Venturing into Usefulness, the second volume of The Selected Papers of Jane Addams, documents the experience of this major American historical figure, intellectual, social activist, and author between June 1881, when at twenty-one she had just graduated from Rockford Female Seminary, and early 1889, when she was on the verge of founding the Hull-House settlement with Ellen Gates Starr. During these years she evolved from a high-minded but inexperienced graduate of a women's seminary into an educated woman and seasoned traveler well-exposed to elite culture and circles of philanthropy. Themes inaugurated in the previous volume are expanded here, including dilemmas of family relations and gender roles; the history of education; the dynamics of female friendship; religious belief and ethical development; changes in opportunities for women; and the evolution of philanthropy, social welfare, and reform ideas.
Mary Lynn McCree Bryan is the editor of The Jane Addams Papers Project in the department of history at Duke University, editor of the microfilm edition of the Jane Addams Papers, a coeditor of The Jane Addams Papers: A Comprehensive Guide, and a former curator of the Jane Addams Hull-House at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Barbara Bair is the associate editor of The Jane Addams Papers Project, an historian in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, and the author of Though Justice Sleeps: African Americans, 1880-1900. Maree de Angury has worked on the Jane Addams Papers Project for more than two decades, is a coeditor of The Jane Addams Papers: a Comprehensive Guide, and is an administrative manager at University of North Carolina, Wilmington.