The near-west side immigrant community, at the turn of the 20th century, was dominated by Jews, Greeks, and Italians.  The immigrant community, which Jane Addams had labeled “The Hull House Neighborhood” became the laboratory upon which Jane Addams tested her social theories and based her challenges to the establishment. The Bowen Country Club summer camp (1912-1963) was an extension of that laboratory.

Symbolic interactionism vs Eugenics 

Jane Addams’ theory of symbolic interactionism displaced the deterministic doctrine of the Freudian Paradigm but failed to ward off the progressive movement promoting eugenics during that same era.  The liberal intellectuals of that era had proved, to the satisfaction of the establishment, and with geometric logic, that the American gene pool was being polluted by the genetically inferior southern Europeans.” 

  Under the banner of social progress, Congress, in 1923, limited  any further emigration from those countries that had given us the cradle of civilization, the beginnings of western civilization and the renaissance.  Those immigrants, genetically connected to the Davids (Jews), the Homers and Alexanders (Greeks) and the Caesars and the Michaelangelo’s (Italians), were excluded from any further participation in the American Dream. 

  The progressive doctrine promoting eugenics also wove its way into the fabric of political platforms evolving during the turmoil of post WWI Europe.  Ironically, the carefully laid out thesis of our socially progressive intellectuals were used by the defense in the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.   

Bowen Country Club
  In 1912, after the First 20 years of Hull House, Jane Addams and Mrs. Bowen determined that the handful of hours spent at Hull House each week could not displace the 24/7 spent in the cauldron of the near-west side immigrant neighborhood. Easily qualifying in the quote from T.S. Elliot as “. . . rat’s alley, where the dead me lost their bones.”  

  The Bowen County Club, consistent with Jane Addams’ theory of how we become what we become, opened its doors as a co-ed camp. It included mothers and their toddlers, as well as young boys and girls.  Jane Addams’, social theorists and human behavior engineer, had now completed the laboratory upon which she could influence the social and intellectual development of the immigrant community that became her charge.  “Behavior, as measured by our responses, both cognitive and affective, is influenced by our earlier experiences.”  The 24/7 BCC experience, encompassing a two week experience in a remade social environment, was the missing ingredient to the Hull Hose experiment. 

  So join us on September 14 for the camaraderie and the joy of the memories we collectively share. Memories of a time that was and can never be again.      

  Attached is a story, which contains contributions from a variety of campers, counselors, etc. who were part of the Bowen Country Club phenomenon, and can found on the Taylor Street Archives website. 

Bowen Country Club Reunion
Wednesday, September 14, 2016: 12 noon-???

Bowen Park Pavilion, Waukegan, IL

Contact:    Fran Tarsitano Underdown

                  630-668-7105 Cell


Bring your own lunch and maybe some old pictures so we can enjoy those happy days again. Let Frannie know the count to know about how many to expect.