Routes of Religious and Moral Reform in the City: Chicago during the Progressive Age

Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Programs for Teachers
Newberry Teachers' Consortium

We’ve heard much about Jane Addams, Florence Kelley, and the University of Chicago sociologists who broke new ground during the Progressive era with fresh approaches to social urban problems. These well-known reformers attacked urban questions using scientific and secular methods.  But they were not the only reformers active in Chicago.  While Kelley gathered information about sweatshops during the depths of the 1893 depression, scores of churches, synagogues, and religious institutions provided critically needed food, shelter, and clothing for thousands of people left stranded in Chicago after the World’s Fair closed.  Did religion, religious beliefs, and religious institutions matter in the rich intersection of social reforms in Chicago at the turn of the twentieth century? Seminar participants will explore how the red-hot evangelism of the Salvation Army, a politicized temperance movement, and applications of the Social Gospel shaped debates and changed the city during the early years of the twentieth century.

Seminar led by Rachel Bohlmann, Newberry Library