Grace Abbott Is Born

Progressive Era reformer Grace Abbott was born in Grand Island, Nebraska on November 17, 1878.

Reared in a family of activists, Abbott grappled early on with political and social issues. Her Quaker mother participated in the Underground Railroad and the woman suffrage movement; her father was a leader in state politics.

After graduating from college and teaching high school, Abbott left Nebraska in 1907 for the University of Chicago. While completing a master's degree in political science, she joined the residents of Jane Addams's Hull House. For the next nine years, Grace Abbott lived at Hull House while gaining national recognition as an advocate for immigrants.

As head of the Immigrants' Protective League in Chicago, Abbott established a way station for recent arrivals near the main Chicago railroad terminal. She worked for legislation regulating the employment agencies that so frequently exploited immigrants and convinced officials at Ellis Island to extend their protection and guidance beyond New York Harbor. At a 1912 congressional hearing, Abbott testified against implementation of a literacy test designed to stem the flow of southern and eastern European immigrants. Despite her efforts, a literacy qualification was instituted in 1917.

Grace Abbott (November 17, 1878 - June 19, 1939) was an American social worker who specifically worked in advancing child welfare. Her older sister was social worker Edith Abbott.

Abbott was born in Grand Island, Nebraska. Abbott graduated from Grand Island College in 1898. Before embarking on her future career in social work, she worked as a high school teacher in her home town through 1906. In 1902, she started graduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In 1907, she moved to Chicago, where she began her career in social work. She took up residency in the Hull House, an urban center for women engaged in early proto-feminism and social reform, as well as a safe haven for the poor. In 1909, Abbott received a Ph.M. in political science from the University of Chicago.

Justice For All Children Is The Great Ideal In Democracy ”

— Grace Abbott