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Jane Addams: American ‘radical’

A page from Jane Addams FBI Case File in 1920.

Thursday morning’s Diane Rehm Show on NPR featured an interview with Louise Knight about her book “Jane Addams: Spirit in Action.”

Jane Addams is a complex figure. She was the first American woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, a prominent social reformer, ardent feminist and labeled as one of the nation’s most progressive radicals.

Her activities and speeches caught the attention of many including J. Edgar Hoover who requested the Bureau to compile information on her and her associates.

We did a little digging and found some interesting historical artifacts that will give you a better sense of how her character collided with the times. Here are highlights from a diverse number of sources:

39-page FBI case file from 1920 labeling Addams as a “radical.”

1930 US Census shows Addams living in the Hull House.

April 12, 1921 FBI report of and Addams speech in Boston on disarmament.

1920 Chicago Tribune article on a mystery at the Hull House.

1912 Washington Post article on prominent progressives.

1896 US Passport Application for Addams, include her signature and physical description.

If you find anything interesting about Addams on Footnote or elsewhere, please leave a comment below.

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