The life of Jane Addams and evolutions of Hull House and Metropolitan Family Services are tightly linked to the social and political histories of Chicago and the United States.
That year, one of the most severe economic crises in US history occurred. In Chicago, one out of every four people lost their jobs and poverty was widespread.
The Chicago Relief and Aid Society organized and distributed aid to families in need of food, heat and housing.
Sept. 6, 1860
In addition to providing food, clothing, monetary relief, and smallpox vaccinations, the Society distributed thousands of sewing machines, tools, and equipment – to “sewing women,” carpenters, masons, tinners, bookbinders, locksmiths, tailors, shoemakers, and workers in almost every branch of mechanical industry – to help families and small businesses regain their productivity.
Sept. 18, 1889
“The history of Legal Aid (civil) stretches back for more than a hundred years. The first organized effort to provide free legal help for those unable to hire an attorney was the Protective Agency for Women and Children, established in 1886 by the Women’s Club of Chicago, ‘to protect young girls from seductions and debaucheries’ by men posing as employers. The Der Deutsche-Rechtaschartz-Verein (later named the Legal Aid Society) in New York in 1876 is sometimes referred to as the first, but it helped only German immigrants. The Bureau of Justice, in 1888, was the first true legal aid service not limited by race or gender. The two pioneer services in Chicago combined in 1905 to form the Legal Aid Society.”
From “Balancing the Scales of Justice,” by Junius Allison.
Dec. 30, 1908
By 1932, roughly 40% of Chicago’s labor force had no work. These men are employed making toys for relief clients in the coach house at South Central District, 2959 South Michigan Avenue, 1934.
May 21, 1935