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Jane Addams Papers

Identifier: SCPC-DG-001

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the Jane Addams Collection consists of correspondence, as well as Rockford Seminary notebooks, diaries, engagement calendars, writings and speeches by and about Addams, passports, visiting cards, reviews of her books, reference files, death notices, condolences, descriptions of memorial services, photographs, the Nobel Peace Prize medal, and memorabilia. Also of note is a very large quantity of mounted clippings (1892-1935) about Addams and material related to the operation of Hull-House. Assorted papers of her father, John Huy Addams, and of the Addams, Weber and Reiff families are also part of the collection. Current articles and reference works on Jane Addams update the collection continually. The personal library of Addams of books on the subjects of peace and international relations forms a separate special collection in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

The correspondence of Addams includes letters written to many of the most influential figures of her generation. Emily Greene Balch, a Women's International League for Peace and Freedom official and former Wellesley College professor, and Mary Rozet Smith, a Hull-House resident and intimate friend, each wrote hundreds of letters to her.

A sampling of Addams' correspondents includes Edith Abbott, Grace Abbott, Katherine Devereux Blake, Edward Bok, Louise de Koven Bowen, Carrie Chapman Catt, Dorothy Detzer, John Dewey, Madeleine Z. Doty, Helena Stuart Dudley, Richard Theodore Ely, Alice Hamilton, Herbert Hoover, Maney O. Hudson, Hannah Clothier Hull, Harold L. Ickes, Ada L. James, William James, David Starr Jordan, Florence Kelley, Paul Underwood Kellogg, Frances Alice Lochner, Ida C. Lovett, Robert Morss Lovett, Lucia Ames Mead, Margaret Dreier Robins, Theodore Roosevelt, Rosika Schwimmer, Amelia Sears, Anna Garlin Spencer, Ellen Gates Starr, Alzina Parsons Stevens, Ida Minerva Tarbell, Graham Taylor, Lee Demarest Taylor, Lillian D. Wald, Julia Grace Wales, Woodrow Wilson, Amy Woods, and Mary Emma Wooley.

Among the foreign correspondents are Gertrud(e) Baer, Henrietta Octavia Barnett, Kathleen D. Courtney, Camille Drevet, Vilma Glücklich, Yella Hertzka, Lida Gustava Heymann, Aletta H. Jacobs, Tano Jodai, Catherine E. Marshall, Beatrice Potter Webb, and Sidney James Webb.

Further information about Jane Addams can be found in published autobiographies, as well as other secondary material owned by the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. See also comments on traveling and working with Addams (1915, 1919, 1922) by Lucy Biddle Lewis in her papers owned by the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College.

There are several variations of collections by/about Jane Addams available. This finding aid for the Jane Addams Collection describes ONLY the original documents and resources actually owned by the Swarthmore College Peace Collection (SCPC). The notations concerning microfilm in this finding aid refer to the published microfilm set: The Jane Addams Papers (Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, Inc. (UMI), 1984). The Swarthmore College Peace Collection does not own a full set of the original resources included in this microfilm.

The published microfilm set entitled The Jane Addams Papers (ed. Mary Lynn McCree Bryan, et. al., UMI, 1984) consists of 82 reels with thousands of documents concerning the life of Jane Addams. These original sources come from hundreds of archival repositories and libraries around the world, INCLUDING most of those deposited at the SCPC. The Jane Addams Papers [microfilm set] is currently owned by over 40 academic and large public libraries across the United States. The printed guide to this set of microfilm describes the contents of each reel of microfilm and is entitled The Jane Addams Papers (edited by Mary Lynn Bryan, et. al., Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI, 1985). In 1996, a detailed index to the published microfilm set was published under the title: The Jane Addams Papers: A Comprehensive Guide (edited by Mary Lynn McCree Bryan, et. al., Indiana University Press, 1996). These resources are NOT available online. Researchers who wish to consult the microfilm must first examine the printed guide or index to determine which reel(s) of microfilm to use.


  • Creation: 1838-
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1880-1935


Language of Material

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access Note

All or part of this collection is stored off-site. Contact Swarthmore College Peace Collection staff at at least two weeks in advance of visit to request boxes. Note that folder titles for boxes 8-15 of Series 3 are missing from the finding aid. See the paper version of the html checklist in the Peace Collection for the listing.

