Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard (1839-1898) was the middle of three children born to Josiah
and Mary Willard in Churchville, New York. The family moved to Oberlin, Ohio, so Frances' father could study for the ministry. Due to the father's poor health, the family moved to a farm (Forest
Home) near Janesville, Wisconsin, where Frances "invested not spent" her childhood.
In 1858, the family moved to Evanston , Illinois, so her older brother, Oliver, could attend Garrett
Biblical Institute and Frances and her sister, Mary, could attend the Northwestern Female College. After graduation, Frances Willard held a
series of teaching posts. She became President of the Evanston college for Ladies in 1871 and in 1873, the first Dean of Women at Northwestern University.
Frances E. Willard
Second National WCTU President ( 1879 - 1898 )
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In 1874, she resigned her post as Dean to become the National Corresponding Secretary of the recently founded Woman's Christian
Temperance Union. From 1879 until her death she served as its second National President. In addition to temperance, Frances Willard promoted
women's rights, suffrage, equal pay for equal work, and an eight-hour day. She embraced the political arena , realizing the empowerment that women
would experience if able to vote. Miss Willard was a teacher, an excellent speaker, a successful lobbyist, and an expert in forming public opinion.
Susan B. Anthony in 1895 introduced Miss Willard to a United States Senate Committee as a "general with an army of 250,000."
We are planning to offer even more exciting historical information (including how she learned to ride a bicycle) on Frances Willard.