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In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, EWHP has a full calendar of events planned for March 2019, in partnership with the Frances Willard House Museum and other Evanston women’s organizations.

On Friday, March 8th from 9-10 a.m. at the Evanston History Center (225 Greenwood Street, Evanston), there will be a morning celebration of International Women’s Day. Evanston women of all ages are invited to join us for a “Get to Know You” networking event. A light breakfast will be served. This event is free but reservations are required as capacity is limited. Reservations at www.evanstonhistorycenter.org/all-events.

Lorraine Morton

On Tuesday, March 19th at 7 p.m. at EHC (225 Greenwood Street, Evanston) a screening of the new film A Life Worthwhile: Lorraine H. Morton will take place, followed by brief remarks and reflections by Dino Robinson, Shorefront founder and director of the film, and Lori Osborne, director of the Evanston Women’s History Project. Educator, Alderman and Evanston’s first African American Mayor, Lorraine Hairston Morton served the Evanston Community for over 50 years, guided by a simple statement her father passed down to her: “only a life of service, is a life worthwhile.” The film documents and honors Morton’s remarkable life and career, and is a production of Shorefront Films. Admission is $10 (free for EHC members). Reservations are recommended, go to www.evanstonhistorycenter.org/all-events.

The Evanston Women’s History Project at the Evanston History Center will begin accepting applications for the 2019 Vickie Burke Internship for Women’s History starting January 7, 2019. 

Project work in 2019 will be focused on upcoming plans for the 2020 Women’s Suffrage Anniversary and will include:

  • continued research on Evanston women and women’s organizations and their connection to the suffrage movement
  • program development and event planning for the 2020 Suffrage Anniversary
  • exhibit planning and development


  • internships will take place once per year; for 2019 this will be in summer or fall
  • the schedule will be flexible but most internships will last 8-10 weeks and be approximately 12 hours per week
  • interns will be paid a stipend of $1,500
  • applicants are required to be in college or graduate school studying in the fields of history, women’s or gender studies, or public history

For more information and an application, please email ewhp@evanstonhistorycenter.org or call (847) 475-3410.

The story of Evanstonian Eda Lord Dixon (1876-1926) and her career as an artist and entrepreneur is highlighted in this wonderful article by two curators connected to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It all starts with the mystery of a beautiful object in their collection and their search for more information about the artist who created it. In their investigation, they used the research files and resources of the Evanston Women’s History Project and the Evanston History Center. Thankfully they were able to piece together a full story of her life and work.

The photo below is of the interior of Lord’s studio in Evanston. We are not exactly sure where it was located but will be doing further research to figure that out too!

Eda Lord Dixon Rediscovered

Saying Goodbye

From the beginning of the Evanston Women’s History Project, there was no question that Lorraine Morton was a fixture in the story of Evanston women. Not only was she the first African-American elected Mayor of Evanston, and only the second woman, she was a pioneer in so many ways – as an educator, politician and community ambassador.

Lorraine Morton came to Evanston in 1941 to study for her Master’s Degree in Education at Northwestern University. She taught in Evanston schools for almost 40 years, breaking down racial barriers by being the first African-American teacher at an all-white school. She ended her educational career as principal of Haven Middle School. She was elected alderman for the fifth ward in 1982 and served until 1993, when she was tapped to run for mayor. Morton retired in 2008, becoming the longest-serving mayor in Evanston history.

When the EWHP started in 2007, Morton was still Mayor and she was involved in our early imagining and planning of the project. In the years following, she stayed in touch and involved as she could, and always had a big smile for me and welcome comments to make about the long history of Evanston women, which she rightfully embraced as her own lineage. Over the years, as I have worked on the project and used the logo which is at the top of this page, I would note that she was the only one of the women shown who was still living. I loved seeing her there, representing Evanston women today.

Morton died at the age of 99 this past week. Evanston lost its biggest fan and supporter – and a leader who truly understood that working with people, encouraging their better impulses, and making change through compromise and understanding, was how to make things work. She built a community by building us all up too. She truly embraced and embodied the idea of “lifting as we climb.”

We will miss her leadership and her smile.

For more about her life, be sure to catch the new documentary produced by Shorefront Legacy Center – Lorraine Hairston Morton: A Life Worthwhile (you can see a trailer for the film here). Upcoming showings of the film will be posted on the Shorefront website or facebook page.

