Inside the Archives

Inside the Archives – Spring 2019 – Volume VIII Number 1

Spring 2019
Volume VIII. Number 1.

Temperance and Its Impact on American Women’s History

During the 19th Century, the Temperance Movement evolved into the largest Women’s political movement in America. For many years, scholars have viewed the importance of the Temperance Movement on the politicization of women and its impact on the Women’s rights and suffrage movements. Accessible Archives recognizes this and helps to stimulate interest and research in our primary source databases by maintaining an extremely active blog presence on temperance and gender. We have asked our guest writer Jill O’Neil to select from our blog posts and craft a narrative around them. We’re sure you will find her coverage both inciteful and informative.
Jill O’Neill

Jill O’Neill

When Amelia Bloomer first launched her publication, The Lily, in 1849, the publication saw the Temperance Movement as significantly associated with the rights of women as was acquiring the vote. The damage wrought by alcohol abuse on the lives of women without the benefit of recourse from the courts drove parallel progressive movements.

Those reform movements of the 19th century reached milestones in the early 20th century with the successful passage of Prohibition legislation in 1919 and legislation ensuring universal suffrage in 1920. This article draws attention to this progressive, cultural movement as documented in primary source material hosted on Accessible Archives. Our thanks to Accessible Archives blogger, J.D. Thomas, for his contributions to this blog-a-thon.

This first item notes (albeit with some melodrama) the experience of one woman who had been consigned to the county asylum from despair over the brutality experienced at the hands of a drunkard and the loss of her recognized standing in the community.

DATELINE: February 1849, The Lily  – Crazy Jane: A Temperance Story

“…she suddenly darted forward, and throwing her arms around our neck, imprinted a burning kiss upon our cheek, while she addressed us in the most refined language…making inquiring for her dear little Mary, and a great number of others, probably her former friends and associates…The story is soon told.

February 1849, The Lily - Crazy Jane: A Temperance StoryShe was once the loved, admired, and happy daughter of a wealthy citizen of the county. At the age of eighteen she was married to a man every way her equal—possessed of property, character and influence. But in an evil hour he tasted the intoxicating cup, became infuriated, and in a few years fell from his exalted position to a level with the brute—and on one occasion, while in a fit of drunken anger, laid violent hands on his wife, who, true to her woman nature, had clung as fondly to him as in the days of his prosperity.

Immediately on recovering from the effects of the blow, a change came over her spirits, and in a few weeks she was a confirmed maniac. Her once fond, but now brutal husband, forsook her, and with none to care for her, she was conveyed to the county house, where we found her, and where she will probably remain until her delicate person is carelessly deposited in a rough box, and borne by stranger hands to the pauper’s last refuge—a lone and unvisited grave.”

DATELINE: August 1849, The Lily – Progress on the Temperance Front

“The Legislature of New Hampshire at its recent session enacted a new license law — or rather amended their old one. Hereafter no license is to be granted in the State, for the sale of intoxicating liquors as a beverage. One person in each town may be licensed to sell for medicinal, mechanical and chemical purposes, and for “no other use, or purpose.” Any person selling spirituous liquors of any description without such license, is subject to heavy penalties.

August 1849, The Lily - Progress on the Temperance FrontThis is right, and we rejoice to see such action on the part of those upon whom it rests to make laws for the protection of the people. Our rulers are sadly culpable that they have so long winked at the great evil of intemperance, and instead of crushing the monster which is the cause of so much misery and taxation, have thrown the strong arm of the law around the traffic, and shielded its death-dealing agents. But a brighter day is dawning! The people will be heard in this matter…The passage of such laws, is the object for which all good temperance men now aim, and they never will give one inch of ground to the foe, nor relax their efforts till they have accomplished their purpose. This movement on the part of New Hampshire is but another evidence of an enlightened public sentiment, and we truly hope that our own Empire State will soon arise in her strength and bind the foe within her borders.

At the National Women’s Rights Convention held in 1850, discussions covered equal wages, expanded education and career opportunities, women’s property rights, marriage reform, abolition, racial equality, and temperance.  While there was this general impetus for reform, some opponents expressed concern that advocates were seeking too many concessions. As an example, Mr. Wendell Phillips in the late Convention of Women, at Worcester, Mass.

“We are pretty nearly out of patience with the dogged perseverance with which so many of our Reformers persist in their attempt to do everything at once.”

In response, as part of this next source document, we hear the powerful thunder of Parker Pillsbury, a minister and advocate of women’s rights and more specifically, an advocate of the rights of women of color.”

DATELINE: December 5, 1850, The North Star – The 1850 National Woman’s Rights Convention and People of Color

“We have striven to separate the Ethiopian from all claim to human recognition and human sympathy. Nobody but abolitionists ever mean colored people, no matter how often they speak of “the public,” or of their “fellow-citizens,” or “fellow-sinners.”

December 5, 1850, The North Star - The 1850 National Woman’s Rights Convention and People of ColorWe have proscribed our colored brethren every way – everywhere; and under the late Fugitive Slave Law, every colored man is to be presumed a slave, unless there is proof positive to the contrary; and if anyone is only claimed and sworn to as a slave, such proof is at once made impossible…We have separated him from us by a gulf which has neither shore nor bottom. So far as human sympathy and regard are concerned, almost everywhere the horse and hound are as human as he.

