A Useful Woman : The Early Life of Jane Addams
AbeBooks Mitglied seit 1996
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AbeBooks Mitglied seit 1996
Titel: A Useful Woman : The Early Life of Jane ...
Verlag: Scribner, New York
Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included
Auflage: 1st Edition
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The first biography in twenty-six years of Jane Addams -- founder of the Hull-House settlement and winner of the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize -- written with access to hundreds of new family documents.
"Today, Jane Addams is widely recognized as an extraordinary figure in our nation's history, one of a roster of great Americans -- Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. among them -- who made lasting contributions to social justice. But as with the lives of many iconographic figures, the legend often obscures the real story."
Frequently recognized as one of the most influential women of the century -- and considered a heroine by nurses and social workers around the globe -- Jane Addams had to struggle long and hard to earn her place in history. Born in 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, she lived during pivotal times when women were only beginning to create new roles for themselves (ironically building on the Victorian ideal of women as ministering angels).
Focusing on her metamorphosis from a frail, small-town girl into a woman who inspired hundreds of others to join her movement to serve the poor, A Useful Woman delves into the mysterious ailments and other troubles young Jane faced. Examining for the first time Jane's physical and mental health and the effect of her father's remarriage after her mother's death, biographer Gioia Diliberto directly links Addams's proneness to depression to her inability to conform to the mores of her time. Also, for the first time, she examines in detail Addams's two marriage-like relationships with women.
With hundreds of previously unavailable documents at her disposal, Diliberto has written a fascinating study of one of the most intriguing and important women in history, concentrating on her difficult formative years with compelling -- and groundbreaking -- results.
The story of settlement house pioneer Jane Addams's early life traces a trajectory that has become almost a feminist cliché. The frustrated Victorian spinster, plagued by mysterious physical ailments, finds a socially useful outlet for her intelligence and energy and her illnesses vanish--she becomes the picture of health and contentment. Familiar though it is in outline, the particulars of Addams's personal history are fascinating, especially as related in veteran biographer Gioia Diliberto's engaging, accessible style. Young Jane comes to life as a powerful personality notable for her "cool intellect." As a schoolgirl she was already convinced that "her life would not be ordinary." The author does a subtle job of assessing the psychological roots of Addams's empathy with the poor and commitment to social justice without scanting the integrity of her ethical convictions. And Diliberto's familiarity with contemporary scholarship shows in her lucid summary of the trends in religious and philanthropic beliefs that led Addams to found Hull-House in 1889 to help poor people better themselves; yet she wears her learning lightly in a lively text. The main narrative closes in 1899, with Hull-House thriving and 39-year-old Jane happily involved in a relationship with Mary Rozet Smith that endured until Smith's death in 1934. (Addams survived her by only a year.) This is a model of popular, undogmatic feminist biography. --Wendy Smith
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