W.C.T.U. Willard centenary

17may12Willard

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union founder Frances Willard, the organization distributed this map. Detail enlargements of the map show memorials in southern California.

“One of our favorite artifacts is this 36”x26” rectangle of cream-colored cotton, printed in brown with a map of the United States as of 1938. If you look closely, you can see that most of the states contain one or several dots. Each one indicates the location of a structure—school, statue, drinking fountain, park—that had been named in honor of Frances E. Willard, social reformer, leader of women, president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) from 1879 until her death in 1898. The map itself was one of many objects, projects, and events produced by the WCTU to commemorate the 1939 centenary of Willard’s birth (1839).

“In April, 1938, in a letter describing the map project, WCTU president Ida B Wise Smith wrote,  ‘Someone has said, ‘There are more memorials to Frances Willard than to any other woman,’ and we are attempting to prove this statement by gathering information as to where there are schoolhouses named for Miss Willard, where are hospitals, as in Chicago, settlement houses, as in Boston, Homes for Girls, as in Oakland, Tulsa, Toledo and Chattanooga, and so forth, in an almost endless, amazing list.’

“After WCTU members all over the country reported to the National Headquarters in Evanston on the existence of memorials in their areas, the list of structures to be included on the Willard Centenary Souvenir Map reached 263. (By the end of the Centenary year, another 250 had been documented.)”

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union was an alcohol abstinence organization. Learn more about it at http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Woman%27s+Christian+Temperance+Union .

Excerpts and image from https://franceswillardhouse.org/scarf-handkerchief-treasure-map/ . Click on the link to learn more.

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