On February 17, 1905, a new memorial was placed in Washington D. C.’s Statuary Hall in the Capitol to represent the citizens of Illinois. Every state preceding this time had chosen one of their sons. Illinois, however, was the first and the only to honor one of its daughters. Pictured standing next to a pulpit as if about to preach, Frances Willard*teacher, college president, first Dean of Women at Northwestern University, temperance activist*was easily recognized at her death as the one of the most influential women in the world.
She became the first woman President of the Evanston College for Ladies and defined it as “the paradise of women” with women “for the first time, recognized and proved as the peers of men in administrative power”(Willard, Glimpses 199). She instituted co-educational literary societies with Northwestern University in order to “break down prejudice against women’s public speech and work. . .[and to] refine the young men and develop intellectual power in girls”(Willard, Glimpses 207). She established complete self-government: “Our Self-governed do as they please, have all the privileges of teachers, subject only to general order of exercises, such as go to bed at 9:30, to rise at 6:45,” and, of course, mandatory church attendance (Willard, Glimpses 215).
In June, 1872, Evanston College had its first and only Commencement. The Chicago Fire eight months earlier ruined any hopes for future financial help from local business interests. Therefore, the Evanston College for Ladies became part of Northwestern University with the Evanston faculty still in complete charge of their students (Willard, Glimpses 227). Miss Willard became Professor of Aesthetics and the first Dean of Women teaching Freshman Rhetoric and Composition (Willard, Glimpses 229-30).
Isn’t it interesting that this moral Christian lady saw education for women as a way to refine men? What happens when we leave the educational system then?