September Brown Bag Lunch/ Local Lore “Jane Addams: American Heroine & Family Friend”

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 1900’s. 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, Kristin 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, September 5, Enjoy Kristin’s account of the research as well as her engaging findings as part of the Ellwood House Museum’s monthly lecture series.

The lecture, titled “Jane Addams, American Heroine & 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 Street in DeKalb. Participants are welcome to bring their own lunch, and coffee and cookies will be provided.

For more information, please contact Audrey King at (815) 756-4609 or For the complete Brown Bag Lunch/Local Lore schedule, see


Sep 05 2019


12:00 pm


Free/ Donations welcome


Collaborative Label


Ellwood House Visitor Center