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Social Reform in Chicago

Social reform in Chicago matured during the peak years of the Progressive movement in the United States, between 1890 and 1920. Progressive reformers aimed to remedy the ills and tensions prompted by the massive social changes in late nineteenth-century cities, from explosive growth of diverse populations to the rapid industrialization of work and commercialization of cultural life. As the nation’s second largest and one of its most socially diverse and congested cities, Chicago became a center of Progressive action and helped set the agenda for the larger movement. Chicago’s reformers targeted political corruption, poverty, unsafe working and living conditions, and the social needs of new immigrants, among other issues. These reformers relied on a variety of means to achieve their goals—empirical research into social problems; the organization of non-governmental agencies that directly provided social services; advocacy of legislation to protect the public interest; and the dissemination of their ideas in newspapers, periodical magazines, and books, both non-fiction and fiction. To provide social services directly to those in need, reformers established settlement houses in immigrant districts. At the same time, religious leaders developed similar programs in neighborhood churches and synagogues.

Progressive reformers and planners used maps as wells as photographs to represent their findings and communicate their message to broad audiences.

 

PRINT

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Hales, Peter B. Silver Cities: Photographing American Urbanization, 1839-1915. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1984.

Jablonsky, Thomas. Pride in the Jungle: Community and Everyday Life in Back of the Yards Chicago. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

Kaplan, Daile, ed. Photo Story: Selected Letters and Photographs of Lewis W. Hine. Washington, D.C: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992.

Leech, Harper, and John Charles Carroll. Armour and His Times. New York and London: D. Appleton-Century Co., 1938.

O'Connor, Alice. Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy, and the Poor in Twentieth-Century U.S. History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.

Pacyga, Dominic. Slaughterhouse: Chicago’s Union Stock Yard and the World It Made. Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 2015.

Sampsell-Willman, Kate. Lewis Hine as Social Critic. University Press of Mississippi, 2009.

Schultz, Rima Lunin. Introduction to Hull-House Maps and Papers, by Jane Addams et al., 1-45. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2007. http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/57nsc4yr9780252031342.html.

Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle: a Norton Critical Edition ed. Clare Virginia Eby. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 2003. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/140/140-h/140-h.htm.

Sklar, Kathryn Kish. Florence Kelley and the Nation's Work. New Haven:Yale University Press, 1995.

Slayton, Robert A. Back of the Yards: the Making of a Local Democracy. Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 1986.

Stange, Maren. Symbols of Ideal Life:Social Documentary Photography in America, 1890-1950. Cambridge [England]:Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Taylor, Graham. Chicago Commons through Forty Years. Chicago: Chicago Commons Association, 1936.

Trolander, Judith Ann. Professionalism and Social Change: From the Settlement House Movement to Neighborhood Centers, 1886 to the Present. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987.

Turnbull, Craig. An American Urban Residential Landscape, 1890 – 1920: Chicago in the Progressive Era. Amherst, N.Y: Cambria Press, 2009.

Wade, Louise Carroll. Chicago’s Pride: The Stockyards, Packington, and Environs in the Nineteenth Century. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987.

Wade, Louise Carroll. Graham Taylor, Pioneer for Social Justice, 1851–1938. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1964.

Willrich, Michael. City of Courts: Socializing Justice in Progressive Era Chicago. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

 

WEB

National Women’s History Museum. “Reforming their World: Women in the Progressive Era.” https://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/progressiveera/home.html.

University of Illinois at Chicago. “Urban Experience in Chicago: Hull-House and its Neighborhoods, 1889 – 1963.” http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/urbanexp/

Library of Congress. “National Child Labor Committee Collection.” http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/nclc/