Biographical Note

Laura Jane Addams was born on September 06, 1860 in Cedarville, Illinois, the youngest of four living children. She was the daughter of John Huy Addams (1822?-1881), a wealthy grist mill owner and Illinois state senator (1854-1870), and Sarah Weber (1817-1863). Her father married Anna Hostetter Haldeman (1828-1919) in 1864, which brought two step-brothers into the family.

Part of America's first generation of college-educated women, Jane Addams graduated as valedictorian from Rockford Female Seminary (Illinois) in 1881, and was granted a Bachelor of Arts degree in June 1882. She spent a semester at the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1881-1882, before undergoing medical treatment herself in March 1882. In the Fall of 1882, her brother-in-law (and step-brother) performed an operation to correct the curvature of her spine. In 1883-1885, Addams traveled in Europe with friends and with her step-mother, and again in 1887-1888 with friends Ellen Gates Starr and Sarah Anderson. She visited Toynbee Hall in London, England with Sarah Anderson in June 1888. These were formative years for Addams as she viewed the slum conditions in cities in Europe, thought deeply about human rights for women and for the poor as well as about world peace, and talked with persons involved in alleviating social problems.

In September 1889, Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr, a former Rockford classmate, opened Hull-House in Chicago's nineteenth ward. By 1893, Hull-House had become a center of some forty clubs, functions, and activities for the neighborhood's immigrant population. During the next forty years that Jane Addams resided there, Hull-House was to assume international significance as some of its more famous residents and associates -- Grace Abbott, Alice Hamilton, Florence Kelley, Julia Lathrop, and Henry Demarest Lloyd -- championed many causes including protection of immigrants, child labor laws, industrial safety, juvenile courts, recognition of labor unions, and woman suffrage. Addams herself served as the Inspector of Streets and Alleys in the neighborhood of Hull-House for three years, waged a fourteen-year battle for legislation to outlaw child labor, was president of the National Conference on Charities and Corrections, and helped establish the Children's Bureau as well as the National Association for Advancement of Colored People, to name a few involvements. She never drew a salary from Hull-House, but instead used her inheritance and the proceeds from her writings to live on as well as to underwrite the causes she championed.

Addams wrote many books that outlined her philosophy and the history of her endeavors: Democracy and Social Ethics (1902), Newer Ideals of Peace (1907), The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets (1909), Twenty Years at Hull-House (1910), A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil (1911), The Long Road of Women's Memory (1916), Peace and Bread in Time of War (1922), The Second Twenty Years at Hull-House (1930), and The Excellent Becomes Permanent (1932). With the publication of Newer Ideals of Peace, Jane Addams became known as a pacifist, a stand which brought her much ridicule and censure when the United States finally entered World War I (in January 1919, she was listed on Archibald Stevenson's "Traitors List" presented to the Overman Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee). Yet by 1931, public opinion had swayed to embrace her ideas and that year she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Nicholas Murray Butler of Columbia University.

Early in 1915 Addams was elected chairman of the recently formed Woman's Peace Party of the United States. Later that year she was selected as president of the International Congress of Women at The Hague. She was chairman of the International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace (1915-1919), a temporary organization which later became the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Working under the aegis of Herbert Hoover's Food Administration, she undertook a cross country lecture tour in 1918, encouraging increased food production to assist war victims. Elected president of WILPF at its founding in 1919, Jane Addams presided over the League's many international meetings, and, in 1929 at the Prague conference, was made the organization's honorary president for life. She convened the Pan-Pacific Women's Union, which met in Hawaii in 1928.

The M. Carey Thomas Prize, awarded by Bryn Mawr College to "an American woman in recognition of eminent achievement," was given to Jane Addams in 1931. Fifteen colleges and universities, including Yale and Smith, conferred honors upon her. In 1940, the U.S. Government included her as one of 35 persons in their Famous Americans series of commemorative stamps.

Jane Addams died of cancer on May 21, 1935 and was buried in Cedarville, Illinois.


130 linear ft.


A world-famous social reformer; co-founded the first settlement house in America in 1889; championed many causes on behalf of the urban poor, such as protection of immigrants, child labor laws, industrial safety, juvenile courts, and recognition of labor unions; a leading figure in the movement for international peace; awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.


