Pledging the Town

Part 2 of a series By Janet Olson, CWHL archivist. During 2024, to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (November, 1874), we will be shining a local spotlight on the Evanston women (and men) who were “early adopters” of the temperance campaign. This joint project of the … Read more

“What is the use of a temperance society in Evanston, where the sale of liquor is already prohibited?”

By Janet Olson Speaking at a Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) meeting in Evanston in 1883, Mrs. Jennette Hauser posed the title question. It was a logical question—after all, Evanston had been dry since 1855, thanks to Northwestern University’s charter, which stated that no alcohol could be sold within four miles of the University.[1] Since … Read more

Standing Up for History

By the Staff of the Frances Willard House Museum and WCTU Archives In the August 29, 2023 issue of Chicago Magazine, Edward Robert McClelland advocated, somewhat lightheartedly, for replacing the statue of Frances Willard in National Statuary Hall with a figure that would better represent “modern Illinois.” While the two women he suggests as replacements – poet Gwendolyn … Read more

The Fruitful History of “Dry January”

By Elizabeth Schmidt, Fall 2020 Intern As 2021 begins, many people will make typical New Year’s resolutions to get in shape and become healthier. These resolutions often include a vow to moderate the use of alcohol. This will be particularly meaningful after a year when, due to the pandemic, health was everyone’s main concern, and … Read more

The Silent Steed So Swift and Blithesome

In the late nineteenth century, American cities were filled with bicycles. People from all walks of life embraced them, which shaped urban environments. Frances Willard and other reformers promoted bicycles as particularly important for women. Bicycles were instruments of health, freedom, and convenience, which could contribute to equality. Some people doubted  whether women should ride … Read more