Do Everything: Dr. Christopher Evans in Conversation with Janet Olson

Join us in person as Dr. Christopher Evans (Boston University) joins Janet Olson (Archivist, Frances Willard House Museum & WCTU Archives) for a conversation and book-signing event to introduce Evans’ latest book, Do Everything: The Biography of Frances Willard. In this first new biography of the social reformer (and Evanstonian) in over 35 years, Evans makes use of primary source materials not accessible to previous biographers, and highlights Willard’s importance to the fields of women’s history, Gilded Age/Progressive Era studies, and religious history.  “Underscoring both the breathtaking ambition and profound limitations of Willard's moral vision, Evans recovers a too-often forgotten past--one that matters for our future," says Heath W. Carter (author of Union Made: Working People and the Rise of Social Christianity in Chicago).

While Willard (1839-1898) was internationally known for her leadership of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, she was also deeply connected to Evanston, her home since 1858, and where she had been a student, the President of the Evanston College for Ladies, and the first Dean of Women at Northwestern. We will discuss how the town—and its women--helped Willard become Willard, and talk about the new perspectives Evans has brought to the complex interpretation of Willard’s life, work, and legacy. This event is sponsored in part by the Frances Willard House Museum & WCTU Archives—Dr. Evans’ home away from home for several years as he pursued his research!


Christopher Evans is Professor of the History of Christianity at Boston University. He has published widely in the fields of American religious history and religion and popular culture.  His previous books include The Social Gospel in American Religion (New York University Press, 2017), Histories of American Christianity (Baylor University Press, 2013),  The Kingdom is Always but Coming: a Life of Walter Rauschenbusch (Eerdmans, 2004), and (with William R. Herzog II) The Faith of Fifty Million: Baseball, Religion, and American Culture (Westminster John Knox, 2002). Dr. Evans has lectured and taught in numerous professional settings and been a presenter at several academic conferences.

Janet Olson has been the part-time Archivist for the Frances Willard House Museum and WCTU Archives in Evanston, IL, since 2007. Meanwhile, from 1998 until her retirement in May, 2020, she was the Assistant University Archivist at Northwestern University. Olson is a Certified Archivist, and has held leadership roles in local, regional, and national professional organizations. She has written articles, book chapters, and exhibit catalogues and has an MA in History from Loyola University-Chicago, with a research focus on 19th-century social reform.

Event date: 
Thursday, October 20, 2022 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Event address: 
1712 Sherman Avenue, Alley #1
Evanston, IL 60201
Do Everything: The Biography of Frances Willard By Christopher H. Evans Cover Image
ISBN: 9780190914073
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - September 27th, 2022