A best-seller when it was published over a century ago, Frances Willard's thoughtful meditation on liberating qualities of learning to ride a bicycle has charmed and engaged readers for over one hundred years. Originally written in 1895 when the author was at the height of her power as the president of the national Women's Christian Temperance Union (whose membership totaled over 200,000 at the time), Wheel Within a Wheel is more than just a poetic presentation of Willard's personal experience learning to ride a bicycle. She understood cycling's potential for women as a literal and figurative gateway to greater independence, confidence, and mobility.
Indeed, Willard's determination to ride despite the fetters of age, heavy skirts, and social expectations is inspiring. Her prose is enchanting, touching, and humorous at times, masterfully blending personal anecdotes with profound but gentle ruminations on American culture, women's suffrage, and social progress. Wheel within a Wheel is a delightful and perennially relevant little classic, proudly back in print for a new era.
About the Author
Frances Willard (1839-1898) is known globally for her prominent social reform work. As an activist she tackled a wide range of issues including, temperance, women's suffrage and education, worker's rights, and prison reform. She was a high profile member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union and served as the organization's president from 1879 until her death in 1898. During her tenure as president she also founded the World WCTU, the first international women's advocacy group. A powerful and prolific writer, teacher, and women's rights advocate, any fair assessment of her life's work places Willard among the most seminal figures in the battle for the emancipation of women.