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Dexheimer, Florence Chambers, 1866-1925 / Sketches of Wisconsin pioneer women
([1924?] )

Kent, Antoinette Cowles
Frances E. Willard,   pp. 26-29 PDF (953.0 KB)


Page 27


University and Professor of Aesthetics in the College of
Liberal Arts. At the same time, the writer entered North-
western University as a student and was thus privileged
to be under her tutelage that year.
    Always a leader, when a child at play or young miss
at school; as a teacher she was queen of her domain. Her
language was as flowers; her presence, magnetic and
sympathetic. She entertained us with picturesque humor.
    Francis Murphy, a contemporary said of her: "Fran-
ces Willard is the fairest rose in the garden."
    She was democratic. She deplored snobbishness.
She retired from the university at the close of the school
year. When we expressed our regret that she had left
us she replied, "I am only in a larger school of girls."
There could be no bounds set for her that had such in-
imitable mental power, such unwavering purpose. Her
amiability, her originality, her talent for organization,
and her silver-tongued oratory rendered her a leader and
won for her sincere devotion.
    Offered the principalship of a fashionable school for
women and the presidency of the Chicago W. C. T. U.,
she chose the thorny path of the reformer and, renounc-
ing beauty that she loved, she assumed the leadership
of the women of America in the temperance crusade by
accepting the presidency of the Chicago W. C. T. U. in
March, 1874.
    The torch of duty always flamed aloft before her,
luring her on to accomplish great things for moral uplift.
October, 1874 she became corresponding secretary of the
Illinois W. C. T. U. and president of the National Union
in 1879.
    From 1874 she traveled ceaselessly, recrossing the
Atlantic many times, pausing only for brief intervals of
rest at the home of her co-worker, Lady Somerset, of
England, or at her own "Rest Cottage" in Evanston.
    After repeated efforts, her dream at last came true
when she organized the World's W. C. T. U. in 1883.
She was made its President. Miss Anna Gordon, now
president of the World's W. C. T. U. was for twenty-two
years her constant companion and private secretary.
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