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A Woman of the Century:   A Crowdsourcing Project of the Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries

September 24 - October 1

Women of the Week

A Woman of the Century co-editor Frances Elizabeth Willard and journalist Bessie Agnes Dwyer celebrated birthdays this week.

  • To learn about them by viewing their items, please click on their images.  

  • To read their biographical sketches in A Woman of the Century, please click on the highlighted page numbers to the left of their images.

Frances Elizabeth Willard (2).jpg

WILLARD, Miss Frances Elizabeth

September 28, 1839

educator, reformer and philanthropist

Churchville, NY

p. 777-781

Frances Elizabeth Willard, whose lengthy biographical sketch lists her as an "educator, reformer and philanthropist," was one of the editors of A Woman of the Century.  She was born on September 28, 1839, in Churchville, New York.  Frances graduated from North-Western Female College, where she later taught and served as an administrator.  

She became very active in the temperance movement and served as president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).  In addition, Frances was a leader of the National Woman's Council.  She was a frequent lecturer and prolific writer, publishing books and contributing to numerous periodicals.  

During her very productive life, Frances Willard touched many lives, including those of Julia A. AmesMatilda B. CarseJennie CassedayMary Helen Peck CraneSarah Doan La FetraZerelda Gray Wallace, and Mary A. Brayton Woodbridge.

Frances passed away on February 17, 1898, and was buried in Chicago's Rosehill Cemetery and Mausoleum.

Bessie Agnes Dwyer (2).jpg

DWYER, Miss Bessie Agnes

September 29, 1866


Nueces County, TX

p. 266-267

Bessie Agnes Dwyer, the youngest daughter of Judge Thomas A. Dwyer, was born on September 29, 1866, in Nueces County, Texas. The multi-talented Bessie became the first woman of Texas to earn a legal degree, the first woman to enter the library services at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the first woman to present the name of the presidential candidate to a Party convention.  Bessie passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage at the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in the Philippines during World War II.