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

The Fruitful History of “Dry January”

By Elizabeth Schmidt, Fall 2020 Intern As 2021 begins, many people will make typical New Year’s resolutions to get in shape and become healthier. These resolutions often include a vow to moderate the use of alcohol. This will be particularly meaningful after a year when, due to the pandemic, health was everyone’s main concern, and … Read more

Giving Thanks for Our Village

One of our Executive Director’s favorite non-Willard quotes is “It takes a village.” We approach the end of 2020 with gratitude for everyone who has made our work during this challenging year possible: staff, volunteers, interns, Board and Council members, and supporters far and wide. Without these villagers, we couldn’t have maintained Frances Willard’s “Do Everything” approach at the level we did this year. In this post we focus on … Read more

The Making of “Influences of a Self-Made Woman: The Early Journals of Frances Willard”

By Hannah Lahti, Remote Summer Intern             The social and political reformer Frances Willard remains notable throughout history as a champion of women’s rights and a leader of the nineteenth century’s national reform movement.  Historians study the impact of her work to understand the role of women and women’s movements in the fight for women’s … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more