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Recreating a Nineteenth Century Literary and Musical Entertainment
The Frances Willard House Museum will celebrate the reopening of the museum and kick off a new series of public programs, Arts at the Willard House, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 25. This outdoor recreation of a 19th century “literary and musical entertainment” will feature storytelling pieces adapted and performed by Fiona Maxwell and American parlor guitar music performed by the Waller and Maxwell Guitar Duo.
Evanston in the 19th century housed a vibrant community of elocutionists and musicians. In homes, voluntary societies and schools, women and girls gained skills in self-expression and collaboration that they mobilized to fight for gender equality and social reform. A trailblazing orator and bestselling author, Frances Willard helped lay the foundation for successive generations of socially conscious and artistically innovative women in Evanston and around the world.
The event is called A Pleasant Sunday Afternoon in reference to entertainments held at many Chicago settlement houses during the 1890s. Evanston women often organized or performed at these gatherings, which were intended to foster “good fellowship” across boundaries of age, gender, class, race, ethnicity and religion.
The event is free and welcomes audience members of all ages. Attendees are asked to bring their own seating and spread out across the lawn.