WBEZ | Jane Addams http://www.wbez.org/tags/jane-addams Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Curious tales from Chicago's past http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/curious-tales-chicagos-past-109432 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/history books photo flickr inspector_81.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="350" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/7198832&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="620"></iframe></p><p>The Chicago Fire. Mrs. O&rsquo;Leary&rsquo;s Barn. Fort Dearborn. Al Capone. We&rsquo;re not going to talk about any of that here.</p><p>Instead, you&rsquo;ll find chapters of Chicago history missing from most textbooks. We bring you stories from Chicago&rsquo;s past that range from near-death pair-o-chute rides to rides on funeral train cars; forgotten zoos to abandoned hospitals; produce markets to telephone exchanges; infamous asylums to anonymous (but fascinating) sidewalks.</p><p>All of these stories started from <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/" target="_blank">questions </a>you&rsquo;ve asked and you&rsquo;ve helped us report. There are enough of them that it&rsquo;s worth recapping what we&rsquo;ve learned about the Chicago area&#39;s peculiar past &mdash; through the lens of residents&rsquo; own curiosity.</p><p>The audio playlist above begins with an hour-long special featuring questions that span from the 1800s to today. You&rsquo;ll hear about <strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/should-we-use-l-word-jane-addams-108619" target="_blank">Victorian-era sexuality</a></strong>, <strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/story-dunning-tomb-living-106892" target="_blank">forgotten graves</a></strong> near an insane asylum, <strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/did-wwii-nuclear-experiment-make-u-c-radioactive-106681" target="_blank">radioactive secrets</a></strong>,&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-happened-nike-missile-sites-around-chicago-105087" target="_blank">missiles</a></strong> that were a little too close to home, a long-gone&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/laugh-your-troubles-away-105619" target="_blank">amusement park</a></strong>, <strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/neon-no-more-lincoln-avenues-motel-row-109050" target="_blank">seedy motels</a></strong> and &hellip; <strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/where-have-all-old-school-doughnut-shops-gone-108483" target="_blank">doughnuts</a></strong>, of all things. Below, we follow up with videos that tell what happened to Union Park&rsquo;s menagerie, what it was like to visit the 1893 World&rsquo;s Fair and why residents on the city&rsquo;s Northwest Side were afraid of Dunning Asylum for the Insane.</p><p>If you want to bring alive the history of Chicago, the region or its people <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/" target="_blank">ask your question right now</a>! Otherwise, enjoy tales of local history &mdash; Curious City style!</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Good reads:&nbsp;</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/hosting-enemy-our-wwii-pow-camps-109344">Hosting the enemy: Our WW II POW camps </a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/story-dunning-tomb-living-106892">The story of Dunning, a &lsquo;tomb for the living&rsquo;</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/after-haymarket-anarchism-trial-and-city-search-its-soul-110098" target="_blank">After Haymarket: Anarchism on trial and a city in search of its soul</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://wbez.is/1nh6mYK">Pilsen&#39;s tranformation into a Latino community</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/311-chicagos-early-phone-numbers-109135">The 311 on Chicago&rsquo;s early phone numbers ... and letters </a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/gulp-how-chicago-gobbled-its-neighbors-109583" target="_blank">Gulp! How Chicago gobbled its neighbors</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/should-we-use-l-word-jane-addams-108619">Would Jane Addams be considered a lesbian? </a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/bridges-span-river-and-decades-108903">History of downtown bridgehouses </a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/marina-city-ideals-concrete-108072">Marina City: Ideals in concrete</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/laugh-your-troubles-away-105619">Riverview: Laugh your troubles away</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-happened-nike-missile-sites-around-chicago-105087">What happened to Nike missile sites around Chicago? </a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/question-answered-how-has-chicago%E2%80%99s-coastline-changed-over-decades-104328">How has Chicago&rsquo;s coastline changed? </a></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/videoseries?list=PL0LxICU6xOzOOOQCazHiJN9W9pvThPmjA" width="620"></iframe></p><p><em>Follow Curious City&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZCuriousCity">@WBEZCurious City</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Mon, 23 Dec 2013 12:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/curious-tales-chicagos-past-109432 Should we use the 'L word' for Jane Addams? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/should-we-use-l-word-jane-addams-108619 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/JABE%20ADDAMS%20TOPPER.jpg" title="" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F109020582&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Note: we also aired a segment about Jane Addams&#39; work and the Hull-House legacy on<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-09-06/afternoon-shift-jane-addams-columbia-college-creative-writing">&nbsp;the Afternoon Shift</a>. You can listen to that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/should-we-use-l-word-jane-addams-108619#Afternoonshift">segment here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p>In the early 20th century, <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/_learn/_aboutjane/aboutjane.html">Jane Addams</a> was among the most famous women in America. The Chicagoan worked, lived and <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=aAnLrCOHRQ8C&amp;pg=PA181&amp;lpg=PA181&amp;dq=love+on+halsted+street,+louise+knight&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=RWB0IeyMbw&amp;sig=JT3I6ZKzYfEY2sNnG9AKxHffSrI&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=6rknUpXxEIaayQHLiIDQDQ&amp;ved=0CC4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=love%20on%20halsted%20street%2C%20louise%20knight&amp;f=false">loved </a>on Halsted Street in the <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/_learn/_abouthullhouse/abouthullhouse.html">Hull-House settlement</a> she co-founded with <a href="http://asteria.fivecolleges.edu/findaids/sophiasmith/mnsss64_bioghist.html">Ellen Gates Starr</a>. Her career was one of struggle and triumph as she organized, fought for social services on behalf of immigrants, children, women and other disenfranchised groups. At one point the FBI considered her &ldquo;<a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/_museum/_museum/historyoncall/fbifile.html">the most dangerous woman in America</a>.&rdquo; In 1931 she became the first American woman to earn the <a href="http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1931/addams-bio.html">Nobel Peace Prize</a>. Addams passed away in 1935.</p><p>The only two remaining buildings of Addams&rsquo;s once 13-building Hull-House settlement are easy to miss on the vast campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago, which overtook the area. And recent UIC graduate Adam Peterson used to pass by them when he was a student on his way to an American feminist history class. It was in this class that he learned about Jane Addams, but he says the class didn&rsquo;t touch on her private life.</p><p>&ldquo;We did touch on her background as a white, middle class, well-educated woman who just didn&rsquo;t want to be married and be a housewife,&rdquo; Adam says. &ldquo;But then there were just these ambiguities that were said in passing [about her sexuality], but not fully discussed.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>This glossing-over prompted him to ask us this carefully worded question:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Could Jane Addams be considered a lesbian with the current use of that terminology?</em></p><p>If you&rsquo;re looking for a quick &ldquo;Yes, she was&rdquo; or &ldquo;No, she was not&rdquo; answer, you&rsquo;re out of luck. People most involved in Jane Addams&rsquo; history and legacy showed me and Adam that it&rsquo;s worth asking about the lesbian label, but it can be a problem. And, if you do apply it, it&rsquo;s best not to do it so quickly.</p><p><strong>The brunette in a yellow confection dress</strong></p><p>Let&rsquo;s start with an art history mystery. In 2006, a lifetime after Jane Addams passed away, <a href="http://arthistory.aa.uic.edu/faculty.php?profile=lisalee&amp;subj=5">Lisa Yun Lee</a> took up the position of Director of the<a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html"> Jane Addams Hull-House Museum</a>. One day she came across a fetching painting of a brunette in the museum&#39;s back offices.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/WEB%204.jpg" style="float: right; width: 300px; height: 400px;" title="Jane-Addams Hull-House Director Lisa Yun Lee discovered this painting in 2006, which sparked some discussion into Jane Addams' relationship with Mary rozet Smith. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /></p><p>Lee says the painting was initially described to her as being a great example of the work of <a href="http://schwartzcollection.com/artists/alice-kellogg-tyler">Alice Kellogg Tyler</a>, an accomplished painter who taught at the Art Institute of Chicago. She also taught at Jane Addams&rsquo; Hull-House settlement.</p><p>But, Lee says, &ldquo;As soon as I started asking &lsquo;Who is <em>that</em> person in the painting,&rsquo; there were hushed tones and confusion. And people said, &lsquo;Well, some people say that it&rsquo;s Jane Addams&rsquo; partner.&rsquo; Other people say it&rsquo;s her biggest business supporter. Other people said, &lsquo;Well, of course. It&rsquo;s her lesbian lover.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>The more Lee prodded, the more she realized the depth of debate surrounding the woman in the painting and her relationship with Addams. Lee says Hull-House started to dig through the historical record and &ldquo;ask different kinds of questions.&rdquo; At this point the staff realized this woman was indeed Jane Addams&rsquo; chosen partner in life.