Guiding Question:

How did settlement houses like Denison House help immigrants claim citizenship?


During the last 1800s and early 1900's, a large number of immigrants arrived in the United States. With the arrival of these newcomers came great challenges to cities and communities. Many immigrants came to America to escape hardships of their homeland. Many immigrant groups had no intention of returning to their homeland and wanted to remain in America and become citizens. While seeking citizenship and establishing roots in the community was a laudable goal other challenges remained.

One major challenge was how to provide ways for the large number of immigrants become actively involved in the community as they began the process of citizenship.The city of Boston was no exception in facing these issues. One response to these challenges was to establish settlement houses in these urban neighborhoods to help with the growing number of immigrants moving into the area. One of the many in Boston was the Denison House.

Header Image: Architectural detail from Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; photographed by Valerie B. De Angelis, copyright 2003

Background Images: Emily Greene Balch, from Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID hec.18336; retrieved from Wikimedia Commons; Hull House, Smith House: from American Memory Collection of Library of Congress's National Digital Library Program under the digital ID ichicdn.n056251; retrieved from Wikimedia Commons ; Harriet E. Vittum with children, from Library of Congress; retrieved from Wikimedia Commons; excerpt from Map of the city of Boston, for 1892, retrieved from online collection of Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at Boston Public Library; Parts of Wards 7 and 9 City of Boston 1908; Atlas of the City of Boston,1908 Plate number 14, from Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at Boston Public Library