Frances Willard Day | Almanac.com

Frances Willard Day

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Frances Willard Day. This day is celebrated in Minnesota and Wisconsin in recognition of the contributions of Frances Elizabeth Willard, an American temperance leader and reformer who was born in New York in 1839. She studied at the Milwaukee Female College and the Northwestern Female College in Illinois. Upon graduating, she taught and then moved into administrative positions. A growing interest in the temperance movement led her to become president of the Chicago chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1874, and she became national president of that organization in 1879, a position she held until her death in 1898. She allied the WCTU with the woman suffrage movement, fought for women’s rights, and sought to improve industrial working conditions for women. She helped reorganize the national Prohibition Party in 1882. Her writings include Woman and Temperance (1883) and Glimpses of Fifty Years (1889). The state of Illinois placed a statue in her honor in the U.S. Capitol’s Hall of Statuary. In a journal entry during 1860, she wrote, β€œThe world is wide, and I will not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.”