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Willard, Frances E.

How to Win.


Frances E. Willard,
Famous Temperance Leader And Hard-Line Feminist,
Writes A Self-Help Book For Girls
Willard, Frances E. How To Win: A Book For Girls…by…[the] President of the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, [1896].
8vo.; internally fresh and bright; green cloth, decoratively stamped in gilt and blind; spine lightly used, especially at head and heel; a very pretty copy.
Thirteenth edition of an obviously quite popular guidebook for young women about how to achieve success in life.
Willard was a nationally known feminist and temperance leader and - though it was never spoken openly about then - lesbian. A lifelong supporter of women politically, she also had a string of close female companions, of whom one - Anna Gordon - is the dedicatee of this volume.
How To Win: A Book For Girls…is what we would today call a self-help guide for girls - part inspirational tome, part practical advice on relationships, self-identity, school and work. The chapters have titles like "Why I Wrote of Winning;" or ""I Am Little, But I Am I;"" or "The New Ideal of Womanhood;" or "At What Age Shall Girls Marry?" Willard describes the impetus for her writing the book as follows:
…I recalled the fact that, into most families, are born girls as well as boys;
nay, that, as many an overburdened pater famiilias can testify, girls come not
infrequently in largely superior, if not exclusive, numbers. Having also, at a
remote period of my history, belonged to their helpless fraternity, I was haunted
by the wish that I might write a…book, talking therein to girls and success in
life…I mean, in these off-hand pages, to talk to girls of "How to Win" in
something besides the sense treated of in books of etiquette and fashion
magazines, or systematically taught in dancing-schools…(pp. 12-13)

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