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Jessie F. [Florence] Binford talks with Studs Terkel about Jane Addams

BROADCAST: Jun. 13, 1960 | DURATION: 00:00:01

Synopsis

Ms. Binford talks with Studs about Jane Addams life and her dedication to social service with the women and children of Chicago. Ms.Binford discusses the creation of Hull House and the associated buildings and how deeply in need they were of the help.

Transcript

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Jessie F. Binford Hundreds of gnarled dirty bony hands reaching out to grab and then to eat these this spoiled produce that they were giving, giving away. She refers that quite often.

Studs Terkel Miss Binford, would you mind just remembering this again the story of Jane Addams and England again just as you were.

Jessie F. Binford Yeah.

Studs Terkel How did that go again?

Jessie F. Binford Well Miss Adams got such deep impressions of certain things that she referred to over and over again. And it was when she was in Europe before she came to Hull House when she was traveling trying to, in the years that she called the snare, snare preparation for something to come that she wanted to do and to reach what she wanted to do and she was traveling in Europe and was in London one night when someone took into one of the poorest quarters where there happened to be a crowd of hundreds of people waiting to get the spoiled meat and vegetable things they were giving away. And as she looked over the crowd, she saw said it all looked like an ocean of hands reaching out to grab and then to eat these spoiled vegetables and whatever they were giving away. And she said she never saw hands again lifted or in applause or anything. Great numbers of hands, that that picture didn't come back to her. I think it made a deep impression on her as she saw the symbolism of it. She did of everything.

Studs Terkel Was it her London experience when she was there that led to her seeking to find a settlement house similar to that here in Chicago wasn't it?

Jessie F. Binford Well I, I think her what led to her doing what she did here although perhaps she couldn't have expressed it, came much earlier than that. You know even in her childhood memories she, she was always conscious of the inequality of the common law, as she says. And even as a little girl her mother had died and she was the constant companion of her father and she was always asking him to explain the inequality of what people had. Why she had better clothes than another little girl. And especially what she writes a great deal about how one day she went into a neighboring city with her father and they happened to go into the poorer section. She came from a very little village where she says poverty isn't the same as it is in the city but in this section she saw people living in these very little houses, not very good houses. And she asked her father why some people lived in houses like that and other people lived in good houses as she did in her little village. And he tried to explain it to her but that she said to him this is only when she was five or six years old, I think, that when she grew up she wanted to have a house of her own and she wanted it to be big but it was going to be built in with little houses like these. That, curiously as a child, that was already sort of in her mind. I don't suppose she knew why. Then of course I think as the years passed and after she left college and was ill then for two years quite seriously ill. Had to give up the study of medicine which she had decided to do because it would she would get to know people and she then was ill and couldn't do anything for a while and began traveling in, in quite extensively in Europe. But all the time there she was always conscious of her desire to, well, to know people who lived some kind of life where she could know people and understand all kinds and conditions of people. And I think it was her final decision came without too much of a concrete plan came after seeing a bullfight in Spain one night and the brutality of it, and the blood and everything didn't affect her so much as it did the other people she was with. They all left but she stayed through it. But after she got back that night to the hotel she couldn't sleep because she said the moral situation of it all in every way began to affect her very, very much and that she decided then that she'd been sort of excusing herself, as preparing for something she didn't quite know what and that she was going to end her years of preparation and she would carry out some of the things that she had vaguely rather had in mind. And one was to come back to Chicago and live in the kind of a district where she could know all kinds of people. She could learn of life from life itself just as we've been talking. You, you just can't know about things if you, if you don't learn about it in reality. And she didn't have any plans when she came. I mean, except that she wanted to live there. Just live there. And [coughing] I, I think people are always speaking about what a compassionate person she was, that made her want to live among the poor and help them. I, I don't, I wouldn't say compassion at all. It was more much more than that. Much deeper than that. It was, first of all, to understand herself. Understand their lives what made them what they were and but simply to have her home there and that she had a. She didn't begin the way you begin today with the great blueprints and plans for buildings and the great amount of money and all that sort of thing. There, there was. It was very, very vague not vague in one way. It was very deep because and and very specific in her own mind. It began way back in her childhood. I, I think her own writing in her first book, "The First 20 Years of Hull House," about her childhood. This is one of the most significant thing she's ever written because from her father and living in the kind of a home she did, especially from her father. His wise replies to all of her questions which were very deep for a little child. And things she never forgot, as long as she lived, you know. How when Lincoln died; that the impression it made on her and her father. I think she was only four years old then, perhaps seven. I'm not sure which. And her father sat, was crying one morning when she came down and she saw there two white fence posts draped in black with a flag on each. She asked her father what was the matter and he said, "The greatest man in the world had died." And from all he told her about Lincoln then, Lincoln was the greatest hero I think she had in her life. Over and over and over again she quotes from Lincoln and the first I'd forgotten this, until recently, the first Christmas she was at Hull House. They had only been there two or three months but they did have this small club of 25 boys, little boys and she said they didn't have much money to spend for Christmas but out of the little they had, she gave each one of those, those boys, "The Life of Lincoln" for Christmas. "Little Life of Lincoln" for Christmas. And then, another thing that always impressed me, she tells of another day when she found her father grieving and she asked him what was the matter and he said Mazzini had died in Italy and she argued with him about it. She said she didn't see why he should feel badly. He'd never seen him. He didn't know him. He wasn't even an American. Why shouldn't, why should her father feel badly? And he explained to her that there were bonds between men who had large hopes and like desires, even if they had never seen each other or lived far apart. Didn't know each other. And she said that, that morning, she thought she got one of the most valuable possessions she ever had in all her life. And when you think of her internationalism and all these things that came later. You see, they really began when she was a very little girl. Very little girl.

Studs Terkel It was no accident.

Jessie F. Binford Hmmm?

Studs Terkel It was no accident.

Jessie F. Binford It was no accident. Her, her mind was so profound even when she was a child. I think I never realized that part until this year when we've all been reading over a lot of her things and books and things she's written. But you didn't realize the depth and the scope of her mind and her thoughts. I don't know whether I when we were talking before or whether I repeated you a story of a what happened very soon after she died there at Hull House. I was riding home in a cab one day back to Hull House. And the man when I gave him the address he after a while he was a middle-aged man he said, "Did you know Jane Adams?" I said, "Yes." And he didn't say anything. And then after while, he said very soberly. He said, "I knew her, too, but I never saw her but once in my life." And there was something about the man that you didn't question him, you know. And then he drove rather slowly and began. He said that one night when he was a little boy that he was standing over in front of the Union Station here one night about twelve o'clock eleven or twelve o'clock at night selling papers. He was only I think eight years old. And that some man got out of a cab. It was a cold, very cold winter's night. Some man got out of a cab and started to rush into the station and then came back and looked around as if he were looking for somebody. And this little boy was the only person there and he came over and asked him if he could trust him to do a very important errand for him. And the little boy of course very pleased, said yes. The man said he would pay him and tell him how to get there; that he had forgotten to leave some very important papers with Miss Adams and that she must get them. And with that, he gave the boy some money in the papers and left. And this old fellow said that, or this man said that he found his way over there and when he saw this large house all lighted up, he, he was sort of afraid to go in but finally did go to the door and ask to see Miss Adams. And someone told him that. Asked him what he wanted and he said that he had some papers to give to her and they said they would give them to her and he said, "No, I won't get them to you. I was told to get them just to Miss Adams". And they called her and as I often say she, she'd never refused to see anybody. I mean, she was never too busy to be called down whatever she was doing and he said she came down the stairs and that he'd never been in the house like that. He'd never seen a house like that and he'd never seen anybody like Miss Adams. And she thanked him and then insisted that he sit down; there was an open fire in the fireplace and get warm before he went out. And he said "We sat there and she said he did she didn't ask me my name. She didn't ask me if my mother knew where I was. Or all the questions that social workers should probably ask." He said "she just talked to me like a grown-up person." And finally he said "when I went to go, she went to the door and stood there in the doorway. It was a very cold night until I disappeared around the corner" and he said, "I went around the corner and stood there and cried for a long time." He said "I don't know why." Well that's what I mean everybody who knew her, got that feeling that, that she understood you. That she understood what made you what you were. She was looking far beyond just helping you a little

Studs Terkel It's a matter of not being patronizing.

Jessie F. Binford No, not being patronizing. And everybody felt that whether it was a big employer here, man of wealth and privilege, money, education or whether it was a little boy like that. She, she. It didn't make any difference to her who you were or what you were but she just seemed to understand what made you what you were. What had, what had molded your life to make you the kind of a person that she saw, as she meet you. To me, and of course I think that's why she was such an international person because that extended to people all over the world. I don't suppose any woman was better known in more nations of the world than Miss Adam's was.

Studs Terkel Miss Binford, I'm thinking last time you spoke of her attitude toward children as you did now, variations and since she understood people, her interest, Miss-thinking of Jane Adams now as a woman and you were thinking of the girls. The girls that, her relationship towards the prostitutes-

Jessie F. Binford Yes.

Studs Terkel called "The Street Girls".

