Frances Willard House Museum and WCTU Archives

Frances Willard House Museum and WCTU Archives A National Historic Landmark Women's History Site and Archives in Evanston, IL. Telling the story of
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Frances Willard extended her “Do Everything” policy geographically on this day in 1883 with the first convention of the ...
11/11/2023

Frances Willard extended her “Do Everything” policy geographically on this day in 1883 with the first convention of the World’s WCTU. Alcohol abuse was a problem globally, and Willard said at the national WCTU convention a month earlier that she wanted to “belt the globe and join East and West in an organized attack upon the poison habits of both hemispheres.” She was doing everything, everyWHERE!

150 years ago, just one month after Northwestern University implemented coeducation, the students published a celebrator...
11/06/2023

150 years ago, just one month after Northwestern University implemented coeducation, the students published a celebratory account of the experiment: "There was no creaking of ‘rusty hinges,’ no protracted fumbling of bolts when her doors opened to admit her children, regardless of s*x, to equal privileges. At the first knock her doors were flung wide open and within was found, not a grudging admittance but a generous welcome... We see the astonishing sight of women in the board of trustees, the executive committee and faculty, and the astonishing part is, how easily and naturally it came about. The University did not stand on its steeple in consequence, nor did an earthquake occur, the only results were harmony and prosperity.” But Frances Willard – who was overseeing the transition as NU's first Dean of Women – had a different story to tell, as she faced challenges to her leadership from within and without. Find out more on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/vI6_VfbpPmc?si=RKCSYwu_Irxa2N6v

Happy  ! Every day after she finished her chores, a young Frances Willard climbed to a “high perch in the old oak tree” ...
11/01/2023

Happy ! Every day after she finished her chores, a young Frances Willard climbed to a “high perch in the old oak tree” on her Wisconsin farm to work on her never-ending novel, "Rupert Melville and His Comrades: A Story of Adventure." She “insisted on doing at least one page” per day and “read each chapter aloud, as fast as it was written” to anyone who would listen. Though she never brought the story to an end, the joy she found in the process led her to determine that “write I could and should and would.” Find out more on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/PwvNgdn_C8U?si=PWq9aubGB1vechBm

Halloween in 1879 and 1914 was more exciting than scary for the WCTU. With Frances Willard’s election as second presiden...
10/31/2023

Halloween in 1879 and 1914 was more exciting than scary for the WCTU. With Frances Willard’s election as second president in 1879, the WCTU broadened its purpose beyond temperance to also achieving social and political change. Anna Gordon, fourth president, led the WCTU during amendments for Prohibition and woman suffrage.

Although   is almost over, don’t be scared--archives and archivists are available year round to help you find esoteric i...
10/30/2023

Although is almost over, don’t be scared--archives and archivists are available year round to help you find esoteric information & Halloween-ready photos (like this classic view of Frances Willard & her sister, Mary Eliza, circa 1840s). So keep in touch—we dare you!

A year after Frances Willard’s death, the WCTU decided in October 1899 to move its headquarters to Rest Cottage, the Wil...
10/26/2023

A year after Frances Willard’s death, the WCTU decided in October 1899 to move its headquarters to Rest Cottage, the Willard family home in Evanston IL. WCTU offices and living space for staff would be in the annex built by sister-in-law Mary B. Willard. Willard’s secretary Anna Gordon would live in the original part of the house and preserve the space as it was when Willard and her mother lived there. See more on the house at https://tinyurl.com/mvv9rm2f.

Join us for our final museum tour of the 2023 season this Thursday, October 26 at 2pm! RSVP by emailing info@franceswill...
10/24/2023

Join us for our final museum tour of the 2023 season this Thursday, October 26 at 2pm! RSVP by emailing [email protected].

More on Frances Willard’s career after education: In addition to the WCTU, Willard served on the Board of Lady Managers ...
10/23/2023

More on Frances Willard’s career after education: In addition to the WCTU, Willard served on the Board of Lady Managers for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. A result of women’s demands to be represented, the board oversaw the Woman’s Building & its programs.

