Guide to the Frances E. Willard (1839-1898) Papers

Collection Title: Frances E. Willard (1839-1898) Papers
Dates: 1871-1998
Identification: 40/2
Creator: Willard, Frances E. (Frances Elizabeth), 1839-1898
Extent: 1 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: The Frances E. Willard papers are arranged in one half-size box and date between 1871 and 1978. Biographical materials, correspondence, materials related to a proposed marble statue, and a temperance pamphlet and petition are included.
Acquisition Information: Separated from the University Archives' biographical files (Accession #74-70).
Processing Information: Margaret Faverty and Mary Ann Webber; January 14, 1986.
Separated Materials: Two handwritten notes dealing with proportional representation, possibly by Frances Willard's brother Oliver Willard, were separated from the 2nd addition and returned to the University Archives' biographical files under his name.
Conditions Governing Access: None.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

Best known for her leadership (1879-1898) of the influential Woman's Christian Temperance Union, Willard also supported and often spearheaded a wide variety of social reforms, including woman suffrage, economic equality, and fair labor laws. Willard gained an international reputation through her speeches and publications. She was the first woman to be honored with a statue in the U.S Capitol building, and her Evanston home was one of the first house museums to in the country.

Biographical information about Willard is extensive. For an excellent overview of her life, see the entry “Frances E. Willard” by Carolyn DeSwarte Gifford in:

Women Building Chicago, 1790-1990, A Biographical Dictionary (Indiana University Press, 2001).

See also:

Writing Out My Heart: Selections from the Journal of Frances E. Willard, 1855-1896 (University of Illinois Press, 1995), edited by Gifford.

Mary Earhart, Frances Willard: From Prayers to Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944).

Scope and Content

The Frances E. Willard papers are arranged in one half-size box and date between 1871 and 1978. General biographical materials including articles and pamphlets relating to Willard's work on behalf of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and Northwestern University; brief biographies written by Senator Albert J. Beveridge of Indiana (1905), and Gertrude Stevens Leavitt (1908); and other related items are arranged in the first folder of the series. Following that are clippings and excerpts from newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals.

A few materials relating to the 1898 presentation to Northwestern University of a marble sculpture of Frances Willard are foldered together. The sculpture was executed by the noted American artist Lorado Taft.

A small amount of correspondence, both incoming and outgoing and dating from 1872, 1874-1876, 1886-1887, 1893, and 1895-1898, documents Willard's concerns regarding temperance and higher education for women. Of particular interest is Willard's lengthy letter of June 16, 1874, to the Northwestern University faculty criticizing changes in the University's rules of conduct for female students. Correspondence is arranged in chronological order.

A few articles, a temperance pamphlet and address, and excerpts from some of Willard's other writings are arranged in one folder chronologically by date of publication. Finally, an 1884 temperance petition, presented by Willard to the national convention of the Prohibition Party, is foldered at the end of the series.

Addition, Box 1

The addition consists of four folders containing items related to the centenary of Frances Willard's birth, recent news clippings, and correspondence with Northwestern University and the University Archives regarding Frances Willard.

The items documenting the 1939 centenary of Frances Willard's birth include articles, a cloth souvenir map showing the location of all Willard memorials across the United States, “The Uncrowned Queen” (a “dramatic monolog” by Jane Good of the Northwestern University School of Speech), and a first-day cover with the five-cent Frances Willard commemorative postage stamp (issued March 1940).

Undated items consist of a puppet play, “Born to Lead,” by Helen Elliott (published by the Signal Press) and a description of the Frances Willard Memorial Library at the W.C.T.U. headquarters in Evanston.

Some biographical information and news clippings were incorporated into the original series. Added to the materials in Folder 4 (“Willard Sculpture by Lorado Taft, 1898”) were an engraved invitation to the formal presentation of the bust (1898) and a letter from Taft to the Lunt Library staff regarding the loan of the sculpture for an exhibit at the Art Institute (1899).

Subjects

Corporate Name

Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.)

Woman's Christian Temperance Union

Personal Name

Willard, Frances E. (Frances Elizabeth), 1839-1898


Container List / Contents

  • Biographical Materials, 1901-1961, n.d.Box 1, Folder 1
  • Clippings and Excerpts, 1871-1978Box 1, Folder 2
  • Correspondence, 1872,1874-1877, 1886-1887, 1893, 1895-1898, n.d.Box 1, Folder 3
  • Willard Sculpture by Lorado Taft, 1898Box 1, Folder 4
  • Publications by Willard, 1874, 1879, 1888-1890, n.d.Box 1, Folder 5
  • Temperance Petition, 1884Box 1, Folder 6
  • Addition: Photocopied Correspondence, 1888-1892, 1897-1898Box 1, Folder 7
      Scope and Contents: These additions comprise photocopies of fourteen letters, twelve written by Frances Willard, dating between 1888-1892 and 1897-1898. Most of the correspondence is addressed to the sculptor Lorado Taft; much of this concerns Taft's bust of Willard. The correspondence has been added to the Willard papers in Box 1, Folder 7.
  • Addition
      Description of the addition:  The addition consists of four folders containing items related to the centenary of Frances Willard's birth, recent news clippings, and correspondence with Northwestern University and the University Archives regarding Frances Willard. The items documenting the 1939 centenary of Frances Willard's birth include articles, a cloth souvenir map showing the location of all Willard memorials across the United States, “The Uncrowned Queen” (a “dramatic monolog” by Jane Good of the Northwestern University School of Speech), and a first-day cover with the five-cent Frances Willard commemorative postage stamp (issued March 1940). Undated items consist of a puppet play, “Born to Lead,” by Helen Elliott (published by the Signal Press) and a description of the Frances Willard Memorial Library at the W.C.T.U. headquarters in Evanston. Some biographical information and news clippings were incorporated into the original series. Added to the materials in Folder 4 (“Willard Sculpture by Lorado Taft, 1898”) were an engraved invitation to the formal presentation of the bust (1898) and a letter from Taft to the Lunt Library staff regarding the loan of the sculpture for an exhibit at the Art Institute (1899).
    • Centenary, 1938-1940Box 1, Folder 8
    • Clippings and References, 1981-1998Box 1, Folder 9
    • Correspondence with Northwestern University/ University Archives, 1938-1963Box 1, Folder 10
    • Undated ItemsBox 1, Folder 11