhood must
depend very largely upon himself and upon the genuine friendships
he has been able to make. His relation to the city as a whole
comes largely through his identification with those groups who
are carrying forward the reforms which a Settlement neighborhood
so sadly needs and with which residence has made him familiar.

Life in the Settlement discovers above all what has been called
"the extraordinary pliability of human nature," and it seems
impossible to set any bounds to the moral capabilities which might
unfold under ideal civic and educational conditions. But in order
to obtain these conditions, the Settlement recognizes the need of
cooperation, both with the radical and the conservative, and from
the very nature of the case the Settlement cannot limit its
friends to any one political party or economic school.

The Settlement casts side none of those things which cultivated
men have come to consider reasonable and goodly, but it insists
that those belong as well to that great body of people who,
because of toilsome and underpaid labor, are unable to procure
them for themselves. Added to this is a profound conviction that
the common stock of intellectual enjoyment should not be
difficult of access because of the economic position of him who
would approach it, that those "best results of civilization" upon
which depend the finer and freer aspects of living must be
incorporated into our common life and have free mobility through
all elements of society if we would have our democracy endure.

The educational activities of a Settlement, as well its
philanthropic, civic, and social undertakings, are but differing
manifestations of the attempt to socialize democracy, as is the
very existence of the Settlement itself.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK
Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers. Initial text
entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of
volunteer Samantha M. Constant.

[Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom]

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