Another post-education milestone for Frances Willard: election as president of the IL WCTU in Oct. 1878. Still educating...
10/20/2023

Another post-education milestone for Frances Willard: election as president of the IL WCTU in Oct. 1878. Still educating, but in this case about “Home Protection,” the importance of women’s suffrage in order to vote on issues that impacted their homes and families. Sadly for Willard, a highly publicized campaign through 1879 was unsuccessful.

Our latest Collection Close-Up has just been released on our YouTube Channel! In "An Exceeding Fondness for Books: The L...
10/19/2023

Our latest Collection Close-Up has just been released on our YouTube Channel! In "An Exceeding Fondness for Books: The Libraries at the Willard House," Museum Director Lori Osborne explores favorites from the book collections at the Museum. Amongst some of the Willard family's oldest possessions, the books reveal much about who owned them, shared them, and cared for them over many years.

https://youtu.be/Z_HOk67bQzM?si=oFE2FBW4eaamX08U

We’ve focused on Frances Willard and education lately, but what about after she left the field? October 1876 found her s...
10/18/2023

We’ve focused on Frances Willard and education lately, but what about after she left the field? October 1876 found her speaking about suffrage at the 4th Congress of the Association for the Advancement of Women. She revealed her “Home Protection” strategy, saying that women had a duty to vote in order to protect their homes from laws that affected them. This put her at odds with founding WCTU President Annie Wittenmyer and many members.

Join us for our final museum tours of the 2023 season! Tours will be held by reservation at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm on Thursda...
10/16/2023

Join us for our final museum tours of the 2023 season! Tours will be held by reservation at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm on Thursday, October 19, Sunday, October 22, and Thursday, October 26. More info and RSVP here: https://franceswillardhouse.org/visit/

Before Frances Willard became an internationally renowned social reformer, as a girl she aspired to become a novelist......
10/11/2023

Before Frances Willard became an internationally renowned social reformer, as a girl she aspired to become a novelist... and an adventurer! In honor of International Day of the Girl, we're revisiting our Collection Close-Up on "Frances Willard's Childhood Writing," which explores how narrating imaginary adventures convinced Willard that “write I could and should and would.” https://youtu.be/PwvNgdn_C8U?si=qRVH8unPv1PKrxFO

The Great Chicago Fire, Women's Education in Evanston, and Frances WillardHow did the Great Chicago Fire (October 8, 187...
10/08/2023

The Great Chicago Fire, Women's Education in Evanston, and Frances Willard
How did the Great Chicago Fire (October 8, 1871) affect the destiny of women's education in Evanston? On July 4, 1871, Frances Willard, President of the new Evanston College for Ladies, raised $30,000 in pledges for the construction of the ECL's new building at a massive fundraising event known as the "Woman's Fourth of July." Three months later, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed the businesses of the men who had pledged funds. With no source of financial support, the ECL struggled to survive. In 1873, it became part of Northwestern University, and Willard became Northwestern's first Dean of Women. She resigned in June 1874, dissatisfied with her subordinate role. In October 1874, the WCTU was formed, Willard joined the new movement, and the rest of her career path is history. But let's play "what if"! If the fire hadn't sent the ECL's future up in smoke, would Willard have continued to empower women through higher education? Or was leading an international social reform movement her destiny?

The  centenary of Frances Willard’s birth was of great importance to the WCTU and extensively observed in 1939. This lar...
10/04/2023

The centenary of Frances Willard’s birth was of great importance to the WCTU and extensively observed in 1939. This large cloth map made for the event contains sites across the country with Willard’s name, including schools, buildings, fountains, busts, plaques, and even a cemetery and trees. Not surprising for the second-most famous woman of her era after Queen Victoria of England.

