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Evanston and the Fight for the Vote

Organizing Christian Women

"Gone Home"

Miller was an active participant in the Chautauqua Institute, an organization founded in New York by her brother-in-law that created a retreat for American Protestants wanting to deepen the lessons learned in Sunday school programs. It was on one of these retreats in 1874 that the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was founded; Miller served as secretary of the organization’s founding committee. Though not able to continue work with the organization after its founding, Miller continued to espouse the ideals of the WCTU and contribute to the group’s publications.

"A Laugh in Church"

The Millers also carried the mission of the Chautauqua Institute back to Evanston after their yearly retreats: husband John would organize local Sunday school retreats, and Emily was a member and regular lecturer of the local literary club. As women’s programming became increasingly important to the Chautauqua gatherings, Miller became more and more involved in the organization. In 1882, she was placed at the head of women’s programming, and in 1889, she became the first president of the Chautauqua Women’s Club, a post in which she remained until 1895.