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Researching the History of Social Work

Social work today is a licensed profession and social welfare is an established academic discipline. However, it can be useful to go back and study the roots of the social welfare movement in the United States and the creation of social agencies. One individual often credited as a founder of social work and social welfare movements in the US is Jane Addams.

Jane Addams was an author, feminist, politician, and national advocate for social progress. She won the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize and was the president of a number of committees for social work and peace. She founded Hull House, one of the first settlement houses in the United States. Hull House was devoted to social welfare and “included children's clubs; nurseries; an art gallery; a circulating library; an employment bureau; a lunchroom; and classes in history, music, languages, painting, dancing, and mathematics��? (Quam, 2008, n.p.).

Because Jane Addams was a prominent figure in her own time, many primary documents from her lifetime are available. To learn more about Jane Addams and her impact on the social work movement of the United States, please refer to the resources listed below.

Addams, J. (1899). A Function of the Social Settlement. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 13(3), 33-55. Retrieved from SAGE Political Science Full-Text Collection database.

Addams, Jane. (2009). In A Dictionary of Sociology. Retrieved from http://www.oxford
reference.com/views/ENTRY.html?entry=t88.e23

Bryan, M. L. M., Bair, B., and de Angury M. (Eds.). (2003). The selected papers of Jane Addams.
Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.
University Library: HV 28 A35 A25 2003

Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2003). Jane Addams. Retrieved from http://foia.fbi.gov/
foiaindex/addams.htm

Fischer, M., Nackenoff, C., and Chmielewski, W. (Eds.). (2009). Jane Addams and the practice of
democracy
. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.
Dewey Library: HV 28 A35 J35 2009

Hamington, M. (2009). The social philosophy of Jane Addams. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois
Press.
Dewey Library: HV 28 A35 H37 2009 (New Books Display)

Herrick, J. M. (2005). Settlement Houses (United States). In Encyclopedia of social welfare history in North America (pp. 329-330). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Dewey Library: HV 12 E497 2005 (Reference)

Johnson, A. (2004). Social work is standing on the legacy of Jane Addams: But are we sitting on the sidelines? Social Work, 49(2), 319-322. Retrieved from CINAHL Plus with Full Text database.

Morissey, M. (2005). Addams, Jane (1860-1935). In Encyclopedia of social welfare history in North America (pp. 13-14). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Dewey Library: HV 12 E497 2005 (Reference)

UIC College of Architecture and Arts. (2009). Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. Retrieved from http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html

Quam, J. K. (2008). Addams, Jane. In The Encyclopedia of Social Work. Retrieved from
http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t203.e432

For online access to journal articles, try searching:
Academic Search Complete
CINAHL
America: History & Life
JSTOR

If you need assistance researching the history of social welfare movements in the United States or any
other social welfare topic, please contact Elaine Bergman who is the Dewey Library Bibliographer for Social Welfare. She can be reached at ebergman@uamail.albany.edu or 442-3695.

Blog post created by Lauren Stern