Jessie F. Binford Yes well that, that is one of the things I, I think that even those of us who lived there and certainly the people today who are reading about her and never knew her at all, can't have any conception of they. Well, I know- what I mean is, they think of her in connection with Hull House, as a good neighbor and as a person who went to live in that district and in connection with Chicago and very, really a very limited area, but that she's known as Jane Adams of Hull House. But they can't have. They just can't have any conception of how from the very beginning, how her mind encompassed all the great problems. Now take. And, and her books and all she wrote at that time show that if people read them but take the question of prostitution. I don't suppose Miss Adams had ever read much about it, probably, at that time, or knew very much about the great problem that she says a social evil that had existed for years and years and years all over the world. But once she went to live there and saw the girls, the daughters of some of her neighbors who because of despair perhaps and fatigue in the work they did and the lack of any recreation or any outlook in their lives were bought and sold in the great business prostitution, in one district was quite near us there. Then, in a few years, here she was writing a whole book on a, a new conscience and an ancient profession. Writing a marvelous book. She even calls prostitution a twin of slavery. But it came to her so symbolically from somebody she knew. Probably would have she'd already known one girl but she saw the mothers there are fearful, that their daughters would be so despairing and they had such low wages and fatigue and all that. That they would be lured into these, districts [all of which] of course, some men made a great deal of money and of course probably a great deal of money was played, paid for protection, the government of the city in one way or another and that was true of. I mean you wouldn't think of her spending her time and her thoughts and all in some, one grey field of human welfare like that.

Studs Terkel Because of her understanding and her courage, didn't she sometimes encounter powerful forces that opposed her?

Jessie F. Binford Oh of course she did. Of course she did. I I mean I suppose that so many of the things she did take her all her work on suffrage all through her but you feel. I'd forgotten what year we got the vote, women got the vote here. I think in 1920.

Studs Terkel Twenty.

Jessie F. Binford But you see then she'd been at Hull House 30 years. And I don't think she was one of the greatest leaders in it, but all the years. And it wasn't that she, she wasn't just fighting for the right of women to vote. It was much more than that. With all through her life there, she saw what a great contribution women could make in government. City government, state government, national and internationally because of their great interest, perhaps more than men had, in, in many things that government effects very, very much specially in health and education, welfare children. And so that she did become one among the great leaders, but it was more than just for the right to vote. It was because of what she thought women could do to make our government what it should be and bring an understanding that perhaps onl-, only women have much more than men and in a different way because they're closer to all these problems with children, as, as they grow up. But there again another great, great field of of interests that reach not only in America but I think she was president, as I remember, she was president of the first national suffrage organization here in America. And here she was doing all these things when you thought she was as busy as anybody could be just with Hull House which was developing and enlarging and all the time and becoming a great center not only for the neighborhood but for people who were interested in all of the things that Miss Adams was doing. And then, in peace [cough], I, I don't think I realize until this year how her great, intense interest in peace began very early there at Hull House. Now I don't remember hearing very much about it then. I might not. Or about these other things. And yet here she was, writing these books which to me are just as valuable today as they were when they were written.

Studs Terkel Perhaps even more so.

Jessie F. Binford Many years ago, almost more so. But she, she writes that in the life of her neighbors there, she's always coming back to that, in the neighborhood, she saw the, a morality which had very significant national and international aspects. Very early there at Hull House she began to see that and, and that began her, her goal for peace in the world, I think which lasted all through the years and her several books she wrote but it wasn't until the beginning of the. Well there were other organizations she, she was in that were formed that were interested in peace but not so much until the beginning of the first World War. And from that time on, I think Miss Adams, well the most of her time and her thinking was her goal was peace in the world. And of course she was the first president, I think of the Women's International League taking in I don't know women of how many countries for peace. Later of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom has had its importers here traveling a great deal. And as she traveled, she found so many women in so many countries that were working for peace just as she did, they were working for suffrage. I mean she felt such a deep relationship with people all over the world, especially the women of the world.

Studs Terkel A personal question, where did she find the time of the day? I mean I suppose-.

Jessie F. Binford That's what you can't understand. You just can't understand because all this time she was speaking [unintelligible]. She was asked to speak a great deal in them especially in the Midwestern states. I don't know just on what. I suppose first about Hull House and last summer when I was home out in Iowa, I happened to run across a letter from Miss Adams which she wrote me when my father died. And she spoke of my father quite a little bit and I knew she'd been there months before I ever went to Hull House but I asked my sister how in the world she happened to know these things. She spoke about father meeting her at the train with these two little grandchildren. And my sister said, "Why you weren't home, but she came here to speak for the Progressive Party". And I think, for I guess, not more in two years I don't know just how long the Progressive Party was forming and-.

Studs Terkel Is Bob La Follette's one?

Jessie F. Binford Yes.

Studs Terkel Nineteen twenty-four.

Jessie F. Binford And she was very much. She thought that offered some hope as we see things that are of some hope today, I suppose, and getting away from the two, old parties. But all these things and then writing so much. A great many books, on peace. Her book. There's one book she's written, "The Spirit of Youth in the City Streets," which is written I think, in 1911 or '12 which I think is one of the greatest books she wrote. And I think today in all the searching for the causes of juvenile delinquency and what to do about it and all that. I think that, that book is just as valid more valuable today than most of the hundreds of things that are being written on juvenile delinquency. Because she saw in her life there at Hull House. What did she said? She, she felt so much the life of the children and what their lives had done to them. And she had such complete confidence in the faith and the spirit of youth. If we would only nurture it and not subject it to everything that just smothers it. But there was that book made up of well with references over and over and over again all through the books to things that happened there at Hull House, the children she knew that probably all the rest of us had forgotten, you know.

Studs Terkel It was all so personal. I mean-

Jessie F. Binford Yes.

Studs Terkel even though she dealt with the world issues-

Jessie F. Binford Yes.

Studs Terkel universal that it was still aspect remembering your father.

Jessie F. Binford Yes. Yes.

Studs Terkel And so the children she knew, too.

Jessie F. Binford Yes. Remembering him meeting her with his two little grandchildren. And yes, it, it was so personal and yet so, so, encompassing the whole world really. I, I think you. Now, this far away from it all you even get more of a feeling than you had then about Miss Addams when you lived there with her. You didn't quite realize then, all, all that was happening. But I think the, I think the saddest, someone said once the most tragic day of Miss Addams' life was when war came. That she had come to feel almost that we couldn't have war anymore. That while you hadn't done all the things that she thought should be done to make should, sure of peace but she just couldn't imagine war coming again. And then it came. And then of course came her great efforts to which she thought was still possible to bring about a neutrality between the nations in the very beginning of the first World War. And she traveled extensively in Europe at that time seeing the different rulers, men in power in the different countries. And then of course failing but and very much condemned by people because they felt that she was a pacifist or whatever they all meant by that and that she wasn't being-. Well, she was accused of all sorts of things. Accused of being a traitor and went through some very, very sad years, even here in Chicago. She was written off the books of the little church near Hull House which she was a member. The Woman's Club here which really was a very vigorous outstanding club in those days wouldn't have her speak on their platform. And she, she's terribly condemned and reviled. But I was reading the other day, that she said at that time, that, that wasn't half as hard, taking all that, then it was to feel that you hadn't done all you could.

Studs Terkel I'm thinking of the, of your fund, the richness of your resources in recalling all this, Miss Binford. It's, it's a tribute to you, as well as to Miss Addams. I'm thinking of the last session we had, you spoke of her relationship to the children, to the old world parents.

Jessie F. Binford Yes.

Studs Terkel The kids were ashamed of their pare-. Perhaps recreate little things. I don't want to lose anything you're telling me. See?

Jessie F. Binford No. Well.

Studs Terkel The shame. She was aware of this, too, of the second generation kids of their first generation parents. How did she tackle that problem?

Jessie F. Binford Well, she tac-, I think she tackled almost everything very. She tackled things immediately as well as looking forward and beyond all the immediate things she did. Now in relation to the children of the foreign parents there, she, she felt the children lost their respect for their parents. They had come away from their own countries. They didn't know very much about they were getting just a little older and she established what they call the labor museum there at Hull House in which the foreign women came, making, weaving, doing different things in which they had these great skills. And now that was done, really that was done, to give the children respect for their parents and to, to have them see what their parents did. But but I think it's awfully significant that she just didn't talk about it or she just didn't talk about the future and all the big things we must do. But she did something immediate about it. Then when Hull House opened, what was done first by Miss Addams, the people who lived there, naturally, we didn't have many agencies in Chicago then. There wasn't much help for people who were poor and sick and in great need, unemployed. And the first thing the neighbors came there for were, was for help, just for their humble or tragic human needs that people have in families and bringing up children. And the first things that everybody helped with even our, our, after I came was helping our neighbors with those problems. Now Miss Addams wasn't a trained social worker. None of us were trained social workers. We represented all kinds of experiences and professions but we weren't trained as in the profession as is recognized today as social work. But you all did the best you could and you you learn so much. I was saying the other day, Mr. Terkel. I hadn't been at Hull House very long when one night, a rather young girl wandered in there and hadn't any place to stay. And we talked to her and couldn't find out much of anything about her. She was either wouldn't tell or didn't remember. We didn't know what's the matter. The only thing is she was very definite about was that she had a. That when she was younger, a little girl, she remembered her father was in prison. She thought in Illinois. Now, that's all she remembered. Well now, I don't know what social workers would have done today but the next day or two, Miss Addams thought someone ought to go down and talk to her father, in prison, see we we'd find out about her. We, we didn't know how to help her, [anything?]. And show she asked me to go down. Well now, I think I'd been interested in prisons and, and reform schools out, one in Iowa, a vague sort of a way. But the impression I got that day that visit, I went down and found out he was there. It was at Joliet, our prison here and asked if I could see him and they said yes. So they took me out of the administration building across a, sort of a bricked-in yard to another smaller building and where he was confined they said. And as we went I've never been at a big prison before and as we went across that yard, the men at that time were all, their heads were clipped, you know. Their hair was clipped. And they were in uniforms and shackled with, with chains. Their feet shackled all together. In spite of the fact that there was a high stone wall around all the place and the guard, guards with guns on every corner you know. And I went in and asked if I, they said I could see him and so they went to get him. And I waited a long time and finally the guard, or whoever it was, came back and said he was awfully sorry but he said this man had been there a great many years and that he never had but one visit a year. Some man came to see him once a year and it just happened that the day before that man had been there. So he'd gone back to his cell, looking forward to a whole year of not seeing anybody. And that he was so shocked when they told him somebody is there to see him he just went all to pieces and couldn't come out. Well now, we did things like that. Now I don't believe I could ever read anything or heard lectures or anything else in college that would have made the impression on me that, that one visit did. And Miss Addams took all these things of course that the rest of us did, too. I mean they, that probably impressed her just as much, as it, as it did me. Another thing that day, I talked to one of the men while I waited who was a trustee. Been there a long time. This was the old prison. Terrible, terrible place and they were just about to move to the new Stateville Prison which is much better. They, in that prison, they have outside windows in their cells. And this man talked to me while I was waiting and he said he'd be so glad to get over there that I think he'd been there over 20 years. He said he had never seen the sky at night. He'd never seen the sky anyplace except just looking up from that. He'd never seen a sunrise or the moon or the stars and that's what he was anticipating when he got over to that new prison. Little things you know. When people you, you have some association with. They mean something different, completely different.

