Russell Ballard was born in 1894. He worked as a school teacher in Indiana before becoming head of the Lake County Board of Public Welfare.
In November 1941 he became director of the Illinois State Training School for Boys. When Charlotte Carr was fired as head resident of the Hull House Settlement in 1943, the trustees appointed Ballard to replace her. Whereas Carr had controversially been involved in trade union affairs, Ballard decided to place the focus on the welfare of children. By 1944 there were 685 children registered for daytime recreation activities and 275 for evening programs.
In 1959 the University of Illinois began looking for a site to build a new campus. The following year the city authorities suggested the area which housed the Hull House Settlement. The fight against this scheme was led by Jessie Binford and Florence Scala.
The struggle against closure was still going on when Ballard decided to retire in February, 1962. Paul Jans became the new head resident but on 5th March, 1963, the trustees of Hull House accepted an offer of $875,000 for the settlement buildings. Jessie Binford and Florence Scala took the case to the Supreme Court but it decided in favor of the University and the Hull House Settlement was closed on 28th March, 1963..
© John Simkin, April 2013