Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Schaffer, Byron L., -1990

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Theatre Arts


Hull House (Chicago; Ill.); Social settlements--Illinois--Chicago; Performing arts sponsorship--Illinois--Chicago


Hull House of Chicago, since its founding in 1889, has been widely recognized for its active contributions to the field of social work. The settlement's artistic efforts have in comparison, however, been largely overlooked. The only exception to this fact is the work of the well-known Hull House Players, the outstanding amateur theatre group of its time. This historical paper chronicles the performing arts program of Hull House from the year 1920 to 1937, with emphasis on aspects of performing arts achievement other than that of the Players. The paper provides both description and assessment of the programs offered. Few publications exist concerning the theatrical and musical activity that occurred at the settlement. Thus, most of the information compiled in this thesis was gleaned from private collections and unpublished manuscripts. The majority of the documents researched are located in the archives of the original Hull Mansion now situated on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle. In order to realize the nature and effectiveness of the performing arts agenda of Hull House, a general history of the settlement and its founders is provided. Also included is some early historical information concerning both the visual arts and the early performing arts work of the settlement, as the two cannot be studied apart from one another. This thesis details the nature of both instruction and performance in music, theatre and dance during a selected seventeen-year period. The study discusses the pioneering accomplishments of the Hull House Music School. Also included is information describing the known theatrical occurrences c£ the settlement, including both the work of the Hull House Players and that of the lesser-known dramatics division of the settlement. Additionally, the paper highlights dance performance events and gives a basic description of the instruction given in dance. Finally, the paper covers performances given on the Hull House stage which were not produced solely by Hull House personnel or patrons. The paper reaches conclusions relative to the performing arts program as the program is associated with the overall aims of Hull House. A major finding is that the program was instrumental in acculturating immigrants into American society. Other conclusions relate to the educational goals of the program and the quality of the instruction and performances where this type of assessment is possible.


Bibliography: pages 214-222


vi, 222 pages




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