Studs Terkel Again the personal approach.

Jessie F. Binford The personal approach.

Studs Terkel The actual knowing the individual, the human being rather than something.

Jessie F. Binford Rather than, yeah. And I know not very long either after I was there, a neighbor one of the men who worked in the steel mills was terribly injured and his fair wife of course came to tell Miss Addams about it. She thought somebody ought to go down and see him. Well I suppose when you were first there you offered to do everything [laughter] when you did all the time. And I offered to go down and see him and I went down and went to this hospital. I didn't know very much about the hazards of labor and certain kinds of work. Was taken up to a ward where this man was and he was just bound bandages from head to foot, you know, he'd been terribly injured and his wife was there with him. And I went in with something [about tall?] I, there was a bed next to him that nobody was in. And suddenly I felt myself getting kind of faint. And when I came to, [laughter] they had put me on this bed next to him. I'd fainted dead away. Well you know, you get so close to things. I hadn't realized that men were doing things that could just kill them almost, the hazards of, of industry and lack of, course that's been changed a great deal today. But I was speaking about how Miss Adams didn't wait to do things. Now as she saw, learned about the deprivation and the drabness and the dreariness of the lives of the people of that neighborhood and the children and the old people, of course she began to see way beyond envision the things that must, must be changed if those things were ever to be changed. But that wasn't enough for her. She. Here she was in her own home could do anything she wanted to do. She immediately began to feel that at least something could immediately be done to lessen the dullness and the drabness and drabness and the hopelessness of their lives. And so right away she began to talk with her only one or two people at first were there and then there were volunteers of things they could do there at Hull House and there began to develop right away. The things that grew to a pretty significant pore, proportions, before it was over. Organizing first a kindergarten for the little children right there in the back the rear of the one big room that they had there. And then these little clubs for boys. And then she never forgot the all the people in the family and then for, for the older people for the fathers and mothers and just gradually became began all these clubs, classes some of them very serious, educational classes. Lots of the young people who'd had to go to work wanted really serious classes in reading and lectures. The university men came over there a good deal. Finally they built a theater which was one of the most popular activities there at Hull House.

Studs Terkel Music classes, too? Learning to play

Jessie F. Binford And the music school. The theater was not only the children but the boys and the girls and the young people and the young people there, theatrical group, went to Ireland one summer and toured Ireland. They did such beautiful things and they did it so well. And music, art and neighborhood parties for the older people when the children didn't come. For the very old people, New Year's Day was always an old settlers' day. They came from all over-.

Studs Terkel Trade classes, too? Learning trades?

Jessie F. Binford Yes. Yes, not so much trades there, although they did have some trade work but not so much then. But I think one of the greatest things about Hull House was, was a permanent relationship that people had. Now they might come first for help perhaps the man was out of work or because of sickness or because the children were in trouble. But then immediately they began to come because they wanted to come for these other things. And they just continued to come. I, I think in relation to social work today, for instance, that the permanency of relationship, I've often said that they express it much better than anyone else can. That you see men and women today who grew up in that neighborhood as little children and they talk about Hull House. And they say, "Well you know, we grew up at Hull House". That was the, that's the expression they used. "We grew up there". So that it had a. It had a great influence in, in, in their lives. Great influence, of course. I met a young woman not very long ago and I was speaking at a PTA meeting in way out in one of the suburbs. She wanted to know if I remembered her. She had grown up there, on one of the streets right near Hull House. Married a boy who lived there. He studied medicine. Has done very well as a physician and they decided when they had children, they'd better move out into one in the suburbs. She said where they thought they could give their children things that they had never had. And she said, "You know, we often say, 'Now money can't buy what we had at Hull.' That we'd give anything on earth that we could get for our children, what we had

Studs Terkel There's something you said last time, Ms. Binford on this point. I think perhaps maybe even worth your saying it. I think you said it. Jane Addams made a discovery there early, in the early days. That there was a hunger of these people for more than food. It was the hunger for beauty, for the beauty in life.

Jessie F. Binford Yes I think she always. And she recognized that not only in the children but in the fathers and mothers, no matter what had happened to them. No matter what they had become. And the old people, that there was a great longing for all these things. Now, maybe they had never had it all our lives. Maybe the parents had never had it but they did respond to it right away when it was offered to them. And the companionship, the feeling that somebody, somebody cared and they, they just didn't. Their lives just didn't seem so utterly hopeless. And there, there, there it stayed. Things change so fast today. But there it was permanent and it was her home. She wasn't coming to work there in the morning and leaving at night. But there it was, part of their neighborhood, part of their community. And I think that made a great deal of difference in their response to everything, too.

Mr. Mitchell Could, could I ask you question? It's a very ignorant sort of question. So many people of quality end at the end of their lives are defeated. Was she, did she have this feeling that, that of resignation that she'd seen world wars and she'd seen the world not perceptively better than, than when she started?

Jessie F. Binford I, I don't know. I think Miss Addams was always hopeful. I mean I don't think she ever. I can't imagine seeing her despondent. You saw her at the time of the war, the first World War, very sober and pretty sad. She was sad not only because of war but here were all the boys in our neighborhood. People we've known since they were little children growing up, going off to war, and the grief of their parents. And there's a whole [cough]. Used to be at Hull House, oh, I don't know how names up there, of all the boys right around there that gone to war. But I don't think, she, I don't believe she was ever despondent about anything. I think she was sure that something could be done. I think she was sure that peace in the world could come. Just sure of it. I think she was sure of the really good will and intentions of people, that something had made them forget it or be what they were, too. I mean she wouldn't misjudge a politician, as you or I would, I don't think. She, she wouldn't blame him for, I don't think. She'd, she'd realize what brought him to that state of mind. But I, I think she was always vigorous. She, she wasn't ill very long before she died. But she was writing a book then, a book on Ms. Lathrop she'd almost finished it. And no, I don't, I don't believe she was despondent or felt there wasn't any use or any of that kind. I think, she always had faith in people. Always. And I, I think she brought it out in them, too. I mean I think, they responded to it. Because she felt, they felt she wasn't just condemning them but she understood. About the first great strike here they often talk about after she came to live at Hull House. The employees came to her for help but the employers, also, just the same. Now they wouldn't come to her, if they did and she wouldn't begin by condemning them with their labor practices and that sort of thing. She tried to make them see the point of view of the the laborers, their employees. And she did. That strike was settled. I think. And the man, who was the president of that great corporation became one of the best friends Miss Addams ever had. He and his wife both, one of the strongest supporters of Hull House. And she didn't expect people to do things all at once, either. I mean. She, she realized, as I often thought, think, thought lately in reading some of her things, seemed to her, she related everything, no matter whether it was it was perhaps, it was a little girl who'd come in to Hull House who was going to have an illegitimate child from some other cities thinking she'd find a haven there at Hull House and you'd talk to Miss Addams about her. Whether it was something like that or whether it was her coming back after going to Washington to see the President of the United States about some big international problem. But no matter how little or how great the thing was, in her mind, she related it to all the history of the past.

Studs Terkel Perhaps you

Jessie F. Binford And of the world of the present day and to what she envisioned the future could be. It was all there in everything she. It seemed to me that way.

Studs Terkel This inference that Jane Addams had what might be described as a sense of history.

Jessie F. Binford Very much.

Studs Terkel That-.

Jessie F. Binford Very

Studs Terkel That detemined everything she did in her daily life.

