Alcohol History Dates: Is One Your Birthday? Anniversary?

Alcohol history dates are listed for events related to drinking in the U.S. The date of your birthday or anniversary isn’t listed? No problem. Resources for identifying other alcohol history dates are at the end of the list.

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Alcohol History Dates

January in Alcohol History

Alcohol history datesJan. 1, 1801. The U.S. Federal duty on distilled spirits was abolished by Congress at President Thomas Jefferson’s request.

January 2, 1919. Michigan ratified the 18th Amendment.

January 3-5, 2014. CNN poll found that almost one in five adults in the U.S. thought alcohol should be illegal.

January 7, 1919. Ohio and  Oklahoma ratified the 18th Amendment.

alcohol history dates

KKK: Defender of Prohibition

January 7, 1874. Lillian Sedwick was born. She was the leader of the Indianapolis area Women’s Ku Klux Klan (WKKK) and also the state superintendent of the Indiana state Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). A number of women were members of both the WKKK and the WCTU because the Klan was a very strong supporter and defender of Prohibition.

January 8, 1918. Mississippi,  Idaho  an  Maine ratified the 18th Amendment.

January 9, 1919. West Virginia ratified the 18th Amendment.

January 11, 1918. Virginia ratified the 18th Amendment.

January 13, 1919. California,  Tennessee  and  Washington ratified the 18th Amendment.

January 14, 1918. Kentucky  ratified the 18th Amendment.

January 14, 1919.  Arkansas,    Illinois  and  Indiana ratified the 18th Amendment.

January 15, 1870. Birth of Pierre S. du Pont. He was chair of the the influential United Repeal Council.

January 15, 1919. Alabama ratified the 18th Amendment.

January 15, 1919. Colorado,  Iowa,  New Hampshire  and  Oregon ratified the 18th Amendment.

January 16, 1919. North Carolina,  Nebraska,  Missouri  and  Wyoming ratified the 18th Amendment.

alcohol history datesJanuary 16, 1919. During the afternoon of the 16th,  Nebraska became the thirty-sixth state to ratify the 18th Amendment. That gave it the 3/4ths majority needed for enactment.

January 17,1919. Minnesota  and  Wisconsin ratified the 18th Amendment.

January 20,1919. New Mexico ratified the 18th Amendment.

January 21,1919. Nevada ratified the 18th Amendment.

January 21, 1915. Alabama approved state-wide prohibition effective July 1, 1916.0

January 24, 1934. Federal prohibition in the District of Columbia repealed.

January 26, 1890. Birth of publisher Charles Scribner III. He was a powerful  leaders in the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment.

January 28, 1918. North Dakota ratified the 18th Amendment.January 29, 1918. South Carolina ratified the 18th Amendment.

January 29,1919. New York  and  Vermont ratified the 18th Amendment.

February Alcohol History Dates

alcohol history dates

“Pussyfoot” Johnson

February 5, 1945. Death of famous temperance William E. (“Pussyfoot”) Johnson.  He was so well-known that his was a household name when he died. Pussyfoot  Johnson developed some of the tactics used in the Anti-Saloon League. For example, he wrote to wet leaders, posing as a brewer and asked them for advice on how to defeat temperance activists. He then published the letters he received. Johnson was proud of his dishonesty. “Did I ever lie to promote prohibition? Decidedly yes. I have told enough lies for the cause to make Ananias ashamed of himself.’ (Ananias was a notorious liar in the Bible.)  He even wrote in an article titled “I Had to Lie, Bribe and Drink to Put Over Prohibition in America.” He was highly controversial.

February 5, 1915. Arkansas passed state-wide prohibition effective July 1, 1915.

February 9, 1923.  A federal court convicted the high society LaMontages brothers on massive Prohibition violations and sentenced them to prison. Their names were later dropped from the Social Register.

February 13, 1826. The  American Temperance Society was established.

