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A Real Companion and Friend:
The diary of William Lyon Mackenzie King

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Behind the Diary

Mackenzie King Slept Here: The Residences of Mackenzie King

Hull House

Hull House was a settlement house in Chicago, founded in 1889 by Jane Addams and her friend Ellen Gates Starr. The settlement idea was put forward by the British economist and writer Arnold Toynbee, who urged university students to settle in financially disadvantaged areas and work with the poor to improve their conditions. Hull House was modelled after Toynbee Hall, a settlement house in England.

Hull House provided a kindergarten, library, lectures and clubs for people of all ages and interests. The staff consisted of both paid workers and volunteers, a number of whom lived at Hull House. By the time Mackenzie King moved to Chicago in 1896, this settlement house was helping more than 2,000 people a week.

King lived in Hull House for about two months from November 1896 to January 1897. He left to concentrate on his studies, but he remained a great admirer of Arnold Toynbee, Jane Addams and the settlement ideal.

The Jane Addams-Hull House Museum is now a historic site, owned and operated by the University of Illinois in Chicago.

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