where it all began

In 1908, Jane Addams started the Mary Crane Day Nursery at Hull House, after receiving a donation of a building from Richard Teller Crane in memory of his late wife. Hull House turned the Day Nursery over to the National College of Education in 1925, and Jane Addams joined with Edna Dean Baker, president of the College, to pioneer a new way of thinking about early childhood education. Their shared knowledge and firsthand experience of working with children and families was groundbreaking in the efforts to prepare young underprivileged children for success.

Originally assisting children of poor immigrants on Chicago’s near West Side, the Center moved north to the Julia C. Lathrop Homes in 1963. In keeping with the spirit of its inception, the Mary Crane Center continues to serve communities in need and has added sites in Rogers Park, Austin and West Garfield Park over the past several years. The Mary Crane Center has launched the lives of over 15,000 children and families.

“Let us accept the child in our midst as our greatest wealth and our highest responsibility. Let us exalt him above industry, business, politics, and above all, the petty selfish things that weaken and destroy a people. Let us know that the race goes forward through its children.”

co-founder of the
Mary Crane Center