February 13, 1918. Maryland ratified the 18th Amendment.

alcohol history date

St. Valentines Day Massacre

February 14, 1929. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre occurred. The violence between warring bootlegging gangs turned many people against Prohibition.

February 19, 1918. Montana ratified the 18th Amendment.

February 20, 1933, Congress enabled states to ratify the 21st Amendment if they chose.

Feb 22, 1872. The Catholic Total Abstinence Union of America was formed.

February 25, 1919. Pennsylvania ratified the 18th Amendment.

February  25, 1015. Minnesota passed a county local option law.

March Alcohol History Dates

March 1, 1913. Congress passed the Webb-Kenyon Act, which is still in effect. It  prohibits interstate “shipment or transportation” of alcoholic beverages “in violation of any law of [any] State, Territory, or District of the United States.” The Webb-Kenyon Act was a victory for dry states. They could prohibit the importation of alcoholic beverages across their state lines.

March 2, 1934. Federal prohibition in Puerto Rico repealed.

March 2, 1934 Federal Prohibition in the Virgin Islands repealed.

March 3, 1897 At the request of distillers, Congress passed the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897. This enabled them to assure the authenticity and quality standards of their products.  See The Guilded Age.

alcohol history dates

Bottled in Bond stamp

March 3, 1823. Birth of  ‘Dr.” Diocletian Lewis.  Lewis used the title Doctor and sometimes illegally practiced medicine without an M.D. or a license. Nevertheless, he used his title and oratorical gift effectively in promoting temperance. With a single speech, he ignited the Women’s Temperance Crusade.

alcohol history dates

A Cogswell fountain.

March 3, 1820. Birth of the eccentric but very rich Dr. Henry Cogswell.  He believed that if people had cool drinking water they wouldn’t drink alcohol. So he built a number of fountains across the country. He designed each to be unique, usually with a statue of himself on top. In the fountain to the right, water gushes out of the open mouths of fish on both sides. It then cascades down the sides of the fountain. For more about Cogwell’s and other temperance fountains, visit Temperance Places.

March 4, 1918. Texas ratified the 18th Amendment.

March 5, 2007. It became legal to sell absinthe again in the U.S. after almost a century-long ban. French wine producers in the early 1900s suffered strong competition from the increasingly popular drink. So they promoted the myth that it was a dangerous  hallucinogen. So its sale was outlawed there and elsewhere. Problem solved.

March 9, 1922. New Jersey ratified the 18th Amendment, long after it was in effect.

March 18, 1918. Delaware ratified the 18th Amendment.

March 20, 1918. South Dakota ratified the 18th Amendment.

alcohol history dates

Neil Dow

March 20, 1804. Birth of Neal Dow. He wrote and lobbied for the historic  Maine Law. It was the first state-wide prohibition law in the U.S.

March 25, 1862. Birth of  William E. (“Pussyfoot”) Johnson. He was a leader of the very powerful  Anti-Saloon League. See February 5, 1945 for more about what made Pussyfoot so very important to the prohibition movement.

March 26, 1934. Federal prohibition in the territory of Hawaii was repealed.

March 27, 1860. Patent No. 27,615 was granted to M.L. Byrn of New York City for a corkscrew.

April  Alcohol History Dates

April 1, 1918. State-wide prohibition went into effect in Indiana.

April 2, 1918. Massachusetts ratified the 18th Amendment.

April 2, 1862. Birth of  of Nicholas Murray Butler. He was a diplomat, president of Columbia University, and Repeal leader.  See Prohibition Leaders.

alcohol history dates

Sen. Morris Sheppard

April 4, 1917. Senator Morris Sheppard introduced the prohibition amendment (18th Amendment) in Congress.

April 5, 1933.  Prohibition of beer in the District of Columbia repealed.

April 7, 1933. It became legal to sell beer if not prohibited by a state or locality.

