Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Roberta L. Wollons

Second Advisor

Timothy Hacsi

Third Advisor

James Green


Histories of the settlement house movement tend to focus on its principle leaders. From Allen F. Davis' ground breaking work to Julia Mina Carson's illuminating research of settlement leaders, and the more recent compelling exposé by Rivka Shpak Lissak. This history, as it is currently presented only tells one perspective of the settlement house story. What about the participation of those the settlement house leaders intended to serve? The city of Boston as the center for this discussion, this thesis aims to expose and explore immigrant agency within the settlement houses of the Elizabeth Peabody House and the North Bennet Street Industrial School. The archival material includes oral histories, correspondences from immigrants and written documents from settlement workers. By placing the immigrant experience at the forefront of the discussion, this thesis will not only add to the existing historical scholarship giving scholars a greater understanding of the movement, but also show that immigrants were important actors as they were active in their participation and interaction with settlement houses and its residents.


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