“All the wonderful things that happen in Evanston, happen by vote. We did it, not I did it.” Lorraine Morton (From: Nicole Walker “Women mayors.” Ebony, 30 Mar, 2009).

By Lori Osborne, EWHP Director

By Cate Liabraaten, 2018 Vickie Burke Women’s History Project Intern

As the 2018 Vickie Burke Intern for Women’s History, I have spent the summer thinking about  Evanston women and the fight for suffrage. Evanston is an ideal place to study women’s suffrage, because the town can be seen as a microcosm of the national suffrage battle. There is a rich local heritage of activism, and there were many local women who became players on the national stage.

I have been building upon the work of others, including past Vickie Burke Interns, to add to the website, Evanston and the 19th (now renamed Evanston Women and the Fight for Suffrage). The fight for women’s suffrage had many milestones besides the eventual passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. I have been researching earlier milestones, especially victories in Illinois like 1891 school board suffrage and Illinois state suffrage in 1913.

An 1892 notice of voting procedures for Evanston women.

I’ve also been working on research and planning for the upcoming suffrage centennial exhibit in 2020. My work in this area has involved finding out what themes emerge in the story of Evanston and women’s suffrage. I have done research on aspects of this special history that are specific to Evanston but also connect to national narratives. There is a lot of decision-making in exhibit planning, and I have been learning how to craft a cohesive story out of piles of information.

One of the themes that has become clear to me throughout the course of this project is that of suffragists as strategists. There were many avenues that these women pursued in order to get their message across and to persuade others to join their cause. The mental image most people have of suffragists is one of women with big hats and protest signs. I have found it compelling to think about the many different ways that suffragists worked. Suffragists were political thinkers, strategists, and legal minds. They used many different tactics in their struggle, including letter-writing campaigns, taking legal action, automobile tours throughout the state, public speaking, and public demonstrations.

Suffrage is an evolving issue–who gets to vote is a central question of democratic societies. This summer, working with the Evanston Women’s History Project, I’ve fortunate to work with others to find out more about the women’s suffrage story and its local connections.

By Sophia Weglarz, EHC Summer Intern 2018

In my case, the world smelled of hundreds of biographical files, which certainly did not smell of roses. Even so, there was very little that could subvert my interest of these files or of the stories within them.

This summer, in hopes of learning more about different women in Evanston, I served as an intern at the Evanston History Center and got connected to the Evanston Women’s History Project which is based there. I was guided by EHC and EWHP staff towards Shorefront, a local organization dedicated to preserving and recording the lives of black citizens who lived on the North Shore. Needless to say, I was immediately fascinated, and I quickly found myself immersed in reading the Shorefront journals which hold the narratives of various black women who had lived on the North Shore. In these women, I found many role models.

At first, I read the journals in print, many of which written before I was even born. Then, I continued reading the journals as they transitioned to a digital format, all while retaining the same heart and spirit the original print journals encapsulated. While my original job was to work with the Evanston Women’s History Project to add new women’s stories that I had encountered through Shorefront, I ended up finding something so much more captivating.

Upon becoming fascinated with the story of Eleanor “Brownie” Frazier that first appeared in a 2006 Winter issue of Shorefront, I decided to do more research into Brownie’s personal background. Thus, my preoccupation began. I came to discover that Brownie’s mother was none other than Annabelle Crawford, granddaughter of Anthony Crawford. Anthony Crawford was a wealthy, black landowner living in Abbeville, SC, until he was lynched brutally and publicly. This prompted the Crawford family, as well as many other families living in Abbeville and nearby towns, to migrate north to Evanston.

The pieces suddenly came together, and using the work of the late, great historian and great-great granddaughter of Anthony Crawford, Doria Johnson, I uncovered more about the migration from Abbeville to Evanston, as well as more about the effect the migration had on the north in a broader, cultural sense. This experience of discovery was so rewarding, and I will continue to investigate this connection further into the fall.

Overall, I couldn’t be more grateful to the Evanston History Center, Shorefront, Doria Johnson’s research, and, of course, the Evanston Women’s History Project. Above all, I learned that a summer of files can hold much more excitement than a summer of roses ever could.

Thank you! 


North Western Female College, corner of Chicago Avenue and Greenwood Boulevard

Explore the revolutionary history of Evanston’s women by viewing the houses and buildings where they worked to transform our cultural landscape. In partnership with the Frances Willard House Museum. Meets in front of the Frances Willard House, 1730 Chicago Avenue.