Jessie F. Binford Very much. She. Of course her education at Rockford, which was a small school. A seminary at that time, although she got it changed into a college but it was a very profound education, I think, with wonderful teachers. And strange I was reading some place the other day that she was greatly interested in science, there at Rockford. But you can tell from writing and reading about her college days, that they're very different from college days today for most people, and they left. She had a very small class. I think only 17 students, vowing to each other just eternal allegiance to all the ideals they had formed there. And they would never give them up without conscious justification and all that sort of thing. I mean I think her education must have been marvelous there.

Studs Terkel Miss Binford, you, you have been so kind and gracious. This is the second of two sessions. I'm thinking now of perhaps something else that may come to mind if there is anything. You've spoken of Jane Addams' childhood, her children, mothers, old world, the girls of the streets, peace, suffrage, labor. Is her personal life? Any other aspects? Perha-. We're going to call this the dream of Jane Addams. How would you describe the. You, you've done it already. Perhaps that something else, if there is anything else you want to say of her.

Jessie F. Binford Well I, I don't know. I think. I don't know. I think of course those last years of her life when she was working so much for peace that Miss Addams had come to feel that, that without peace in the world, in the whole world, you just couldn't ever reach the fulfilment of human welfare for everybody. I think all these other things that she was working for and that maybe seem not [national?] and well of course, they all are, almost today. But that that until you had peace in the world, what that really would mean, that you just couldn't. You just couldn't have human - reach the fulfillment of human welfare for, for, for all people in the world. I, I get the feeling that's what she felt. But if you did the things. If you had the understanding. If you, that, that would bring peace between men of all kinds and nationalities, that the other things would follow. And I think you

Studs Terkel can Jesse

Jessie F. Binford Well I don't know. You. I'm sure she felt that. I'm sure that was her ultimate hope and desire. And she thought it was possible. I don't think she ever gave up thinking it was possible.

Studs Terkel In answering Mr. Mitchell's question, she, toward the end of her life, the world somewhat lopsided as she saw it. She never was resigned, really.

Jessie F. Binford Never.

