Frances Willard Historical Association

The Frances Willard Historical Association in Evanston promotes vibrant discussion of social reformer France Willard’s life (1839-1898) and her work on behalf of women, temperance and human rights. Together, the Willard House Museum and the Willard Memorial Library & Archives benefit a local and global community of visitors, educators, and researchers.

The Woman’s Temple (Burnham and Root, 1892), at the corner of Monroe and LaSalle, served as the national headquarters of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union until 1900, when the organization moved to Evanston.The Library & Archives is located in the WCTU Administration Building, directly behind the Willard House Museum. The Library’s original purpose was to help WCTU staff produce reports, educational materials, and publications. The collection soon began to incorporate historical materials documenting the work of the national and international WCTU, and today the Library & Archives serves researchers around the world. The FWHA website provides useful resources for off-site researchers, including a list of holdings, links to bibliographies and research guides, images, blog entries, and to the FWHA’s recent digital project, the searchable transcriptions of Frances Willard’s 50-volume journal. 
The holdings of the Willard Memorial Library & Archives document the history and worldwide impact of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), and comprise letters, documents, images, serial publications, biographical and subject files, scrapbooks, and artifacts, ranging from the 1830s to 1990s. The collections offer a unique resource for scholars of women’s history, temperance, social reform, health, education, and social/political movements, in American and transnational contexts. Users also include independent writers, History Fair students, college and grad students, and genealogists. The Library & Archives has been cited in innumerable books, articles, and dissertations, and in the Ken Burns documentary Prohibition. 

The Willard Library & Archives is happy to help researchers of all ages discover and use its resources. The Library & Archives is open by appointment only. Please email the archivist with research questions or to plan a visit.