Cost: $20/$15 for Evanston History Center and Frances Willard House Museum members.

When: July 21st, 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m.

Where: All tours begin at the Frances Willard House, 1730 Chicago Avenue.

Reservations are not needed but they are encouraged via email –ewhp@evanstonhistorycenter.org.

Hope you can join us!


The 2018 Tour Evanston Women’s History Map highlights the stories of fifteen Evanston women and women’s organizations around the theme She Persisted. It provides a fun, informative and relevant summer activity for self-guided walking, biking and driving tours. The map costs $10 and will be available for purchase from 1-4 pm Thursdays and Sundays at the Frances Willard House, and Thursday-Sunday at the Evanston History Center.

The map is created from research completed by staff, interns and volunteers of the Evanston Women’s History Project, in partnership with the Frances Willard House Museum and Shorefront Legacy Center. The map includes brief historical information about each woman or organization. For more detailed information, you can find each of them in the research database.

  • Frances Willard
  • Evanston College for Ladies
  • Catharine Waugh McCulloch
  • Margery Carlson
  • Lorraine Morton
  • Florence Walrath
  • Carrie Crawford Smith
  • Mayme Spencer
  • Dr. Isabella Garnett
  • Dr. Elizabeth Webb Hill
  • Helen Cromer Cooper
  • Gladys Dick
  • Alice Bunker Stockham
  • Idea Strong Hammond
  • Marguerite Stitt Church

The Frances Willard House Museum, in partnership with the Evanston Women’s History Project and Shorefront Legacy Center, is proud to announce the first annual Tour Evanston Women’s History Map. The 2018 map will highlight fifteen women’s history sites throughout Evanston around the theme She Persisted. It will provide a fun, informative and relevant summer activity for self-guided walking, biking and driving tours, with brief information about fifteen amazing Evanston women.

Designed by local illustrator Caroline Brown, the map will cost $10 and will be available for purchase beginning Sunday, May 27 (Memorial Day weekend) from 1-4 pm at the Frances Willard House and the Evanston History Center (EHC). It will be available for purchase throughout the summer when these locations are open (Willard House – Thursdays and Sundays 1-4 pm; EHC – Thursdays-Sundays 1-4 pm). Additional locations will be announced.

Sponsorship of the map comes from: Emilie Hogan Broker @Properties and The Wellness Revolution.

For more information, visit: www.franceswillardhouse.org

Stay tuned on this website for more information about the fifteen women who will be highlighted this year.

In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, EWHP has a full calendar of events planned for March 2018, in partnership with the Frances Willard House Museum and other Evanston women’s organizations.

On Thursday, March 8th from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at EHC (225 Greenwood Street, Evanston), there will be a pre-work and school celebration of International Women’s Day, with brief remarks highlighting the work of Evanston women leaders. Light refreshments will be served. This event is free but reservations are required as capacity is limited. Women and girls of all ages are welcome. Reservations at www.evanstonhistorycenter.org/all-events.

Later on Thursday March 8th International Women’s Day commemorations will continue with a film showing and discussion of I Am Jane Doe sponsored by the YWCA Evanston/NorthShore and other Evanston women’s organizations. This film highlights the stories of several American women who discover their daughters have been the victims of online trafficking. This event will take place from 5:45-8:45 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Evanston (1330 Ridge Ave, Evanston). Tickets cost $10 ($5 for students). More info and tickets at: www.ywca.org.

On Sunday, March 11th there will be special tours at the Frances Willard House (1730 Chicago Ave, Evanston) where visitors can learn more about the WCTU’s historic work against sex trafficking worldwide. The tours will take place from 1-4 p.m. and cost $10. More info at: www.franceswillardhouse.org.

On Thursday, March 15th at 7 p.m. at EHC (225 Greenwood Street, Evanston) author Pamela Bannos will discuss her new book Vivien Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife. Tickets are $10 (EHC and FWHM members are free). A reception sponsored by Whole Foods Evanston begins at 6:30 p.m. and Bookends and Beginnings will have books for signing and sale after the talk. Reservations are recommended, go to www.evanstonhistorycenter.org/all-events.

Event sponsors include: Hewn Bakery and Whole Foods Evanston.

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