New York: Macmillan, 1910.
First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. vxii, 462 pp, with index and illustrations. Original brick red pictorial cloth binding; no dust jacket. Rubbing to extremities, some light soiling to boards, archival reinforcement to front hinge. Binding sound, text clean. Autobiography of one of the most influential social reformers of her day. Hull-House, which Addams founded in Chicago in thr 1880s was the second settlement house to open in the United States, and of the four hundred settlement houses opened around the country before World War I, it was by far the most famous, most influential, and most innovative. Although she originally envisioned the settlement as a place where educated women could share their knowledge of art and literature with the working poor, she soon came to believe "that the project's success depended less on poetry readings than on the provision of very practical social services, including a day-care center for the children of working mothers and English literacy classes for those seeking U.S. citizenship. After only three years on Halsted Street...she set forth her growing conviction that the value of the neighborhood settlement house lay in its 'flexibility, its power of quick adaptation, its readiness to change its methods as its environment may demand.' Addams saw Hull-House less as an agent of cultural uplift than as 'an information and interpretation bureau.' She insisted that the settlement should have a 'sterner and more enduring aspect' than mere philanthropy. She saw the provision of legal services, visiting nurses, a meeting place for ethnic clubs and labor unions, a boarding house for working girls, and a group of middle-class residents ready to mediate between neighbors and the city bureaucracy as evidence that Hull-House was a 'commission merchant,' the middle agent uniting a cross section of Chicago residents around common civic goals" (ANB).