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Markers of Distinction

Lucy Louisa Flower
1837–1921
Social reformer

When Lucy Flower saw that many abandoned or
neglected children in Chicago were often arrested
and jailed as adults, she declared that Chicago needed
a special “parental court” for them. For years she and
like-minded reformers, such as Jane Addams and
Julia Lathrop, negotiated a legal and political
landscape that was only partially open to women in
order to achieve this goal. Her success came in 1899,
when Cook County established the first Juvenile
Court to hear cases of children under 16 years. Cities
around the world followed Cook County’s lead in
establishing juvenile court systems. Lucy
Flower and her family lived at 1920 West
Wellington Street at the time.

Flower had been a reformer and schoolteacher when she and her family came
to Chicago in 1873. She joined the Chicago Home for the Friendless and the
Half Orphan Asylum and founded the Illinois Training School for Nurses, the first
nursing school west of Pennsylvania. She was appointed to the Chicago School
Board and elected a trustee of the University of Illinois. Her campaign for
children’s rights led to the establishment of industrial schools for dependent
boys in Illinois and the passage of a compulsory education law in 1889.

In 1911 the first trade school for girls in Chicago, located near Garfield Park,
was named The Lucy Flower Technical High School.