April 7, 2007. Controversial long-time Prohibition Party head Earl Dodge died. See December 24

April 10, 1858. Birth of Purley A. Baker. He was head of the powerful Anti-Saloon League and greatly expanded its activities.

April 10, 1933. Michigan ratified the 21st Amendment.

April 11, 1917. New Hampshire approved state-wide prohibition.

April 16, 1786. Birth of temperance activist Dr. Thomas Sewall. His very graphic lithographs of the stomachs of alcoholics did much to intensify temperance sentiment.  As a young physician, Dr. Sewall was found guilty of grave robbing. Two of the eight corpses were those of his own former patients.

April 19, 1903.  Eliot Ness was born. He formed the famous “Untouchables” to fight bootlegging. Unfortunately, at least one of his officers took bribes.

April 20 and 21, 1852. The  Woman’s New York State Temperance Society was organized.

alcohol history dates

Pauline Sabin

April 23, 1887. Birth of Pauline Sabin. She formed and led the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform. Sabin was the most powerful woman leader in the movement for Repeal.

April 24, 1872. Birth of Clarence True Wilson, ‘America’s Number One Dry.’ Learn why he was so important to the movement for Prohibition.

April 25, 1933. Wisconsin ratified the 21st Amendment.

April 29, 1792. Birth of brewer Mathew Vassar. He established Vassar College, the first privately endowed college for women in the country.

April 30, 1918. State-wide prohibition went into effect in Michigan.

May Alcohol History Dates

alcohol history dates

Sen. John J. Blaine

May 1, 1916. Georgia approved a bone-dry law to strengthen its state-wide prohibition.

May 1, 1917. State-wide prohibition went into effect in  Nebraska

May 4, 1875. Birth of the author of the 21st Amendment, John J. Blaine. He’s also known for introducing the Blaine Act. That act began the process of leading to Repeal.

May 6,1919. Connecticut  ratified the 18th Amendment.

May 8, 1933. Rhode Island ratified the 21st Amendment.

May 9, 2013.  Alabama legalized home brewing a third of a century after it was legalized at the federal level.

May 13, 1996. A Rhode Island law against advertising the price of alcoholic beverages was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.  In 44 Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island, it held the law to be a violation of free speech.

May 20, 1931. The Wickersham Commission was established to, among other things, analyze the enforcement of National Prohibition.

May 24, 1918. Arizona ratified the 18th Amendment.

May 24, 1976. The historic Judgment of Paris  blind wine tasting competition between California and top French wines completely revolutionized the world of wine. Before the competition, people believed that great wine could only be made in France. That myth was completely destroyed by leading French wine experts themselves. They unknowingly declared the California wines to be the best.

May 25, 1933. Wyoming ratified the 21st Amendment.

June  Alcohol History Dates

June 1, 1923. The draconian New York State Mullan-Gage Act for Prohibition enforcement was repealed. That’s because it had paralyzed the courts with so many alcohol cases.  See Prohibition Era Dry Laws in New York State.

June 1, 1933. New Jersey ratified the 21st Amendment.

alcohol history dates

Mary H. Hunt

June 4, 1830. Birth of the single most powerful woman in the temperance movement, Mary H. Hunt. Yet she is virtually unknown today.

June 5, 1900. Carry A. Nation began attacking bars and pharmacies that sold alcohol. Nation was probably the best known member of the Woman’s Christian Union.

June 6, 1915. The Flying Squadron of America completed its tours. See  September 30, 1914.

June 7, 1919.  The World League Against Alcoholism was formed. The organization opposed all drinking, which it equated to alcoholism.

June 19, 1934. Federal prohibition in the Panama Canal Zone repealed.

June 10, 1836. Birth of Dr. Leslie Keeley. He is remembered  for asserting that “alcoholism is a disease and I can cure it.” The secret formula of  “Keeley Double Chloride of Gold” cure  contained no gold in any form. However, it did contain, according to analyses, strychnine, atropine, cocaine, codeine, and apomorphine. Kelley  claimed a success rate of 95%. He insisted that former patients who drank were cured but simply chose to drink.

