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Frances E. Willard (1839-1898) Papers

Identifier: 40/2

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Scope and Contents

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 (WCTU) 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 in a separate folder. 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 in a folder at the end of the series.

Addition, Box 1

The first addition consists of photocopies of correspondence.

The second addition consists of four folders containing items related to the centenary of Frances Willard's birth, more 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 WCTU headquarters in Evanston.

Some biographical information and news clippings in the addition 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).


  • 1871 - 1998


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.


1.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



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.


This collection of papers of Frances E. Willard is organized into: biogrpahical materials, clippings and excerpts, correspondence, the Willard sculpture by Lorado Taft, publications, and a temperance petition. Two additions contain additional correspondence and information on the 1939 centenary of Frances Willard's birth.

Method of Acquisition

Separated from the University Archives' biographical files (Accession #74-70). The first addition was received from Allen S. Weller, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on August 11, 1986 (Accession #86-143).

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.

Processing Information

Margaret Faverty and Mary Ann Webber; January 14, 1986.

Guide to the Frances E. Willard (1839-1898) Papers
Margaret Faverty and Mary Ann Webber
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Script of description
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Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US