Archive for the Podcasts Category

Episode 113: Jane Addams Part 2

Posted 14 October 2018 by
Tagged As: , , , , | Categories: Episode, Podcasts | Comments Off on Episode 113: Jane Addams Part 2

When we left Jane in part one, she and her friend Ellen Gates Starr had just opened Hull House. The Settlement movement in the US was about to take off, and in Chicago the community was embracing the work being done by Jane, Ellen and the many women like them that came to share their time and talents by settling in the impoverished, immigrant community and working together with neighbors to provide social services.

Library of Congress

Jane worked locally in Chicago, she played a role in (the best) World’s Fair, the 1893 Columbian Exposition, and she helped to clean up the streets of her city which helped to slow illnesses (this was a novel concept in the 1890s.). The women that were attracted to work at Hull House became pioneers in their fields and worked with Jane to help create reform in child labor laws, women’s labor laws, work place safety, and prison reform. Jane herself was brought in to help end the Pullman Rail Strike that affected the entire country and was the first woman to introduce a presidential candidate at national convention.


1912 political cartoon. One of these things is not like the other…and one of them isn’t allowed to vote!

It didn’t take Jane very long to become a popular speaker, writer and as her platform and respect grew, her voice and impact was felt far outside her Chicago neighborhood.

1915 Give peace a chance!



The amazing, brilliant, determined and impactful Florence Kelley


The Lewis Hines, The Mill, Rhodes Mfg. NC, Library of Congress For more photos by Lewis Hines that will really hammer the issue of child labor conditions home, visit the Library of Congress


That hat, tho! (Jane and Miss Elizabeth Burke)

Jane’s companion for most of her adult life was Mary Roset Smith. Mary’s impact on all of the causes that Jane worked for wasn’t on the front lines, but in a very important role as Jane’s support system; as Jane’s family.

Jane and Mary 1923

As World War 1 broke out, Jane turned her energies to peace. She had spent the better part of her life working to unite people from different countries, heritages, religions and social classes and to see all that torn apart on the world stage didn’t make sense. She was the head of the Women’s Peace Party in the United States and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom where Jane organized a peace conference at the Hague in the Netherlands during the war. She did make a few missteps, a few poorly phrased speeches not supporting the war, and she was labeled a radical and “the most dangerous woman in the world.”

Picture this: Jane. Beyonce. Attitude for days!

Jane’s good name was restored during the Great Depression when her work with the poor was suddenly something that a great deal of people needed again…and all that talk of peace that had her under surveillance by the Department of Justice in the previous decade? People’s attitudes had changed and, in 1931, Jane became the second woman to earn the Nobel Peace Prize.

Jane’s Plaque on the Legacy Walk Chicago ( see below for walk map)courtesy, Legacy Project Chicago

One year after her beloved Mary passed away, Jane Addams died on May 21, 1935 from intestinal cancer. After being memorialized at Hull House, she was buried in her hometown of Cedarville, Illinois.

Jane’s stamp, 1940

Time Travel With The History Chicks


If you are headed to Chicago (or even if you’re only able to cyber travel), there are several ways to learn more about Jane’s life, but start at the source: Jane Addams Hull House Museumin Chicago. Since you’re already on Halstead street, take a walk short trip (it’s about 8 miles) to view all the plaques on the Legacy Project tour celebrating LGBTQ contributions in history.

Speaking of LGBTQ history, here’s an article from WBEZ discussing the relationship between Jane and Mary Rozet Smith. While we’re on the subject, here is a brief history of Boston Marriages from The Frisky.

Heading away from Chicago, you might like to check out the town where Jane grew up via the Cedarville Historical Societ, head up the road a piece and take a hike down the Jane Addams Trail. Leave the Midwest and visit the place Jane went to unwind, Bar Harbor, Maine via or take a turn to NYC and visit the still operational Henry Street Settlement, NYC OR take a giant step and go to London to visit Toynebee Hall the first Settlement House and where Jane got her inspiration.



Jane’s Why Women Should Vote essay

From Salon: An essay comparing Jane to President Barack Obama

Jane’s Chicago Tribune obituary.

Life of Washington on Project Gutenberg, Vol 1 (you can find the other three there, too.) Jane’s father PAID her to read this, it helped form her life view.

