Frances Willard: Armenia’s Angel on Capitol Hill

Inside the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol, Washington, D.C., each state is represented by a statue of its most honored citizen. While most of the 50 states have chosen men to represent them, it was Illinois, the land of Abraham Lincoln, which became the first state to select a woman. Her name is Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard.

When she died in 1898, flags flew at half-mast in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Her body was transported by rail from New York to Chicago, pausing along the way for services like a presidential funeral train. In Chicago, tens of thousands of people passed by her casket in one day alone. Biographer Ruth Bordin wrote, “The nation mourned her with grief, admiration, and respect it would have bestowed on a great national hero or martyred president. No woman before or since was so clearly on the day of her death this country’s most honored woman.” The New York Independent wrote, “No woman’s name is better known in the English speaking world than that of Miss Willard, save that of England’s great queen.” Another declared that she was the most influential woman of the age and that her name would become more and more revered in ages to come.” Prominent British newspaper editor, W.T. Stead, went as far as calling her “the uncrowned Queen of American Democracy.”

read more here @ The Armenian Weekly

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