Dress Reform Image 2

“Dear me! How stupid the fashionable world is!”: Frances Willard and Dress Reform

  In Frances Willard’s book, How to Win: A Book for Girls, she quoted an article from a “trustworthy New York authority” that she particularly enjoyed. The article stated, “Don’t try to reason logically about fashion, nearly all the fashion which have become popular in civilized countries have simply been the result of an accident.” […]

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WWI Red Cross vehicle donated by WCTU001

The WCTU and WWI

“A Century of Remembering: The Great War” is the theme of Illinois Archives Month (October) 2017. World War I affected every aspect of American society, and is documented in many different ways in archival repositories across the state.  The Frances Willard Memorial Library and Archives offers this brief overview of the role played by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. […]

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Frances Willard, 1894 giving a speech in England

From Educator to Activist: Frances Willard and Education for Girls

As a teacher, Willard pushed for her students to find a career after graduating, and in 1871, Willard became president of Evanston’s College for Ladies, where she continued to promote self-governance for her pupils. Evanston College for Ladies was absorbed by Northwestern following the Chicago fire, and at Northwestern,  Frances Willard became the first Dean […]

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Agitate Image

Agitate, Educate, Organize: Women’s Advocacy

Following the 2016 Presidential Election, there was a call to action for women, inspired by the historic first female presidential candidate, to get involved in politics and fight for policies that would be best for women and their communities. This uniting of women (and men) with such fervor for politics and policy seemed unprecedented, but […]

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One of the refurbished storage rooms holding World WCTU records.

Digging Through History

By Chad Comello Digging through history is a lot like digging through dirt: it’s gonna get messy, but you’ll find some interesting stuff along the way. What is now the archives was once known as the Administration Building, built in 1922 to serve as the WCTU’s bustling headquarters. Now primarily a repository for organizational records, […]

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Coloring book cover

Frances Willard: The Coloring Book

Coloring books for adults do seem to be a thing. They are touted as being beneficial for relaxation, mindfulness, creativity, and even just fun. Realizing that museums and libraries are a hidden source of wonderful, colorable designs, the New York Academy of Medicine Library has launched the second annual #ColorOurCollections week on social media, inviting museums, […]

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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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Left to right: Postel, Lappas, Dunlap

How They Spent Their Summer Vacations

Great minds think alike, it’s said, and that statement was well illustrated last week in the Willard Archives, when faculty members from three different institutions of higher learning descended on the Archives at the same time. The three professors were doing end-of-summer research on very different projects, but, as is so often the case in […]

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Keeley clipping

“I’ve Been to Dwight!”

Time was when this statement meant that the speaker was a recovering alcoholic making a triumphal return from Dwight, Illinois, after undergoing the famous “Keeley Gold Cure” in that small but bustling town. For me, it means I’m back from a conference of the Alcohol & Drugs History Society (ADHS), held in Dwight from July […]

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