Willard, Frances Elizabeth

Willard, Frances Elizabeth,

1839–98, American temperance leader and reformer, b. Churchville, N.Y., grad. Northwestern Female College, 1859. She was president of Evanston College for Ladies and dean of women at Northwestern Univ. After leaving the university, she helped organize (1874) the Woman's Christian Temperance UnionWoman's Christian Temperance Union
(WCTU), organization that seeks to upgrade moral life, especially through abstinence from alcohol. The National WCTU of the United States was founded (1874) in Cleveland, Ohio, as a result of the Woman's Temperance Crusade that spread through
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 and in 1879 became its president. She devoted most of her life to the organization of women for the prohibition of alcoholic beverages but was active in other causes, especially that of woman suffrage.

Bibliography

See her autobiography, Glimpses of Fifty Years (1889); biographies by M. Earhart (1944) and M. L. Gates (1964).

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(12) Ruth Bordin, for example, concludes that Willard's "primary emotional ties" were all with women but "they seem not have been explicitly homosexual"; see Bordin, "Willard, Frances Elizabeth Caroline," American National Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).