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.

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