Feed on

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! 

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.

The Evanston Women’s History Project at the Evanston History Center is now accepting applications for the 2018 Vickie Burke Internship for Women’s History. This internship is in conjunction with the Frances Willard House Museum. Both locations are near downtown Evanston and are easily accessed by car and public transportation.

Project work in 2018 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 2018 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.

As 2017 winds to a close and you are considering where to make your year-end gifts, I hope you will consider supporting the work of the Evanston Women’s History Project. The EWHP has just finished up its tenth year of work and this year has been a busy one with many of our usual operations and some big changes too.

This year we:

  • held our annual women’s history month lecture where local historian and author Louise (Lucy) Knight spoke about her upcoming biography of abolitionists Angelina and Sarah Grimke.
  • had two women’s history walking tours in partnership with the Frances Willard House Museum.
  • continued to connect to statewide and national planning for the 2020 Women’s Suffrage Anniversary.
  • updated the project’s website and research database, and answered research requests.
  • hosted our third Vickie Burke Intern for Women’s History.

Plans for the next year include:

  • Women’s History Month programming
  • Women’s History Walking Tours
  • Ongoing research and database updates
  • Planning for the 2020 women’s suffrage anniversary

There are two ways to give to support the EWHP. You can give toward general  operating support through the EHC Annual Appeal. And, we continue to raise funds for the Joan Barr Smith Endowment for Women’s History at the Evanston Community Foundation, which ensures the long-term sustainability of the EWHP. More details for this endowment can be found on the ECF website.

I hope you will join me in looking forward to another great year of women’s history in Evanston!

Lori Osborne, EWHP Director

Temperance and Suffrage

Happy Women’s Equality Day!

It’s been a busy summer of discovery for the Evanston Women’s History Project, thanks to the work of Marie Pellisier, our 2017 Vickie Burke Women’s History Intern. Marie spent the summer researching the links between the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and the women’s suffrage movement. Her research will be a key foundation for our plans for the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote in 2020.

Led by Evanston resident Frances Willard in the late 19th century, the WCTU was the largest organization of women in the world by 1890. As such it was the place many women found to express their growing interest in the world beyond their homes and churches. One of the many ways the WCTU worked to broaden women’s access to this wider world was through its work for women’s rights – including the right to vote. In many ways, the WCTU was the largest suffrage organization in this time period, far surpassing the other suffrage organizations in shear numbers and power.

Find out more about this on the Frances Willard House website where Marie has published some of her research. You can also see her work on our website with updates to Evanston Women and the 19th that includes more of the local WCTU story. And stay tuned as we role out this story for the 2020 suffrage anniversary.

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 Historical Association. Meets in front of the Frances Willard House, 1730 Chicago Avenue.

Cost: $20/$15 for Evanston History Center and Frances Willard Historical Association members.

When: July 15 and October 7, 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!

April 6, 2017 marks the centennial of the U.S. entry into WorldWarOne. The EvanstonHistoryCenter is chronicling some of the fascinating stories behind Evanston’s role in the war and the people who fought, served, and died. In honor of this somber anniversary, EHC is highlighting the story of Helen Wood, a resident of the city, who came to Evanston from her hometown in Scotland. Wood, a nurse, set sail on the USS Mongolia in May 1917, headed for Europe to serve her adopted country. Wood was among the first casualties of the war and the first Evanston resident to die in the conflict. You can read her story on the EHC website: http://evanstonhistorycenter.org/…/evanston-rem…/helen-wood/. Or visit the EWHP research database – http://evanstonwomen.org/project-database/.

On Thursday, April 20th from 1-5 p.m., The Edith Ayres and Helen Burnett Wood Memorial Symposium on U.S. Nursing in the First World War will be held at University of Illinois at Chicago. Five noted historians and archivists, all experts in the history of WWI Nursing and in the history of three of the Chicago base hospitals that served the wounded in France, will present their scholarship. Discussion will follow. This Symposium is presented in support of the United States World War One Centennial Commission, Illinois Centennial Committee. To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/us-nursing-in-the-first-world-war-a-symposium-tickets-32235338766.

And, Northwestern University is highlighting its own history related to the war. An onsite exhibit, Northwestern Remembers the War, will be up from March 27 – June 16 at University and Deering Libraries. An online exhibit is viewable here and includes many stories of the university’s role in the war, including the stories of the nurses from Base Hospital 12, and other Evanston women. More information can be found here.


Women Making Change

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Women Making Change will be held on March 25th at the Unitarian Church of Evanston from 6-8:30 pm. The event will include dinner, conversation and a question: What can we learn from the stories of black women in Evanston about the way forward? Speakers will include: Historian Dr. Cheryl Johnson-Odim, Morris (Dino) Robinson of Shorefront Legacy Center, JoAnn Avery, Program Manager for Family Focus, and Karli Butler, Social Service Provider for Curt’s Café. For details and to rsvp go here. Click on this link to see the flyer for the event – womenmakingchangeflyer-3

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