Materials used in the "Art and Social Justice" teacher professional development workshop, July 2011



Hull-House Theater, 1899

[The Return of Odysseus Program] (December 7th and 8th, 1899), Jane Addams Memorial Collection, reel 51-0761 and 51-0758, University of Illinois at Chicago.


Mabel Hay Barrows, [The Return of Odysseus Prelude and Synopsis] in JAMC (reel 51-0759-0760), Special Collections, The University Library, The University of Illinois at Chicago. The Return of Odysseus, described in accompanying documents as "A Greek Play in Six Acts Arranged from Homer by Mable Hay Barrows [and] Enacted by Natives of Greece living in Chicago," was performed on December 6th, 7th, and 8th, 1899, at the Hull-House Auditorium. Admission was 50 cents.


"Hull-House Retrospect," Hull-House Bulletin IV, no. 1 (1900), n.p. Sculptor Lorado Taft, who often commented on contemporary culture, realized that staging Greek plays at Hull-House had an impact on the way in which Americans viewed Greek immigrants and, as significantly, how Greek immigrants viewed themselves. Taft's insight was shared by Jane Addams.


"Hull House and Sophocles: A Chicago Social Settlement's Really Remarkable Achievement," Kansas City Star (January 14, 1904). A glowing account of Hull-House's production of The Ajax of Sophocles, with particular praise for the "uneducated modern Greeks, with no training but a natural enthusiasm" who acted the parts. Similar articles appeared in newspapers around the country, revealing the level of national influence that the Hull-House theater program had achieved by the early twentieth century.


 "The Third Monthly Conference," Charities VIII, no. 13 (March 29, 1902): 284-286. Includes commentary on and excerpts from Jane Addams's March 25th lecture to the Charity Organization Society entitled "What the Theater at Hull House Has Done For the Neighborhood People."


Edith de Nancrede, "Dramatic Work at Hull House," Neighborhood 1, no. 1(January 1928): 23-28.



Hull-House Theater, 1939

"Hull-House News Release," (May 9, 1939) Hull-House Association Records, Folder 35-355, Special Collections, The University Library, The University of Illinois at Chicago. Announcing the performances of Halsted Street, this news release emphasizes the ethnic diversity of the cast as well as the production's experimental qualities. In the notes that accompany earlier drafts of the news release in the Hull-House Association Records, the play is described thus: "HALSTED STREET" will bring together into one project all of the various Hull House groups, but what is more important, it has drawn upon the settlement neighborhood for the flesh and blood of its action. Greek, Italian, Mexican, and Negro residents in the Hull House area have out their own experiences told the story of a carline [Halsted Street] and a concept [Democracy]."


Jess Ogden and others, Halsted Street (1939 edited typescript, pages 1-5), Hull-House Association Records, Folder 355, Special Collections, The University Library, The University of Illinois at Chicago.Written in a collaborative manner with other WPA/Hull-House dramatists, Halsted Street is a lyrical, hyper-realistic and, at times, polemical creative statement about life along this colorful thoroughfare at the end of the Great Depression. Ogden and his collaborators set up Halsted Street as a microcosm of Chicago and, ultimately, America. In his handwritten notes that accompany the script, he writes that "the production that will mark the H-H celebration of Jane Addams Memorial Week is the synthesis of a car line and a concept ... the car-line is Halsted Street, the concept - is Democracy."


Donna Hodgman, "People Live at Hull-House: Paint It White," [excerpt] (1943 typescript, pp. 15-19) Jane Addams Memorial Collection, Special Collections, The University Library, The University of Illinois at Chicago. Hodgman, a Hull-House resident from 1936 to 1942, writes about the Hull-House staging of Jess Ogden's play Halsted Street and describes the play itself.



Additional Resources:

"Remains. Jane Addams' Town" Poem by Kevin Coval (.pdf)


Cheryl R. Ganz and Margaret Strobel, eds., Pots of Promise: Mexicans and Pottery at Hull-House, 1920-40 (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004).
Exploring the untold stories of Hull-House arts programs in the 1920s and 1930s and the pottery program at the commercial Hull-House Kilns, "Pots of Promise" also addresses the story of Mexicans in Chicago and the history of Hull-House in the years when Jane Addams increasingly turned her attention beyond the settlement house she had co-founded. This book is the first on the Hull-House Kilns; it examines Mexicans in the Hull-House colonia, Chicago's largest Mexican settlement. "Pots of Promise" includes 131 color and black-and-white photographs, many of them previously unpublished, and four essays: "Bringing Art to Life: The Practice of Art at Hull-House" by Peggy Glowacki; "Incorporating Reform and Religion: Mexican Immigrants, Hull-House, and the Church" by David A. Badillo; "Shaping Clay, Shaping Lives: The Hull-House Kilns" by Cheryl R. Ganz; and, "Forging a Mexican National Identity in Chicago: Mexican Migrants and Hull-House" by Rick A. Lopez.

Shannon Jackson, Lines of Activity: Performance, Historiography, Hull-House Domesticity (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press: 2000).
Lines of Activity investigates the cultural life of the Hull-House Settlement from its founding in 1889 through its growth into a major social service institution. The study focuses specifically on the role of performance—not only theatrical representation, but also athletics, children's games, story-telling, festivals, living museums, and the practices of everyday life—to demonstrate how such cultural rituals could propel social activism at Hull-House and paradoxically serve as vehicles for both cultural expression and cultural assimilation.


2011-12 Exhibit on Unfinished Business: Arts Education