Miss Willard went to Washington on this date in 1883. Testifying before a Senate education committee, WCTU President Fra...
10/03/2023

Miss Willard went to Washington on this date in 1883. Testifying before a Senate education committee, WCTU President Frances Willard summarized the group’s educational efforts, called Scientific Temperance Instruction (STI). WCTU focused on the science of alcohol, the Christian ethics against it, and laws requiring temperance instruction in schools. Senators also heard about Loyal Temperance Legions for children within WCTU.

It's October 1--the 1st day of  ! We're taking a moment from our busy schedule to send greetings & thanks to our friends...
10/01/2023

It's October 1--the 1st day of ! We're taking a moment from our busy schedule to send greetings & thanks to our friends, supporters, researchers, volunteers, interns, staff, social media followers, & our wonderful colleagues everywhere.

The 1939 centenary of Frances Willard’s birth saw many tributes, including tree plantings! They extended beyond the U.S....
09/29/2023

The 1939 centenary of Frances Willard’s birth saw many tributes, including tree plantings! They extended beyond the U.S., including the installation of a white camellia tree (sometimes used to symbolize women’s suffrage) on Willard’s September 28 birthday in Vancouver by the only Canadian WCTU she helped found.

Do Everything 2023 is live on our YouTube channel! Each September, the Frances Willard House Museum marks Frances Willar...
09/28/2023

Do Everything 2023 is live on our YouTube channel! Each September, the Frances Willard House Museum marks Frances Willard’s birthday (September 28) with a special program examining her model of leadership. In honor of the 150th anniversary of Willard’s inaugural term as the first Dean of Women at Northwestern University in 1873, Do Everything 2023 explores her contributions to and struggles in the field of women’s higher education.

Follow the link below to watch a video narrative of Willard's first term as Northwestern's Dean of Women. Willard broke new ground as a woman professor teaching women and men students in the same classrooms. But while Northwestern students championed her tenure as “a most substantial triumph in favor of the woman movement,” Willard faced unprecedented challenges to her leadership from within and without.

https://youtu.be/vI6_VfbpPmc?si=He-LXnlXcJF0j8tV

Do Everything Day – Frances Willard's birthday – is this Thursday, September 28! To mark the 150th anniversary of Willar...
09/25/2023

Do Everything Day – Frances Willard's birthday – is this Thursday, September 28! To mark the 150th anniversary of Willard's inaugural term as Northwestern University's first Dean of Women, we are exploring her contributions to and struggles in the field of women’s higher education. Visit our website to register for a special tour and sign up to receive a newly released video program in your inbox!

https://franceswillardhouse.org

On Sept 18, 1876, after reading about Willard’s 1st speech supporting woman suffrage, Susan B. Anthony wrote to congratu...
09/18/2023

On Sept 18, 1876, after reading about Willard’s 1st speech supporting woman suffrage, Susan B. Anthony wrote to congratulate her, “not only for your sake, personally, but for the cause sake–for Temperance & Virtue’s sake–for Woman’s sake.” Our correspondence files contain several letters from Anthony to Willard. For more about the WCTU & suffrage: tinyurl.com/crjbzfmk and tinyurl.com/29fud6eb

WCTU brought in star power to argue against drinking in the 50s or 60s. Singer/actor Dale Evans, “Queen of the West” and...
09/17/2023

WCTU brought in star power to argue against drinking in the 50s or 60s. Singer/actor Dale Evans, “Queen of the West” and wife of Roy Rogers, wrote in an undated WCTU pamphlet that any benefit of alcohol “pales in comparison to its destructive potentialities.” Doubtless she would have said that people have more “Happy Trails” without drinking.

On February 17, 1905 – exactly seven years after Frances Willard's death in 1898 – Willard became the first woman memori...
09/14/2023

On February 17, 1905 – exactly seven years after Frances Willard's death in 1898 – Willard became the first woman memorialized in National Statuary Hall. Our latest blogpost explores the meaning of Willard's statue at the time of its dedication and its continued significance. https://franceswillardhouse.org/standing-up-for-history/

Upcycling from 100 years ago, perhaps a summer project? An enterprising WCTU member from around 1914 turned her delegate...
09/13/2023

Upcycling from 100 years ago, perhaps a summer project? An enterprising WCTU member from around 1914 turned her delegate ribbons from conferences into what is most likely a pillow cover, sewn together by hand. Sadly, we don’t know whose WCTU involvement meant so much to them.

