Addams Statement on Illinois State Senate Bill 233, April 25, 1911
On April 25, 1911 Jane Addams‘ testified before the Illinois State Senate committee to oppose legislation in Illinois that would exclude child actors from the state’s 1903 Child Labor Law. This law prevented children under the age of fourteen from working before completing at least three months of school, then after reaching age fourteen, the child can then choose to go to work or stay in school. Addams discussed how Hull House has a theater as well, that the children are more than welcome to join. The difference being that Addams said she would abide from the law when allowing children to act. Addams supported the art of theater, and child involvement, she just preferred if it was done in a way children can learn, “…It is a very excellent thing for children to have dramatic training, and to have that value which comes from dramatic art, if it is done as an educational measure.” Addams felt that theater was an art form that children should be able to experience, but only for around two hours a day, twice a week. Any time exceeding that would be too much pressure and time for a child to handle.
Addams, Jane. “Statement on Illinois State Senate Bill 233 (Child Actor Bill), April 25, 1911,” Jane Addams Digital Edition, http://digital.janeaddams.ramapo.edu/items/show/7325.