There are two upcoming women’s history-related events in Evanston. On Thursday March 2nd, the Evanston Women’s History Project at the Evanston History Center will host a presentation by historian Louise W. Knight (former President of the FWHA) highlighting stories from her upcoming book about the Grimke sisters and the enslaved people who lived in their childhood home in South Carolina. More about this event can be found here.
On Wednesday, March 8th, Evanston will celebrate International Women’s Day with an evening program focused on women’s economic empowerment. To register for the event or find out more, click here.
“Cultivating Character: The Early Life of Frances E. Willard”
Frances E. Willard (1839-1898) is known today for her work as the charismatic president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union from 1879 to 1898. But what made her the best-known woman in America at the time of her death in 1898? What forces shaped her?
This exhibit explores how Frances E. Willard’s family, education—both what she received as a student and imparted as a teacher—and religion helped to form the woman who became America’s leading female social reformer of the 1880s and 1890s.
When Willard was fifteen she began keeping journals in which she poured out her soul. From those impassioned entries a detailed description of what she considered important – a loving family, a strong religious faith, and a broad and ongoing education – emerges.
One must cultivate all three elements in order to become a good and worthy person, according to the young Frances Willard, although she feared she would not, could not achieve her goal. “I almost despair, sometimes, of ever coming to be a noble and finished character – and I would rather be this than any or all things in the world.”