Frances E. Willard Documents and Images



Portrait of Frances E. Willard,
circa 1900

In this large print, Frances Willard is wearing the white ribbon bow proclaiming her membership in the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Willard became the National Corresponding Secretary of the national WCTU at its founding convention in 1874. She served as President of the WCTU from 1879 until her death in 1898.

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Letter from Frances Willard and
Kate Jackson to Sarah H. Fuller
and Spencer Fuller,

June 21, 1869

From the spring of 1868 until the fall of 1870, Frances Willard and Kate Jackson visited the British Isles, Europe, Russia, and the Near East, studying languages, cultures, and history. This letter was written in Paris while Willard was on her grand tour. In the letter she thanks “Sister Fuller” and “Professor” for their recent correspondence and requests more news about recent developments in the United States.

Tell me about politics, I beg you, and how Grant and the Republican party bear their victories. Tell me about the reforms of the day, the Temperance question, the suffragettes, the “Woman.” You don’t know how hungry I am to know what happens in the world at home. My dear Mother writes often and sends the local news, but aside from that we know less of America by far than you of France.  

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Letter from Frances E. Willard
to Robert Willard,
March 17, 1883

Frances Willard’s interests included family history, as evidenced by this letter requesting genealogical assistance from Dr. Robert Willard. In particular, she wanted to know if her great-grandfather, the Rev. Elijah Willard, was related to Major Simon Willard (1605–1676), one of the founders of Concord, Massachusetts.

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Letter from Frances Willard 
to the editor of The Youth's Companion,

December 10, 1894

During her lifetime Willard was a well-known author, lecturer, and social activist. This typed, signed note from Frances Willard served as a cover letter for an article that she submitted to The Youth’s Companion magazine for publication. It is difficult to tell whether Willard’s opening remarks are genuine or sarcastic: “Dear Sir: I wonder if you would like a little account of Lady Henry’s dog and my cat? They are both remarkable ‘after their kind.’”

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Letter from Frances E. Willard
to William Hayes Ward,
March 2, 1891

Dr. William Hayes Ward (1835–1916), the recipient of this letter, was a clergyman, educator, author, and editor. He joined the editorial staff of The Independent, a New York weekly newspaper, in 1868 and served as editor-in-chief from 1896 to 1913. Upon Frances Willard’s death in 1898, The Independent published a glowing tribute beginning with these words:

No woman's name is better known in the English-speaking world than that of Miss Willard, save that of England's good queen. No woman in our generation has crowned herself with more royal achievements, or shown herself possessed of finer qualities of leadership, or wielded so supreme an influence over her own sex, or carried a great reform, rather a series of great reforms, to a larger success..

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Print of a Frances Willard 
stained glass window

The Bridwell Library Collection on Frances E. Willard includes two images of Willard: a large portrait and this smaller print of a stained glass window honoring her memory. The window is in the style of Boston craftsman Wilbur Herbert Burnham (1887–1974). The location of this window is not known. If you can identify where the window is (or was, if it no longer exists), please contact a member of the Special Collections staff.

Click on the image, right, to view in the digital collection.