Jane Addams (1860-1935) was a leading statesperson in an era when few imagined such possibilities for women. In this fresh interpretation, the first full biography of Addams in nearly forty years, Louise W. Knight shows Addams's boldness, creativity, and tenacity as she sought ways to put the ideals of democracy into action. Starting in Chicago as a co-founder of the nation's first settlement house, Hull House--a community center where people of all classes and ethnicities could gather--Addams became a grassroots organizer and a partner of trade unionists, women, immigrants, and African Americans seeking social justice. In time she emerged as a progressive political force; an advocate for women's suffrage; an advisor to presidents; a co-founder of civil rights organizations, including the NAACP; and a leader for international peace. Written as a fast-paced narrative, Jane Addams traces how one woman worked with others to make a difference in the world.
"Jane Addams lives in these pages. So does her work and wisdom on such ongoing concerns as immigration, the intertwined restrictions of sex and race, striving for peace in a nation at war, and acting locally while thinking globally. Thanks to Louise Knight, we can meet an experienced organizer and a friend we need right now." -- Gloria Steinem "As the granddaughter of a Hull House teacher, I read this beautiful biography with a sort of intimate awe. This biography is a gift to my generation, a call for us to be as courageous and visionary in our own time as Jane Addams was in hers." -- Courtney E. Martin, author of Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists "This book is as fine an introduction to the life and thought of Jane Addams as one is ever likely to read. Her internal growth as a world-class democrat, coupled with the many public causes with which she interacted, is so beautifully laid out that the reader sees vividly why Addams was, is, and remains an iconic figure in American history." -- Vivian Gornick, author of Fierce Attachments and The Men in My Life "Louise W. Knight's masterful biography of Jane Addams not only brings to life this remarkable crusader for peace and justice but serves as an eloquent reminder of the ideals for which she stood. Addams may be gone but with the publication of this spiritually imbued biography her dreams will live again and her life can be a model for yet another generation. To commemorate the 150th birthday of this icon of American decency and fairness, Knight's biography is a book that begs to be given as a present to others." -- James McGrath Morris, author of Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power "Only superlatives like excellent and elegant can do justice to Louise W. Knight's fine Jane Addams. Whether Addams was grass-roots organizing, founding Hull House, or fighting for women's suffrage, she was always an indefatigable warrior. If there was any real fairness in this troubled world Addams would have won three Nobel Peace Prizes instead of one. Highly recommended." -- Douglas Brinkley, author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America