Jane Addams founded Hull House in 1889, along with her friend Ellen Starr. Jane had a very compassionate heart from the time she was a young girl. Everywhere she went, Jane had a desire to help people less fortunate than herself. Jane's father helped shape her to become more charitable to others less fortunate. Even as a young girl Jane wanted to know why all people did not live in nice homes with yards like her own. One day she saw a part of town that was run down and she could hardly believe that people could live in such "horrid little houses. That day Jane decided that she wanted to live in a large house in the middle of an awful place as she had seen. Jane wanted to do this so she could make a difference in the lives of people who lived there.
Jane Addams was born on September 6, 1860, in Cedarville, Illinois. One year later the War between the North and the South started. That same year the telegraph lines reached coast to coast. While Jane was a young girl, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
Jane had the opportunity to go to Rockford Female Seminary at the age of seventeen. It was there at Rockford that Jane decided she wanted to be a missionary in the United States to help the poor. Jane went to Rockford for four years and was an excellent student. She received the highest grades out of every member in her class. Jane enjoyed having fun but was also of a serious nature.
After Jane graduated from Rockford, she decided she wanted to be a doctor and work among the poor. Jane went to Philadelphia to go to medical school and because she worked so hard, she became ill and a pain in her back, from her childhood returned. Jane ended up having to stay in bed, strapped to a board, for six months so her back could heal. After Jane recovered from her illness, she still had to wear a tight brace to stop the strain on her back. This brace helped Jane so she was not in pain all the time. Her doctor thought a trip to Europe would help her recover, therefore in August 1882; Jane went to Europe for a vacation.
In Europe Jane visited many places, including Ireland, Scotland, and different cities in England. Jane enjoyed London and particularly enjoyed a wax museum called Madame Tussaud's waxworks. One Saturday evening in London Jane and her friends were in a poor part of town, and someone told them they would see the late Saturday evening food sale if they stayed. It was a law that food could not be sold on Sunday, so Saturday evening the peddlers would auction off the fruits and vegetables that were left over. It was there that Jane saw a sight she would never forget. The poor swarmed around the peddlers offering every penny they had for the left over food. The peddlers were selling food that was moldy, bruised, and dirty, but the people did not care, many of them sat right there and ate it anyway. Jane wondered if there was anyone around to help these people. While in Europe Jane studied the German, Italian, and French languages.