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American Women: Resources from the Manuscript Collections


Lith. & pub. by N. Currier. The drunkards progress. From the first glass to the grave. Circa 1846. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The nineteenth-and early twentieth-century temperance campaign was another reform initiative in which women played a major role. In addition to some of the collections described elsewhere, including the papers of Susan B. Anthony, Anna E. Dickinson, Mabel Walker Willebrandt, and members of Congress, several others merit mention:

  • The records of the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform (350 items; 1896-1933) document that group's efforts to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment because it believed other methods, such as a liquor control system, would be more effective in achieving temperance.
  • The connection between temperance and divorce reform may be traced in the papers of Congregational minister and reformer Samuel W. Dike (9,800 items; 1870-1913), which include correspondence and reports of the National Divorce Reform League (later the National League for the Protection of the Family), statistics and news clippings relating to divorce and polygamy, and a few letters from Julia Ward Howe and Frances Elizabeth Willard (1839-1898), president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).
  • A separate collection of Frances Elizabeth Willard correspondence (18 items; 1889-97) also exists, as does a speech (1 item; 1898) on the WCTU's early years by Eliza Jane Thompson (1816-1905).

Manuscript Resources Referenced

The following collection titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content, including finding aids for the collections, are included when available.