And his race knows it and feel it, as we cannot. Even the women’s Convention demonstrated this, for scarcely a colored person, man or woman, appeared in it.

On the large committees appointed to carry out the plans of the Convention, embracing many persons in all, not a single colored member was placed. It is to be presumed that nobody thought of it, for we are not expected to think of colored people at all.

Under such circumstances, is it strange, is it an unpardonable sin, is it “dogged or perseverance,” to declare in a Convention called to demand and extend the rights of women, that we mean women of sable as well as sallow complexion? of the carved in ebony as well as the chiseled in ivory? If we did thus mean, the Convention should not have been held or being held, it would only deserve the scorn and contempt of every friend of God and his children. Color was not discussed there – it need not have been. But it was needed that the declaration be made in regard to it. That ANY women have rights, will scarcely be believed; but that colored women have rights, would never have been thought of, without a specific declaration.”

Contemporary observers found it hard to separate the causes. From Almira Smith of Spencer, Ohio came this heart-felt letter to the editor of The Lily.

DATELINE: April 15, 1856, The Lily

“I am sure that we have some true and earnest friends—even among gentlemen—who consider that women are capable of fulfilling a higher mission than what has generally assigned them. But I do censure our unjust rulers, who pride themselves in revelry and drunkenness—and he is considered the greatest hero, who can display the most vulgarity, and trample upon the rights of his fellow men!

What an example is this to place before a congregated nation? Well, may Virtue weep over fallen humanity, crushed affections, and ruined hopes! For what have we to hope under existing circumstances? What have we to expect but the downfall of this once glorious Republic, unless vice, intemperance, and pro-slavery principles be once and forever banished from our Legislative Halls?

It is impossible for the Nation to prosper under self-government. If we refer to Ancient History, we find that ever since the creation of the world, nations have continued to rise and fall; and their decline has almost invariably been occasioned by intemperance and slavery. We are told by Plato, that “abject submission and slavery were the causes of the declension of the Persian Empire.” The subjects were compelled to prostrate themselves before the king, when admitted into his presence. This, Seneca calls “Persian Slavery.’

Therefore, if we would save our country from the fate that other despotic nations have, and are destined to receive, to receive, let us who are friends of freedom, raise our united voices in protest against laws that deprive a part of the citizens of their unalienable right; and pray that our rulers may yet learn what is true greatness.”

It wasn’t just the effects of drinking on wayward husbands that concerned active members of the Temperance Movement. The threats to public health due to significant adulteration of the fluids was equally alarming.

DATELINE: May 6, 1854, The Provincial Freeman – A Warning to Drinkers of Intoxicating Liquors

To be Meditated upon by Drinkers of Intoxicating Liquors…

ADULTERATION OF ALE – If any additional arguments were needed why people ought to abstain from ale and porter surely a sufficient reason would be found in the drugs with which the liquors are so adulterated. In the essay on Brewing, published in the Library of Useful Knowledge, we find, that in the manufacture of beer, sugar, molasses, honey and licorice, are used for malt. Broom, opium, gentian, quassia, aloes, marsh, trefoil, coculus indicus, tobacco, nux vomica, are used for hops, and the last mentioned are known to be highly poisonous. Saltpeter, common salt, mixed with flour, jalap, the fiery liquid called spirit of maranta, bruised green copperas, live eggshells, hartshorn shaving, nutgalls, potash, and soda, are used to prevent acidity. Coriander seeds, carraways, orange peel, long pepper, casisum, grains of paradise, have been employed for flavor. Coculus indicus, bitter bean, nux vomica, and opium, which are strong poisons, are used for the purpose of producing intoxication. Here the reader will perceive how avarice has studied to enrich itself at the expense of the health, and lives, and morals of the people. – English Publication.

A Warning to Drinkers of Intoxicating LiquorsADULTERATION OF LIQUORS – Eminent chemists assert that nine-tenths, at least, of all the liquors consumed in the United States are more or less drugged. To say that half of all that pretends to come across the Atlantic is wholly manufactured on this side of it, would be to fall short of the truth… If other proof of this were needed, besides the results of chemical analysis, it might be found in the facts that more Port is drank in the United States in one year than passes through the Custom House in ten; that more Champagne is consumed in America alone than the whole Champagne district produces; that Cognac Brandy costs four times as much in France where it is made, as it is sold for in our corner groggeries; and that the failure of the whole grape-crop in Madeira produced no apparent diminution in the quantity, nor at all corresponding increase in the price, of the Wine.”

Dateline: 1881, American County Histories – Connecticut

A Look Inside the History of Litchfield County, ConnecticutA Look Inside the History of Litchfield County, Connecticut

The Women’s Christian Temperance Union was  founded in 1874. Under the leadership of Frances Willard, the organization raised awareness of other social issues beyond temperance and women’s suffrage, specifically labor laws and prison reform.

