EARLY FIGURES IN COMMUNICATION STUDIES
Unless otherwise noted, all biographies were written by Peter Simonson and Lauren Archer.
By Lauren Archer
Jane Addams (1860-1935) has frequently been cast as a social worker, but in many ways Addams can be considered the first American female public philosopher and her work can be seen as carrying pragmatism to its logical conclusion of applied philosophy worked out through social communication. She was born Laura Jane Addams on Sept. 6, 1860 in Cedarvillle, IL. Her mother died when she was 2, but her father later remarried (when Addams was 8). Her father's new wife had children of her own and one of her stepbrothers, George, would become a lifelong influence. Given her dad's status as a politician and successful mill owner, Addams experienced a comfortable life. Addams grew up in the shadow of the Civil War (Lincoln was a hero to both Addams and her father), but also at a time when Darwin's Origin of Species
was circulating and gaining popularity. Darwin's theory of evolution would later be developed into the theory known as social Darwinism that applied the idea of “survival of the fittest” to social success, an idea much of Addams later work would strive to counteract.
Her father wanted to see his daughter educated and so Addams attended Rockford Seminary (later Rockford College) where she enjoyed the women-centered environment and blossomed as both an intellectual and social leader. Upon graduation, Addams then faced limited opportunities to use the education she earned. Eschewing marriage and the traditional path for upper class ladies, she spent a decade looking for an outlet for her energy and eventually even her physical health was affected. Addams sought consolation for her physical ailments in travel. During travels to Europe Addams visited Toynbee Hall, the beginning of the settlement house movement in England. Toynbee Hall inspired Addams and allowed her to envision a new way to use her skills. Quickly convincing her friend Ellen Gates Starr to join in on her experiment, Hull House was born from a desire to be a “good neighbor to oppressed peoples.” Hull House opened on Sept. 18, 1889. Grounded in the needs of the neighborhood, Hull House and the settlement movement as a whole benefited many of the new immigrants and working classes. More importantly perhaps, Hull House provided an outlet for young men and especially young women who felt their ability to act blocked. In fact Addams often stressed that rather than a work of charity, Hull House created a place to develop and explore the interdependence of the classes.
In 1892 Addams met John Dewey, a relationship that would strongly influence the work of both. The two shared a number of beliefs, most notably their valuing of robust democracy and their belief in the importance of education that engaged student's experience. Dewey was a frequent visitor to Hull House and Addams often taught classes at the University of Chicago where Dewey was a professor. Dewey also frequently assigned Addams' books in his classes and dedicated his own book Liberalism and Social Action
Hull House also served as a sort of pragmatist feminist think tank. Residents dined, slept, did domestic chores and engaged in social work together while debating ethics, political theory, feminism, and culture. Several important and influential women would pass through the doors of Hull House including Julia Lathrop, the first woman to head a federal agency; Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a writer who discussed the connection between gender and economics; Edith and Grace Abbott; and Florence Kelley.
In her work, Addams stressed the necessity of continually linking theory and practice. As such, reflection on the work of Hull House was common and frequently found its way into publication. These philosophizing moments of Addams gained her notice, and she became a popular author and requested speaker. By 1905 she was a national figure and a well-loved icon. She was frequently requested as a speaker throughout the country. She was the first female president of National Conference of Charities and Corrections in 1909 and became the first woman awarded an honorary degree from Yale (1910). She also played a role in the development of the American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP, and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Through her work she earned the ear of many powerful men. Theodore Roosevelt even asked her to second his presidential nomination (a first for women).
Amidst the push for women's suffrage, Addams' pushing on gender roles as well as efforts to blur the lines between public and private were tolerated and often welcomed. This attitude would change however with the outbreak of World War I. Addams pacifism and commitment to even-handedness, even if it meant supporting anarchists, drew criticism across the spectrum, including from some individuals who had previously been supporters of her work. In the days of the war, the fear of immigrants and cry for patriotism placed Addams on the outskirts of social sentiment. Addams' name frequently appeared on lists of subversives and she was even called a traitor and a Bolshevik. Addams took this change in public attitude in stride and spent time reflecting on citizen's obligations to patriotism as opposed to holding onto individualist beliefs in a democratic society. Through it all Addams carried on with her pacifist work. In the post-World War I days, Addams work was again recognized and in 1931 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Addams was actually in the hospital, having suffered from a heart attack, the day it was awarded and so did not give an acceptance speech.
