Southern Methodist University

Collection on Frances E. Willard

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: Leete, Frederick DeLand, 1866-1958.
Title: Collection on Frances E. Willard
Dates: Circa 1860 to circa 1920
Dates (Bulk): 1869-1895
Abstract: This collection features letters written by prominent nineteenth-century social reformer Frances E. Willard, a letter referring to Willard, an autographed calling card, and two printed images. These items were originally collected by Methodist Bishop Frederick DeLand Leete in the first half of the twentieth century.
Accession No: Collection BridArch 3.112
Extent: 1 box (.25 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard (1839 – 1898) was an educator and social reformer dedicated to the causes of temperance and women’s suffrage. Willard graduated from North Western Female College in Evanston, Illinois, the valedictorian of the class of 1859. The following year, at the age of 21, she joined the Methodist Episcopal Church.

After serving as president of the Evanston College for Ladies from 1871 to 1873 and Dean of Women at Northwestern University in 1874, Willard was elected president of the Chicago branch of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). She worked for evangelist Dwight L. Moody in 1877 organizing women’s meetings prior to becoming president of the Illinois WCTU in 1878. From 1879 until her death in 1898, she served as president of the national WCTU. In 1883 she founded the World Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

Frances Willard traveled and lectured widely. Her interest in politics led to the organization of the National Council of Women, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, and the Prohibition Party.

To honor the memory of Frances Willard, the Methodist Episcopal Church General Conference of 1936 adopted a resolution presented by Mamie Colvin describing Willard as “that able champion of the rights of women and the cause of total abstinence, that fearless and mighty enemy of the American liquor trade” and urging all Methodists to study “the life and work of Frances E. Willard, and the contribution she made to the moral progress of America and the world.”

Frederick DeLand Leete (1866-1958) was a Methodist bishop and collector of Methodistica. The items in this collection were originally part of his Methodist Historical Library.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The collection on Frances E. Willard consists of sixteen folders of correspondence and ephemera by or about Frances Willard. These materials offer insights into the personal and professional life of a significant figure in the temperance and women’s rights movements in the United States and internationally during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into two series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1869-1895
Series 2: Ephemera, circa 1860 to circa 1920


Access to Collection:

The collection is open for research use. Patrons must sign the Acknowledgement of Legal Responsibility and Privacy Rights form before using this collection.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Head of Special Collections of the Bridwell Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Sensitive Materials Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications for which Bridwell Library assumes no responsibility.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Willard, Frances E. (Frances Elizabeth), 1839-1898.
Temperance -- United States -- 19th century.

Related Materials

The items in this collection were digitized in 2012 and may be viewed on the internet as the Frances E. Willard Documents and Images at Bridwell Library (

Frances Willard documents at other repositories include:

Frances E. Willard (1839-1898) Papers, Northwestern University Library, Evanston, Illinois

Frances Willard Memorial Library and Archives, Evanston, Illinois

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], F.D. Leete collection on Frances E. Willard, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Bishop Frederick DeLand Leete as part of the F. D. Leete Methodist Historical Library, 1956.

Processing Information

The items in this collection were reunited from three separate storage locations at Bridwell Library in 2012.

Processed by Timothy Binkley, 2012.

Finding aid written by

Timothy Binkley, 2012.

Encoded by

Ada Negraru, 2012.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Correspondence, 1869-1895
13 folders

The first series contains thirteen letters written by Frances Willard and one letter written by Stella J. Homer mentioning Willard as a professional reference. The earliest letter, written in 1869, is signed “Frank,” which was Frances Willard’s nickname. Hyperlinks in the file lists below lead to metadata-rich digital images of each folder’s contents.
Box Folder
1730C 01 Letter from Frances Willard and Kate Jackson to Sister Fuller and Professor, 1869 June 21
02 Letter from Frances Willard to Mrs. Wallace, not dated, circa 1890-1895
03 Letter from Frances Willard addressed "Dear Sir,", 1877 November 22
04 Letter from Frances Willard to Rev. Dr. Ward, 1880 April 3
05 Letter from Frances Willard addressed “Dear Friend, 1881 August 11 and Letter from Stella J. Homer to Rev. Dr. Heidt, 1881 August 16
06 Letter from Frances Willard to Dr. Robert Willard, 1883 March 17
07 Letter from Frances Willard addressed to "My dear Friend," 1886 March 6
08 Letter from Frances Willard to Brother Miller, 1888 February 24
09 Letter from Frances Willard addressed to “Kind Friend” (Rev. Mr. Prentice), 1888 October 11
10 Letter from Frances Willard to Dr. Ward, 1891 March 2
11 Note from Frances Willard to unknown recipient, 1891 April 27
12 Letter from Frances Willard to the Editor of The Youth‘s Companion, 1894 December 10
13 Letter from Frances Willard to Elizabeth, 1895 February 26

Series 2: Ephemera, circa 1860 to circa 1920
3 folders

The second series includes three ephemeral items: a signed calling card, a small print of a stained glass window memorializing Frances Willard, and a large print of her likeness and signature. All items in this series are undated.
Box Folder
1730C 14 Frances E. Willard calling card with signature, circa 1860-1898
15 Print of a Frances E. Willard stained glass window, circa 1898-1920
File Drawer
3 Print of image of Frances E. Willard, signed, circa 1890-1920