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    Visionary Leader

    Social Reformer

    Women's Rights Advocate

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Willard House Tours – Winter Closure: We will be closed January and February for tours. The WCTU Archives remains open by appointment.


Happy New Year!

After more than 9 years of dedicated service to the Frances Willard Historical Association and the Center for Women’s History and Leadership, Glen Madeja has retired from his role as Executive Director. We’re grateful to Glen for his extraordinary dedication and care for the museum, archives, buildings and facilities, and for his leadership of the organization. Thankfully Glen will stay on as “head gardener” and will continue the work of creating a historic landscape for the house. Congratulations to Glen on his retirement! It is well-deserved.

Lori Osborne has been appointed Executive Director of the CWHL – and will continue her role as Museum Director as well. Lori comes to us with many years of work in the women’s history field – and has been connected in some way to the site for almost 20 years. Though change is challenging, we are excited for new possibilities of growth at this most historic place.


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The Frances Willard House Museum, in partnership with Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, will present a talk on January 22nd at 6 pm at Hull-House by Lisa Materson, author of For the Freedom of Her Race: Black Women and Electoral Politics in Illinois, 1877-1932 (University of North Carolina Press/March 2009). The talk will focus on the overlooked stories of black women in Illinois who advocated for voting rights and the racism within the suffrage movement – past and present – what is remembered, what is forgotten and how little has been told. More information and RSVP This talk is the first of three that are being organized by Willard House, Hull-House and the history department at Northwestern University in commemoration of the 2020 Suffrage Centennial.


Truth Telling: Frances Willard and Ida B. Wells

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A Community History Project of the Frances Willard House Museum and Archives

In the 1890s, Woman’s Christian Temperance Union President Frances Willard and journalist and activist Ida B. Wells fought a war of words in the international press over Willard’s lack of public support for Wells’ anti-lynching campaign. Wells called Willard’s moral leadership into question and demanded that Willard and the WCTU join her anti-lynching campaign. Under Willard’s leadership, the WCTU eventually passed resolutions opposing lynching, but Willard’s language and actions complicate her legacy.

Truth Telling: Frances Willard and Ida B. Wells is a community history project that explores this conflict. The project includes a digital exhibit of original archival sources, community conversations, and public programs. The goal of the project is to uncover the full truth of the conflict, and explore its many meanings and ramifications for our world today. 

To visit the new website, click here.

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