Addams died May 21, 1935 from cancer. Her legacy of pragmatism, feminism, and pacifism remains as relevant today in a fragmented, over-mediated, technologically advanced state as it was to the rapidly urbanizing society Addams was a part of.
Residents of Hull-House. (2007). Hull-House Maps and Papers
. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. (Original work published 1895).
Addams, Jane. (2002). Democracy and Social Ethics
. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. (Original work published 1902).
Addams, Jane. (2006.) Newer Ideals of Peace
. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. (Original work published 1906).
Addams, Jane. (1972) The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets
. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. (Original work published 1909).
Addams, Jane. (1990). Twenty Years at Hull House
. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. (Original work published 1920).
Addams, Jane. (2002). A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil
. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. (Original work published 1912).
Addams, Jane, Balch, Emily G., and Hamilton, Alice. (2003) Women at The Hague: The International Congress Of Women And Its Results
. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. (Original work published 1915).
Addams, Jane. (2002) The Long Road of Woman's Memory
. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. (Original work published 1916).
Addams, Jane. (2002). Peace and Bread in Time of War
. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. (Original work published 1922).
Addams, Jane. (1930). Second Twenty Years at Hull House
. New York: Macmillan.
Addams, Jane. (1932). The Excellent Becomes the Permanent
. New York: Macmillan.
Addams, Jane. (2004). My Friend, Julia Lathrop
. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. (Original work published 1935).
Danish, Robert. (2007). Pragmatism, Democracy, and the Necessity of Rhetoric
. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.
Deegan, Mary Jo. (1988). Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918
. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.
Elshtain, Jean Bethke. (2001). Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy
. New York: Basic Books.
Elshtain, Jean Bethke. (2002). The Jane Addams Reader
. New York: Basic Books.
Fischer, Marilyn. (2004). On Addams
Lasch, Christopher. (1965). The Social Thought of Jane Addams
. Indianapolis, IN: The Bobbs-Merrill Company.
Seigfried, Charlene Haddock. (1999). “Socializing Democracy: Jane Addams and John Dewey.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Whipps, Judy D. (2004). “Jane Addam's Social Thought as a Model for a Pragmatist-Feminist Communitarianism.” Hypatia
MAUD MAY BABCOCK
(1867-1954) was a pioneering woman in speech communication and theater. She was born in East Worcester, in the Southern Tier of New York. She earned her BA from Wells College, a women’s school in Upstate New York, followed by a Bachelor of Elocution from the National School of Oratory of Philadelphia in 1866. In 1888 she graduated from the Lyceum School of Acting (which would later be renamed the American Academy of Dramatic Arts). Babcock also attended the University of Chicago and studied internationally for two years in London and Paris. While teaching at a Harvard College summer session in 1892, she was convinced to move to Utah by Susa Young Gates
, a prominent Mormon writer and women’s rights advocate, and daughter of Brigham Young. Babcock joined the Mormon church and became the first female faculty member of the University of Utah, where she was a professor of elocution and speech, and an avid devotee of physical culture. She was chair of the Department of Speech from 1927-1938 (the first woman chair at Utah), and was elected the second female president of the National Association of Teachers of Public Speaking (which later became the National Communication Association). Babcock was a charter member of the National Association of Elocutionists (1892-1917) and the National Association of Teachers of Speech (1917) as well as an Associate Editor of Quarterly Journal of Speech Education (today the Quarterly Journal of Speech). She retired in 1938, after 46 years of campus service which included producing over 300 plays. In 1939, the University of Utah granted her an honorary doctorate.
Babcock, Maude May. 1915. Teaching interpretation. Quarterly Journal of Speech Education
Babcock, Maude May. 1916. Interpretative presentation versus impersonative presentation. Quarterly Journal of Speech Education
Babcock, Maude May. 1916. Impersonation vs interpretation. Quarterly Journal of Speech Education
Babcock, Maude May. 1930. Handbook for Teachers of Interpretation: A Textbook for Teachers and for Prospective Teachers
. The University Publishing Company.
