Ohio History Journal

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Twenty Years

at Hiram House


Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the settlement movement

reached the United States. Hull House, the most outstanding and second

oldest settlement, was established in Chicago in 1889. The first social set-

tlement in Cleveland to actually do settlement work as such was Hiram

House, founded in 1896.1 Today, however, Hiram House has been largely

forgotten, partly because George Bellamy, the founder and director through-

out its existence, published very little. Fortunately, Bellamy was a com-

pulsive saver of papers relating to his work. Recently, his widow presented

these letters, reports, notes for speeches, and other papers dating back to

1901 to the Western Reserve Historical Society. As a result, it is now pos-

sible to present a fuller and more detailed picture of the significance of

Hiram House in the early years of the settlement movement.

George Bellamy was born on September 29, 1872, in a small town in

Michigan. He was a "descendant of the Wolcott [Oliver] who signed the

Declaration of Independence and who was Secretary of the Treasury and

in the Cabinet of George Washington."2 Unusual for one who worked as

extensively with immigrants as he did, Bellamy was proud enough of his

"old family" background to become a member of the New England Society

of Cleveland and the Western Reserve and also the Society of the Descen-