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Image courtesy of Sacha Chua via Flickr

Willard’s Will: Self Care Before It Was Trendy

It’s that time of the year when everyone is concerned with “self-care.” Whether it be mindful meditation, healthy eating, or hiking – self-care is no longer the stuff of new age folklore. Inherently, the definition of self-care is fluid, what works for one might not work for another. My father, bless his soul, picked up […]

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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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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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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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This is a small sample of items that Willard had in her satchel, "Old Faithful"

Featured Collections Object: Old Faithful’s Contents

Ever wonder what Frances Willard carried around with her in the satchel she named “Old Faithful”? Pictured above are a few of the papers she had in it upon her death and includes pamphlets, a newspaper clipping, a letter, and invitations. These items remained there until recently when conservators working on the satchel discovered and removed them. Old Faithful was named […]

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Previously Unknown Opening In West Wall

Week 2 Restoration

Week 2 update: The wallpaper has been fully removed to reveal the original plaster, a mystery opening, and a previously unknown wallpaper pattern. The completion of this work also means we have to say “goodbye” to Mike and Zach. It has been a pleasure working with them. The plasterers  from Bob Jirasek Plastering have started […]

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