The American Issue Publishing Company was the publishing house of the Anti-Saloon League of America. In 1909, the residents of Westerville, Ohio, a small town near Columbus, Ohio, gave a site valued at about $10,000 to the Anti-Saloon League for the site of a printing plant. Construction was started and completed that same year. On June 13, 1909, the American Issue Publishing Company was incorporated and owned by the Anti-Saloon League with all its capital stock held in trust by five trustees elected biennially by the Board of Directors of the Anti-Saloon League of America. The purpose of the American Issue Publishing Company was to publish materials to promote prohibition.
The printing presses of the American Issue Publishing Company operated 24 hours a day and employed 200 people. Within the first three years of its existence, the publishing house was producing about 250,000,000 (one-quarter billion) book pages per month, and the quantity increased yearly. This dwarfed the enormous output of the National Temperance Society and Publishing House, which took over half a century to print one billion pages.
The American Issue Publishing Company published books on temperance as well as periodicals or magazines including the American Issue, the American Patriot, the New Republic, the Scientific Temperance Journal, the National Daily, the Worker, the Intercollegiate Statesman, and the International Student. It also printed pamphlets, leaflets, posters, placards and other temperance materials.
Printing just one of it's magazines, The American Issue, during a single month consumed 950 pounds of ink and fifty tons of paper. The general manager of the American Issue Publishing Company, Ernest Cherrington, reported that if all the pages it printed over a twenty year period were placed end-to-end, they would circle the earth 80 times.
The American Issue Publishing Company played a major role in advancing the interests of the prohibition movement. Not only did it publish an enormous quantity of temperance materials but it also produce some of the most prestigious publications in support of Prohibition, including The Standard Encyclopedia of the Liquor Problem, a multi-volume work edited by Ernest Cherrington and published between 1925 and 1930.
The massive volume of temperance materials had an effect on American culture. This can be seen in the fact that many people and organizations today support neo-prohibition ideas and strongly defend the many vestiges of Prohibition that still continue to exist.
Filed Under: Prohibition