Ellen Gates Starr papers

Inclusive Dates: 
1885–1940

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

3.5 linear feet of material consisting of correspondence, clippings, drawings, and bookbinding patterns by Ellen Gates Starr. Part of the collection, including the correspondence, consists of photocopies from the Ellen Gates Starr Papers at the Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College.

Biographical Historical Note

With Jane Addams, Ellen Gates Starr founded Hull-House, a settlement house in Chicago’s west-side immigrant community, in 1889. Starr served in many capacities at Hull-House, including as an advocate for art in the organization’s work. She was a trained teacher who had already taught art appreciation in a girls’ school. A direct outgrowth of her commitment to art was a program to loan reproductions of master paintings to Hull-House neighbors and area schools, leading to the establishment of the Chicago Public School Art Society in 1894. A devotee of English art critic John Ruskin and Arts and Crafts pioneer William Morris, Starr took up the craft of hand bookbinding, studying in England with master craftsman T.J. Cobden -Sanderson. She then set up the Hull-House bookbindery, in 1898, to practice her craft and teach others the art of bookbinding.