Mary Hill Swope papers
MSSwop06

 An inventory of the collection at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Summary Information

Repository
Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections and University Archives
Creator
Swope, Mary Hill
Title
Mary Hill Swope papers
ID
MSSwop06
Date [inclusive]
1899-1933
Extent
1.0 linear foot
Language
English
Abstract:
Mary Hill Swope (1871-1955), the former Mary Dayton Hill, was a dedicated social reformer, who spent a few years as a resident at Hull-House in Chicago, teaching hand weaving. The Mary Hill Swope Papers consist almost entirely of correspondence written by Mary Hill Swope to her husband Gerard Swope, during her stay at Hull House from 1899 to 1903.

Preferred Citation

Mary Hill Swope papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago

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Biographical Sketch

Mary Hill Swope (1871-1955), the former Mary Dayton Hill, was a dedicated social reformer, who spent a few years as a resident at Hull-House in Chicago, teaching hand weaving. She was born near New Brunswick, New Jersey and graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1896. Later she came to the University of Chicago, where she was a student of education philosopher John Dewey.

During her stay at Hull-House, Mary Hill Swope met her future husband, Gerald Swope, a fellow resident. Gerard Swope lived and worked there for about a year, teaching English, electronics, and algebra. In 1899, Gerard Swope was promoted to a branch manager position at Western Electric, which required him to relocate to his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. During this time, Mary Hill Swope remained at Hull-House and the two corresponded long distance.

In 1901, Mary Hill Swope and Gerard Swope were married on Mackinac Island, Michigan. The marriage was officiated by both a Congregational minister and Jane Addams, the co-founder of Hull-House, who received special authorization.

Throughout their lifetimes, Mary and Gerard Swope associated themselves closely with social improvement. Mary committed herself to social and welfare work in St. Louis and later New York. While in New York, Mary was a member of the board of directors at the Henry Street Visiting Nurse Service, and remained there for a number of years. She also contributed her services to the settlement house, Greenwich House. Prior to World War II, Mary was the vice-chair of the New York Branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, for which she worked in several peace movements. Mary also protested for peace through her membership with the People's Mandate Committee to End War. In 1922, Gerard became the president of the General Electric Company, where he approached industrial management in a thoughtful manner, establishing socially responsible labor policies. He was also appointed director in more than a dozen other companies that were associated with the electric, power, or radio industries. In 1934, Gerard participated in the advisory board that developed the social security system. He was also involved in the development of many private welfare programs. In 1939, Gerard served as chairman of the New York City Housing Authority.

Mary and Gerard Swope had five children: a daughter, Henrietta Hill Swope, and four sons, Isaac Hill Swope, Gerard Swope Jr., David Swope, and John Swope. Both Henrietta and David were residents at Hull-House. Henrietta was a successful astronomer and David was a businessman with International Harvester Company at one time.

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Scope and Contents

The Mary Hill Swope Papers consist almost entirely of correspondence written by Mary Hill Swope to her husband Gerard Swope, during her stay at Hull House from 1899 to 1903. The rest of the collection primarily includes correspondence, which reflects mainly her involvement at Hull House during this same time.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections and University Archives 2006-06-05

801 S. Morgan Street
Chicago, Illinois, 60607
312.996.2742

Restrictions on Access

None

Restrictions on Use

None

Acquisition Information

Margaret Strobel, Director of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, received these materials from Mary Hill Swope, who donated them on June 1, 2005.

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Controlled Access Headings

Subject(s)

  • Hull-House and Settlement House History.

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Collection Inventory

Series I: Mary Hill Swope Papers 

Box Folder

Addams, Jane - correspondence with Mary Swope, 1900-1933 

1 1

Benedict, Elisabeth S. - correspondence with Gerard Swope, October 3, undated 

1 2

Davis, P. - correspondence with Mary Swope, 1900 

1 3

Diagram, undated 

1 4

Hooker, George - correspondence with Gerard Swope, 1900 

1 5

Lathrop, Julia - correspondence with Gerard Swope, 1899 

1 6

Paintings - reproductions, undated 

1 7

Smith, Mary Rozet - correspondence with Mary Swope, undated 

1 8

Swope, Gerard - correspondence with Mary Swope, 1899-1903 

1 9

Swope, Gerard - correspondence with Mary Swope, 1899-1903 

1 10

Swope, Gerard - correspondence with Mary Swope, 1899-1903 

1 11

Swope, Gerard - correspondence with Mary Swope, 1899-1903 

1 12

Swope, Gerard - correspondence with Mary Swope, 1899-1903 

2 13

Swope, Gerard - correspondence with Mary Swope, 1899-1903 

2 14

Swope, Gerard - correspondence with Mary Swope, 1899-1903 

2 15

Starr, Ellen Gates - correspondence with Gerard Swope, 1900 

2 16

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