</p><p><strong>Mary and Jane</strong></p><p>This woman was Mary Rozet Smith. Lee says until people debated the painting, Smith had pretty much been written out of the historical record. But as more surfaced about her relationship with Jane Addams, Smith&rsquo;s fuzzy place in the Hull-House settlement&rsquo;s history became clearer.</p><p><a href="http://www.uic.edu/depts/lib/specialcoll/services/rjd/findingaids/MSmithf.html">Smith came from a wealthy Chicago family</a> that made a fortune through manufacturing. She was drawn to the work of the Hull-House settlement, taking on several roles: philanthropist, benefactor (some might say a sugar mamma), and Jane Addams&rsquo; lifelong companion.</p><p>Addams sums up an early encounter with Smith in this unfinished poem dating from 1895:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FOR%20WEB%20poem.jpg" title="" /></p><p>Scholarship suggests Smith and Addams&rsquo; lives became deeply entwined. Over 40 years they wrote letters and love poems to one another. Addams requested that most of her letters be burned upon her death; she had felt they were too intimate. (Note: <a href="http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jowh/summary/v009/9.4.freedman.html">Burning letters was not uncommon</a> at the time.)</p><p>The pair also vacationed together and traveled around the world, sometimes calling ahead to request a double bed, which was not unusual for women friends to do. Addams had Smith listed as an emergency contact on her passport. They also made major financial decisions, such as co-owning a home in Maine. At one point they considered adopting a child together.</p><p>As for that large painting of Smith in the yellow dress? Addams sometimes traveled with it &mdash; wrapping it up and schlepping it with her across country.</p><p>Historians say that when Rozet Smith passed away in 1934 (a year before Addams), Jane received condolences from far and wide, not unlike a widow in heterosexual relationship.</p><p>But what does this all mean? Does this kind of evidence equate to proof that the pair were lesbians?</p><p><strong>Women who love women</strong></p><p>What does the word <em>lesbian </em>mean? Well, if you use an expansive definition that does not by necessity have to include sex, then many people agree that, yes, Addams and Smith were lesbians. (After all, even married couples can have little or no sex, yet their heterosexuality is not called into question.)</p><p>Several sources tell me the most important thing to consider is what, exactly, having a relationship like this meant<em> in Jane Addams&rsquo; time.</em></p><p>One good person to ask is <a href="http://www.uic.edu/depts/wsweb/people/faculty/demilio/demilio.html">John D&rsquo;Emilio</a>, a professor of Gender and Women&rsquo;s Studies and History at the University of Illinois. And conveniently, his office is a few short blocks from the Hull-House museum.</p><p>He defines a lesbian as &ldquo;a woman who turns to other women for the love, and emotional support and intimacy that most human beings like to have in their personal lives.&rdquo;</p><p>With this definition in hand D&rsquo;Emilio feels comfortable assigning the lesbian label to Addams and Smith, even though he says it&rsquo;s impossible to know whether Smith and Addams had sexual contact. And even if we were to find out, he says, he wouldn&rsquo;t change where he lands on the use of &quot;lesbian.&rdquo;</p><p>But how does D&rsquo;Emilio take those letters that were burned and deemed &ldquo;too intimate&rdquo; by Jane Addams? Could those have contained &ldquo;smoking gun&rdquo; evidence for those bent on equating sexual contact with the term lesbian? &nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/web%202.jpg" style="float: right; height: 300px; width: 400px;" title="A photograph of Jane Addams and Mary Rozet Smith inside the Hull-House Museum. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /></p><p>&ldquo;They just wouldn&rsquo;t have been writing about that,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s just no way. This is not the world of Hugh Hefner and <em>Playboy</em>. So that&rsquo;s not what they were writing about. But what they were writing about was the open expression of how much the other person meant and how much I need you!&rdquo;</p><p>Even though D&rsquo;Emilio is confident in saying Jane Addams was a lesbian, he can understand why others might not feel comfortable using the term. And, he says, he prefers using the term &ldquo;woman-loving woman.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>A decoder ring for history</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.uic.edu/depts/wsweb/people/faculty/brier/brier.html">Jennifer Brier</a> is an Associate Professor of Gender and Women&rsquo;s Studies and History at UIC. Her take on the question?</p><p>&ldquo;I would say no,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;As a historian I would say no. As a lesbian who exists under the current definition &mdash; sometimes I&rsquo;d like to say yes. But in the end, I say no.&rdquo;</p><p>She says &ldquo;lesbian&rdquo; <em>was </em>a term used in Addams&rsquo; time, but Brier says Addams wouldn&rsquo;t have used it to describe herself and that &ldquo;it wasn&rsquo;t a phrase that had meaning for her.&rdquo;</p><p>Brier argues this point matters. She says it&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ahistorical">ahistorical </a>to assign the term to Addams retroactively, and that can be dangerous; shorthand terminology can bypass context and you can lose the richness and diversity of human behavior. We can also mistakenly believe that we understand what being a lesbian meant at the time. And Addams&rsquo; era indeed had very different relationship cultures. