Willard, Frances

Willard, Frances (Elizabeth Caroline)

(1839–98) temperance and suffrage leader; born in Churchville, N.Y. Growing up on the frontier in Wisconsin Territory, she persevered against her father's opposition to get any education as a girl. She spent a year at the North Western Female Seminary in Evanston, Ill. (1858–59), and held a series of teaching posts in the Northeast (1859–68). She then traveled for two years in Europe with a wealthy friend, Kate Jackson. Returning to Evanston, she became affiliated with Northwestern University as dean of women students and a professor of English (1871–74). She then transferred her interest to the temperance movement, becoming the corresponding secretary of the National Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) (1874–77). She ran into conflict with other women in the temperance movement by insisting on linking its goals with women's right to vote, but by 1879 she had gained enough support through her writings and eloquence to be elected president of the WCTU, a position she held until her death. She became a national figure through her personal appearances and her energy, broadening the WCTU's agenda to embrace women's suffrage and other progressive social causes. She also led the WCTU to become an international organization, becoming president of the World WCTU (1891–98). She tried to link the temperance and suffrage movements to political parties and candidates through a "Home Protection" Party and then through other political parties but never succeeded in uniting many women in this effort. She spent most of the years 1892 to 1896 in England and shifted her emphasis to the need for a socialist approach to economic reforms and an educational approach to eliminating the social effects of alcohol.
References in periodicals archive ?
Abby's hippie-ish parents (Fred Willard, Frances Conroy)--brings "Dharma & Greg" decidedly to mind.