cover of book
 

Writing Out My Heart: Selections from the Journal of Frances E. Willard, 1855-96
edited by Carolyn Gifford
University of Illinois Press, 1995
Cloth: 978-0-252-02139-8
Library of Congress Classification HV5232.W6W55 1995
Dewey Decimal Classification 322.44092

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY
ABOUT THIS BOOK
The journal of Frances E. Willard nineteenth-century America's most renowned and influential
        Woman had been hidden away in a cupboard at the National WCTU headquarters,
        and its importance eluded Willard's biographers. Writing Out My Heart
        publishes for the first time substantial portions of the forty-nine volumes
        rediscovered in 1982. They open a window on the remarkable inner life
        of this great public figure and cast her in a new light. No other female
        political leader of the period left a private record like this.
      Best known for her powerful
        leadership of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), at that time
        the nation's largest organized body of women, Willard was a world-class
        reform leader and feminist. How she achieved this stature has been
        documented. This compelling journal reveals why.
      Written during her teens,
        twenties, and fifties, the journal documents the creation of Frances Willard's
        self. At the same time, it often reads like a good novel. It stands
        as one of the most explicit and painful records in the nineteenth century
        of one woman's coming to terms with her love for women in a heterosexual
        world.
      Other sections reveal what
        impelled Willard to reform the nature and depth of the religious
        dimension of her life a dimension not yet adequately explored by
        any biographer. Here we see her growing commitment to the "cause
        of woman."
      The volumes written in her
        late middle age give insight into the years when, world famous, she was
        part of the transatlantic network of reform, battling ill health, dealing
        with controversy in the WCTU, and grieving for her mother, a lifelong
        figure of emotional support. This finale concludes one of the most fascinating
        of the journal's themes: the nineteenth-century confrontation with sickness
        and death.
      Drawn from one of the richest
        sources in documentary history, knowledgeably introduced and annotated,
        Writing Out My Heart is a biographical goldmine, rich in the themes
        and institutions central to women's lives in nineteenth-century America.
        
 

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