Archival Collection

Overview of Holdings 

  • The Frances Willard Papers: correspondence, documents, 80 scrapbooks, 50 journal volumes, publications, speeches, photographs
  • Subject files on events, traditions, people, and places
  • Records of the WCTU of Southern California, 1884-2008
  • Records and serial publications of the World’s, National, state, and local WCTUs, including annual reports, newsletters, handbooks, and a complete run of the Union Signal
  • Photographs of individuals, groups, and events in WCTU history
  • Artifacts, such as banners, buttons, promotional items, and other ephemera
  • Pamphlets, flyers, educational material, and songbooks produced by the WCTU
  • Indexes to the Union Signal and national meeting minutes (the only existing set of indexes)
  • Dissertations and theses on relevant topics, many based on research in the Archives
  • Publications and pamphlets from other temperance organizations (1840s-20th century)
  • Books on temperance, alcoholism, narcotics, and smoking; the WCTU and other temperance groups; women’s suffrage and other social issues–dating from the 1840s-present

Access and Use

The Frances E. Willard Memorial Library and WCTU Archives is staffed by part-time staff and volunteers who make every effort to answer reference inquiries and assist researchers in a timely manner. Onsite use of the collection is by appointment only. For general research questions, please contact the archivist at [email protected] or submit a research request.

Visiting the Archives for on-site research

The Library and Archives welcomes visiting researchers. Since it is a volunteer-run repository, appointments to visit need to be made well in advance by contacting [email protected] or submitting a research request. Days (including Saturdays) and hours can usually be scheduled to accommodate the needs of visitors. The Library and Archives has copier/scanner and a printing microfilm reader; researchers may also use their laptops, digital cameras, or personal scanners. Please contact us for directions to the Library and Archives, suggestions for nearby lodging, and other questions about the logistics of using the repository or about our holdings.


There are no comprehensive lists of past WCTU members, who number in the hundreds of thousands. Our resources for information about individual members include the annual meeting minutes from local and state Unions. We do not necessarily have all of these in the Willard Memorial Library and Archives, and in any case they are most likely to mention individuals who held a leadership role at the local, state, or national level. This does not mean that the work and dedication of each member of the WCTU was any the less important; just that not all names were listed or mentioned in the sources. In order to search for answers to genealogical inquiries, we need the following information:

  • Full name, including maiden and married name(s) of the WCTU member
  • Approximate dates of involvement in the WCTU
  • Location, including county, of involvement in the WCTU

Reference and Research Services Fees (on-site and off-site)