Babcock, Maude May. 1930. Interpretative Selections for High Schools: An Aim for Every Selection, Every Selection with an Aim
. The University Publishing Company
Clark, Solomon Henry. Revised by Maude May Babcock. 1940. Interpretation of the Printed Page: Mental Technique of Speech
. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Joseph F. Smith, “Maud May Babcock, 1867-1954,” Communication Education
11.2 (1962), 105-107.
Sharon Ratliffe, “Maud May Babcock
,” National Communication Association Women Leaders Project.
Maud May Babcock
MARY PARKER FOLLETT
(1868-1933) was a political philosopher, leader of the Boston community center movement, and spokeswoman for the value of face-to-face communication. She was born in Quincy, MA and spent much of her life in Massachusetts. In 1892 she began her studies at what would become Radcliffe College, the women's branch of Harvard. In 1898 she graduated summa cum laude but was not awarded a doctorate because she was a woman. Her research at Radcliffe would later be published as The Speaker of the House of Representatives
(1890). At the turn of the century, Follett pursued social work and became involved with the Settlement House movement, working with the Roxbury neighborhood in Boston. In 1908 she became chairperson of the Extended Use of School Buildings committee under the Women's Municipal League. She also worked to help open the East Boston High School Social Center in 1911. Follett remained active in social work during the next decade, becoming vice-president of the National Community Center Association in 1917.
Through her social work, Follett observed the shared nature of life and argued that more contact among members of a neighborhood would overcome indifference and complacency. Follett argued that it was through participation in a group that an individual could become whole. These observations would also shape her views of democracy. Follett increasingly turned toward writing about this subject, as evidenced by her 1918 book The New State
, which discussed the relationship between government, democracy, and community.
Eventually Follett's attention shifted toward the business world, more specifically management. Throughout her years of social work, Follett had observed the important influence that difference among individuals or groups had on their relations and interactions. Follett's understanding of difference influenced her philosophizing of control and power within organizational settings. Follett challenged the dominant thinking of Scientific Management and Bureaucracy theories. Her discussion of integration and “power with” rather than “power over” would influence organizational studies and the Human Relations movement. Her work laid the foundation for significant changes in management styles and practices that recognized the human nature of the work force. Her ideas gained increasing recognition and she became a popular consultant, working with the League of Nations in 1928 and becoming one of the first women to deliver a lecture series at the London School of Economics in 1933.
Despite her increasing popularity during the inter-war period and recognition of her contributions to management philosophy, Follett's influence was not long-lasting. Only recently her work has begun to be rediscovered by management and bureaucracy studies. However, Follett's early social work and study of community and neighborhood interactions made important contributions to early understandings of communication, especially her emphasis on face-to-face communication as an important aspect of overcoming difference and establishing community bonds.
Follett, Mary Parker. (1896). The Speaker of the House of Representatives
. New York: Longmans, Green and Co., New York.
Follett, Mary Parker. (1918). The New State - Group Organization, the Solution for Popular Government
. New York: Longmans, Green and Co.
Follett, Mary Parker. (1924). Creative Experience
. New York: Longmans, Green and Co.
Follett, Mary Parker. (1941). Dynamic Administration: The Collected Papers of Mary Parker Follett
. Edited by Henry Metcalf and Lionel Urwick, London: Pitman. New edition published in 1971 edited by Elliot M. Fox and Lionel Urwick.
Follett, Mary Parker. (1949). Freedom & Co-ordination: Lectures in Business Organization
. Edited and with an introduction by Lionel Urwick, London : Management Publications Trust.
Graham, Pauline. Ed. (1995). Mary Parker Follett – Prophet of Management: A Celebration of Writings from the 1920’s
. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Quandt, Jean. (1970). “Mary Parker Follett and Face-to-Face Communication.” In From the Small Town to the Great Community: The Social Thought of Progressive Intellectuals
. Rutgers: Rutgers University Press, 36-50.
Tonn, Joan C. (2003). Mary P. Follett – Creating Democracy, Transforming Management
. New Haven: Yale University Press.
