Mad In Pursuit Notebook

girls of summer 1955

Frances Willard: Portrait of A Woman At Work

5.7.2013. I'm sure Jim got this old photogravure because it showed a photo collector. It caught my eye because it looks like Jim's study. Then I noticed there was a woman amid the clutter. The label said "The Den - Rest Cottage." A clue! I got my Nancy Drew on.

Through the miracle of Google I discovered that the woman is FRANCES WILLARD (1839-1898), feminist, suffragist, and president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. A charismatic speaker, she was considered influential in the passage of both the Eighteenth and Nineteenth amendments to the US Constitution -- Prohibition and Women's Suffrage. This photo was taken in 1889, when she was 50 years old, at her home and headquarters in Evanston, Illinois.

Aren't you fascinated by her work space? I suspect she was an adept multi-tasker, surrounded by her open books and piles of paper, as she scribbles away on her clipboard, another work-in-progress in her typewriter. I like her messy pigeon holes on the lower right. Looks like her calling it "Rest Cottage" was wishful thinking. In fact, I learned that her motto was "Do Everything."

Hanging on a hook above the crazy quilt (lower left) is her newspaper, the Union Signal [1], which was originally edited by her mother Mary.

The most notable aspect of her space is all the photos and prints. There are even some tacked to the ceiling. I wonder who they are. Her inspirations? Her contributors?

[1] Woman's Temperance Publishing Association.

Virtual exhibit: Radical Woman in a Classic Town - Frances Willard of Evanston.

Frances Willard House Museum, Evanston Illinois