Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of History

Degree Type

Master of Arts


In this study, the settlement movement in Chicago is presented as a crucible for the development of Progressive reform. The subjective and objective necessities for social settlements are described through the lives of men and women central to the movement. Reformers such as Jane Addams, Graham Taylor, and Mary McDowell fused their personal motives to their expanding assumptions regarding public welfare in their pursuit of social salvation. The settlement community advanced a methodology of experimentation and flexibility, which was instrumental to the transformation of nineteenth century ideas of charity into the new twentieth century science of social work. The processes of reform were greatly influenced by the evolving concepts of class, gender, and race. The feminine nature of settlement work and the opportunities afforded to generations of college-educated women were integral to the impact the settlement community had on Progressive reform in general and to the role settlement workers played in affecting public opinion. Primary sources include Jane Addams' correspondence, Twenty Years at Hull-House, and issues of the periodical The Commons. The historiography of the Progressive Era is also considered, and the effects of class, gender, and race upon its development throughout the twentieth century.


History | United States History