June 24, 1933. Delaware ratified the 21st Amendment.

June 26, 1933. Indiana ratified the 21st Amendment.

June 26, 1933. Massachusetts ratified the 21st Amendment.

June 26, 1918. Georgia ratified the 18th Amendment.

June 27, 1933. New York ratified the 21st Amendment.

July Alcohol History Dates

alcohol history dates

P.T. Barnum

July 1, 2013. Mississippi legalized home brewing a third of a century after it was legalized at the federal level.

July 1, 1917. State-wide prohibition began in  South Dakota.

July 5, 1810. Birth of prohibitionist showman P.T. Barnum. He promoted temperance in his shows.

July 10, 1933. Illinois  and  Iowa ratified the 21st Amendment.

July 11, 1933. Connecticut  and  New Hampshire ratified the 21st Amendment.

alcohol history dates

Whiskey Rebellion

July 13, 1794. The Whiskey Rebellion began as a result of high taxes on distilled spirits.

July 17, 1984. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 was passed  However, see why the name of the law is very  misleading.

July 18, 1789.  The first temperance society in the U.S. was formed by about 200 farmers in Litchfield County, Connecticutt.

July 24, 1933. California ratified the 21st Amendment.

July 25, 1933. West Virginia ratified the 21st Amendment.

August  Alcohol History Dates

August 1, 1933. Arkansas ratified the 21st Amendment.

August 6, 1934. Montana ratified the 21st Amendment.

August 7, 1933. Oregon ratified the 21st Amendment.

August 8, 1933. Alabama ratified the 21st Amendment.

August 8, 1890. The federal  Wilson Original Packages Act was signed into law. It mandated that all alcoholic beverages shipped interstate would be subject to the laws of the destination state. This was a victory for temperance supporters.

August 9, 1918. Louisiana ratified the 18th Amendment.

August 10, 1917. The Food and Fuel Control Act was signed into law. It’s also called the Lever Food and Fuel Act or the Lever Act. It made it illegal to distill beverage alcohol. This was to conserve food supplies during WW I.

August 11, 1933. Tennessee ratified the 21st Amendment.

August 17, 1870. Birth of  Richmond Pearson Hobson.  Hobson was the most highly paid of the over 2,000 public speakers for the Anti-Saloon League. He asserted as scientific facts that ‘Liquor will actually make a brute out of a negro, causing him to commit unnatural crimes.’ His views on the effects of alcohol on Native Americans was similar. ‘Liquor promptly degenerates the red man, throws him back into savagery.’

August 22, 1817. Birth of John B. Gough  For more, including Gough’s photo, see 1842 in The Emergence of Temperance.

alcohol history dates

Eliza Thompson

August 24, 1816. Birth of  Eliza Thompson. Often called ‘Mother Thompson,’ she is considered the founder of the Women’s Temperance Crusade. That was the origin of the WCTU.

August 29, 1933. Missouri ratified the 21st Amendment.

Aug. 29, 1935. The Federal Alcohol Administration Act was signed into law. It authorized the federal government to regulate the alcoholic beverage industry. It also mandated the restrictive  three-tier system.

September Alcohol History Dates

September 2, 1875. Birth of Daisy Douglas Barr. She  was the leader (Imperial Empress) of the Women’s Ku Klux Klan (WKKK). It had about a quarter of a million members. She was also was a powerful member of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

September 5, 1933. Arizona  and  Nevada ratified the 21st Amendment.

Septemer 14, 1915. South Carolina passed state-wide prohibition.

alcohol history dates

Roy Olmstead while a police officer.

September 18, 1886. Birth of Roy Olmstead.  Olmstead was a lieutenant in the Seattle Police Department. However, he began his own bootleg operation as a side-line. But was soon arrested and lost his job in law enforcement. Thus, he turned to bootlegging full-time. He soon organized a large bootlegging operation. In so doing, he became one of Puget Sound’s largest employers.