Studs Terkel

Jessie F. Binford Hundreds of gnarled dirty bony hands reaching out to grab and then to eat these this spoiled produce that they were giving, giving away. She refers that quite often. Miss Binford, would you mind just remembering this again the story of Jane Addams and England again just as you were. Yeah. How did that go again? Well Miss Adams got such deep impressions of certain things that she referred to over and over again. And it was when she was in Europe before she came to Hull House when she was traveling trying to, in the years that she called the snare, snare preparation for something to come that she wanted to do and to reach what she wanted to do and she was traveling in Europe and was in London one night when someone took into one of the poorest quarters where there happened to be a crowd of hundreds of people waiting to get the spoiled meat and vegetable things they were giving away. And as she looked over the crowd, she saw said it all looked like an ocean of hands reaching out to grab and then to eat these spoiled vegetables and whatever they were giving away. And she said she never saw hands again lifted or in applause or anything. Great numbers of hands, that that picture didn't come back to her. I think it made a deep impression on her as she saw the symbolism of it. She did of everything. Was it her London experience when she was there that led to her seeking to find a settlement house similar to that here in Chicago wasn't it? Well I, I think her what led to her doing what she did here although perhaps she couldn't have expressed it, came much earlier than that. You know even in her childhood memories she, she was always conscious of the inequality of the common law, as she says. And even as a little girl her mother had died and she was the constant companion of her father and she was always asking him to explain the inequality of what people had. Why she had better clothes than another little girl. And especially what she writes a great deal about how one day she went into a neighboring city with her father and they happened to go into the poorer section. She came from a very little village where she says poverty isn't the same as it is in the city but in this section she saw people living in these very little houses, not very good houses. And she asked her father why some people lived in houses like that and other people lived in good houses as she did in her little village. And he tried to explain it to her but that she said to him this is only when she was five or six years old, I think, that when she grew up she wanted to have a house of her own and she wanted it to be big but it was going to be built in with little houses like these. That, curiously as a child, that was already sort of in her mind. I don't suppose she knew why. Then of course I think as the years passed and after she left college and was ill then for two years quite seriously ill. Had to give up the study of medicine which she had decided to do because it would she would get to know people and she then was ill and couldn't do anything for a while and began traveling in, in quite extensively in Europe. But all the time there she was always conscious of her desire to, well, to know people who lived some kind of life where she could know people and understand all kinds and conditions of people. And I think it was her final decision came without too much of a concrete plan came after seeing a bullfight in Spain one night and the brutality of it, and the blood and everything didn't affect her so much as it did the other people she was with. They all left but she stayed through it. But after she got back that night to the hotel she couldn't sleep because she said the moral situation of it all in every way began to affect her very, very much and that she decided then that she'd been sort of excusing herself, as preparing for something she didn't quite know what and that she was going to end her years of preparation and she would carry out some of the things that she had vaguely rather had in mind. And one was to come back to Chicago and live in the kind of a district where she could know all kinds of people. She could learn of life from life itself just as we've been talking. You, you just can't know about things if you, if you don't learn about it in reality. And she didn't have any plans when she came. I mean, except that she wanted to live there. Just live there. And [coughing] I, I think people are always speaking about what a compassionate person she was, that made her want to live among the poor and help them. I, I don't, I wouldn't say compassion at all. It was more much more than that. Much deeper than that. It was, first of all, to understand herself. Understand their lives what made them what they were and but simply to have her home there and that she had a. She didn't begin the way you begin today with the great blueprints and plans for buildings and the great amount of money and all that sort of thing. There, there was. It was very, very vague not vague in one way. It was very deep because and and very specific in her own mind. It began way back in her childhood. I, I think her own writing in her first book, "The First 20 Years of Hull House," about her childhood. This is one of the most significant thing she's ever written because from her father and living in the kind of a home she did, especially from her father. His wise replies to all of her questions which were very deep for a little child. And things she never forgot, as long as she lived, you know. How when Lincoln died; that the impression it made on her and her father. I think she was only four years old then, perhaps seven. I'm not sure which. And her father sat, was crying one morning when she came down and she saw there two white fence posts draped in black with a flag on each. She asked her father what was the matter and he said, "The greatest man in the world had died." And from all he told her about Lincoln then, Lincoln was the greatest hero I think she had in her life. Over and over and over again she quotes from Lincoln and the first I'd forgotten this, until recently, the first Christmas she was at Hull House. They had only been there two or three months but they did have this small club of 25 boys, little boys and she said they didn't have much money to spend for Christmas but out of the little they had, she gave each one of those, those boys, "The Life of Lincoln" for Christmas. "Little Life of Lincoln" for Christmas. And then, another thing that always impressed me, she tells of another day when she found her father grieving and she asked him what was the matter and he said Mazzini had died in Italy and she argued with him about it. She said she didn't see why he should feel badly. He'd never seen him. He didn't know him. He wasn't even an American. Why shouldn't, why should her father feel badly? And he explained to her that there were bonds between men who had large hopes and like desires, even if they had never seen each other or lived far apart. Didn't know each other. And she said that, that morning, she thought she got one of the most valuable possessions she ever had in all her life. And when you think of her internationalism and all these things that came later. You see, they really began when she was a very little girl. Very little girl. It was no accident. Hmmm? It was no accident. It was no accident. Her, her mind was so profound even when she was a child. I think I never realized that part until this year when we've all been reading over a lot of her things and books and things she's written. But you didn't realize the depth and the scope of her mind and her thoughts. I don't know whether I when we were talking before or whether I repeated you a story of a what happened very soon after she died there at Hull House. I was riding home in a cab one day back to Hull House. And the man when I gave him the address he after a while he was a middle-aged man he said, "Did you know Jane Adams?" I said, "Yes." And he didn't say anything. And then after while, he said very soberly. He said, "I knew her, too, but I never saw her but once in my life." And there was something about the man that you didn't question him, you know. And then he drove rather slowly and began. He said that one night when he was a little boy that he was standing over in front of the Union Station here one night about twelve o'clock eleven or twelve o'clock at night selling papers. He was only I think eight years old. And that some man got out of a cab. It was a cold, very cold winter's night. Some man got out of a cab and started to rush into the station and then came back and looked around as if he were looking for somebody. And this little boy was the only person there and he came over and asked him if he could trust him to do a very important errand for him. And the little boy of course very pleased, said yes. The man said he would pay him and tell him how to get there; that he had forgotten to leave some very important papers with Miss Adams and that she must get them. And with that, he gave the boy some money in the papers and left. And this old fellow said that, or this man said that he found his way over there and when he saw this large house all lighted up, he, he was sort of afraid to go in but finally did go to the door and ask to see Miss Adams. And someone told him that. Asked him what he wanted and he said that he had some papers to give to her and they said they would give them to her and he said, "No, I won't get them to you. I was told to get them just to Miss Adams". And they called her and as I often say she, she'd never refused to see anybody. I mean, she was never too busy to be called down whatever she was doing and he said she came down the stairs and that he'd never been in the house like that. He'd never seen a house like that and he'd never seen anybody like Miss Adams. And she thanked him and then insisted that he sit down; there was an open fire in the fireplace and get warm before he went out. And he said "We sat there and she said he did she didn't ask me my name. She didn't ask me if my mother knew where I was. Or all the questions that social workers should probably ask." He said "she just talked to me like a grown-up person." And finally he said "when I went to go, she went to the door and stood there in the doorway. It was a very cold night until I disappeared around the corner" and he said, "I went around the corner and stood there and cried for a long time." He said "I don't know why." Well that's what I mean everybody who knew her, got that feeling that, that she understood you. That she understood what made you what you were. She was looking far beyond just helping you a little It's a matter of not being patronizing. Never No, not being patronizing. And everybody felt that whether it was a big employer here, man of wealth and privilege, money, education or whether it was a little boy like that. She, she. It didn't make any difference to her who you were or what you were but she just seemed to understand what made you what you were. What had, what had molded your life to make you the kind of a person that she saw, as she meet you. To me, and of course I think that's why she was such an international person because that extended to people all over the world. I don't suppose any woman was better known in more nations of the world than Miss Adam's was. Miss Binford, I'm thinking last time you spoke of her attitude toward children as you did now, variations and since she understood people, her interest, Miss-thinking of Jane Adams now as a woman and you were thinking of the girls. The girls that, her relationship towards the prostitutes- Yes. called "The Street Girls". Yes well that, that is one of the things I, I think that even those of us who lived there and certainly the people today who are reading about her and never knew her at all, can't have any conception of they. Well, I know- what I mean is, they think of her in connection with Hull House, as a good neighbor and as a person who went to live in that district and in connection with Chicago and very, really a very limited area, but that she's known as Jane Adams of Hull House. But they can't have. They just can't have any conception of how from the very beginning, how her mind encompassed all the great problems. Now take. And, and her books and all she wrote at that time show that if people read them but take the question of prostitution. I don't suppose Miss Adams had ever read much about it, probably, at that time, or knew very much about the great problem that she says a social evil that had existed for years and years and years all over the world. But once she went to live there and saw the girls, the daughters of some of her neighbors who because of despair perhaps and fatigue in the work they did and the lack of any recreation or any outlook in their lives were bought and sold in the great business prostitution, in one district was quite near us there. Then, in a few years, here she was writing a whole book on a, a new conscience and an ancient profession. Writing a marvelous book. She even calls prostitution a twin of slavery. But it came to her so symbolically from somebody she knew. Probably would have she'd already known one girl but she saw the mothers there are fearful, that their daughters would be so despairing and they had such low wages and fatigue and all that. That they would be lured into these, districts [all of which] of course, some men made a great deal of money and of course probably a great deal of money was played, paid for protection, the government of the city in one way or another and that was true of. I mean you wouldn't think of her spending her time and her thoughts and all in some, one grey field of human welfare like that. Because of her understanding and her courage, didn't she sometimes encounter powerful forces that opposed her? Oh of course she did. Of course she did. I I mean I suppose that so many of the things she did take her all her work on suffrage all through her but you feel. I'd forgotten what year we got the vote, women got the vote here. I think in 1920. Twenty. But you see then she'd been at Hull House 30 years. And I don't think she was one of the greatest leaders in it, but all the years. And it wasn't that she, she wasn't just fighting for the right of women to vote. It was much more than that. With all through her life there, she saw what a great contribution women could make in government. City government, state government, national and internationally because of their great interest, perhaps more than men had, in, in many things that government effects very, very much specially in health and education, welfare children. And so that she did become one among the great leaders, but it was more than just for the right to vote. It was because of what she thought women could do to make our government what it should be and bring an understanding that perhaps onl-, only women have much more than men and in a different way because they're closer to all these problems with children, as, as they grow up. But there again another great, great field of of interests that reach not only in America but I think she was president, as I remember, she was president of the first national suffrage organization here in America. And here she was doing all these things when you thought she was as busy as anybody could be just with Hull House which was developing and enlarging and all the time and becoming a great center not only for the neighborhood but for people who were interested in all of the things that Miss Adams was doing. And then, in peace [cough], I, I don't think I realize until this year how her great, intense interest in peace began very early there at Hull House. Now I don't remember hearing very much about it then. I might not. Or about these other things. And yet here she was, writing these books which to me are just as valuable today as they were when they were written. Perhaps even more so. Many years ago, almost more so. But she, she writes that in the life of her neighbors there, she's always coming back to that, in the neighborhood, she saw the, a morality which had very significant national and international aspects. Very early there at Hull House she began to see that and, and that began her, her goal for peace in the world, I think which lasted all through the years and her several books she wrote but it wasn't until the beginning of the. Well there were other organizations she, she was in that were formed that were interested in peace but not so much until the beginning of the first World War. And from that time on, I think Miss Adams, well the most of her time and her thinking was her goal was peace in the world. And of course she was the first president, I think of the Women's International League taking in I don't know women of how many countries for peace. Later of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom has had its importers here traveling a great deal. And as she traveled, she found so many women in so many countries that were working for peace just as she did, they were working for suffrage. I mean she felt such a deep relationship with people all over the world, especially the women of the world. A personal question, where did she find the time of the day? I mean I suppose-. That's what you can't understand. You just can't understand because all this time she was speaking [unintelligible]. She was asked to speak a great deal in them especially in the Midwestern states. I don't know just on what. I suppose first about Hull House and last summer when I was home out in Iowa, I happened to run across a letter from Miss Adams which she wrote me when my father died. And she spoke of my father quite a little bit and I knew she'd been there months before I ever went to Hull House but I asked my sister how in the world she happened to know these things. She spoke about father meeting her at the train with these two little grandchildren. And my sister said, "Why you weren't home, but she came here to speak for the Progressive Party". And I think, for I guess, not more in two years I don't know just how long the Progressive Party was forming and-. Is Bob La Follette's one? Yes. Nineteen twenty-four. And she was very much. She thought that offered some hope as we see things that are of some hope today, I suppose, and getting away from the two, old parties. But all these things and then writing so much. A great many books, on peace. Her book. There's one book she's written, "The Spirit of Youth in the City Streets," which is written I think, in 1911 or '12 which I think is one of the greatest books she wrote. And I think today in all the searching for the causes of juvenile delinquency and what to do about it and all that. I think that, that book is just as valid more valuable today than most of the hundreds of things that are being written on juvenile delinquency. Because she saw in her life there at Hull House. What did she said? She, she felt so much the life of the children and what their lives had done to them. And she had such complete confidence in the faith and the spirit of youth. If we would only nurture it and not subject it to everything that just smothers it. But there was that book made up of well with references over and over and over again all through the books to things that happened there at Hull House, the children she knew that probably all the rest of us had forgotten, you know. It was all so personal. I mean- Yes. even though she dealt with the world issues- Yes. universal that it was still aspect remembering your father. Yes. Yes. And