Jane Addams (1860-1935) was most famous for her social work. When she was in England she was introduced to the founders and the workings of Toynbee Hall, a settlement house in the slums of London. It did not immediately strike her that social work was to be her calling. It took some time after returning to the United States before she and her traveling companion, Ellen Starr, committed themselves to the idea of starting a settlement house in Chicago. Within a few years Hull House was able to offer medical care, child care and legal aid, as well as classes to teach immigrants English, vocational skills, music, art and drama.
In 1893 a severe depression rocked the country. Hull House was serving over two thousand people a week. As the charitable efforts increased, so too did political ones. Jane realized that there would be no end to poverty and need if the laws could not be changed. She directed her efforts at the causes of poverty. The workers joined Jane in pressuring the state of Illinois to look at the laws governing child labor, the laws for the factory inspection system, the juvenile justice system; they worked for legislation to protect immigrants from exploitation, limit the working hours of women, mandate schooling for children, recognize labor unions and provide for industrial safety.
She was recognized for her efforts with the Nobel Peace Prize. Although she is sometimes considered as a feminist sociologist for her involvement in women’s rights, etc. I would count her as a conflict theorist. She focused on the poor, women and immigrants in light of the American society.
Her influence on sociology is remarkable as she influenced the Chicago School setting some standards for sociological concerns as well as methods.