September 22, 1914. Virginia enacted a state constitutional requirement for prohibition effective November 1, 1916.

September 23, 1933. Vermont ratified the 21st Amendment.

September 25, 1897. Birth of  two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel Prize winning writer and Repeal activist William Faulkner.

alcohol history dates

Hiram Wesley Evans

September 26, 1881 . Birth of Hiramf Wesley Evans. He was head of the highly prohibitionist Ku Klux Klan.

September 26, 1933. Colorado ratified the 21st Amendment.

September 28, 1893. Birth of Marshall Field III. He was a leader in the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment.

September 28, 1839. Birth of well-known temperance activist  Frances Willard.

September 30, 1914.    The Flying Squadron of America was an assemblage of temperance speakers and singers. Three teams of speakers, along with singers, toured the country. They did so between between September 30, 1914 and June 6, 1915. Actually, they did little flying. Usually, they travelled by train or bus.

October  Alcohol History Dates

October 3, 1933. Washington ratified the 21st Amendment.

October 10, 1933. Minnesota ratified the 21st Amendment.

October 12, 1880. Birth of Lammot du Pont II. He was a founder and leader of the Republican Citizens Committee Against National Prohibition.

October 14, 1978. At the federal level it became legal to home brew up to 200 gallons per year for personal consumption.

October 15, 1866. Birth of William D. Upshaw. He was called ‘the driest of the dry’ in Congress.

October 17, 1933. Idaho ratified the 21st Amendment.

October 18, 1933. Maryland ratified the 21st Amendment.

October 21, 1855. Birth of Howard Hyde Russell, the founder of the Anti-Saloon League.

alcohol history dates

George Cassiday

Oct 24, 1930. A former bootlegger to Congress, George Cassiday, began his series of exposés in the Washington Post. Although he never revealed any names, he estimated that he had sold alcohol to 2/3rds of the members. Of course, many of them were ardent Prohibitionists. And he wasn’t the only bootlegger to Congress. The revelations of hypocrisy among temperance supporters  damaged the dry cause.

October 25, 1933. Virginia ratified the 21st Amendment.

October 28, 1919. The National Prohibition Act of 1919 was signed into law. It’s usually called the Volstead Act. The Act was needed to define specify what was illegal under Prohibition and to enable it to be enforced

October 31, 1860. Birth of Andrew Volstead. It was Volstead who guided the National Prohibition Act of 1919 (the Volstead Act) through Congress.

November Alcohol History Dates

alcohol history datesNovember 1, 1998. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program lost fed funding because there was no evidence that it was effective. The DARE program also attempts to prevent drinking among young people

November 1, 1869. The Prohibition Party of the U.S. was formed.

November 2, 1933. New Mexico ratified the 21st Amendment.

November 3, 1914. Arizona rejected a proposal to permit the sale of beer.

November 3, 1914. Oregon approved state-wide prohibition.

November 3, 1914. Colorado enacted a constitutional requirement for prohibition effective January 1, 1915.

November 7, 1916. Colorado rejected a constitutional amendment to permit the sale f beer.

November 7, 1916. Idaho approved a constitutional amendment requiring prohibition.

November 7, 2007. The very controversial long-time Prohibition Party head Earl Dodge died. To learn about Dodge, see  December 24, 1932.

November 7, 1916. The following states approved state-wide prohibition.

  •        Michigan (effective April 30, 1918).
  •        Montana (effective December 31, 1918).
  •         Nebraska (effective May 1, 1917).
  •         New Hampshire
  •         South Carolina
  •         South Dakota (effective July 1, 1917).
  •         Utah

November 9, 1936.   State Board of Equalization v. Young’s Market Co. was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. It held that the 21st Amendment gave states an absolute exception to the Commerce Clause in the control and regulation of alcoholic beverages.

alcohol history dates

Wayne Wheeler

November 10,1869. Birth of Wayne B. Wheeler. Called “The Dry Boss,”  biographers explained why.