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;You need a decoder ring,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;And the decoder ring has to be adjusted to each historical period to actually function. It has to be tuned to the right frequency to understand what&rsquo;s happening at a particular moment in time.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Platonic love</strong></p><p>Since sex is so ingrained in our current culture&rsquo;s notions of what being a lesbian entails, it&rsquo;s worth noting that this was not the case in Jane Addams&#39; time; romantic relationships did not necessarily entail sex. On the question of whether Addams may have even been celibate, several experts tell me the general feeling is: &#39;Maybe, but it&#39;s impossible to know.&#39;&nbsp;</p><p>What historians do know is during the Victorian era <a href="http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/platonic%20love">platonic love</a> was in the air. It described a meeting of souls, not necessarily bodies, and was viewed as a pure kind of love that same-sex couples could enjoy. Men could share a Platonic love with men, and women with women. The intimacy in these relationships could be as deep as any hetersexual relationship, but they were not framed in terms of sex.</p><p>Lisa Junkin, the interim director of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, says that Addams&rsquo; early writing expresses belief in platonic love and &ldquo;wanting to channel sexual impulses, believing that people should channel them essentially toward social justice &mdash; doing good in the world.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/WEB%201.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Newspaper clippings about Jane Addams as a social reformer are on display at the Hull-House Museum. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" />This idea of diverting sexual energy to more high-minded pursuits was present for men and women, and in the era&rsquo;s lexicon, too. John D&rsquo;Emilio says instead of using the phrase &ldquo;to come&rdquo; for male ejaculation, the phrase used at the time was &ldquo;to spend.&rdquo;</p><p>As D&rsquo;Emilio tells me about this facet of history, he breaks into a mock conversation that may have actually taken place in the Victorian era: &ldquo;Did you <em>spend</em> your seed? Well, I sure hope not because we&rsquo;re a people who believe in saving!&rdquo;</p><p>D&rsquo;Emilio says the ethic among the middle class at the time was to be prudent and industrious, and that too much sex was the opposite of that. Sex exhausts your resources.</p><p><strong>Boston marriages</strong></p><p>Addams and Smith referred to their relationship as a marriage in some writings, and this era enjoyed another kind of sanctioned love that came with a term: Boston marriages. D&rsquo;Emilio characterizes Boston marriages as deep relationships and commitments between two middle-class, college educated women.</p><p>Etymologically speaking, he says, the word &ldquo;Boston&rdquo; refers to the preponderance of women&rsquo;s colleges in Boston, while &quot;marriage&rdquo; is used because many of these women never married and lived a lifetime with another woman. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Think about it this way,&rdquo; D&rsquo;Emilio says. &ldquo;This is a generation in which sex is not out there in the public. Sex is supposed to be quiet and private and behind closed doors. And so Boston marriage becomes a very neutral and acceptable way of describing something, that if described in other terms might be scandalous.&rdquo;</p><p>It can be argued that Boston marriages could be considered a corollary of lesbian relationships today, but it&rsquo;s not clear whether sex was included in these setups.</p><p>D&rsquo;Emilio says &ldquo;Boston marriage&rdquo; was a term that acknowledged a relationship and intimacy &ldquo;without getting into the stuff we&rsquo;re not supposed to talk about.&rdquo; Ironically, D&rsquo;Emilio says in part because there were taboos against openly discussing sex, there was a kind of flexibility in what happened behind closed doors; it just wouldn&rsquo;t end up in polite conversation.</p><p>Professor Jennifer Brier adds it&rsquo;s important to remember Jane Addams was part of a subset of women who were of the class and means to be able to pioneer new ways to be a woman. There weren&rsquo;t many outlets for women at the time to be in non-traditional roles (especially leadership roles). The same goes for becoming trailblazers who open up new opportunities and jobs for women, immigrants, adolescents and new ways of existing in society &mdash; the basic work of Addams and Smith at Hull-House.</p><p>&ldquo;She [Addams] didn&rsquo;t rely on patriarchy in the way we think of today,&rdquo; Brier says. &ldquo;She didn&rsquo;t rely on men for her economic or emotional support. She made her life with women at the Hull-House.