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Willard House and the 19th Amendment Centennial

By Cate LiaBraaten, Museum Operations Manager Suffrage, or the right to vote and hold office in political elections, is foundational to democratic societies. 2020 marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which states that the right to vote shall not be denied on the basis of sex. The 19th Amendment was passed […]

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The Recreation of a Historic Garden

By Glen Madeja, Head Gardener The renovated gardens have progressed tremendously so far this year. Based on research done by landscape historian Barbara Geiger funded by a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a work plan had been laid out for the entire property, focused on the gardens surrounding Willard House. Over the […]

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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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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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“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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