There really is no shortage of books about, and by, Jane Addams–these are just some that we liked.

Kids Books:

Tanya Lee Stone, Illustrated by Kathryn Brown

Older Kids:

Robin Berson

Kathy at 12 1/2+ read it- this was in Susan’s library book, clearly Kathy and Beckett are kindred souls. 


Judith Bloom Fradin and Dennis Brindell Fradin

Adult reading level:

by Gioia Diliberto


The Book Susan forgot to write down but  was really good, by Louise W. Knight


Louise W. Knight


James Weber Linn (This is her nephew, he wrote it based on her papers, some conversations and family lore.)


We have a Pinterest board for every single subject, and Jane Addams is the most recent! So many more things to see over there, THE HISTORY CHICKS PINTEREST BOARDS

Jane, by Alice Kellogg Tyler, from 20 Years at Hull House

Episode 112: Jane Addams Part 1

Posted 23 September 2018 by
Tagged As: , , | Categories: Episode, Podcasts | Comments Off on Episode 112: Jane Addams Part 1



Library of Congress

Jane Addams is called the “Mother of Social Work”; which is impressive enough, but really doesn’t cover her whole story. You know what else won’t cover her whole story? One episode. Jane’s life was so packed that we decided to  break it into two parts to cover it thoroughly. (If you’re looking for the media recommendations, they’ll be on the shownotes for Part Two.)

Before Jane began her life’s work as an American settlement pioneer and social work reformer; before she gave her first speech, wrote her first book, or organized her first meeting to create social change, she was a little girl in a wealthy family who was developing the skills, character, and temperament to change the world.

Laura Jane Addams was born on September 6, 1860, the 8th of 9 children born to wealthy businessman, Illinois senator and good pal of Abraham Lincoln – John Huy and his hardworking and kind-hearted wife, Sarah Weber Addams. Sadly, only 5 of their children would live past the age of 2 and Mama Sarah would pass away while Jenny (she had to grow into “Jane”) was still a toddler.

The Addams family ( snap snap) homestead in Cedarville, IL today. (It’s a private residence, just look at the picture, don’t knock on the door.) wikicommons

John remarried a widow with two sons, coincidentally one the same age as Jenny–hijinx ensued. Jenny was smart and a big reader (you guys! She read and re-read Little Women–you like her already, don’t you?) and by the time she finished the school in Cedarville, she knew she wanted to go to college, get a degree and become a doctor. Solid plan! Papa swapped out Jenny’s preferred Smith College in Massachusetts for a more local Rockford Female Seminary in Illinois and she headed off to college to overachieve, make friends, write bad poetry, try opium, and get her education. She also dropped the childhood nickname and became Jane.

But then, she was finished. At 21, with no direction but not anxious to go the Mrs. route, Jane floundered. Making matters tougher, first her father died suddenly, then she enrolled then dropped out of medical school and got herself checked in to the hospital for neurasthenia. (Oh, yay! We get to talk about 1800’s women’s “medical care.” Here’s an article about her diagnosis from The Atlantic.)

Jane Addams, late 1800s, photo by Cox, Chicago

When she returned from a two year long Grand Tour therapy session she had her eyes wide open. She had seen poverty unlike anything she had been exposed to before…although she wasn’t sure what to do, she knew she wanted to- and could- do something.

The area Jane and Ellen chose to live in. Illustration from 20 Years at Hull House

It would take another couple of years, another tour of Europe and a bloody bullfight (there’s a story!) before Jane and her friend Ellen Gates Starr formed a plan based on settlement houses they had visited in England: Live in an impoverished area packed with immigrants, bring in women just like them- smart, educated, and unfulfilled-to not only become a part of the community, but to create community services and improved lives for all involved.

Hull House today wikicommons

The 19th Ward in Chicago gave them their neighborhood; a rented, run-down mansion gave them their home base, the generous women of Chicago gave them funds and their settlement house plans fell into place even better than Jane and Ellen had imagined: in their first year, 50,000 people passed through their doors and into their own lives of purpose.

And this is where we’re going to leave you. It’s 1891, Hull-House is up and running, programs are being created, lives are being changed, the community is forming…and Jane is just getting started.

