Frances Willard

Frances Willard riding her bicycle, Gladys

Frances Willard riding her bicycle, Gladys


Frances Willard was a radical social progressive who stood out against gender inequality and fought to give a voice to society’s disenfranchised.  She exposed the inherent hypocrisies of the status quo and forever changed accepted societal norms.

Willard forged a prototype for community organization and social reform that transformed our cultural landscape. The basis of our modern social welfare policies can be found in the initiatives fomented by Willard. Her life’s work is an example of what can be done when one is devoted to a cause.  Her ability to work hard and to mobilize others to work hard is a model of personal determination and amazing leadership skills.  To this day, Frances Willard continues to be “re-discovered” as the prototype of the modern, forward-thinking woman.

Biography of Frances Willard

Learn more about Willard, her family, and her life in Evanston here.

Social Reform Agenda

Willard called her social reform agenda “Do Everything”.  Find out more about what that included in this section.

History of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)Woman's Christian Temperance Union 1874 - logo

The WCTU was founded in 1874 and is still in existence today. The information found in this section will give you new insights into this remarkable woman’s organization.

Places and Things Named for Frances Willard

At the time of her death in 1898, Willard was both a leading historic figure in America and much beloved by people moved by her causes and by schoolchildren who saw her as a role model.  Find out how widespread and varied are the memorial sites named for her.

View a Video About Frances Willard

The United Methodist Church produced an online video for Women’s History Month in 2016.  You can view this very well-done video here:

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