With the generous support of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, the Jane Addams Papers and Teacher Education program at Ramapo College of New Jersey, the Jane Addams Papers Project has developed this guide for teachers and students participating in National History Day.
As a major Progressive thinker and reformer, Jane Addams was involved in everything from woman suffrage to juvenile delinquency. As an intellectual revolution, the Progressive Era was a hotbed of reform and change. In working for woman suffrage, female reformers like Addams were able to advocate for social changes regarding labor, urban living, crime, and immigration. Women were able to provide a new perspective as they became increasingly political. Addams was not only a Progressive thinker, but a Progressive leader. To advocate for social change, Addams gave speeches, wrote articles, established various progressive groups, and served as an officer of multiple organizations dedicated to reform. Addams' efforts affected the masses, as hundreds, if not thousands people from all walks of life reacted to Addams' work. At times, reformers have pushed gradual and incremental change that have been enough to change the paths of history. Other times, sudden or violent events can revolutionize the way people think and behave. Real change is dependant not only on the reaction, but how civilization uses reaction to instill lasting transformation.
In the Jane Addams Digital Edition you will find letters, speeches, articles, and other documents that illuminate this year's themes. We have highlighted a few research topics to get you started, but you can find other topics, subjects, and events that will also fit the theme.
Renee DeLora, Michael Romano, Christina Dwyer