The Jane Addams Collection is made up of at least three accessions. The first, sent by Jane Addams in 1930, had "Jane Addams Collection Swarthmore" stamped in black on each item [as well as those papers culled from the early WOmen's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) papers?]. The papers in the 144 manuscript boxes transferred from the Library of Congress in 1950 were all stamped in red. Mary G. Cary, SCPC Curator, and Dorothy G. Harris, Associate Director of the Friends Historical Library, visited Hull-House in Chicago in 1959, and returned with a third accession of material, all stamped in green. In addition, correspondence of Addams and material about her has been received from various sources in later years, with most being stamped in blue. These are found at the end of Series 1.

A card index to the Addams correspondence was kept up through the 1980s. A color coding system was used to indicate:

  1. White: first and second accessions
  2. Blue: 3rd accession
  3. Buff: accessions after 1959; located by name of collection or by date
  4. Salmon: correspondence in other Swarthmore College Peace Collection document groups

This has been superseded by the index in The Jane Addams Papers: A Comprehensive Guide, edited by Mary Lynn Bryan (Indiana University Press, 1996). The Guide details what is on the 82 reels of microfilm that contain all of the known Addams papers in repositories around the country. An attempt was made throughout the checklist to compare the Swarthmore College Peace Collection's Addams papers with the microfilm and to identify which Series appear on which reels, using the same subject headings as were used in the Guide.

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection (SCPC) Jane Addams Collection is made up of the following:

  1. Series 1 consists of correspondence (1870-1935) to and from Addams. Supplementary correspondence, which appears after Box 23, contains the letters that were given to the SCPC after the first filming of the Addams Collection was done prior to 1985. It also consists of copies of Addams letters that are in other repositories, and Addams letters in other SCPC collections.
  2. Addams was in the habit of making pencilled notes on the envelopes of letters she received. Many of these envelopes had been detached from their correspondence before the papers came to the SCPC. Addams also filed papers on special subjects in long envelopes, on which she made notes concerning their contents. All those that were detached may be found in Series 2, though many others appear in other Series as well.
  3. Series 3 contains a large number of the printed and manuscript articles and speeches by Addams, in chronological order, as well as the manuscripts of two of her books, The Excellent Becomes the Permanent and My Friend, Julia Lathrop.
  4. In Series 4 may be found varied material on Addams and her many involvements, including papers from Hull-House. These too are in chronological order.
  5. Series 6 consists of calling cards, diaries, passports, Rockford Seminary notebooks, engagement calendars, and other items of a personal nature.
  6. Letters, wedding trip journals, and other material by and about John Huy Addams, father of Jane Addams, appear in Series 7.
  7. Series 8 contains letters by Addams family members and extended family members, legal documents, and genealogy material.
  8. A very extensive number of newsclippings about Addams, many sent to her by a clipping bureau, were mounted and can be found in Series 11. This Series is added to periodically.
  9. Series 12 contains publicity and reviews for Addams' books.
  10. Series 13A is made up of material relating to Hull-House: its residents, programs, clubs, and publications; and items of interest to Addams and other Hull-House personnel in their work on settlements, slums, child labor, and peace.
  11. Addams' reference files in Series 14 are divided into categories: WILPF, people, subjects, organizations, and miscellaneous.
  12. Series 16 contains Vol. 5:1 through Vol. 9:7 of the Rockford Seminary Magazine.
  13. A folder of copies of war cartoons that were collected by Addams is all that is now in Series 17.
  14. Series 18 is made up of Addams family and extended family letters, as well as genealogical material, and other items. These were received from Mary Hulbert in 1979.

The collection includes many photographs of Jane Addams by herself or with others, of family members, of friends or associates, of Hull-House, and of the Addams family homestead and mill. It also includes oversize items, memorabilia, and sound/video recordings, all of which are described in the checklist after Series 18.

It was necessary to keep the Series listings as they are because of the microfilm designations of what Series appears on which frames, even though material could now be more readily accessible if rearranged, and even though material in some Series has since been transferred. For instance, the photographs in Series 5 and 9 are now in the SCPC Photograph Collection (under DG 001). The books formerly in Series 10 were returned to Alice DeLoach in 1963. The clippings in Series 13 are no longer separate from those in Series 11. The herbarium put together by Addams, which comprised Series 15, was discarded after being microfilmed, because of its poor condition.