so the children she knew, too. Yes. Remembering him meeting her with his two little grandchildren. And yes, it, it was so personal and yet so, so, encompassing the whole world really. I, I think you. Now, this far away from it all you even get more of a feeling than you had then about Miss Addams when you lived there with her. You didn't quite realize then, all, all that was happening. But I think the, I think the saddest, someone said once the most tragic day of Miss Addams' life was when war came. That she had come to feel almost that we couldn't have war anymore. That while you hadn't done all the things that she thought should be done to make should, sure of peace but she just couldn't imagine war coming again. And then it came. And then of course came her great efforts to which she thought was still possible to bring about a neutrality between the nations in the very beginning of the first World War. And she traveled extensively in Europe at that time seeing the different rulers, men in power in the different countries. And then of course failing but and very much condemned by people because they felt that she was a pacifist or whatever they all meant by that and that she wasn't being-. Well, she was accused of all sorts of things. Accused of being a traitor and went through some very, very sad years, even here in Chicago. She was written off the books of the little church near Hull House which she was a member. The Woman's Club here which really was a very vigorous outstanding club in those days wouldn't have her speak on their platform. And she, she's terribly condemned and reviled. But I was reading the other day, that she said at that time, that, that wasn't half as hard, taking all that, then it was to feel that you hadn't done all you could. I'm thinking of the, of your fund, the richness of your resources in recalling all this, Miss Binford. It's, it's a tribute to you, as well as to Miss Addams. I'm thinking of the last session we had, you spoke of her relationship to the children, to the old world parents. Yes. The kids were ashamed of their pare-. Perhaps recreate little things. I don't want to lose anything you're telling me. See? No. Well. The shame. She was aware of this, too, of the second generation kids of their first generation parents. How did she tackle that problem? Well, she tac-, I think she tackled almost everything very. She tackled things immediately as well as looking forward and beyond all the immediate things she did. Now in relation to the children of the foreign parents there, she, she felt the children lost their respect for their parents. They had come away from their own countries. They didn't know very much about they were getting just a little older and she established what they call the labor museum there at Hull House in which the foreign women came, making, weaving, doing different things in which they had these great skills. And now that was done, really that was done, to give the children respect for their parents and to, to have them see what their parents did. But but I think it's awfully significant that she just didn't talk about it or she just didn't talk about the future and all the big things we must do. But she did something immediate about it. Then when Hull House opened, what was done first by Miss Addams, the people who lived there, naturally, we didn't have many agencies in Chicago then. There wasn't much help for people who were poor and sick and in great need, unemployed. And the first thing the neighbors came there for were, was for help, just for their humble or tragic human needs that people have in families and bringing up children. And the first things that everybody helped with even our, our, after I came was helping our neighbors with those problems. Now Miss Addams wasn't a trained social worker. None of us were trained social workers. We represented all kinds of experiences and professions but we weren't trained as in the profession as is recognized today as social work. But you all did the best you could and you you learn so much. I was saying the other day, Mr. Terkel. I hadn't been at Hull House very long when one night, a rather young girl wandered in there and hadn't any place to stay. And we talked to her and couldn't find out much of anything about her. She was either wouldn't tell or didn't remember. We didn't know what's the matter. The only thing is she was very definite about was that she had a. That when she was younger, a little girl, she remembered her father was in prison. She thought in Illinois. Now, that's all she remembered. Well now, I don't know what social workers would have done today but the next day or two, Miss Addams thought someone ought to go down and talk to her father, in prison, see we we'd find out about her. We, we didn't know how to help her, [anything?]. And show she asked me to go down. Well now, I think I'd been interested in prisons and, and reform schools out, one in Iowa, a vague sort of a way. But the impression I got that day that visit, I went down and found out he was there. It was at Joliet, our prison here and asked if I could see him and they said yes. So they took me out of the administration building across a, sort of a bricked-in yard to another smaller building and where he was confined they said. And as we went I've never been at a big prison before and as we went across that yard, the men at that time were all, their heads were clipped, you know. Their hair was clipped. And they were in uniforms and shackled with, with chains. Their feet shackled all together. In spite of the fact that there was a high stone wall around all the place and the guard, guards with guns on every corner you know. And I went in and asked if I, they said I could see him and so they went to get him. And I waited a long time and finally the guard, or whoever it was, came back and said he was awfully sorry but he said this man had been there a great many years and that he never had but one visit a year. Some man came to see him once a year and it just happened that the day before that man had been there. So he'd gone back to his cell, looking forward to a whole year of not seeing anybody. And that he was so shocked when they told him somebody is there to see him he just went all to pieces and couldn't come out. Well now, we did things like that. Now I don't believe I could ever read anything or heard lectures or anything else in college that would have made the impression on me that, that one visit did. And Miss Addams took all these things of course that the rest of us did, too. I mean they, that probably impressed her just as much, as it, as it did me. Another thing that day, I talked to one of the men while I waited who was a trustee. Been there a long time. This was the old prison. Terrible, terrible place and they were just about to move to the new Stateville Prison which is much better. They, in that prison, they have outside windows in their cells. And this man talked to me while I was waiting and he said he'd be so glad to get over there that I think he'd been there over 20 years. He said he had never seen the sky at night. He'd never seen the sky anyplace except just looking up from that. He'd never seen a sunrise or the moon or the stars and that's what he was anticipating when he got over to that new prison. Little things you know. When people you, you have some association with. They mean something different, completely different. Again the personal approach. The personal approach. The actual knowing the individual, the human being rather than something. Rather than, yeah. And I know not very long either after I was there, a neighbor one of the men who worked in the steel mills was terribly injured and his fair wife of course came to tell Miss Addams about it. She thought somebody ought to go down and see him. Well I suppose when you were first there you offered to do everything [laughter] when you did all the time. And I offered to go down and see him and I went down and went to this hospital. I didn't know very much about the hazards of labor and certain kinds of work. Was taken up to a ward where this man was and he was just bound bandages from head to foot, you know, he'd been terribly injured and his wife was there with him. And I went in with something [about tall?] I, there was a bed next to him that nobody was in. And suddenly I felt myself getting kind of faint. And when I came to, [laughter] they had put me on this bed next to him. I'd fainted dead away. Well you know, you get so close to things. I hadn't realized that men were doing things that could just kill them almost, the hazards of, of industry and lack of, course that's been changed a great deal today. But I was speaking about how Miss Adams didn't wait to do things. Now as she saw, learned about the deprivation and the drabness and the dreariness of the lives of the people of that neighborhood and the children and the old people, of course she began to see way beyond envision the things that must, must be changed if those things were ever to be changed. But that wasn't enough for her. She. Here she was in her own home could do anything she wanted to do. She immediately began to feel that at least something could immediately be done to lessen the dullness and the drabness and drabness and the hopelessness of their lives. And so right away she began to talk with her only one or two people at first were there and then there were volunteers of things they could do there at Hull House and there began to develop right away. The things that grew to a pretty significant pore, proportions, before it was over. Organizing first a kindergarten for the little children right there in the back the rear of the one big room that they had there. And then these little clubs for boys. And then she never forgot the all the people in the family and then for, for the older people for the fathers and mothers and just gradually became began all these clubs, classes some of them very serious, educational classes. Lots of the young people who'd had to go to work wanted really serious classes in reading and lectures. The university men came over there a good deal. Finally they built a theater which was one of the most popular activities there at Hull House. Music classes, too? Learning to play instruments? And the music school. The theater was not only the children but the boys and the girls and the young people and the young people there, theatrical group, went to Ireland one summer and toured Ireland. They did such beautiful things and they did it so well. And music, art and neighborhood parties for the older people when the children didn't come. For the very old people, New Year's Day was always an old settlers' day. They came from all over-. Trade classes, too? Learning trades? Yes. Yes, not so much trades there, although they did have some trade work but not so much then. But I think one of the greatest things about Hull House was, was a permanent relationship that people had. Now they might come first for help perhaps the man was out of work or because of sickness or because the children were in trouble. But then immediately they began to come because they wanted to come for these other things. And they just continued to come. I, I think in relation to social work today, for instance, that the permanency of relationship, I've often said that they express it much better than anyone else can. That you see men and women today who grew up in that neighborhood as little children and they talk about Hull House. And they say, "Well you know, we grew up at Hull House". That was the, that's the expression they used. "We grew up there". So that it had a. It had a great influence in, in, in their lives. Great influence, of course. I met a young woman not very long ago and I was speaking at a PTA meeting in way out in one of the suburbs. She wanted to know if I remembered her. She had grown up there, on one of the streets right near Hull House. Married a boy who lived there. He studied medicine. Has done very well as a physician and they decided when they had children, they'd better move out into one in the suburbs. She said where they thought they could give their children things that they had never had. And she said, "You know, we often say, 'Now money can't buy what we had at Hull.' That we'd give anything on earth that we could get for our children, what we had at There's something you said last time, Ms. Binford on this point. I think perhaps maybe even worth your saying it. I think you said it. Jane Addams made a discovery there early, in the early days. That there was a hunger of these people for more than food. It was the hunger for beauty, for the beauty in life. Yes I think she always. And she recognized that not only in the children but in the fathers and mothers, no matter what had happened to them. No matter what they had become. And the old people, that there was a great longing for all these things. Now, maybe they had never had it all our lives. Maybe the parents had never had it but they did respond to it right away when it was offered to them. And the companionship, the feeling that somebody, somebody cared and they, they just didn't. Their lives just didn't seem so utterly hopeless. And there, there, there it stayed. Things change so fast today. But there it was permanent and it was her home. She wasn't coming to work there in the morning and leaving at night. But there it was, part of their neighborhood, part of their community. And I think that made a great deal of difference in their response to everything, too. Could, could I ask you question? It's a very ignorant sort of question. So many people of quality end at the end of their lives are defeated. Was she, did she have this feeling that, that of resignation that she'd seen world wars and she'd seen the world not perceptively better than, than when she started? I, I don't know. I think Miss Addams was always hopeful. I mean I don't think she ever. I can't imagine seeing her despondent. You saw her at the time of the war, the first World War, very sober and pretty sad. She was sad not only because of war but here were all the boys in our neighborhood. People we've known since they were little children growing up, going off to war, and the grief of their parents. And there's a whole [cough]. Used to be at Hull House, oh, I don't know how names up there, of all the boys right around there that gone to war. But I don't think, she, I don't believe she was ever despondent about anything. I think she was sure that something could be done. I think she was sure that peace in the world could come. Just sure of it. I think she was sure of the really good will and intentions of people, that something had made them forget it or be what they were, too. I mean she wouldn't misjudge a politician, as you or I would, I don't think. She, she wouldn't blame him for, I don't think. She'd, she'd realize what brought him to that state of mind. But I, I think she was always vigorous. She, she wasn't ill very long before she died. But she was writing a book then, a book on Ms. Lathrop she'd almost finished it. And no, I don't, I don't believe she was despondent or felt there wasn't any use or any of that kind. I think, she always had faith in people. Always. And I, I think she brought it out in them, too. I mean I think, they responded to it. Because she felt, they felt she wasn't just condemning them but she understood. About the first great strike here they often talk about after she came to live at Hull House. The employees came to her for help but the employers, also, just the same. Now they wouldn't come to her, if they did and she wouldn't begin by condemning them with their labor practices and that sort of thing. She tried to make them see the point of view of the the laborers, their employees. And she did. That strike was settled. I think. And the man, who was the president of that great corporation became one of the best friends Miss Addams ever had. He and his wife both, one of the strongest supporters of Hull House. And she didn't expect people to do things all at once, either. I mean. She, she realized, as I often thought, think, thought lately in reading some of her things, seemed to her, she related everything, no matter whether it was it was perhaps, it was a little girl who'd come in to Hull House who was going to have an illegitimate child from some other cities thinking she'd find a haven there at Hull House and you'd talk to Miss Addams about her. Whether it was something like that or whether it was her coming back after going to Washington to see the President of the United States about some big international problem. But no matter how little or how great the thing was, in her mind, she related it to all the history of the past. Perhaps you think And of the world of the present day and to what she envisioned the future could be. It was all there in everything she. It seemed to me that way. This inference that Jane Addams had what might be described as a sense of history. Very much. That-. Very That detemined everything she did in her daily life. Very much. She. Of course her education at Rockford, which was a small school. A seminary at that time, although she got it changed into a college but it was a very profound education, I think, with wonderful teachers. And strange I was reading some place the other day that she was greatly interested in science, there at Rockford. But you can tell from writing and reading about her college days, that they're very different from college days today for most people, and they left. She had a very small class. I think only 17 students, vowing to each other just eternal allegiance to all the ideals they had formed there. And they would never give them up without conscious justification and all that sort of thing. I mean I think her education must have been marvelous there. Miss Binford, you, you have been so kind and gracious. This is the second of two sessions. I'm thinking now of perhaps something else that may come to mind if there is anything. You've spoken of Jane Addams' childhood, her children, mothers, old world, the girls of the streets, peace, suffrage, labor. Is her personal life? Any other aspects? Perha-. We're going to call this the dream of Jane Addams. How would you describe the. You, you've done it already. Perhaps that something else, if there is anything else you want to say of her. Well I, I don't know. I think. I don't know. I think of course those last years of her life when she was working so much for peace that Miss Addams had come to feel that, that without peace in the world, in the whole world, you just couldn't ever reach the fulfilment of human welfare for everybody. I think all these other things that she was working for and that maybe seem not [national?] and well of course, they all are, almost today. But that that until you had peace in the world, what that really would mean, that you just couldn't. You just couldn't have human - reach the fulfillment of human welfare for, for, for all people in the world. I, I get the feeling that's what she felt. But if you did the things. If you had the understanding. If you, that, that would bring peace between men of all kinds and nationalities, that the other things would follow. And I think you can Jesse Well I don't know. You. I'm sure she felt that. I'm sure that was her ultimate hope and desire. And she thought it was possible. I don't think she ever gave up thinking it was possible. In answering Mr. Mitchell's question, she, toward the end of her life, the world somewhat lopsided as she saw it. She never was resigned, really. Never. The Never. No.

