Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Of the settlement house movement in the United States at the turn of the century, perhaps the most famous of these houses was Chicago's Hull House. Founded in a slum by Jane Addams, Hull House provided healthcare, education, recreation, and childcare services to recent European immigrants living in extreme poverty . While the impact of Addam's work at Hull House on modern sociology, education, social work, welfare and child labor laws have been well documented, less celebrated are the contributions made by the arts education programs at Hull House to modern creative dramatics.

This thesis examines the presence of arts education, particularly creative dramatics, in Chicago's Hull House from 1890-1940. I contend that at the turn of the century, the ideologies of recreation and play developed by Jane Addam's and Neva Boyd combined during their time together at Hull House to produce a new, pedagogical approach to arts education, synthesized in the work of Viola Spolin. The work of Boyd and Addams, further developed by Spolin, combined in Hull House to not only facilitate local community growth on Halsted Street and to provide services to the extreme poor, but to create an altogether new creative discipline and approach to education with significant and lasting historical ramifications.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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