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Jane Addams LogoThe Jane Addams Papers Project is a scholarly editing project that is producing a digital edition of Addams' papers. Addams, who was born in 1860 and died in 1935, was a major Progressive reformer and social activist. She was involved in many of the social movements of the time, and her perspective was somewhat unique among Progressive reformers because she was a woman, unmarried, and worked in an immigrant community in Chicago.

Using Addams' papers enables us to look at investigate social issues were understood over 100 years ago. While all the issues that face America today were not in play during Addams' lifetime, you will be surprised to see how much our time and the Progressive Era have in common.

Digital Edition

The Addams Digital Edition is accessed here:

Currently documents ranging from 1901-1919 on the site. We are adding more each year.


  • Using the text search bar or the subject browse, try to locate documents on your specific social issue. You will find that speeches and articles will have more meaty content than correspondence. Think about the different terms that might have been used in the past.
  • Select a document that you can analyze and use as the basis for a blog post that explores how Progressives thought about a social issue.
  • Use the transcription tab above the document image if you are having trouble reading the text (most documents have been transcribed)
  • Use the relations links beneath the document image to learn more about the people, organizations, and events mentioned in the document (this project is still in progress, and not all of these have been completed)

Write a Blog Post

Take the primary source document that you located in the Jane Addams Digital Edition, and provide some historical context for it using newspaper research.  Answer the following questions in your blog post (in any order):

  • Who wrote it? (Note: you can select a document not written by Addams ) What was their relationship to the topic of the document? For example, if you selected an Addams document about the settlement movement, you should explain Addams' role in that reform, or if you included a speech about a labor strike you should explain how the author was involved (or not) with the event.
  • What does it say? Summarize the document briefly (and add a link to the digital edition version of it) and explain how it relates to your topic if it is not directly relevant.
  • When it was written? What was going on generally with the topic at this time? Was it written in response to a major incident or proposed law? Was is one in a series of articles or speeches that changed in view over time? How does the date it was written explain its content?
  • Where was it written? Does the place have any impact on the content of the document? Does it respond to local events, or is it far removed from events? Does that fact that Addams lived in Hull-House in Chicago show in her writing--is there a point of view that comes from a place?
  • Why was it written? Was it a speech, a private letter, an article, or a newspaper story? If a speech, where was it given and to what group? How does its context impact its content?


  • The post should be 500 words or longer.
  • Use at least three newspaper articles, with citations
  • Use appropriate historical images or documents, events, or individuals that help tell the story.
  • Publish the post and submit the URL for the assignment.