Author Archive | The Director

Women and Prohibition: More Than Meets the Eye

By Hannah Overstreet, 2019 Summer Intern This month marks a century since the enactment of the Eighteenth Amendment, better known as Prohibition. For more than thirteen years, the United States banned alcohol, making it illegal to make, transport, or sell “intoxicating liquors” of all kinds. If you live in Chicago and pay any attention to […]

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Parlor Performance in 19th-Century Evanston

By Fiona Maxwell, UChicago Grad Global Impact Intern In November 1871, the Evanston College for Ladies threw open its parlor for a Thanksgiving “sociable.” The College’s President Frances Willard displayed “pains-taking care” in her preparations in order that all of the guests enjoyed “themselves to the fullest extent.” After the formalities of “introduction and conversation,” […]

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The Silent Steed So Swift and Blithesome

In the late nineteenth century, American cities were filled with bicycles. People from all walks of life embraced them, which shaped urban environments. Frances Willard and other reformers promoted bicycles as particularly important for women. Bicycles were instruments of health, freedom, and convenience, which could contribute to equality. Some people doubted  whether women should ride […]

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How does Willard and the WCTU fit into our modern idea of feminism?

What We Mean When We Say Feminism

There has been a lot of debate and discussion about the meaning of the word feminism in recent years. Women today take various stands for or against it – and generally its true meaning is lost in the fray. Feminism is a loaded word in our culture with some wearing the term proudly and others […]

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Restoration 7

The painting of the trim in the Office, Hall, and Parlor is now complete.  The Hall and Parlor have trim that is painted brown, while the Office is a green-blue color.  We surmise here that when Willard got the money for writing her autobiography in 1889, she asked Mother how she would like to re-decorate […]

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Floor by the west wall of the office

Restoration 6

Things are picking up again here at the House. The trim in each room has already been sanded and primed. By the end of the week, all of the trim should have a two coats of finish paint. In order to prepare the rooms for painting, the edges of the carpets were removed so that the […]

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Restoration 5

We have had to do some unplanned exterior restoration. A large windstorm in late February knocked several bricks from the chimney cap on the southwest side of the house. It is the chimney for Willard’s Den. While looking at the one chimney Gerry Rice of Rice Masonry Construction alerted us to the poor state of 4 […]

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Picture rail in the office

Restoration 4

Restoration Update Not much has happened (visually) in the past few weeks. The plaster has cured and now is hard and ready to work with. Matthew Weil has stripped the picture rails in preparation for their being refinished. After several layers of paint were removed much more detail on the rails can be seen. Most […]

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Week 3 Restoration

The plasterers have made tremendous progress over the past week. Work in the office and hall has been completed and the dining room and the parlor are set to be completed either by the end of this week or early next week. Some walls were so badly damaged due to the house settling that large […]

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