The SCPC has several microfilmed versions of parts of DG 001. The reel numbers 1:1-29, and 113 have been assigned by the SCPC as part of their internal microfilm number system. It is expected that the material on reels 1:1-29 has been incorporated into the material filmed by UMI (113). The reels consist of the following:

  1. 1:1 Correspondence, 1872-05/13/1902
  2. 1:2 Correspondence, 05/14/1902-12/08/1911
  3. 1:3 Correspondence, Dec. 1911-July/Aug. 1913
  4. 1:4 Correspondence, July/Aug. 1913-Nov. 1916
  5. 1:5 Correspondence, Dec. 1916-June 1920
  6. 1:6 Correspondence, July 1920-Oct. 1921
  7. 1:7 Correspondence, Nov. 1921-Feb. 1923
  8. 1:8 Correspondence, March 1923-May 1924
  9. 1:9 Correspondence, June 1924-Dec. 1925
  10. 1:10 Correspondence, January 1926-March 1927
  11. 1:11 Correspondence, April 1927-July 19, 1928
  12. 1:12 Correspondence, July 20, 1928-Aug. 1930
  13. 1:13 Correspondence, Sept. 1930-12/10/1931
  14. 1:14 Correspondence, 12/11/1931-March 1932
  15. 1:15 Correspondence, April 1932-June 1933
  16. 1:16 Correspondence, July 1933-Sept. 1934
  17. 1:17 Correspondence, October 1934-May 1935, includes letters from Albert Einstein, Emily Greene Balch, Lucia Ames Mead, Henrietta Rothwell, Carrie Chapman Catt, Salmon Levinson, Anna Cass, and Addams' nephews (great-nephews?) Johnny and Henry; a few short letters from Addams; telegrams of condolence re: Addams' death from Jeannette Rankin, Mary McLeod Bethune, Carrie Chapman Catt, Congressman A.J. Sabath, Lillian Wald, and Rosika Schwimmer; and Supplementary Correspondence (1959 accession), 1889-October 16, 1896
  18. 1:18 Supplementary Correspondence (1959 Accession), June 1896-Dec. 1923
  19. 1:19 Supplementary Correspondence (1959 Accession), 1924-1933; and, correspondence of Addams with Ida C. Lovett (1922-1935), and with George and Alice Haldeman
  20. 1:20 Correspondence of Ada James, Henry Demarest Lloyd, Raymond Robins, Julia Grace Wales, Louis P. Lochner, and others [originals in State Historical Society of Wisconsin]
  21. 1:21 Correspondence, 1894-1935, of Anita McCormick (Mrs. Emmons) Blaine [originals in State Historical Society of Wisconsin]
  22. 1:22 Selections from Richard T. Ely papers, 1890-1915, including correspondence of Florence Kelley [originals in State Historical Society of Wisconsin]
  23. 1:23 Speeches and Correspondence of Florence Kelley and Julia Lathrop [originals in State Historical Society of Wisconsin]
  24. 1:24 Correspondence, 1870-1915, received from Alice DeLoach [called the "Ellen Starr Brinton Collection of the Jane Addams Family Papers" at DeLoach's request]. Originals returned to DeLoach (see provenance section of checklist). Includes correspondence of Alice Haldeman, 1870-1915; John Huy Addams and Anna Haldeman Addams; George Haldeman, 1881-1887; and Marcet Haldeman-Julius; and Article "Two Mothers of Jane Addams" by Marcet Haldeman-Julius [note: microfilm of 1904-1915 is in reverse chronological order]
  25. 1:25 Correspondence, 1916-1925, received from Alice DeLoach [called the "Ellen Starr Brinton Collection of the Jane Addams Family Papers" at DeLoach's request]. Originals returned to DeLoach (see provenance section of checklist). Includes correspondence of Marcet Haldeman-Julius, and peace pamphlets
  26. 1:26 Hull-House Publications: Hull-House Yearbook (1876-1878), Hull-House Songs, Hull-House Bulletin (2:1, 2:2, 2:3, 3:3, 3:6)
  27. 1:27 Correspondence, 1876-1878, of Addams with Vallie Beck
  28. 1:28 Correspondence, 1916-1919, of Addams with Oswald Villard and the Sunset Club; and Material on meetings and memberships (1891-1893)
  29. 1:29 Papers relating to Addams, 1890-1931, at Yale University [originals in the MSS and Archives Department at Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University]
  30. 113:1-71 and Addendum 113:1A-11 Complete microfilm collection filmed by University Microfilms International (UMI, Michigan, 1985)

Custodial History

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for these papers. Gift of Jane Addams, 1930; transfer from Library of Congress, 1950; and gift of Hull House, 1959.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Jane Addams papers of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection (SCPC) comprise one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Addams material in the world.