*Thanks to Mike Percival for research contributions.
HELEN MERRELL LYND
(1886-1982) was born in 1886 in La Grange, IL to newspaper publisher Edward Tracy Merrell and mother Mabel Waite Merrell. Her parent's religious belief instilled in Lynd a strong humanitarian tendency and concern for social issues. She attended high school in La Grange but after she graduated, her father took a new job that moved the family to Farmington, MA. She studied at Wellesley and earned her B.A. from there in 1919. After earning her degree, she taught at the Ossining School for Girls in New York for a year. While teaching there she met her future husband, Robert S. Lynd during a mountain climbing trip. Lynd next began to teach at Miss Master's School in Dobbs Ferry, New York. In 1922 she earned her masters degree in philosophy from Columbia and, that same year, married Robert. Lynd introduced her husband to the writings of Thorstein Veblen and John Dewey, both major influences on their future work.
Although Robert was initially interested in theological studies, after working as a missionary in the western oil fields, both Robert and Lynd became interested in studying the sociology of small town America. Through a Rockefeller Foundation for Social and Religious Research. grant , Lynd worked alongside Robert from 1924 until 1929. Part of that research took the Lynds to Muncie, IN, where they studied the workings of an average American town as anthropologists would study native tribes. Based on their findings, the Lynds published Middletown, A Study in Contemporary America
, a book that included sections on Middletowners media and communication habits. The study was well received by the sociological field and emulated in studies of other cities across the country. However Robert received most of the credit for Middletown
and even received his Ph.D. in sociology after submitting the book (under his name only) as his dissertation. Robert was also awarded a job at Columbia University in 1931 due to the success of the book. Lynd found a job on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College in 1928. The Lynds would return to Muncie in 1935 to learn how the Great Depression had affected the town. They then published the follow-up Middletown in Transition: A Study in Cultural Conflicts
. Lynd earned her doctorate in history and philosophy in 1944 from Columbia where her husband was a professor of sociology (1931-1960). From her dissertation work she would publish England in the Eighteen-Eighties: Toward a Social Basis for Freedom
, an important sociological look into the history of labor, education, politics, and change in England.
Over time the Lynds became more vocal about leftist and liberal ideas, as indicated by the shift between their first and second Middletown
publications. Lynd in particular became especially critical of America's attacks on communism, which eventually led to her appearing before a Senate investigative committee during the McCarthy era trials. Lynd would remain a thorough academic. In 1958 she published On Shame and the Search for Identity
, which was praised for its reworking of ideas on identity that Freud and respected for its ability to bring together sociology and psychology. Lynd remained a professor among the social sciences faculty at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY for the rest of her career. She retired in 1964, but continued to teach part-time as an emeritus professor. Lynd died in 1982.
Lynd, R. S., and Lynd, H. (1929). Middletown, a study in contemporary American culture
. New York: Hardcourt, Brace, and Company.
Lynd, H. (1945). England in the eighteen-eighties; Toward a social basis for freedom
. London and New York: Oxford University Press. Reprint New York: A.M. Kelley, 1968.
Lynd, H. (1945). Fieldwork in college education
. New York: Columbia University Press.
Lynd, H. (1949). Truth at the University of Washington. American Scholar
Lynd, H. (1952). Realism and the intellectual in a time of crisis. American Scholar
Lynd, H. (1954). The nature of historical objectivity.” Journal of Philosophy
Lynd, H. (1958). On shame and the search for identity
. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Lynd, H. (1965). Toward discovery
. Bert James Loewenberg, Ed. Bronxville, N.Y.: Sarah Lawrence College.
Lynd, R. S., and Lynd, H. (2004). From Middletown: A Study in Contemporary American Culture
(1929). In John Durham Peters and Peter Simonson (Eds.) Mass Communication and American Social Thought: Key Texts 1919-1968
. Lanham, MI: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Deegan, M. J., Ed. (1991). Women in sociology: A bio-bibliographical sourcebook.
Horowitz, I. L. (1979). Robert S. and Helen Merrell Lynd. in David L. Sills (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social sciences: biographical supplement
, Free Press.