Primary Sources

In 1895, Jane Addams and Florence Kelley mapped out the social and demographic characteristics across a neighborhood in Chicago.  The Hull House Maps consist of two parallel drawings which span North to South from Polk to S. 12th Street, and East to West from Pacific Ave to State Street.  The buildings are numbered and divided into smaller living units, and the maps are color-coded by weekly household income and nationality, respectively.  Side by side, you can use the maps to highlight trends- such as, what types of groups live on the margins, and what does that tell us?  On the Wage map, you can see a high concentration of brothels that are wedged between two major railroads, across several freight houses and factories. Addams, known as the mother of the social work profession, pioneered the notion to look at social problems in the context of the environment, which makes these maps invaluable in deciding where, and how to provide effective social services.  It would be interesting to see where they developed certain projects in relation to the characteristics of these neighborhoods.

Hull-House (Chicago, Ill.), Addams, Jane, 1860-1935, Kelley, Florence, 1859-1932, (1895), Wage Map No. 1 Wage Map No. 2 Wage Map No. 3 Wage Map No. 4. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America,

Hull-House (Chicago, Ill.), Addams, Jane, 1860-1935, Kelley, Florence, 1859-1932, (1895), Nationalities Map No. 1 Nationalities Map No. 2 Nationalities Map No. 3 Nationalities Map No. 4. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America,


“The Warf and Woof of the Survey” is a brochure, advertising “The Survey,” which is a weekly publication dedicated to the social justice movement.  On the front, there are nine photographs and one graphic depicts several social issues such as children and infectious diseases, immigration, social welfare, and unsafe working conditions.  The backside of the brochure describes the mission of “The Survey,” a promotion which includes an additional subscription to the magazine of your choice for a discounted rate, and a few glowing reviews from prominent social reform figures.  I think this source gives us an idea of  how information was distributed to the public in order gain momentum to seek social change.  It’s also interesting to see the ‘business side’ of the social reform movement.

Survey Associates, Inc., (circa 1900 to circa 1909) The Warf and Woof of the Survey. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America,



Margaret Sanger advocates for the right of women to control their reproductive health.  She argues that disparities in health education leave women in working-class districts at a disadvantage.  She also pulls in statistics from studies conducted in Europe, which showed the staggering differences in birth rates across economic classes. Her quote, “The working class can use direct action by refusing to supply the labor market with children to be exploited, by refusing to populate the earth with slaves” (p.2)  is a direct call to action

The day book. (Chicago, Ill.), 27 April 1916. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>


In Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s publication, Lynch Law in Georgia Wells traveled throughout the south and investigated nine lynchings which had occurred within two months in Georgia.  Wells opens her book by ‘considering the facts,’ which is a reference to many Southern apologist’s go-to justification for lynchings, based off of false accusations of sexual assault. Her research would inform her anti-lynching campaign, a comprehensive body of evidence, including statistics of racial violence in the South.

Wells-Barnett, I. B., Le Vin, L. P., Daniel Murray Pamphlet Collection & Harry Houdini Collection. (1899) Lynch law in Georgia: a six-weeks’ record in the center of southern civilization, as faithfully chronicled by the “Atlanta journal” and the “Atlanta constitution”: also the full report of Louis P. Le Vin, the Chicago detective sent to investigate the burning of Samuel Hose, the torture and hanging of Elijah Strickland, the colored preacher, and the lynching of nine men for alleged arson. [Chicago: This pamphlet is circulated by Chicago colored citizens] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,


In “The Woman that Toils” investigative journalist, Bessie Van Vorst goes undercover as a seamstress in a costume factory in Chicago. She exposes the harsh realities of tenement life and the uncomfortable divide between immigrant factory workers and rich American young women living in settlements.

Van Vorst, Bessie, (1903-01) The woman that toils. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America,



In gathering these sources,  I realized the important role these women played contributing to the body of social sciences.  However, I found that their contributions are often left out of the narrative of social research.

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