Frances E. Willard

Birthday: 
1839
Areas of Achievement: 
Activism
Literature
Athletics

Honored By

Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Gift: General Gift

Frances E. Willard was a women's suffrage leader, American feminist and prohibitionist. In 1875 U of A's Alphi Phi invited Frances E. Willard to become its first alumna initiate. Willard wrote several books, including Woman and Temperance (1883) which is still useful for its short portraits of WCTU leaders. With M. A. Livermore she co-edited A Woman of the Century (1893; reprinted 1967), a collection of biographies of American women. Willard was also the first woman to write a nonfiction book about her sports experience:
A Wheel Within a Wheel: A Woman's Quest for Freedom, 1895. She was the first national president of the WCTU (Woman's Christian Temperance Union). By heading the first mass organization of American women she enabled women to move more readily into public life by 1900.

In her day Frances E. Willard was one of the most famous women in the world. She was constantly in demand as a speaker. Using the phrase "home protection"--she led a generation of basically conservative, middle-class women into new areas of public activity. Under her guidance the WCTU trained women to act in behalf of their own values rather than be passive victims of circumstances. It was after she died (February 17, 1898) that the WCTU concentrated on prohibition and ceased to be the all-inclusive reform organization she had built.