A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

Frances Willard House Paint Analysis


The Frances Willard House, also known as "Rest Cottage," is located at 1730 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, Illinois. Built in 1865 in the Carpenter Gothic style, the cottage had significant additions built in 1878, 1890, and 1893.

Ms. Willard was an educator, suffragist, and temperance reformer. She served as President of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) for 19 years, prior to her death in 1898.

In 1890, Frances Willard reported to the WCTU that the proceeds from her autobiography had been used for repairs and additions to the house on Chicago Avenue, likely including the addition of the large bay windows on the east and south facades. The year 1890 has been identitifed as a strong period of significance, as it best represents the last period of Ms. Willard's life after the rehabilitation work before her death.


Objective: To determine the historic paint colors and wallpapers of the extant first floor of the office, hall, parlor, and dining room in the Frances Willard House in Evanston, Illinois, and to select paint colors and coatings for future restoration purposes that are appropriate to the period of significance - 1890.

Scope: Over 300 samples of paint and wallpaper were taken from the parlor, dining room, office, and hall.

Fieldwork: Second-year graduate students from the M.S. Historic Preservation program at SAIC visited the Frances Willard House in Evanston, Illinois on October 16, 2015. Samples were extracted in October and additional photos were taken on-site on November 15, 2015.

Laboratory Analysis: Students performed analysis of the samples in the laboratory of the Historic Preservation Department at SAIC, under the supervision of Anne Sullivan. Olympus Stereo microscopes were used to examine the samples, an analysis which took place over a period of seven weeks (October 23-December 4). 

Period of Significance: 1890 has been identified as the period of significance due to the noteworthy renovations performed and the home's strong association with Ms. Willard that year.