Jane Addams gave two boxes of material to the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College in October 1930, at the recommendation of Lucy Biddle Lewis, a member of Swarthmore College's board of managers. As Lewis related in 1935 to Ellen Starr Brinton, the first curator of the SCPC: "I was visiting Miss Addams at Hull-House and one day found her industriously burning papers in her fireplace and casually asked her about them. 'I have been many places and seen many people and lots of letters have come to me. Some are important internationally. I do not know what to do with them and rather than leave them to go into the hands of disinterested persons I am burning them,' said Miss Addams. I was horrified and quickly thought of the Historical Library at Swarthmore which my family had helped build, so thought I could offer space there. I told Miss Addams we would care for them and that she should send to Swarthmore whatever she wanted to have preserved."

There is no record of when such a visit might have taken place. But Swarthmore was also brought to Addams' attention by personnel of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Mary Louise Marriott wrote to Addams on July 17, 1929: "As no doubt Miss Detzer has told you, we are moving the National Office on August 1st to #8 Jackson Place NW. At this time the Swarthmore College Library is going to take over our old files and keep them as our space is so very limited and Miss Detzer would like to know if you wish your files, which you have sent here, packed with the ones to be sent on to Swarthmore, or if they are of such a nature that you would prefer not to do so." Addams replied in 1929: "I would be glad to have any material sent to Swarthmore and hope to add [more? mine?] to it after my return." She wrote to Lucy Biddle Lewis on October 22, 1930: "I sent two boxes of books [and papers?] to Swarthmore yesterday, but I am not sure that they will be of much use.... I am going to add a box of pamphlets that seemed to me worth saving from the mass of stuff that comes along." On December 12, 1931, she wrote to Hannah Clothier Hull: "I am ... sending a lot of peace material [to the library at Swarthmore College] as my final attempt to add to the library."

The first effort at sorting the papers was done in the spring of 1935, under the aegis of Jane Addams. This was interrupted by Addams' death, after which a committee, made up of Lucy Biddle Lewis, Hannah Clothier Hull, Emily Cooper Johnson, and Marie O. Aydelotte, decided the disposition of the collection (the committee was in existence until the summer of 1939). Ellen Starr Brinton reported in November 1935: "When I first went to the Swarthmore Library, my chief object was to find the Addams material.... Miss Addams' papers were all packed in small cardboard boxes. Letters, clippings, printed material and manuscripts [were] all combined together without regard to topic, source or date. At present the complete Addams Collection is as follows: 6 metal file drawers filled with papers and letters arranged ... in chronological order; 1 metal cabinet filled with W.I.L. Congress reports and publications; and 22 small 'book files' packed full of newspaper clippings and some printed material mostly on peace." Addams' original gift, as well as the papers of WILPF, soon became the foundation and inspiration for the present Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

Once the original accessions had been processed, at least in part, Brinton became concerned about the disposition of the rest of the Addams papers. Addams' nephew, James Weber Linn, had begun a biography of her in 1934 (published in late 1935). Before her death, Addams sent him material that she thought would help in this endeavor. She wrote to him on March 08, 1935: "I am sending you some more of those family letters, which I think should be read and destroyed. This is true of some of the others which I am going to send in a file case tomorrow. The case was quite full when it was sent out, and I have destroyed half or two-thirds of them as they seemed much too intimate to be used.... Probably they will best all be destroyed, but they may reveal a certain daily activity which you may wish to know about." When Addams died two months later, she willed him all of her personal papers, and made him responsible for their disposition.

Brinton asked Linn to send this material to Swarthmore, stating over and over that Addams had made such a preference known to her. However, Linn died in 1937 and willed the Addams papers to his wife, Mary Howland Linn, and his two daughters, Jane Rogers and Elizabeth Allen. Linn's heirs decided to give the papers to the Library of Congress, on the recommendation of Grace Abbott and Dr. Sophonisba Breckenridge of the University of Chicago. Breckenridge seriously disagreed with Brinton's claim that Addams wished all of her papers to reside at Swarthmore. She wrote to Hannah Clothier Hull (who had written to her on Brinton's behalf) on April 26, 1940: "We have every reason to think from the talks we had with Miss Addams that she gave to Swarthmore all that she thought should go to Swarthmore.... [A]fter all, the Congressional Library is the place to which scholars go for material in many fields and Miss Addams' work and life touched many aspects of the community organization other than the international or the peace aspect.... Swarthmore is, after all, a college and the scholars who make use of the Congressional Library come from wide ranges of interest and ... academic and scientific achievement. I should perhaps add that while Mr. Linn spoke to us often of his aunt's papers, I never got the impression that he had any thought of depositing the remaining papers at Swarthmore."

