Ellen Gates Starr

Ellen Gates Starr (1859-1940) was born in Laona Townsip, Illinois and attended nearby Rockford Female Seminary. Although she could only study there for just one year (due to financial constraints), Starr met someone who would change her life—Jane Addams.  After leaving the seminary, Starr became a school teacher in Chicago. Following her graduation from the seminary, Addams invited Starr to join her on a trip to Europe. Their time spent at Toynbee Settlement Hall and London’s East End inspired the two to start a settlement house in Chicago. Finding an old mansion originally owned by the Hull Family, Starr and Addams founded the Hull House in 1889. Serving the neighborhood’s immigrants, Starr first focused on education and arts programs. She later shifted her energy to labor issues and was a founding member of the Women’s Trade Union League. Health issues forced Starr to leave the Hull House and take up residence at a convent in New York. While Jane Addams won recognition for her work, Hull House would not have come to be had it not been for Ellen Gates Starr.

Why this stop? The Blue Line Clinton stop is a half mile east of Hull House.

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Women’s L Project Connections — One of Maria Cerda’s first jobs was at Hull House. Viola Spolin led drama workshops at the Hull House. Florence Scala took classes at the Hull House.