&rdquo;</p><p>And Addams was not the only woman at the Hull-House to buck gender norms. Other examples include Dr. Cornelia de Bey, who was a homeopathic doctor affiliated with the settlement and who lived with a woman and dressed in tailored, masculine garb. Hull-House co-founder <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=aAnLrCOHRQ8C&amp;pg=PA181&amp;lpg=PA181&amp;dq=love+on+halsted+street,+louise+knight&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=RWB0IeyMbw&amp;sig=JT3I6ZKzYfEY2sNnG9AKxHffSrI&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=6rknUpXxEIaayQHLiIDQDQ&amp;ved=0CC4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=love%20on%20halsted%20street%2C%20louise%20knight&amp;f=false">Ellen Gates Starr was also Addams&rsquo;s partner at one time</a>.</p><p><strong>An alternative label</strong></p><p>These questions around both labeling Jane Addams and the painting of Mary Rozet Smith never left former <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html">JAHHM </a>director Lisa Lee&rsquo;s mind. Instead, she felt the museum needed to represent the complex information around the painting and the era. And it wouldn&rsquo;t do to simply call Addams a lesbian.</p><p>So she and staff created an &ldquo;alternative labeling project&rdquo; to foster dialogue around the painting labels. The museum staff offered three labels (&ldquo;tombstones&rdquo; in museum lingo) to sum up the painting of Mary Rozet Smith and invited visitors to weigh in. They were:<object height="520" width="620"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157635410603458%2Fshow%2Fwith%2F9684980861%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157635410603458%2Fwith%2F9684980861%2F&amp;set_id=72157635410603458&amp;jump_to=9684980861" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157635410603458%2Fshow%2Fwith%2F9684980861%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157635410603458%2Fwith%2F9684980861%2F&amp;set_id=72157635410603458&amp;jump_to=9684980861" height="520" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620"></embed></object></p><p>Interim director for the <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html">JAHHM </a>Lisa Junkin was on staff for the alternative labeling project. She says they received many responses to the labels, ranging from hate mail to fan mail, and everything in between.</p><p>&ldquo;Occasionally there&rsquo;s also a sense of fear or anger that we&rsquo;d be telling that story, especially around young people,&rdquo; Junkin says. &ldquo;There have been teachers who have cut off the educators from telling the story of the relationship or who have covered over the label when students walk by &mdash; even though both the educators and the label don&rsquo;t use the term lesbian with younger groups.&rdquo;</p><p>Beyond the celebration and hatred for bringing Addams&rsquo; sexuality into history, the public provided useful suggestions, too. One person pointed out that none of the labels gave information about Mary Rozet Smith beyond her relationship to Jane Addams.</p><p>Which, from Junkin&rsquo;s vantage, was a problem.</p><p>&ldquo;For us as feminist historians, as a feminist site, that&rsquo;s really problematic, right?&rdquo; Junkin says. &ldquo;We essentially gave her the &lsquo;wife treatment,&rsquo; which should be avoided.&rdquo;</p><p>Here&rsquo;s the label the museum settled on:</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5537/9685555669_1f36ecd159_b.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/slide%204%20web.jpg" title="" /></a></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><em>Click the above image to see a larger view.</em></span></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The museum staff culled through the inboxes crammed with email and the drawers filled with Post-it notes. After that, they reconceived their permanent exhibit. In 2010 the museum curated a new presentation of their permanent collection, including the display of photographs made of Addams and Smith together.</div><p>But that once-mysterious painting of Mary Rozet Smith? It now hangs prominently in the former bedroom of Addams.</p><p>Junkin says &ldquo;the goal was to show instead of tell, and let the audience come up with their own understanding based on the evidence we can provide.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>A new look at old sex</strong></p><p>Junkin says after the alternative labeling project of Mary Rozet Smith, the <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html">JAHHM </a>has made conversation about sexuality more prominent. It&rsquo;s also created new programming, including a four-year film series around the sex positive movement and contemporary issues of sexuality. It also built new displays mention Hull-House&rsquo;s role in progressive sex education. (Junkin says one of Chicago&rsquo;s first birth control centers was at the Hull-House). She adds that staff have made their displays and tours more inclusive.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LENA FOR WEB.jpg" style="float: left; width: 338px; height: 450px;" title="The Hull-House Museum's Lena Reynolds will be a tour guide for the museum's new Gender and Sexuality Tour. She stands next to a painting of Cornelia de Bey, a physician, activist and educational reformer once affiliated with the Settlement. She was known to dress in tailored, masculine garb. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /></p><p>In the first week of September, the museum debuts a new tour that directly places the Hull-House in queer history. The working title: the &ldquo;Gender and Sexuality Tour.