Studs Terkel the affirmation was there.

Jessie F. Binford Never. You felt she would have gone on long as she lived. Any, any time still feeling just as she did at that time and I think she'd always felt that way. I don't think she lost her faith in anybody. The most greatest obstructionist I had, I don't think she lost faith that if you could only understand each other.

Studs Terkel Understanding then.

Jessie F. Binford It's her understanding to me that's the greatest quality of, of Miss Addams.

Studs Terkel Jessie Binford.

Jessie F. Binford Yet, you, you can hardly hardly express it. There may be other things I'll think of Mr. Terkel.

Studs Terkel All right. I don't want you, you to, to exhaust yourself. You're not, I mean.

Jessie F. Binford Well, I, don't get exhausted. You. It's hard for anybody, I think. You read. They call me up this morning. Some man did from the Kiwanis magazine and they are having quite a long article publishing their magazine about Miss Addams. And I said, "Who's writing it?" And he said, "I don't know." [laughter] He said, "Some man who I guess is a writer." Well I said, "I'd be pretty careful if I were you." Somebody who didn't know anything about Miss Addams ending and I said, "Because something had been written that really shouldn't have been written." But of course it's impossible though for people almost to get to know her are the people who lived at that time knew her. And day by day, because it's the little things as well as the big things, don't you think, that people do, that reveal what they are.

Studs Terkel You've just said something. Pat-, possibly maybe the last phrase of the program. "What people do, the little things that reveal what they are." She revealed herself. There was no facade here.

Jessie F. Binford No,

Studs Terkel She revealed herself daily.

Jessie F. Binford Yeah. [Gee?] There was nothing, I often think today we have our great structures of social work and all that but Miss Addams wasn't an executive you know? She didn't have any, somebody'll ask, "Where, where was her office?" She didn't have any office. There was no structure about all she did. It was, as today, everything's built up and all you have to go through such a long chain of command, as they say in the Navy to really get to people, don't you know?

Studs Terkel This was person to person.

Jessie F. Binford Yeah, person to person.

Studs Terkel Gee, thank you,

Jessie F. Binford I think Mr. Terkel is going to do something awfully interesting.

Studs Terkel This can be very easy for me. You know how I'm going to do this? I'm tom-, making my confession right now. It's going to be your, your reminiscences will be the 99 percent of the program. I'm going to do very little shifting around. It'll be as though you're recalling and I will insert music or dramatic but not a, music, song and interview with Perry Miranda interviewing a boy. In between, really I think it should be just the standpoint of

