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Temperance Collection, 1832-1987
5 boxes (2.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 440

Collection encompasses a broad social movement in which American women played a prominent role. Materials include information on the Women's Christian Temperance Union; photographs; biographies and autobiographies; postcards; songbooks; and stamps. Also included are publications from various organizations.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The collection is open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Restrictions on use:

Material in this collection may be protected by copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy all copyright holders.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Temperance Collection encompasses a broad social movement in which American women played a prominent role from the early decades of the nineteenth century into the twentieth century. They participated in a variety of organizational settings on the local, state, national and international level. While the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) is generally regarded to be the leading temperance organization from its beginnings in 1873, other local and national groups were active at different points in the Prohibition movement. That diversity is evident in this collection.

Temperance postcard, April 1906

Temperance postcard, April 1906

While the bulk of the material comes from the late-nineteenth and early twentieth century, the Temperance Collection also contains material from as early as 1835. There is also a significant amount of material from the post-Volstead Act (the Eighteenth Amendment) period, reflecting the fight to ward off the immediate challenges to national prohibition once it became law in 1920. This struggle, much like the earlier temperance crusade, was carried out and led by women.

Numerous secondary works address the American temperance movement and the critical role played by women in that movement. See, for example, Ruth Bordin, Woman and Temperance: The Quest for Power and Liberty, 1873-1900 (Rutgers University Press, 1990) and Janet Zollinger Giele, Two Paths to Women's Equality: Temperance, Suffrage, and the Origins of Modern Feminism (Twayne, 1995).

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Restrictions on use:

Material in this collection may be protected by copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy all copyright holders.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Temperance Collection, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

Materials in this subject collection were either purchased or given to the Sophia Smith Collection by various donors. The collection nearly doubled in size with a significant purchase of material in 1998. Periodic additions are expected.


Periodic additions to collection are expected. Recent additions may not be reflected in the finding aid.

Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Series Descriptions
(1835-1933, n.d.)
1.5 linear ft

Series is divided into two subseries: Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and Other organizations such as the Anti-Saloon League and the Loyal Temperance Legion. Within the WCTU subseries can be found convention programs; addresses; local and state meeting minutes and correspondence; and a significant assortment of pamphlets. Temperance activities within the state of Maine are especially well documented.

(1880s-1980s, n.d.)
.5 linear ft.

Series contains published biographical articles, autobiographical writings, and photographs of leaders of the American and international women's temperance movements, in particular the life and career of Frances Willard.

(1916-40, n.d.)
.25 linear ft.

Series consists of an impressive array of temperance-related postcards, most from the early part of the 20th century. Also included are songbooks and stamps from 1939 commemorating the 100th anniversary of Frances Willard's birth.

.25 linear ft.

Series has a few oversize publications from national and state temperance organizations, mostly WCTU. There are additional oversize materials in the flat files.

Contents List
(1835-1933, n.d.)

Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)

Annual Conventions

World's: programs,
1906, 1920

Box 1: folder 1

1878-79, 1901-19

Box 1: folder 2-3
Annual presidential address,

Box 1: folder 4

New York and Connecticut WCTU Annual Conventions,
1901, 1933, 1941

Box 1: folder 5
Maine WCTU Annual Conventions,

Box 1: folder 6

Melrose, Mass., WCTU programs,

Box 1: folder 7
Pamphlets, publications, and speeches

1892-1969, n.d.

Box 1: folder 8
1889-1916, n.d.

Box 1: folder 9-10
1904-34, n.d.

Box 2: folder 1
The Army Canteen,

Box 2: folder 2
The Temperance Education Quarterly,

Box 2: folder 3
To the Rescue of the Temple,

Box 2: folder 4
Speech by Mrs. A. B. Satterlee, Lock Haven, PA,

Box 2: folder 5

General, international, national,
1920, n.d.

Box 2: folder 6
Mary A. Livermore to Mrs. Burr, Melrose, MA,

Box 2: folder 7
Minutes, by-laws, and history

Western Washington WCTU: minutes,

Box 2: folder 8
Mrs. John W. Gearhart, The Beginnings of the WCTU of Western Washington, 1883-87

Box 2: folder 9
Other organizations

Anti-Saloon League,
1920-30, n.d.

Box 2: folder 10
Loyal Temperance Legion,
1906-07, n.d.

Box 2: folder 11
Ladies American Home Education Society and Temperance Union: Annals, (with gaps)

Box 2: folder 12
Massachusetts Woman's Committee for Law Enforcement,

Box 3: folder 1
National Temperance Society,
1895-1902, n.d.

Box 3: folder 2
Sisterhood of Temperance Ladies in North America, Portland, Maine,
n.d. (circa 1850s)

Box 3: folder 3
The Temperance Offering,

Box 3: folder 4
Temperance Working Man's Club (London): letter,

Box 3: folder 5
Women's National Committee for Law Enforcement,
1922-29, n.d.

Box 3: folder 6
Women's Organization for National Prohibition,

Box 3: folder 7
Various state organizations,
1851-1930, n.d.

Box 3: folder 8
1909, 1912

Box 3: folder 9
1869-1938, n.d.

Box 3: folder 10-12

1910, 1926

Box 3: folder 13
1835, 1918

Box 3: folder 14
(1880s-1980s, n.d.)

Thumb Nail Sketches of White Ribbon Women, edited by Clara C. Chapin

Box 4: folder 1
Gordon, Anna Adams: Anna Adams Gordon: A Story of Her Life,
circa 1929

Box 4: folder 2
Lady Henry Somerset: Lady Henry Somerset, by Helen Hood,
circa 1899

Box 4: folder 3
Livermore, Mary A.: Articles by and about,

Box 4: folder 4-5
Perkins, Sarah: Pioneer Work: Seventy Years of Temperance Work (Ohio)

Box 4: folder 6
Stevens, Lillian M.N.: Photograph,

Box 4: folder 7
Willard, Frances E.

Box 4
1889-1977, n.d.

Box 4: folder 8
Writings: How to Win and How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle
1886 and 1895

Box 4: folder 9
Photographs and slides,
1880s, n.d.

Box 4: folder 10
Miscellaneous clippings,
1950s-1980s, n.d.

Box 4: folder 11
(1916-40, n.d.)

1916-28, n.d.

Box 4: folder 12
Postcards, pledge cards, and medallion,

Box 4: folder 13
1939-1940, n.d.

Box 4: folder 14

Newspapers and posters,

Box 5
Posters: "The Kaiser's Ally in America"; Scientific Temperance Instruction, Maine Ratification Campaign (2),

Flat File

Mary A. Livermore, The Story of My Life

[MISSING 8/2015]


Clara C. Chapin, ed., Thumbnail Sketches of White Ribbon Women

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • Anti-saloon League of America--History--Sources
  • Livermore, Mary Ashton Rice, 1820-1905
  • Prohibition--United States--History--Sources
  • Temperance--United States--Societies, etc.--History--Sources
  • Temperance-History--Sources
  • Willard, Frances Elizabeth, 1839-1898
  • Woman's Christian Temperance Union--History--Sources
  • Women social reformers--United States--History--Sources

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