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Frances E. Willard

  • ... vice is always in the active, virtue often in the passive.

  • The loves of women for each other grow more numerous each day, and I have pondered much why these things were. That so little should be said about them surprises me, for they are everywhere ... In these days, when any capable and careful woman can honorably earn her own support, there is no village that has not its examples of 'two hearts in counsel,' both of which are feminine.

  • I finally concluded that all failure was from a wobbling will rather than a wobbling wheel.

  • ... whatever diminishes the sense of superiority in men makes them more manly, brotherly, and pleasant to have about.

  • ... the bicycle is the steed that never tires, and is 'mettlesome' in the fullest sense of the word. It is full of tricks and capers, and to hold his head steady and make him prance to suit you is no small accomplishment.

  • If I am asked to explain why I learned the bicycle I should say I did it as an act of grace, if not of actual religion.

  • ... as a temperance reformer I always felt a strong attraction toward the bicycle, because it is the vehicle of so much harmless pleasure, and because the skill required in handling it obliges those who mount to keep clear heads and steady hands.

  • This seems to be the law of progress in everything we do; it moves along a spiral rather than a perpendicular; we seem to be actually going out of the way, and yet it turns out that we were really moving upward all the time.

  • A reform often advances most rapidly by indirection.

  • They that know nothing fear nothing.

  • ... people who by nature and practice make a business of keeping other people down, whether through law or custom, or personal power, are among the world's monstrosities ...

  • Nothing makes life dreary but lack of motive.

  • Dreaming is the poorest of all grindstones on which to sharpen the wits. There is only one thing to do: have a fixed purpose and stick to it.

  • I have already referred to the misuse of the term 'ladies,' and just here I want to emphasize it. It is incorrect, a mistake in language, to speak of yourself or of any other person as 'ladies' in connection with work of any kind. The term 'lady' presupposes leisure. In the same way the word 'gentleman' carries a like significance. Now you know very well that the term 'gentleman of business' is never used, and you certainly never heard of a 'salesgentleman.'

  • Broadly speaking, it would appear that the American woman, like her British kin beyond the sea, has taken a dip into every occupation. The advance of woman has been complete, and, with the exception of the United States army and navy, there are no blanks. She labors in the field and dairy, and thrives as a farmer, planter and overseer. She goes forth in a boat and braves the wind and sea in fishing, and drags the bed of the ocean for oysters. She may be found in lumber camps, doing duty as wood-chopper and lumberman, and even as a raftsman woman has tried her hand, and is not afraid to own up to the census man. With pick and dynamite she quarries stone and delves into the earth in search of the common minerals and the precious metals. In the professional world woman has made her appearance in every occupation save that of marshaling armies and conducting war. Her progress in professional life has been as marked as in trade and industry.

  • The world needs all the sunshine it can get and you have got to help make it.

  • And why should not women enter the ministry? The mother heart of God will never be known to the world until translated into speech by mother-hearted women.

  • ... a woman's intellect is as worthy of cultivation as a man's.

  • To think we have the ability to do a thing is almost to accomplish it.

  • To determine upon success is frequently success itself. ... to a steadfast, consecrated, resolute soul there are no impossibilities.

  • A teacher cannot be one thing and teach her children to be another.

  • There is hardly a field of labor into which woman has not penetrated, and every day brings some new story of discovery and achievement.

  • I believe that no one is sent into this world without a work to do; there is nothing without its mission in the whole catalogue of created things, and it is not likely that we, 'made in the image of God' and 'only a little lower than the angels,' will be exempt from our share of usefulness. What the special life-work of each one of us may be I cannot tell; it depends entirely on our surroundings and opportunities. Each one must decide for herself what her duties are, and in what manner she can work to the best advantage.

  • ... it is the trifles that make up the sum of existence, and every act of ours, however slight, has an influence, direct or indirect, over all our life. We make ourselves by our deeds.

  • ... God is action — let us be like God.

    • Frances E. Willard,
    • in Anna A. Gordon, ed., What Frances E. Willard Said ()
  • The curse, canker, rust, and blight of the religious life, have been that we theorized instead of practiced, and that we antagonized those who differed from us as to our theories.

    • Frances E. Willard,
    • in Anna A. Gordon, ed., What Frances E. Willard Said ()
  • The Creed of the past becomes the Deed of today.

    • Frances E. Willard,
    • in Anna A. Gordon, ed., What Frances E. Willard Said ()
  • Alcoholic drinks introduce added friction into the machinery of body and mind; by their use the individual is handicapped in the race toward a higher and more perfect individuality, and what hinders one in this race hinders us all.

    • Frances E. Willard,
    • in Anna A. Gordon, ed., What Frances E. Willard Said ()
  • Home can only come to its true dignity and power when the wife and mother is an equal partner in all that appertains to the sacred interests of the larger home of society and government.

    • Frances E. Willard,
    • in Anna A. Gordon, ed., What Frances E. Willard Said ()
  • Sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.

    • Frances E. Willard,
    • in Anna A. Gordon, ed., What Frances E. Willard Said ()
  • I do not wish to know what the country does for the rich, they can take care of themselves; but what it does for the poor determines the decency, not to say the civilization, of a government.

    • Frances E. Willard,
    • in Anna A. Gordon, ed., What Frances E. Willard Said ()
  • The capacity of the human mind to resist knowledge is nowhere more painfully illustrated than in the postulate laid down by average minds that home is always to be just what it is now — forgetting that in no two consecutive generations has it remained the same ...

    • Frances E. Willard,
    • in Anna A. Gordon, ed., What Frances E. Willard Said ()
  • Blessed are the inclusive for they shall be included ... Cursed are the exclusive for they shall be excluded.

    • Frances E. Willard,
    • in Anna A. Gordon, ed., What Frances E. Willard Said ()
  • ... there is no moderation in the use of what is harmful.

    • Frances E. Willard,
    • in Anna A. Gordon, ed., What Frances E. Willard Said ()
  • The history of the reformer, whether man or woman, on any line of action, is but this: When he sees it all alone he is a fanatic; when a good many see it with him they are enthusiasts; when all see it he is a hero.

    • Frances E. Willard,
    • in Anna A. Gordon, ed., What Frances E. Willard Said ()
  • The world is wide, and I will not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.

    • Frances E. Willard,
    • 1874, in Ray Strachey, Frances Willard: Her Life and Work ()
  • I observed long ago that no class of human creatures get so little sympathy as those who carry in their life-luggage a bundle of nerves.

    • Frances E. Willard,
    • 1860, in Ray Strachey, Frances Willard: Her Life and Work ()
  • It is better to wear out than to rust out.

    • Frances E. Willard,
    • 1880, in Ray Strachey, Frances Willard: Her Life and Work ()

Frances E. Willard, U.S. education philosopher, philanthropist

(1839 - 1898)

Full name: Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard.