Hull-House Maps and Papers: A Presentation of Nationalities and Wages in a Congested District of Chicago, Together With Comments and Essays on Problems Growing Out of the Social Conditions which was published in 1895 by the residents of Hull House. The eight maps depicting the nationalities and weekly wages of Chicagoans living in an area just east of Hull House was the book’s defining feature, making it a landmark in the history of statistics. Hull-House Maps and Papers was written by Jane Addams, Agnes Sinclair Holbrook, Florence Kelley, Alzina P. Stevens, Isabel Eaton, Charles Zeublin, Josefa Humpal Zeman, Alessandro Mastro-Valerio, Julia C. Lathrop, and Ellen Gates Starr, who each focused on various aspects of what made up the neighbourhood they were surveying in Chicago

Book in Focus: Hull House Maps and Papers by Ellen and Samuel Sewer - Sheet1
Nationalities Map No.1_ ©Map Drawn by: Florence Kelley | Found at

Chicago 1890s

South Prairie Avenue was one of Chicago’s most fashionable addresses in the early 1890s, housing the estates of distinguished citizens such as sleeping car inventor George Pullman, department store founder Marshall Field, piano manufacturer W. W. Kimball, and meatpacking magnate Philip Armour. The majority of the mansions that once graced “Millionaire’s Row” have been demolished, but the 17,000-square-foot Glessner House, now a museum, is a reminder of their splendour. Other Chicagoans resided in cramped tenements and worked, if they had employment at all, for long hours and often low wages in sweatshops, factories, meatpacking plants, and domestic service, which was less than two miles away from Marshall Field’s two-million-dollar mansion and others on “Millionaire’s Row”.

Book in Focus: Hull House Maps and Papers by Ellen and Samuel Sewer - Sheet2
Hull House Chicago Post Card_ ©V.O. Hammon Publishing Co.

Chicago was not alone among Gilded Age cities in having a dramatic irony of lavishness and poverty. Hull House, established by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr in 1889, was created to provide a centre for greater civic and social life; to institute and maintain educational and philanthropic enterprises, and to investigate and improve the conditions in Chicago’s industrial districts was a unique settlement for this time. Hull House drew a remarkable group of social-reform-minded residents, mostly women, who “settled” (hence the name “settlement house”) in the neighbourhood they served.

Creation of the Hull House Project

Florence Kelley and men working for the U.S. Commissioner of Labor, Carroll D. Wright, helped collect the data between April and July 1893, and it was summarised in a 620-page report to Congress. The graphs created by Hull House residents, on the other hand, brought the data to life by colour-coding each nationality and wage level. The reader could easily see the clustering of nationalities and the distribution of weekly wages for families by looking at just eight pages. Furthermore, by comparing the sets of maps, the reader can examine the connections between wages and nationality. The maps conveyed statistical information with a high data density; they were also, and continue to be, works of art.

Book in Focus: Hull House Maps and Papers by Ellen and Samuel Sewer - Sheet3
Wages Map No.1_ ©Map Drawn by: Florence Kelley | Found at

Hull House Maps and Paper had a great deal of moving parts with various people conducting many different investigations and questionaries into the neighbourhood’s nationality and wages. The prefatory note was written by Jane Addams who was the head of the entire Hull House Maps and Papers project. The map notes and comments were drawn by Agnes Sinclair Holbrook who took creative from Charles Booth, who published the first volumes of his monumental study Life and Labour of the People in London in 1889. A study into the sweatshop system was compiled by Florence Kelley. An investigation into the wage-earning of children was conducted and collected by Florence Kelley and Alzina P. Stevens. Isabel Eaton was responsible for collecting receipts and expenditures of cloakmakers, who made up a vast majority of the citizens that were employed in the studied Chicago area. Each of these authors and analyzers played a part in making sure that each family within the neighbourhood were heard from and acknowledged as an important piece in the makeup of the area. 

Book in Focus: Hull House Maps and Papers by Ellen and Samuel Sewer - Sheet4
Nationalities Map No.4_ ©Map Drawn by: Florence Kelley | Found at

The use of mapping by Hull House residents was vastly different from that of white male Chicago school sociologists. These Chicago school sociologists academic maps revealed the lives of the neighbourhood’s residents to an audience of experts and decision-makers, but the Hull House maps showed the residents of the neighbourhood that their lifestyles had patterns and implications that could be used to make better decisions about community issues and interests. As a result of this information, Hull House residents and neighbours repeatedly initiated major social changes, such as working to establish the eight-hour day, the minimum wage, and the abolition of child labour. They also participated in a variety of social movements, including labour unions, women’s suffrage, and arts and crafts.

Book in Focus: Hull House Maps and Papers by Ellen and Samuel Sewer - Sheet5
Wages Map No.4_ ©Map Drawn by: Florence Kelley | Found at

Hull House Settlement Today

Sadly, within the last ten years, the monumental Hull House settlement played a crucial role in so many socio-changes in urban environments. The Chicagoans were shocked back in 2012 when the 123-year-old institution that provided critical human services closed its doors. For those who worked at the settlement house—now commonly referred to as community or neighbourhood centres—a death in the family had occurred. Jane Addams, the co-founder of Hull House and the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, is widely regarded as the mother of the early American settlement house movement. Many social workers regard Hull House as the birthplace of their profession Hull House had to close its doors since most of their income came from the government, and the continual ebb and flow of the economics of Chicago city, some budget cuts sadly had to be made in their social finances. 

For more information and the ability to download pdfs of the scanned books and mentioned wages and nationality maps, please visit:


Addams, J. et al. (1895) Hull-house maps and papers; a presentation of nationalities and wages in a congested district of Chicago, together with comments and essays on problems growing out of the social conditions. New York, NY: Crowell. 

Deegan, M.J. (2004) Hull-House Maps and Papers, Digital Commons at the University of Nebraska Lincoln . Available at: (Accessed: December 15, 2022).

Kelley, F. (2012) Nationality Map 1, Northwestern University School of Law. Available at: (Accessed: December 15, 2022).

Kelley, F. (2012) Wages Map 1, Northwestern University School of Law. Available at: (Accessed: December 15, 2022).

Knight, L.W. (2015) As Chicago’s Hull House closes its doors, time to revive the Settlement Model?, The Nation. Available at: (Accessed: December 15, 2022).

Lohr, S. (2020) Hull-House Maps & Papers, 125 years later: Part 1, Sharon Lohr Blog. Available at: (Accessed: December 15, 2022). 

V.O. Hammon Publishing Co. (2016) The Hull House, Chicago Post Card, Hull House. Available at:,_Chicago_(front).tif (Accessed: December 15, 2022). 


Rachel is currently in her last year at Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma, United States. She will be graduating with her Bachelors in Architectural Design and a Minor in History of Architecture. It could be said that architecture rules her life, but she couldn’t imagine being obsessed with anything else.