Holiday Week at Rest Cottage

“How strange it seems with so much gone Of life and love, to still live on.” Eighty-three Christmases have come to mother, and forty-eight to me. We have sped along the mile posts of years beyond our nearest comrades and are still here, but “They recon not by months and years Where these have gone … Read more

Letting the Records Speak: An Intern’s Experience in the WCTU Archives

By Amelia Perkins, Philosophy PhD student, Northwestern University I spent this summer as an intern at the Frances Willard House Museum and WCTU Archives, through Northwestern’s Chicago Humanities Initiative, a program which matches graduate students with Chicago-area organizations seeking summer interns. I applied to CHI with the vague idea that it would be good to get … Read more

Making History in Southern California: The Women of the WCTU

By Kristin Jacobsen, Assistant Archivist, Frances Willard House Museum and WCTU Archives Men may have dominated the California Gold Rush in the mid-nineteenth century, but the women of the state were energized by a longer-lasting undertaking – the temperance movement. A newly available collection of historical records tells the story of some of these women, the … Read more

“Look Up and Off, and On and Out”: Frances Willard and Women’s Oratory

By Fiona Maxwell, Director of Museum Operations and Communications; PhD candidate in History at the University of Chicago “Look up and off, and on and out; it is the curse of life that nearly everyone looks down.”  – Frances Willard By 1874, Frances Willard had acquired a local reputation as a public speaker. Yet, when … Read more

Nominate Frances Willard to be on the U.S. Quarter

By Janet Olson, Archivist On January 13, 2021, the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020 was signed into law. The bill directs the Treasury Department, through the U.S. Mint, to issue quarter-dollar coins featuring “prominent American women,” effective January 1, 2022 through the end of 2025. The act allows up to five coin designs … Read more

A Work In Progress: The Willard House Garden Restoration

2020 was a watershed year when much of the research, planning, and preparation for the Willard House Garden historic reconstruction efforts came to fruition. Beginning with a planning grant we received from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, we have worked to make the gardens surrounding the house a unique and special setting for Evanston’s … Read more

You’re Invited: A Museum Opens in 1900

In the spring of 1900, hundreds of people received invitations to the dedication of the new National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) headquarters at “Rest Cottage, Evanston, Illinois.” Rest Cottage was the nickname Frances Willard had given her home – at least partially in jest as so much of her working life happened within its walls. … Read more

A Monumental Figure: Ida B. Wells

March is Women’s History Month and this year we are thinking about the places where women’s history happened, why it is so important to preserve them, and how easily they can be lost and forgotten. In advance of our program (Sunday 3/28 at 4 pm) – A Conversation with Michelle Duster: author of Ida B. … Read more

Saving the Phyllis Wheatley Home

By Fiona Maxwell, Museum Fellow, and Lori Osborne, CWHL Executive Director Historic buildings offer a tangible and immersive way to explore past women’s lives and work. Some women’s history sites have been protected in recognition of their historic significance and educational potential. Yet, for all of the sites that have been maintained, far too many … Read more