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Jane Addams Essay Research Paper Jane AddamsJane

Jane Addams Essay, Research Paper

Jane Addams

Jane Addams was born in Cedarville, Illinois on September 6, 1860,and the

eighth of nine children. Her father, John Addams, was a prosperous miller

and local political leader who served for sixteen years as a state senator

and fought as an officer in the Civil War, he was a friend of Abraham


Jane’s mother dies when she was only two. Her father remarried and her new

stepmother brought along two new stepbrothers to add to the already large

family. With the fact of Jane’s mother passing away she was especially

devoted to her father, her father became her idol (Jane 1). He taught her

tolerance, philanthropy, and strong work ethic (Biography 2). He encouraged

her to pursue higher education but not at the cost of losing her femininity

and the prospect of marriage and motherhood (Biography 2). She was born

Laura Jane Addams and was named after Mrs. Laura Jane Forbes, an intelligent

young woman who had taught private school in the village before she married

Colonel H.C. Forbes. Soon her siblings were calling her Jenny: for most

“Jane’s” were “Jenny’s” then, so soon after the gala concert tour of Jenny

Lind, “the Swedish Nightingale.” When Jenny was 2 years old she was still

sleeping with her mother, who died while giving birth to her ninth child.

This brought great sorrow to the town of Cedarville because Jane’s mother was

very well liked in the town, usually being the first to the bedside of the

sick or invalid and a great comfort to all of the townspeople (Wise, 16).

Although Jane’s mother lost 4 children at a very young age she had five

healthy ones survive. The oldest was Mary, who cared for all the children,

then Martha, Webber, Alice, and Jenny the baby of the family (Jane). When

their father went to Springfield for the state legislature Mary wrote to him

often telling him about the children and the quickly spreading scarlet fever.

In one such letter Jane wondered when her thumb would grow as long as she would

other fingers (Wise, 17). A later letter from Mary carried the grave news

that Jane was struck with Typhoid fever and tuberculosis of the spine. This

left her dark, curly hair straight and her body fragile and emaciated. Jane

loved her family but was especially attached to her father. She was often

found trying to be just like her father by rubbing things on her fingers to

get a “mill thumb” like her father had.

Jane attended the Rockford Seminary for young ladies and excelled in her

studies. She developed very strong leadership traits and her classmates

admired her and followed her examples (Biography 1). In 1881, Jane graduated

form the Rockford Female Seminary. She was valedictorian of her class of 17

(Biography 1). Jane then decided that she wanted to pursue a degree in

medicine. This choice caused a great stir in the Addams household. Her

parents felt that she had had enough education and they were concerned that

she would never get married or have a family, which this was expected of all

upper-class young ladies at that point in time. Jane became despondent. She

was striving for more out of her life. She believed that if her brother s

could have careers in medicine and science, why not her?

Jane hated household duties. Getting married or raising children did not

appeal to her at all. With this Jane had more reasons to pursue her

education, but her family thought the exact opposite.

Therefore, Jane’s parents tried to think of a plan to get Jane’s mind off of

her education. Resulting in that Jane’s parents took Jane and her friends on

a grand tour of Europe for a year or two. They thought that perhaps Jane

would settle down a little and realize that her duty was to marry and have a


During this time period Jane began to show signs of illness. It was probably

sue to the stress and pressure she felt form her parents…

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