The children of the 19th Ward were involved in the first programs in Jane’s settlement house (illustration from 20 Years in Hull House by Jane Addams)


Ah yes, 80’s television! Bosom Buddies: two men dress as women to live in the Susan B. Anthony Hotel (this only makes sense if you listened to the episode.)  Happy Rabbit Hole tumble!




Episode 111: Clara Barton Revisited and Refreshed

Posted 1 September 2018 by
Tagged As: , , , , , | Categories: Episode, Podcasts | Comments Off on Episode 111: Clara Barton Revisited and Refreshed

To end the summer we thought we would revisit and remaster our 2011 episode about the life of Clara Barton. Her story touched both of us when we recorded it but she’s come to our minds a lot since then. The lessons from her life, including strength, perseverance, bravery and compassion are ones that we can all use in our lives at any time.


Episode 110: Georgia O’Keeffe

Posted 12 August 2018 by
Tagged As: , , , | Categories: Episode, Podcasts | Comments Off on Episode 110: Georgia O’Keeffe

The line between Georgia O’Keeffe’s childhood in Wisconsin to her death nearly 100 years later is as jagged, complex, colorful, unique, ever- changing and interesting as the vistas outside her final New Mexico homes.


Episode 109: Grace O’Malley

Posted 21 July 2018 by
Tagged As: , , , , , | Categories: Episode, Podcasts | Comments Off on Episode 109: Grace O’Malley

Gráinne Ui Mháille, Grainne, Granuaile, Gráinne MhaolGrace, That Irish Pirate Queen From the 16th Century…whatever you call her, her life and legacy as a strong, independent, bold, fearless (and yes, criminal) woman doesn’t change.

Statue at Westport House, Co Mayo, Ireland


Episode 108: The Statue of Liberty

Posted 30 June 2018 by
Tagged As: , , , , | Categories: Episode, Podcasts | Comments Off on Episode 108: The Statue of Liberty

She’s neither alive nor dead; she exists but has never taken a breath; her innards are as hard as steel, but just the sight of her has brought men to grateful, hopeful tears. The Statue of Liberty is a she, which makes her fair game for one of our conversations.



Episode 107: Mary Pickford

Posted 11 June 2018 by
Tagged As: , , , | Categories: Episode, Podcasts | Comments Off on Episode 107: Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford was an actress, writer, director, producer, studio head and entrepreneur…but she’s often remembered as “that pretty girl with the curls in silent movies.”

Excuse us? Oh no, that just won’t do.

Library of Congress


Episode 106: Beatrix Potter Revisited and Refreshed

Posted 19 May 2018 by
Tagged As: , , | Categories: Episode, Podcasts | Comments Off on Episode 106: Beatrix Potter Revisited and Refreshed

This week we’re taking a look back at one of the women who surprised us both, in the most delightful of ways-Beatrix Potter. As time and technology has allowed, we’ve gone back and quietly remastered the audio in a number of our older shows and Beatrix is the latest. When we know better, we do better! (more…)

Episode 105: Dowager Empress Cixi of China

Posted 30 April 2018 by
Tagged As: , , , | Categories: Episode, Podcasts, Shownotes | Comments Off on Episode 105: Dowager Empress Cixi of China


The true story of a woman who, essentially, ruled China for almost 50 years is cloaked by years of inaccurate (read: fabricated) reporting and several sources muddled through translation. Sometimes it feels as if her history is behind the same silk screen where she ruled, a clear outline with veiled detail.

So this’ll be fun!

Yehenara Tsing was born on November 29, 1853. Her name changes several times through her life (and more through translated spellings): Tsing (some sources use her family name which appears first), Lan, Yi and finally the form that she is known to history: Cixi. (more…)

Episode 104: Louisa May Alcott

Posted 8 April 2018 by
Tagged As: , , | Categories: Episode, Podcasts | Comments Off on Episode 104: Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott is easily remembered as the author of the sweet coming of age novel about four sisters in Civil War era New England. It was based on her life and her family, but it left out a lot. Like poverty, consistent moving, a father with more lofty ideals than successful methods to deliver them, and writing a large body of work across many genres before she even sat down to write Little Women. Learning her story brings a deeper level of appreciation to all of her work and a good look into the era from a unique perspective.

Plus, it’s a great story of a determined, brilliant and brave woman. Lots to love. (more…)