Numerous county histories note the presence of the WCTU in their communities. The History of Litchfield County, Connecticut, published in 1881, solemnly notes the good works of its local branch as follows: The Women’s Christian Temperance Union is a praiseworthy organization of leading ladies of Winsted, devoted to the temperance cause. Its present officers are as follows: President, Mrs. S. B. Forbes; Vice-Presidents, Mrs. Henry Gay, Mrs. Abel Snow, Mrs. Clarke Strong; Secretary, Miss Mary L. Catlin; Treasurer, Mrs. M. A. Abbott.

DATELINE: 1897, Godey’s Lady’s Book – Woman in Religious Ministry in 1897 – Part One

Woman in Religious Ministry in 1897 Elsewhere in Connecticut, at the turn of the century, Godey’s Lady’s Book noted that 1800 participants attended meetings led by Miss Elizabeth W. Greenwood, Superintendent of the Evangelistic Department of the National and the World’s Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

“Even as today, we would demonstrate sensitivity to the needs of others, in quietly dignified parlors, women of the period showed sensitivity in providing non-alcoholic options for those guests so militantly disposed.”

DATELINE: 1901, The Christian Recorder – Temperance Punch Bowl

“If we are to follow one of the jolly old customs bequeathed us by our English forbears, we must keep the punch bowl hospitably full through the holiday week. But even if this is not prepared for the week’s celebration it must not be neglected for New Year’ s cheer.

For those who are glad to emphasize the good cheer which this custom typifies, but who for conscience’s sake prefer a temperance beverage, the following concoction is recommended: Take the juice of three lemons and three oranges, one pineapple shredded from the core with a silver fork, one quart can of strawberries, one tablespoon full of Ceylon tea, one quart of boiling water; pour the water on the tea and let it stand fifteen minutes. Add to the fruit one or two cups of sugar, according to acidity, and let it stand half an hour. When the tea is cold, add to the fruit and sugar one quart of Apollinaris water and a block of ice; leave the pulp of the orange, as well as the shredded pineapple and berries, in the punch. In serving these slices of lemon are placed in each glass. If canned pineapple is used, lessen the quantity of sugar.”

Both publicly and privately, these individual crusaders were fighting hard to reduce the hardships felt by so many of their gender.

The Accessible Archives Collections Referenced in this Article

The African American Newspapers Collection
This collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day. This collections includes: The Christian Recorder, The Colored American, Frederick Douglass’ Paper, The Freedmen’s Record, Frederick Douglass Monthly, Freedom’s Journal, The National Era, The Negro Business League Herald, The North Star, Provincial Freeman, and the Weekly Advocate.

American County Histories
American County Histories comprises the largest and most complete collection — over a million pages encompassing all 50 states and the District of Columbia — covering counties in nine groupings including: Central, Mid-Atlantic Parts 1&2, Midwest, New England Parts 1&2, Southeastern, The Southwest, and The West.

The Godey’s Lady’s Book Collection
Godey’s Lady’s Book was intended to entertain, inform and educate the women of America. In addition to extensive fashion descriptions and plates, the early issues included biographical sketches, articles about mineralogy, handcrafts, female costume, the dance, equestrienne procedures, health and hygiene, recipes and remedies and the like.

The Women’s Suffrage Collection
This collection provides access to the full runs of fully searchable newspapers by and for women encompassing the eighty-year struggle for equal voting rights for women that culminated in the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. The collection includes: The Lily, The Revolution, the National Citizen and Ballot Box, The New Citizen, Western Woman Voter, and The Remonstrance.

Accessible Archives Announces 2019 As Its Year of Technology

When you flipped the calendar to 2019, you were likely made aware of a range of predictions as to how technology might be expected to impact your daily workflow. Here are the important changes that Accessible Archives is introducing in 2019 as we continue our commitment to serving the research community.

IPv4 and IPv6 addresses
Accessible Archives has announced that access to their collections is available via both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. The addition of IPv6 promises a stronger, faster user experience! The IPv6 format was created to enable new IP addresses required to connect not only an ever-greater number of computing devices but also the rapidly expanding numbers of items with embedded connectivity.

Please contact Iris Hanney at for further details.

Discovery Service Updates
Recognizing the impact that delayed updates may have on the user experience, Accessible Archives is pleased to announce that soon all major discovery service providers – ProQuest/ExLibris Primo, EBSCO Discovery Service and EBSCO’s Knowledgebase 360, and OCLC’s WorldCat Discovery — will complete updates for the Accessible Archives content. These updates represent a welcome enhancement to your users’ experience and access to primary source materials.

Assured Long-Term Preservation and Access with Portico
Accessible Archives has partnered with Portico – the leading service in the digital preservation field — to insure future access to all of our content.  Portico is a service of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways.

Migration to COUNTER 5
Accessible Archives is working with our COUNTER vendor ScholarlyiQ  to implement the new reporting metrics. Stay tuned for future updates.

Enhanced Options for Customization and Support
Accessible Archives will be upgrading all existing support software and enhancing available options for customization for 2019. In addition, we have implemented the ability to insert a URL behind a school’s logo on our branding site. Also, we have made available direct links to a collection’s parts in an effort to insure full accessibility.

Achieving Higher Customer Satisfaction Is Our Goal at Accessible Archives

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