Sue Young Histories

Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard 1839 - 1898

November 30, 2007

frances willardFrances Willard 1839 - 1898 attended the Milwaukee Female College founded by homeopathic supporter Catharine Beecher (sister of homeopathic supporter Harriet Beecher Stowe), and Willard was also educated at the North Western Female Medical College under Bertha Van Hoosen who was trained at the Homeopathic Boston Female Medical College and went onto become the first president of the American Medical Women’s Association.

The Elmira Water Cure which incorporated homeopathic treatment was extremely popular and Catharine Beecher was an ardent supporter. Many influential people were introduced there to the mixing of all the new ideologies, homeopathy, new religious sentiments, feminism, abolitionism and new educational and medical thinking.

Susan B Anthony was an ardent admirer of Rachel Gleason’s Elmira Water Cure which had attracted over 20,000 people from all over America. Homeopath Caroline Brown Winslow discovered homeopathy via Rachel Gleason when she also undertook the Water Cure at Elmira. Julia Ward Howe took the Water Cure with Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1846, an occasion which became a ’national social experience’ for radicals and reformers.

Willard was a frequent visitor to Elmira where she undertook work in prison reform, The Women’s Christian Temperance Union of which she was President, and the Kindergarten Movement.

Willard was an active supporter of The National Woman Suffrage Association NWSA which began when homeopaths Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Caroline Brown Winslow, Susan Ann Edson, Clemence Lozier and homeopathic supporters Lucretia Mott, Susan B Anthony, Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, Carrie Chapman Catt, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Anna Howard Shaw, Martha Coffin Pelham Wright, Mary Wright Sewell, Josephine S Griffing and others campaigned successfully for the vote for women.

Frances Willard also worked with General William Booth of the Salvation Army and with his wife, homeopathic supporter Catherine Booth.

Willard was influenced by Phoebe Palmer whose husband Walter Palmer was a homeopathic physician.

Willard took to the bicycle:

Feminists exulted that the bicycle would force dress reform—allowing them to go uncorseted and wear divided skirts or bloomers—and believed that once women commanded such physical freedom they could surely throw off other oppressive constraints. Suffragist and temperance leader Frances Willard, who learned to ride at age 53, called her bicycle an “implement of power.”

Willard was also involved in the Temperance Movement which was supported by the American Institute of Homeopathy, and she founded the Frances Willard Temperance Hospital, which employed homeopath Julia Holmes Abbot Smith as Consulting Physician and Sarah Hackett Stevenson, the first woman homeopath admitted into the American Medical Association.

Willard also founded the Municipal Bath movement with homeopath Gertrude Gale Wellington.

Frances Willard opened a Female School in Chicago in 1836, and during a career that lasted three decades, she established schools in seven states and twenty-three towns and provided opportunities for advanced training to at least twelve hundred girls and women. Seventy-four of these young women became teachers.

Willard’s indefatigable efforts were commendable; her vision of what young women should learn in school, however, set the stage for the development of a female consciousness that would rebel against the constraints imposed by contemporary social mores.

She taught natural philosophy, chemistry, bookkeeping, logic, and moral philosophy in addition to the frequently prescribed subjects for a girl’s training. Classes in botany and calisthenics in the 1830s were unusual. Such courses, however, were increasingly popular among the new middle class of commercial settlers and their families, whose experiences with female academies in the East had whetted their appetite for a more rigorous curriculum for young girls.

Willard served as president of the Evanston College for Ladies; when the college merged with Northwestern University, Willard became the dean of Northwestern’s Woman’s College in 1873. Willard was also president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union from 1879 until her death in 1898.

Willard turned away from a solid career in education to devote herself to the temperance crusade. For many years she worked for the Temperance Union with no pay, living on money made at speaking engagements. She was instrumental in the formation of the Prohibition Party, and was later elected president of the National Council of Women, largely for her belief in women’s right to vote.

Willard is remembered among Methodists for her strong stance in favor of women’s participation in the church. She was elected by the Rock River Conference as a lay delegate to General Conference in 1888, but was denied the seat by the General Conference.

Along with Anna Oliver (graduate from the homeopathic Boston University School of Medicine) , she began the long slow struggle towards women’s full participation among Methodists.

Willard befriended and promoted Abbie Holmes Christensen:

It was also probably while Abbie was on her own with the children in New England that she became involved in the temperance and suffrage movements. In 1888, while in Boston, she joined the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.

In 1889 she received a personal visit from Frances Willard, the president of the WCTU; and in 1890 members elected Abbie to the board of directors of the Women’s Temperance Publishing Association (affiliated with the WCTU) on which she served for two years. continue reading:

Willard and homeopathic supporter Mary A Livermore wrote A woman of the Century: fourteen hundred-seventy biographical sketches accompanied by portraits of leading American women in all walks of life _and _American Women: a complete encyclopaedia of the lives and achievements of American women of the nineteenth century _and _A Woman of the Century _about Alice Cordelia Morse. Willard also wrote _A White Life for Two and American Women: Fifteen Hundred Biographies with Over 1,400 Portraits_ _and Occupations for Women assisted by Helen M Winslow and Sallie Joy White.

Willard’s close friend Lady Henry Somerset wrote the introduction to The Beautiful Life of Frances E. Willard

Interestingly, Willard’s descendant Charles Huntington CRANDALL was born 19 Feb 1870 in Friendship, Allegany Co., New York, and died 07 Feb 1954 in San Diego. He married Gertrude May Lamb 13 Apr 1889 in Olean, Cattaraugus Co., New York, daughter of Lewis Lamb and Mary Willard. Mary was daughter of Dr. Willard of the ancestor Samuel Willard and a relative of Frances Willard. Mr. Crandall was a geologist and oil operator. Executive Vice Pres. of Texas California Oil Co. (retired). (Texas Oil was part of Standard Oil!)


Any views or advice in this site should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment, especially if you know you have a specific health complaint