Breckenridge was not the only one who thought Brinton should stop lobbying for more Addams' material. Rosika Schwimmer, who had been for many years a colleague of Addams in WILPF, had written to Hannah Clothier Hull on March 13, 1936: "Enclosed I am sending you some material about the plans for a World Center for Women's Archives, which under Mrs. Mary R. Beard's leadership has progressed very far toward its realization. You will see that the high aim of this World Center would be frustrated if we did not make every effort for unity, for centralization of available material.... Miss Addams visited me ... and we discussed the matter of a World Center for Women's Archives, which she considered very desirable.... [E]arly in 1935 ... Miss Addams told me that she had placed part of her material at Swarthmore College, but that she saw the cultural, feminist and pacifist importance of a united center. She said she would hold the material still in her possession for placement in an archive center if that would materialize. She thought in that case of discussing the assembling of all her material if the Swarthmore authorities would also realize the increased educational and historical value of her material if made a part of a collection covering the whole field of women's endeavor, success and failure."

Brinton never lost her belief that Swarthmore College was the best repository for Addams' papers. She and Frank Aydelotte, President of Swarthmore College, tried for ten years to convince the Library of Congress to transfer its materials to the SCPC. Dr. St. George Sioussat, from the Library of Congress, wrote to Aydelotte on January 23, 1940: "I am glad that your letter mentions only the peace material and that of the WILPF.... Do you not think that it would have been better ... that the whole collection, peace and all, should have been, from the beginning, given to the Library of Congress, to take its place along with the papers of other representative women whose collections we have and have exhibited?" Aydelotte responded on January 29, 1940: "Certainly it would not be my policy to advocate keeping manuscripts here which would be more useful in another place, but ... I believe the peace collection planned by Miss Addams for Swarthmore based upon her manuscripts and supported by the Society of Friends is really more useful here than it would be anywhere else. It is the embodiment of a historic Friends testimony, and it is the nucleus of a collection of material connected with the history of organized efforts for peace which could not be entirely duplicated even by the immense resources of the Library of Congress."

Brinton explained to Elizabeth Allen on April 19, 1940: "In regard to Miss Addams' papers - the discussion between President Aydelotte and Dr. Sioussat has been in regard to all her papers. We cannot see how to make a division between her interest in peace and her interest in other subjects, as her whole life was devoted to various causes, all of them connected with friendship and good will toward all people, and this is the basis of the Peace Movement." Allen agreed with this, but it wasn't until 1949, when Addams' great-nephew Eri Hulbert became involved, that the transfer of papers began to look like a reality. He urged his relatives to agree to the arrangement: "Swarthmore, to which Aunt Jane gave some of her papers, has a well established, endowed Swarthmore College Peace Collection as a memorial to Aunt Jane. They have the physical and staff facilities to do a proper job of cataloging, preserving, displaying, etc. The desirability - the necessity - of having the papers in one place from the point of view of research seems to me obvious. The Library of Congress, on the other hand, merely has them stacked in packets and folders."

Hulbert was successful in getting family approval, and at the direction of Librarian of Congress Luther Evans, the Addams papers became the property of the SCPC on January 24, 1950. Brinton picked up the largest portion of papers (101 boxes and 11 volumes) on that date, as well as another portion (41 boxes) on February 06, 1950. Of note were Addams letters to Mary Rozet Smith, printed articles by Addams, manuscripts, diaries, engagement calendars, and photographs.

A less satisfactory development was related to the papers which came from Addams' great-niece, Alice DeLoach. She had become, by 1951, the heir to Jane Addams material not yet in any repository, as well as to extended family material. In April 1951, she loaned to the SCPC two boxes of papers that had been stored in the attic of the Addams' homestead in Cedarville, Illinois. She wrote in May 1951 that she wished this material to stay separate from the rest of the Addams Collection, but Brinton replied that the Addams letters had by then already been integrated, and that she was planning to take 8-10 feet of the remaining material, all related to the Haldeman family, to the Stephenson County Historical Society in Illinois. However, two boxes of extended family correspondence were marked as being on loan only. DeLoach gave permission for the loaned papers to be filmed and asked that this microfilm be henceforth referred to as "The Ellen Starr Brinton Collection of the Jane Addams Family Papers" [see mf reel 1:24-25]. The papers were returned to DeLoach, at her request, in December 1962.