Jessie F. Binford Well, I don't know. I thought you

Studs Terkel

Jessie F. Binford Hundreds of gnarled dirty bony hands reaching out to grab and then to eat these this spoiled produce that they were giving, giving away. She refers that quite often. Miss Binford, would you mind just remembering this again the story of Jane Addams and England again just as you were. Yeah. How did that go again? Well Miss Adams got such deep impressions of certain things that she referred to over and over again. And it was when she was in Europe before she came to Hull House when she was traveling trying to, in the years that she called the snare, snare preparation for something to come that she wanted to do and to reach what she wanted to do and she was traveling in Europe and was in London one night when someone took into one of the poorest quarters where there happened to be a crowd of hundreds of people waiting to get the spoiled meat and vegetable things they were giving away. And as she looked over the crowd, she saw said it all looked like an ocean of hands reaching out to grab and then to eat these spoiled vegetables and whatever they were giving away. And she said she never saw hands again lifted or in applause or anything. Great numbers of hands, that that picture didn't come back to her. I think it made a deep impression on her as she saw the symbolism of it. She did of everything. Was it her London experience when she was there that led to her seeking to find a settlement house similar to that here in Chicago wasn't it? Well I, I think her what led to her doing what she did here although perhaps she couldn't have expressed it, came much earlier than that. You know even in her childhood memories she, she was always conscious of the inequality of the common law, as she says. And even as a little girl her mother had died and she was the constant companion of her father and she was always asking him to explain the inequality of what people had. Why she had better clothes than another little girl. And especially what she writes a great deal about how one day she went into a neighboring city with her father and they happened to go into the poorer section. She came from a very little village where she says poverty isn't the same as it is in the city but in this section she saw people living in these very little houses, not very good houses. And she asked her father why some people lived in houses like that and other people lived in good houses as she did in her little village. And he tried to explain it to her but that she said to him this is only when she was five or six years old, I think, that when she grew up she wanted to have a house of her own and she wanted it to be big but it was going to be built in with little houses like these. That, curiously as a child, that was already sort of in her mind. I don't suppose she knew why. Then of course I think as the years passed and after she left college and was ill then for two years quite seriously ill. Had to give up the study of medicine which she had decided to do because it would she would get to know people and she then was ill and couldn't do anything for a while and began traveling in, in quite extensively in Europe. But all the time there she was always conscious of her desire to, well, to know people who lived some kind of life where she could know people and understand all kinds and conditions of people. And I think it was her final decision came without too much of a concrete plan came after seeing a bullfight in Spain one night and the brutality of it, and the blood and everything didn't affect her so much as it did the other people she was with. They all left but she stayed through it. But after she got back that night to the hotel she couldn't sleep because she said the moral situation of it all in every way began to affect her very, very much and that she decided then that she'd been sort of excusing herself, as preparing for something she didn't quite know what and that she was going to end her years of preparation and she would carry out some of the things that she had vaguely rather had in mind. And one was to come back to Chicago and live in the kind of a district where she could know all kinds of people. She could learn of life from life itself just as we've been talking. You, you just can't know about things if you, if you don't learn about it in reality. And she didn't have any plans when she came. I mean, except that she wanted to live there. Just live there. And [coughing] I, I think people are always speaking about what a compassionate person she was, that made her want to live among the poor and help them. I, I don't, I wouldn't say compassion at all. It was more much more than that. Much deeper than that. It was, first of all, to understand herself. Understand their lives what made them what they were and but simply to have her home there and that she had a. She didn't begin the way you begin today with the great blueprints and plans for buildings and the great amount of money and all that sort of thing. There, there was. It was very, very vague not vague in one way. It was very deep because and and very specific in her own mind. It began way back in her childhood. I, I think her own writing in her first book, "The First 20 Years of Hull House," about her childhood. This is one of the most significant thing she's ever written because from her father and living in the kind of a home she did, especially from her father. His wise replies to all of her questions which were very deep for a little child. And things she never forgot, as long as she lived, you know. How when Lincoln died; that the impression it made on her and her father. I think she was only four years old then, perhaps seven. I'm not sure which. And her father sat, was crying one morning when she came down and she saw there two white fence posts draped in black with a flag on each. She asked her father what was the matter and he said, "The greatest man in the world had died." And from all he told her about Lincoln then, Lincoln was the greatest hero I think she had in her life. Over and over and over again she quotes from Lincoln and the first I'd forgotten this, until recently, the first Christmas she was at Hull House. They had only been there two or three months but they did have this small club of 25 boys, little boys and she said they didn't have much money to spend for Christmas but out of the little they had, she gave each one of those, those boys, "The Life of Lincoln" for Christmas. "Little Life of Lincoln" for Christmas. And then, another thing that always impressed me, she tells of another day when she found her father grieving and she asked him what was the matter and he said Mazzini had died in Italy and she argued with him about it. She said she didn't see why he should feel badly. He'd never seen him. He didn't know him. He wasn't even an American. Why shouldn't, why should her father feel badly? And he explained to her that there were bonds between men who had large hopes and like desires, even if they had never seen each other or lived far apart. Didn't know each other. And she said that, that morning, she thought she got one of the most valuable possessions she ever had in all her life. And when you think of her internationalism and all these things that came later. You see, they really began when she was a very little girl. Very little girl. It was no accident. Hmmm? It was no accident. It was no accident. Her, her mind was so profound even when she was a child. I think I never realized that part until this year when we've all been reading over a lot of her things and books and things she's written. But you didn't realize the depth and the scope of her mind and her thoughts. I don't know whether I when we were talking before or whether I repeated you a story of a what happened very soon after she died there at Hull House. I was riding home in a cab one day back to Hull House. And the man when I gave him the address he after a while he was a middle-aged man he said, "Did you know Jane Adams?" I said, "Yes." And he didn't say anything. And then after while, he said very soberly. He said, "I knew her, too, but I never saw her but once in my life." And there was something about the man that you didn't question him, you know. And then he drove rather slowly and began. He said that one night when he was a little boy that he was standing over in front of the Union Station here one night about twelve o'clock eleven or twelve o'clock at night selling papers. He was only I think eight years old. And that some man got out of a cab. It was a cold, very cold winter's night. Some man got out of a cab and started to rush into the station and then came back and looked around as if he were looking for somebody. And this little boy was the only person there and he came over and asked him if he could trust him to do a very important errand for him. And the little boy of course very pleased, said yes. The man said he would pay him and tell him how to get there; that he had forgotten to leave some very important papers with Miss Adams and that she must get them. And with that, he gave the boy some money in the papers and left. And this old fellow said that, or this man said that he found his way over there and when he saw this large house all lighted up, he, he was sort of afraid to go in but finally did go to the door and ask to see Miss Adams. And someone told him that. Asked him what he wanted and he said that he had some papers to give to her and they said they would give them to her and he said, "No, I won't get them to you. I was told to get them just to Miss Adams". And they called her and as I often say she, she'd never refused to see anybody. I mean, she was never too busy to be called down whatever she was doing and he said she came down the stairs and that he'd never been in the house like that. He'd never seen a house like that and he'd never seen anybody like Miss Adams. And she thanked him and then insisted that he sit down; there was an open fire in the fireplace and get warm before he went out. And he said "We sat there and she said he did she didn't ask me my name. She didn't ask me if my mother knew where I was. Or all the questions that social workers should probably ask." He said "she just talked to me like a grown-up person." And finally he said "when I went to go, she went to the door and stood there in the doorway. It was a very cold night until I disappeared around the corner" and he said, "I went around the corner and stood there and cried for a long time." He said "I don't know why." Well that's what I mean everybody who knew her, got that feeling that, that she understood you. That she understood what made you what you were. She was looking far beyond just helping you a little It's a matter of not being patronizing. Never No, not being patronizing. And everybody felt that whether it was a big employer here, man of wealth and privilege, money, education or whether it was a little boy like that. She, she. It didn't make any difference to her who you were or what you were but she just seemed to understand what made you what you were. What had, what had molded your life to make you the kind of a person that she saw, as she meet you. To me, and of course I think that's why she was such an international person because that extended to people all over the world. I don't suppose any woman was better known in more nations of the world than Miss Adam's was. Miss Binford, I'm thinking last time you spoke of her attitude toward children as you did now, variations and since she understood people, her interest, Miss-thinking of Jane Adams now as a woman and you were thinking of the girls. The girls that, her relationship towards the prostitutes- Yes. called "The Street Girls". Yes well that, that is one of the things I, I think that even those of us who lived there and certainly the people today who are reading about her and never knew her at all, can't have any conception of they. Well, I know- what I mean is, they think of her in connection with Hull House, as a good neighbor and as a person who went to live in that district and in connection with Chicago and very, really a very limited area, but that she's known as Jane Adams of Hull House. But they can't have. They just can't have any conception of how from the very beginning, how her mind encompassed all the great problems. Now take. And, and her books and all she wrote at that time show that if people read them but take the question of prostitution. I don't suppose Miss Adams had ever read much about it, probably, at that time, or knew very much about the great problem that she says a social evil that had existed for years and years and years all over the world. But once she went to live there and saw the girls, the daughters of some of her neighbors who because of despair perhaps and fatigue in the work they did and the lack of any recreation or any outlook in their lives were bought and sold in the great business prostitution, in one district was quite near us there. Then, in a few years, here she was writing a whole book on a, a new conscience and an ancient profession. Writing a marvelous book. She even calls prostitution a twin of slavery. But it came to her so symbolically from somebody she knew. Probably would have she'd already known one girl but she saw the mothers there are fearful, that their daughters would be so despairing and they had such low wages and fatigue and all that. That they would be lured into these, districts [all of which] of course, some men made a great deal of money and of course probably a great deal of money was played, paid for protection, the government of the city in one way or another and that was true of. I mean you wouldn't think of her spending her time and her thoughts and all in some, one grey field of human welfare like that. Because of her understanding and her courage, didn't she sometimes encounter powerful forces that opposed her? Oh of course she did. Of course she did. I I mean I suppose that so many of the things she did take her all her work on suffrage all through her but you feel. I'd forgotten what year we got the vote, women got the vote here. I think in 1920. Twenty. But you see then she'd been at Hull House 30 years. And I don't think she was one of the greatest leaders in it, but all the years. And it wasn't that she, she wasn't just fighting for the right of women to vote. It was much more than that. With all through her life there, she saw what a great contribution women could make in government. City government, state government, national and internationally because of their great interest, perhaps more than men had, in, in many things that government effects very, very much specially in health and education, welfare children. And so that she did become one among the great leaders, but it was more than just for the right to vote. It was because of what she thought women could do to make our government what it should be and bring an understanding that perhaps onl-, only women have much more than men and in a different way because they're closer to all these problems with children, as, as they grow up. But there again another great, great field of of interests that reach not only in America but I think she was president, as I remember, she was president of the first national suffrage organization here in America. And here she was doing all these things when you thought she was as busy as anybody could be just with Hull House which was developing and enlarging and all the time and becoming a great center not only for the neighborhood but for people who were interested in all of the things that Miss Adams was doing. And then, in peace [cough], I, I don't think I realize until this year how her great, intense interest in peace began very early there at Hull House. Now I don't remember hearing very much about it then. I might not. Or about these other things. And yet here she was, writing these books which to me are just as valuable today as they were when they were written. Perhaps even more so. Many years ago, almost more so. But she, she writes that in the life of her neighbors there, she's always coming back to that, in the neighborhood, she saw the, a morality which had very significant national and international aspects. Very early there at Hull House she began to see that and, and that began her, her goal for peace in the world, I think which lasted all through the years and her several books she wrote but it wasn't until the beginning of the. Well there were other organizations she, she was in that were formed that were interested in peace but not so much until the beginning of the first World War. And from that time on, I think Miss Adams, well the most of her time and her thinking was her goal was peace in the world. And of course she was the first president, I think of the Women's International League taking in I don't know women of how many countries for peace. Later of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom has had its importers here traveling a great deal. And as she traveled, she found so many women in so many countries that were working for peace just as she did, they were working for suffrage. I mean she felt such a deep relationship with people all over the world, especially the women of the world. A personal question, where did she find the time of the day? I mean I suppose-. That's what you can't understand. You just can't understand because all this time she was speaking [unintelligible]. She was asked to speak a great deal in them especially in the Midwestern states. I don't know just on what. I suppose first about Hull House and last summer when I was home out in Iowa, I happened to run across a letter from Miss Adams which she wrote me when my father died. And she spoke of my father quite a little bit and I knew she'd been there months before I ever went to Hull House but I asked my sister how in the world she happened to know these things. She spoke about father meeting her at the train with these two little grandchildren. And my sister said, "Why you weren't home, but she came here to speak for the Progressive Party". And I think, for I guess, not more in two years I don't know just how long the Progressive Party was forming and-. Is Bob La Follette's one? Yes. Nineteen twenty-four. And she was very much. She thought that offered some hope as we see things that are of some hope today, I suppose, and getting away from the two, old parties. But all these things and then writing so much. A great many books, on peace. Her book. There's one book she's written, "The Spirit of Youth in the City Streets," which is written I think, in 1911 or '12 which I think is one of the greatest books she wrote. And I think today in all the searching for the causes of juvenile delinquency and what to do about it and all that. I think that, that book is just as valid more valuable today than most of the hundreds of things that are being written on juvenile delinquency. Because she saw in her life there at Hull House. What did she said? She, she felt so much the life of the children and what their lives had done to them. And she had such complete confidence in the faith and the spirit of youth. If we would only nurture it and not subject it to everything that just smothers it. But there was that book made up of well with references over and over and over again all through the books to things that happened there at Hull House, the children she knew that probably all the rest of us had forgotten, you know. It was all so personal. I mean- Yes. even though she dealt with the world issues- Yes. universal that it was still aspect remembering your father. Yes. Yes. And so the children she knew, too. Yes. Remembering him meeting her with his two little grandchildren. And yes, it, it was so personal and yet so, so, encompassing the whole world really. I, I think you. Now, this far away from it all you even get more of a feeling than you had then about Miss Addams when you lived there with her. You didn't quite realize then, all, all that was happening. But I think the, I think the saddest, someone said once the most tragic day of Miss Addams' life was when war came. That she had come to feel almost that we couldn't have war anymore. That while you hadn't done all the things that s