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>The tour&rsquo;s mastermind, Christian Alfaro, is a UIC student and <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html">JAHHM </a>educator. Appropriately enough, he learned about Jane Addams&rsquo;s non-conformity by taking a tour led by Lisa Junkin, who talked about the painting of Mary Rozet Smith.</p><p>&ldquo;Representation like this is important,&rdquo; Alfaro says. &ldquo;It actually helped with my own self-identity.&rdquo; The sentiment prompted him to learn more about Addams and ultimately start the tour Hull-House residents&rsquo; challenge to gender conformity.</p><p><strong>Closing the circle</strong></p><p>I phone Adam Peterson, the curious fellow who prompted this conceptual odyssey in the first place, to let him know whom I&rsquo;d talked to and how they came down on Addams and the use of the &ldquo;L word.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Well it sounds like this is opening a whole can of worms,&rdquo; he says. (I agree)</p><p>But he finds it all fascinating, he says, and in the end more interesting than a simple yes or no.</p><p>It&rsquo;s reminiscent of what I hear from Lena Reynolds, a <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html">JAHHM </a>educator.</p><p>Reynolds says when she gives tours she doesn&rsquo;t use the term lesbian per se, but she does say that modern-day members of the LGBT community embrace Addams as one of their own.</p><p>&ldquo;She&rsquo;s part of this bigger movement even if it was a time before the movement existed,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Whether or not we want to put the word on it &hellip; that she was fighting for equality and acceptance and human rights is undeniable. And that she valued love is also undeniable.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Correction: This article initially misstated details concerning Jane Addams&#39; Nobel Peace Prize. She was the first American woman to receive that honor.&nbsp;</em></p><div>To learn more about the work of Jane Addams and the Hull-House settlement and how it continues today, listen to WBEZ&#39;s segment from <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift">The Afternoon Shift</a> below.<a name="Afternoonshift"></a></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F109175414" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/jbrandel-0" rel="author">Jennifer Brandel</a> is Senior Producer of Curious City and Interactive at WBEZ. You can follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/JnnBrndl"> Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/117289484797285268506" rel="me">Google+</a></em></p></p> Thu, 05 Sep 2013 17:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/should-we-use-l-word-jane-addams-108619 Home Economics at Hull House Museum http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-12/home-economics-radical-roots-domestic-labor-104323 <p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/YQm1C_iTIJM" width="640"></iframe></p><p>Back in <em>my</em> day (I&rsquo;ve always wanted to start a review with those words!) home economics was still part of the middle school curriculum. We learned to follow a recipe, to set a table and clean up after our classroom meals, and to sew important objects, like pillows made out of washcloths or dangerously skimpy pot holders.</p><p>I was never keen on the domestic arts and sciences, a truth made clear by my sloppy stitches and thrown-together dishes. Though had I known more about the history of the field, I might have been more willing to apply myself. Thankfully, <em>21<sup>st</sup> Century Home Economics</em>, a new year-long exhibition at <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/">Jane Addams Hull-House Museum</a>, offers an opportunity to form a new relationship to the discipline. The show explores the way women used the science of domesticity to escape their confinement in the home and carve out public roles for themselves. In doing so, they were able to fight for and secure a number of social reforms, from better working conditions to safer food.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6808_milk-scr.jpg" style="height: 280px; width: 280px; float: right;" title="History of Milk reform, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (WBEZ/Alison Cuddy)" />At first it&#39;s hard to see that history. There is so much clutter crowded into the small second-story exhibition space&nbsp;&ndash; tea cups, books, sewing machines and more &ndash; &nbsp;that entering feels like stepping into ye olde curiosity shoppe. What does stand out is a pair of large, stunning photographs of important figures from the early days of home economics.</p><p>One is of&nbsp;<a href="http://libraries.mit.edu/sites/mithistory/community/notable-persons/ellen-swallow-richards/">Ellen Swallow Richards</a>, a chemist and the first woman admitted to MIT. She helped integrate germ theory into an emerging discipline: &nbsp;linking bacteria in food to illness in people. Her work inspired various reform efforts at Hull House, including a political campaign for sanitary milk (a history cleverly told through text printed on old-fashioned glass milk bottles).</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In fact, most home reformers had broad agendas. &nbsp;Utopian writer <a href="http://www.charlotteperkinsgilman.com/">Charlotte Perkins Gilman</a>&nbsp;(best known for her short story &quot;<a href="http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/wallpaper.html">The Yellow Wallpaper</a>&quot;) imagined a world of collective rather than private kitchens and laundries, a social arrangement she hoped would free women from the drudgery of what we now call the &ldquo;second shift.