In July 1963, DeLoach requested that she be given a complete set of microfilm of Addams correspondence, in exchange for the 39 letters loaned earlier for microfilming. She was given 19 reels of Addams correspondence, 4 reels with the index to the correspondence, 1 reel of Brinton-DeLoach correspondence, and 1 reel of the 39 letters. In September 1966, DeLoach offered to sell these reels to the SCPC for $153.00, and to loan 40 Addams letters for the purpose of photocopying them to add to the Jane Addams Collection (at $2.00 per letter). This offer was declined. In October 1966, DeLoach wrote that she had given the 40 letters to her daughter as a gift on her 21st birthday (she also gave other items to family members over the years). DeLoach also loaned, donated or sold Addams and Haldeman materials to various repositories around the country, as did her step-mother, Sue Haldeman-Julius.

DeLoach loaned to the SCPC the books in the Union Library, which John Huy Addams and two friends had begun in 1846, but then asked for their return (they eventually became the possession of the Rockford College Library, Illinois).

Outside of these accessions, other material was found to add to the SCPC's Addams Collection (see the accession list in SCPC office file). One of the most significant came from Hull-House in April 1939, being correspondence and other material related to Addams and the Woman's Peace Party. In 1940, a large accession came from WILPF headquarters in Geneva, with many letters from Addams. Brinton visited the Addams' homestead in Cedarville, Illinois in 1949, and secured some family papers, books, and four feet of newspaper clippings, that were being stored in the various buildings on the site. SCPC Curator Mary Carey was invited to Hull-House in 1959 to remove material stored in a closet there (see Series 13a). In 1979, another important gift of 143 Addams' letters and 64 photographs was made by Mary Hulbert, a great-niece of Jane Addams. At some point, Hull-House gave 75 letters that Addams had written to the Lovett family during the years that they had been associated with the settlement. Through the years, other items have been given to the SCPC or bought.

More information about the provenance of the SCPC's Jane Addams Collection may be found in The Jane Addams Papers: A Comprehensive Guide, edited by Mary Lynn Bryan; she also explains the provenance of the papers of Jane Addams that found their way into many repositories around the country.

Existence and Location of Copies

Series 1, 2, 3, 6, 11, 12, 13, 13a, 14 and 15 of this collection are available on microfilm (reels 1.1-29, and 113) as part of the Jane Addams Papers from University Microfilms International. See the Arrangement note for details of what portions are on each reel. Microfilm is available on-site by appointment and through interlibrary loan from the Swarthmore College Libraries.

Portions of the Addams correspondence have been digitized and are available from Jane Addams Digital Edition.

Related Materials

Resources Owned by the Swarthmore College Peace Collection:

  1. The Jane Addams Papers [Published Microfilm Set]: edited by Mary Lynn Bryan, et. al., Ann Arbor, MI: UMI, 1984 [82 reels of microfilm (local call number 113:1-113:82)]; reels may be borrowed through interlibrary loan
  2. The Jane Addams Papers [Printed Guide to Published Microfilm Set]: edited by Mary Lynn Bryan, et. al., Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI, 1985; may be borrowed through interlibrary loan
  3. The Jane Addams Papers: A Comprehensive Guide [Printed Index to Published Microfilm Set]: edited by Mary Lynn Bryan, et. al., Indiana University Press, 1996
  4. Jane Addams' correspondence [Unpublished Microfilm Set]: contains only the original Addams' correspondence owned by the SCPC [29 reels of microfilm (local call number 1:1-1:29)]; reels may not be borrowed; stored offsite as of March 2011

Related Materials

Related materials may be found by searching the library's online catalog.

Bibliographic References

Described in: Guide to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, 2nd ed. (1981) p. 4; and Guide to Sources on Women in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection [compiled and] edited by Wendy E. Chmielewski (1988), p. 3.

Legal Status

Copyright to the Jane Addams Collection and items created by Jane Addams has been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Copyright to all other materials is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

Processed by SCPC staff 1950s to 1980s; re-processed and checklist revised by Anne Yoder (Archivist), 1996; finding aid updated 2018 by SCPC staff; and Wendy Chmielewski September 2018.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2018: The file list was standardized in Summer 2018 by Julie C. Swierczek in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Swarthmore College Peace Collection Library

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