‘Wayne B. Wheeler controlled six congresses, dictated to two presidents of the United States, directed legislation in most of the States of the Union, picked the candidates for the more important elective state and federal offices, held the balance of power in both Republican and Democratic parties, distributed more patronage than any dozen other men, supervised a federal bureau from outside without official authority, and was recognized by friend and foe alike as the most masterful and powerful single individual in the United States.’ (Steuart, J. and Dinwiddle, E. Wayne Wheeler, Dry Boss: An Uncensored Biography of Wayne B. Wheeler. NY: Revell, 1928, p. 11.)

November 13, 1925. Famous and highly successful Prohibition Agents  Izzy and Moe were fired. The head of the Prohibition Bureau complained that they received much more news coverage than he did.

November 13, 1864. Birth of Episcopal Bishop James Cannon, Jr.  Until his scandalous downfall involving, sex, greed, and law-breaking, he was one of the most powerful temperance leaders in the U.S.

November 14, 1933. Florida ratified the 21st Amendment.

November 17, 1991. The TV program, 60 Minutes, was on the French Paradox. The program popularized the health benefits of drinking red wine in moderation. But white wine, beer and spirits have similar health benefits.

November 19, 1862. Birth of the professional baseball player who became the most famous famous temperance preacher,  Billy Sunday.

November 22, 1871. The United Friends of Temperance was formed.

November 24, 1933. Texas ratified the 21st Amendment.

alcohol history dates

Carry A. Nation

Nov. 25, 1846. Carry A. Nation was born. She became the best known leader of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in the entire country.

Nov 25, 1915. The second Ku Klux Klan (KKK) began on Stone Mountain, near Atlanta. A major objective was to support and enforce state-wide prohibition in the state. It often cooperated with the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). See    KKK and WCTU: Partners in Prohibition.

November 27,1918. Florida ratified the 18th Amendment.

November 27, 1933. Kentucky ratified the 21st Amendment.

December  Alcohol History Dates

December 5, 1933. Ohio,  Pennsylvania and Utah ratified the 21st Amendment.

December 5, 1933. Utah ratified the 21st Amendment  at 4:31 p.m. It was the 36th state to do so. That provided the 3/4th majority needed for  Repeal.

December 6, 1933. Maine ratified the 21st Amendment.

December 8, 1828. Birth of Clinton Fisk, who was the Prohibition Party‘s presidential candidate in the election of 1888.  Fisk University was named in his honor.

alcohol history dates

Earl Dodge

December 24, 1932. Birth of longtime leader of the Prohibition Party, Earl F. Dodge, Jr. He was highly controversial and divisive leader. Dodge  was accused of misappropriating Party funds to benefit himself, of laundering funds to avoid personal taxes, of unaccountability, and, among other things, of repeatedly stealing from individuals. According to a deposition, his excuse was that he suffered from self-diagnosed kleptomania. He argued that theft was ‘out of my control.’

December 31, 1918. State-wide prohibition began in  Montana.

 

Want More Alcohol History Dates?

These reference materials are rich sources of alcohol history dates.

Blocker, J., et al. (eds) Alcohol and Temperance in Modern Society: An International Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2003.

Cherrington, E., et al. (eds) Standard Encyclopedia of the Alcohol Problem. Westerville, OH: Am Issue, 6 vol., 1925-1930. Excellent source of alcohol history dates.

Stebbins, J., and Brown, T. Fifty Years History of the Temperance Cause. Hartford, CT: Fitch, 1876.

Winskill, P. The Comprehensive History of the Rise and Progress of the Temperance Reformation. Warrington, England: Winskill, 1881. Chapters 8 and 9 are especially good for alcohol history dates in the U.S.