&rdquo; That&#39;s a remarkable vision, especially since <a href="http://www.thenation.com/blog/168612/daddy-wars">women continue to do the bulk of childcare and housework.&nbsp;</a></p><p>The exhibition taps into the radical heart of home economics&nbsp;by connecting these 19<sup>th</sup> century histories and ambitions to present struggles.&nbsp;Beneath a large portrait of a Hull House servant named Mary Keyser, you&rsquo;ll find narratives and artifacts from current domestic workers. A sponge sits in a glass case next to a text describing the efforts required to bathe a morbidly obese client.&nbsp;These contemporary testimonials make visible the enormous labor <em>and </em>care involved in domestic work. And a different sort of representation is also in the works. The Chicago Coalition of Household Workers (formerly known as the Latino Union), who partnered with Hull-House on the exhibition, is currently working to get a<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/nannies-and-housecleaners-speak-about-abuse-104092">&nbsp;domestic workers bill of rights through the Illinois state legislature.</a></p><p>Curator Heather Radke says that was an important goal of the show&rsquo;s collaborators (which range from labor organizers to individual artists): to make sure this kind of work is not just well-paid &nbsp;but well understood, especially as a labor of love.There are critical views of contemporary politics as well. A chalkboard inviting ideas about food justice contrasts the collective organizing of early reformers against contemporary desires to &quot;buy our way to social change&quot; by frequenting farmers&#39; markets or selecting fair trade products.</p><p>All of the elements that make <em>21<sup>st</sup> Century Home Economics </em>so inviting and successful &ndash;&nbsp;its busy, inquisitive, interactive, and community-focused approach &ndash; are hallmarks of every exhibition put on by the staff at Hull House. That the museum isn&#39;t content just to be a repository for the good deeds and material possessions of Jane Addams, but functions as a lively, of-the-moment community space, is thanks to the vision and leadership of Lisa Yun Lee.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6812_lisa%20lee-scr_0.jpg" style="height: 375px; width: 280px; float: right;" title="Lisa Yun Lee" /></div><p>Lee became director at the museum in late 2006, after founding <em>The Public Square</em> event series at the Illinois Humanities Council. And in just six short years, she&#39;s led a radical make-over of the museum. For Lee that mission was almost a historical imperative.</p><p>&quot;In this 21st century moment, if you want to know historic facts or figures there&#39;s really no reason why you&#39;d need to go to a physical space,&quot; she said. &quot;The Internet has that kind of information for you.&quot;</p><p>Instead Lee thinks a museum needs to be &quot;about the cultural, social and political relationships you have or want to have not just with history but with other people, and yourself.&quot;</p><p>So at Hull House, people come together not just to preserve history but to preserve jam, hold pot lucks, or debate politics. The museum has convened public discussions of trending topics like the cultural phenomenon of sports star Jeremy Lin (full disclosure: I moderated the event), conducted workshops on how to interact with law enforcement, and invited artists to invent alternative histories for some of the museum&rsquo;s artifacts. They also run a farm and an art lending library.</p><p>Lee said the diverse programming reflects a shared sense among her staff that &quot;museum making is an artistic practice.&quot;</p><p>But now Lee is moving on. This month she steps down as director at Hull House Museum to lead UIC&rsquo;s School of Art and Art History. There she&#39;ll lead a year-long reorganization of the school. But she&#39;ll also continue her efforts to create a &quot;vibrant public sphere.&quot; Lee noted that &quot;art, art history, museums, are rarified elitist things historically. But they&#39;ve also been sites of revolution and subversion. It&#39;s just a matter of finding new ways of talking about and communicating that to people.&quot;</p><p><em>&#39;Unfinished Business: 21 Century Home Economics&#39; is at Jane Addams Hull-House Museum through November 2013.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 12 Dec 2012 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-12/home-economics-radical-roots-domestic-labor-104323 The birth of Hull House http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-09/birth-hull-house-102429 <p><p>Jane Addams was the first American woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. She started earning the prize on September 18, 1889. That was her first day at Hull House.</p><p>Addams was born in 1860, the youngest daughter of a wealthy family from northwest Illinois. While on a visit to London she was impressed by the Toynbee Hall settlement house. This was a new concept in charity. In the past, concerned people might visit poor neighborhoods and do works of mercy during the day, then return to their own middle-class homes at night.