W&CF History and Purpose

Women & Children First began in a modest storefront in 1979. Over the years we've moved twice and are now in a northside Chicago neighborhood known for its diversity, queer-friendliness, women-owned businesses and community spirit. Our staffers include teachers, graduate students, professional writers and storytellers, political activists, board members, and poets. Each of us is a reader, a feminist, and a bookseller. Our purpose in beginning the store 36 years ago was to promote the work of women writers and to create a place in which all women would find books reflecting their lives and interests. We strive to do this in an atmosphere in which all are respected, valued, and well-served. That is our purpose still, online as well as in the store.

We are one of the largest feminist bookstores in the country, stocking more than 30,000 books by and about women, children's books for all ages, and the best of lesbian and gay fiction and non-fiction. Anything we don't have in stock we can usually get in a few days' time, even if it's a title outside our specialty. We also carry cards, magazines, blank books and journals, calendars, CDs, gift items like candles, and pride products.

*Thanks to artist Nate Otto for creating this watercolor illustration of our current storefront.

Women's Voices Fund

About the Fund

The Women’s Voices Fund was established in November, 2005, to help support feminist programming at Women & Children First. The Women’s Voices Fund will ensure that events featuring women writers, fostering discussion of feminist issues and culture, and nurturing children’s delight in books will continue to play a vital role in Chicago’s intellectual, literary, and political life.

Women's Voices Fund Mission

The Women’s Voices Fund, a project of Women & Children First Bookstore and a grantee of the Crossroads Fund, raises money to help sustain and develop an ongoing program series focused on women’s lives, ideas, and work. Women & Children First, a unique resource in the Chicago community and the only venue to offer regular programming with such a focus, has provided the sole financial support for this series for over 25 years. Outside support through the Women’s Voices Fund is crucial to guaranteeing that a wide and diverse range of women’s voices and the best voices in children’s literature continue to be heard.  

How to Donate

Contributions are most appreciated. Contributions of $50 or more are tax deductible and are processed by the Crossroads Fund. To receive a tax deduction on this level of contribution, please make checks payable to Crossroads Fund. Non-deductible contributions should be made payable to the Women’s Voices Fund. Both deductible and non-deductible contributions can also be made by Visa or Master Card. All contributions should be sent directly to Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640. They can also be processed by phone at 773-769-9299.

Community Resources

List of Community Resources