Performing Temperance Part II: WCTU Oratorical Contests

By Fiona Maxwell, University of Chicago Graduate Global Impact Intern This is the second installment of a series of blog posts highlighting a small sample of the printed performance materials housed in the WCTU Archives. Although the Museum and Archives are closed to visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to providing digital … Read more

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 … Read more

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,” … Read more

The Past is Present: Pure Food and the W.C.T.U

Before the Pure Food and Drug Act, the United States (as well as the rest of the world) was riddled with problems regarding the safety of food and drink. Over a hundred years have gone by since the passing of the act in 1906, and times when a glass of milk could cause disease and … Read more

“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.” … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more