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9-18--Hull%20House%20grounds%2C%201910.jpg" title="Hull House, 1910 (Library of Congress)" /></div><p>The settlement idea was different &ndash; the &ldquo;social workers&rdquo; would actually live among those they were trying to help. Addams thought the idea would work in Chicago. She had recently inherited $50,000 on the death of her father. In the spring of 1889, with her friend Ellen Gates Starr, Addams set out trying to put her plan into action.</p><p>She decided to locate on the Near West Side. During a scouting trip in the area of Halsted and Polk, Addams noticed an old brick mansion that had seen better days. This was the onetime residence of Charles J. Hull, now owned by his niece. The niece agreed to lease the property rent-free, so the grateful Addams named the settlement Hull House.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/09-18--kids%2C%201908.jpg" title="Neighborhood kids at the settlement, 1908 (Library of Congress)" /></div><p>The idea of two well-bred, upper-crust young ladies setting up housekeeping in a notorious slum caused some consternation, and some amusement. Addams and Starr did have to do some adjusting. On their first night, they forgot to lock one of the doors &ndash; in fact, they left it wide open. When they woke up the next day, and found nothing was missing, Addams took it as a hopeful sign for the future.</p><p>Hull House was a success. The people of the neighborhood came to accept Addams and Starr. Within a short time the settlement offered medical care, a dining room, bathhouse, library, gymnasium, lodging for about 20 women, night school for adults and the city&rsquo;s first kindergarten. The property eventually had thirteen separate buildings, plus a summer camp in the country.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/09-18--Jane%20Addams%2C%201927.jpg" title="Jane Addams, 1927 (Library of Congress)" /></div><p>Jane Addams died in 1935, Ellen Gates Starr five years later. During the 1960s, most of the settlement buildings were razed for the UIC campus, but the original mansion remains as a museum. The Jane Addams Hull House Association continued the work of its founder until this past January, when it ceased operations.</p></p> Tue, 18 Sep 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-09/birth-hull-house-102429 National agency calls for closure of Cook County Juvenille Temporary Detention Center http://www.wbez.org/story/national-agency-calls-closure-cook-county-juvenille-temporary-detention-center-97135 <p><p>A national criminal justice agency is calling for the closure of Cook County's long-troubled Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, and is suggesting the county needs to reform the way it deals with detaining juveniles.</p><p>The JTDC has a storied past, complete with citations over unsanitary conditions and overcrowding.&nbsp; In a recent report, the National Council on Crime and Deliquency said conditions have greatly improved at the center, but the current design has security flaws and isn't worth renovating. The study, commissioned by the Jane Addams Juvenile Court Foundation, also called for an investigation into the disproportionate number of minorities in Cook County's juvenile detention centers. According to their research, African-American youth are detained at 46 times the rate of their white peers.</p><p>Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Friday that significant work and resources have gone into the JTDC, even admist budget cuts and tightening in other areas. Preckwinkle said she too has seen progress at the center, but isn't opposed to closing it.</p><p>"It's what I want to do eventually, it's just not tomorrow," she said. "There are 300 kids in it and we have no other place to put them."</p><p>Preckwinkle said this isn't the first time she's considered closing the JTDC; she told reporters Friday she once said she wanted to "blow it up."&nbsp; Both Preckwinkle and JTDC's transitional administrator, Earl Dunlap, agree the county would be better served by four to six smaller centers, rather than one large one.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 09 Mar 2012 21:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/national-agency-calls-closure-cook-county-juvenille-temporary-detention-center-97135 Hull-House Museum looks for alternative labels http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-29/hull-house-museum-looks-alternative-labels-94413 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-29/9150516-large.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Most people have probably seen a museum label or two in their time--usually a small explainer of the object: title, date created, artist or origin. That can do the trick for those looking for information. But what if visitors had the ability to go into a museum and create their own label–-one without restrictions to its size or content? That experiment has been underway at the<a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/" target="_blank"> Jane Addams Hull-House Museum</a>.</p><p>The museum debuted its newest label, an essay by artist and scholar <a href="http://www.saic.edu/people/Kapsalis_Terri.html" target="_blank">Terri Kapsalis</a> Tuesday. Kapsalis chose to write about a small travel medicine kit owned by Jane Addams. When <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> met the artist at the museum recently, Kapsalis started by talking about the connection between the kit and Addam’s own health.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 29 Nov 2011 14:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-29/hull-house-museum-looks-alternative-labels-94413