There are still spots available on this week's Do Everything tours! Join us this Thursday and Sunday at 1pm, 2pm, and 3p...
09/11/2023

There are still spots available on this week's Do Everything tours! Join us this Thursday and Sunday at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm to learn more about Frances Willard's contributions to and struggles in the field of women’s higher education. Pictured: Willard in 1870, just before beginning her tenure as President of the Evanston College for Ladies. https://franceswillardhouse.org

Our first round of Do Everything tours starts tomorrow! Throughout September, tours will examine Frances Willard's contr...
09/06/2023

Our first round of Do Everything tours starts tomorrow! Throughout September, tours will examine Frances Willard's contributions to and struggles in the field of women's higher education. Our culminating Do Everything 2023 celebration, a virtual program on September 24, will explore Willard's first term as Dean of Women at Northwestern. Visit our website for more information and to RSVP: https://franceswillardhouse.org

Back in Paris after 25 years with Isabel Somerset, Frances Willard wrote in her journal of Sept. 1-2, 1893 about her mem...
09/02/2023

Back in Paris after 25 years with Isabel Somerset, Frances Willard wrote in her journal of Sept. 1-2, 1893 about her memories of seeing Napoleon III. She remembered him looking “masterful & proud,” not realizing his “day of doom” was ahead in 1870 when he would be deposed as emperor. “When the people rise,” she wrote, “they make short work.” She was pleased that “Liberty-Equality-Fraternity” was cut into the facade of the Louvre.

With August at an end, summer travels are over. And for us, it’s an empty-nest moment as our wonderful summer staff pack...
08/30/2023

With August at an end, summer travels are over. And for us, it’s an empty-nest moment as our wonderful summer staff packs up & heads back to their college studies. Thank you, Bryn, Chris, Kenneth, Mikala, & Olivia (not pictured here)! Hope you enjoyed your intro to the museum & archives world!

Each September, the Frances Willard House Museum marks Frances Willard’s birthday (September 28) with special programs a...
08/28/2023

Each September, the Frances Willard House Museum marks Frances Willard’s birthday (September 28) with special programs and tours that examine her model of leadership. In honor of the 150th anniversary of Willard’s inaugural term as the first Dean of Women at Northwestern University in 1873, Do Everything 2023 will explore her contributions to and struggles in the field of women’s higher education. Visit our website to register for our upcoming tours and for our virtual Do Everything Day program on September 24! https://franceswillardhouse.org

Celebrate Women's Equality Day with the Willard House! Special tours exploring the connections between the temperance an...
08/21/2023

Celebrate Women's Equality Day with the Willard House! Special tours exploring the connections between the temperance and women's suffrage movements will be held on Thursday, August 24 and Sunday, August 27 at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm. RSVP today! https://franceswillardhouse.org

Aug 20, 1876: Frances Willard makes her first public endorsement of “women’s duty to vote” at the Temperance Camp Meetin...
08/20/2023

Aug 20, 1876: Frances Willard makes her first public endorsement of “women’s duty to vote” at the Temperance Camp Meeting in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Her speech is noted in the Boston Zion’s Herald newspaper, prompting a fan letter from Susan B. Anthony, who congratulated her on “speaking out” for woman suffrage. Soon after the Old Orchard event, Willard was inspired to add her “Home Protection” rationale to the speech, to convince audiences that women’s role as protectors of the home included voting. She delivered the enhanced speech many times, and “Home Protection” became a WCTU motto. https://franceswillardhouse.omeka.net/exhibits/show/-womanly-liberty---frances-wil/1876---home-protection-

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1730 Chicago Avenue
Evanston, IL
60201

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(847) 328-7500

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