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Features

Ellwood House lecture explores Jane Addams connections

On Sept. 5, Kristin Lems will present “Jane Addams, American Heroine and Family Friend,” as part of the Ellwood House Museum’s monthly lecture series. This photo from the lecturer's family archives shows Edna Dewar Silver holding her daughter, Carol, wearing a sweater knit for her by Jane Addams.
On Sept. 5, Kristin Lems will present “Jane Addams, American Heroine and Family Friend,” as part of the Ellwood House Museum’s monthly lecture series. This photo from the lecturer's family archives shows Edna Dewar Silver holding her daughter, Carol, wearing a sweater knit for her by Jane Addams.

DeKALB – For singer/songwriter Kristin Lems and her sister growing up, Chicago social reformer Jane Addams was always more than a household name; she was a household icon.

Kristin's grandmother, Edna Dewar Silver, was one of the children mentored by Addams in the early 1900s. Edna's mother, Nellie Dewar, also met her in 1890 right at the beginning of Hull House, when she ran across the street begging for help because her father was beating her mother, who was in labor. This was the beginning of the family’s four generation friendship with Jane Addams and the women of Hull House. 

Through sabbatical research as a faculty member at National Louis University, along with original family archives, Lems has written a play about the early days of Hull House and the improbable friendship of Jane and Nellie through the World's Fair of 1893, vaudeville and ragtime, and the beginning of a new century.

On Thursday, Sept. 5, Lems will share her research as part of the Ellwood House Museum’s monthly lecture series.

The lecture, titled “Jane Addams, American Heroine and Family Friend,” is part of Brown Bag Lunch/Local Lore, the museum’s free adult lecture series offered in collaboration with the DeKalb County History Center. The one-hour program will take place at noon in the Ellwood House Museum’s Visitor Center at 509 N. First St. in DeKalb. Participants are welcome to bring their own lunch; coffee and cookies will be provided.

For information, contact Audrey King at 815-756-4609 or king@ellwoodhouse.org. For the complete Brown Bag Lunch/Local Lore schedule, visit www.ellwoodhouse.org/learn.

Brown Bag Lunch/Local Lore is funded in part by the Mary E. Stevens Concert and Lecture Fund.

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