“‘You Know of the Difficulty in Which I have been Placed by this Most Unjust Controversy’: Frances E. Willard, Ida B. Wells, and the Limits of ‘Do Everything’ Reform”
This paper reexamines the public feud between Frances Willard and Ida B. Wells. As President of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, Willard integrated a distinctive evangelical Protestant worldview into a broad-based model of political progressivism—what she referred to as “Do Everything” reform. However, her public feud with Wells in the 1890s not only accentuates Willard’s tepid response to racism. It provides insight into the interpersonal dynamics of the social movement Willard led. Drawing on archival research from the Frances E. Willard Memorial Library, the paper offers unique perspectives on Willard and the leadership networks in the WCTU that revolved around her.