Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

White, J. Patrick||Schneider, Robert W.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of History


Wisconsin University Settlement (Milwaukee; Wis.); Social settlements--Wisconsin--Milwaukee


When Rev. Herbert H. Jacobs began his ministry of the Hanover Street Church on the South Side of Milwaukee, he also embarked on social settlement work which developed into thirty years of service through the Wisconsin University Settlement. This was the only university settlement operating in Wisconsin during the years when the city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin furnished national leaders for both the Republican and Socialist parties and nation-wide leadership in municipal and state reform programs. This settlement, its social workers, its sponsors, and its neighborhood participants all played important parts in the development of these programs. In recent years, interest in the settlement movement has increased as solutions are sought to the urgent problems confronting the cities. The Wisconsin University Settlement was particularly successful in establishing social services in Milwaukee, in using its influence to promote legislation, and in encouraging its participants to engage in political activity as a means toward the improvement of their community. This paper has a three-fold purpose: first, to relate the history of a significant, yet comparatively unknown, social settlement; second, to examine how an active settlement functioned as it translated the goals of the movement into positive programs; and third, to discuss the lessons which the settlement's story can provide for those interested in the applicability of the settlement concept to contemporary problems. The first purpose will be served by relating the public history of the Wisconsin University Settlement and then focusing on the details of that history in the areas of leadership, financial support, and relations with the community. The second purpose will be served by in-depth studies of the leadership of this settlement and how that leadership communicated and interacted with the public, the sponsors, and the neighborhood; the finances of the institution and their relation to philanthropy; and the particular social services which originated here. The third purpose will be served by analyses of the financial operation of this settlement, the impact of its leadership, and the various effects on residents of the area. A settlement can, like this one, make important and lasting contributions to its community and point the way to effective solutions for urban problems. In these efforts, the nature of its sponsors and its participants as well as the range and type of it's programs will be determined by the nature of its principal leaders. They give life and longevity to the endeavor as well as form and scope, and in order to comprehend the work of such a social movement, one must consider not only the ideology and official statements of its leaders, but their day-to-day, informal effect on the operations of the institution. This paper is aimed at such an analysis, and, hopefully, it will provoke similar discussions of other social settlements so that a more realistic picture of this important social movement will emerge.


Includes bibliographical references.


154 pages




Northern Illinois University

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