Francis Willard Munds


Frances Willard was born in Franklin, California in a family of political abolitionists, temperance advocates, and supporters of woman suffrage. She would often spend her time at the family's cattle ranch in Nevada riding horses, but eventually desired a classified education and asked her parents to send her to school. She attended boarding school in Maine, living with some of her sister's family members. Here she grew and developed into an outgoing and independent woman, known as "the Nevada wildcat" by her classmates. In 1885, teaching degree in hand, she joined her family in Prescott, Arizona.

Here she held a variety of teaching jobs in rural communities largely populated by members of the Church. She also married John Munds at this time, a local rancher, in 1890. She was strongly against the notion of a "women's sphere," the ideology of domestic life focused only on childcare, housekeeping, and religion, stating: ​Munds joined the Arizona suffrage movement in the 1890s and became an active member of the local woman's club. She became president of the Arizona Equal Suffrage Association in 1909 around the same time that Arizona officially went from being a territory to a state. Munds participated in numerous suffrage activities, gathering signatures for campaigns, handing out leaflets at the Arizona State Fair, even traveling to Budapest on behalf of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. Munds gathered a coalition of women who approached church members, miners, and ranchers, regardless of their political choice. These women would speak at meetings, go door-to-door with petitions and eventually passed the suffrage initiative by more than 60 percent on Nov 5, 1912.

She retired from politics only when the national battle for suffrage was won, later passing away in Prescott in 1948. Friend Laura Gregg, a fellow suffragist, described Frances as "a one-woman show." She was "full of practical ideas" understood "the people and the political situation," and was "an indefatigable worker."

In April 2019, Governor Ducey signed a legislative Bill allowing a memorial statue of Frances Willard Munds to be placed on Wesley Bolin Plaza. The Arizona Women's History Alliance announced that Stephanie Hunter, a local artist, is the chosen sculptor. From
Profile of Francis Munds. Bain News Service, from

"When I think of the narrow limits of the so called ‘woman's sphere' my blood boils to think of the opprobrium she meets when she dares to step over the limit."


Works Cited


Karina Bland, “She helped get Arizona women the right to vote. Now she might finally get a statue,”,

Arizona Women’s History Alliance, Local Artist chosen as the Sculptor for the Francis Willard Munds Statue,

Arizona Women's Hall of Fame, Frances Lillian Willard Munds,