American Issue Publishing Company (Worked 24/7 for Prohibition)

The American Issue Publishing Company was the publishing house of the Anti-Saloon League of America.

Westerville, Ohio was a small town near Columbus. In 1909, its residents of gave a site valued at about $10,000 to the Anti-Saloon League. It was for the site of a printing plant. Workers started and completed the building that same year.

On June 13, 1909, the American Issue Publishing Company was incorporated. It was owned by the Anti-Saloon League. All its capital stock was held in trust by five trustees. The Board of Directors of the Anti-Saloon League of America elected them biennially. The purpose of the 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 book pages per month. That’s one-quarter of a billion!

Also, the quantity increased yearly. This dwarfed the enormous output of the National Temperance Society and Publishing House. It took over half a century to print one billion pages.

In addition to books, the Company printed magazines and newspapers. They included the American Issue, American PatriotNew RepublicScientific Temperance Journal, National DailyWorker,  Intercollegiate Statesman, and International Student. It also printed pamphlets, leaflets, posters, placards and other temperance materials.

Ernest Cherrington

Printing just one of it’s magazines, The American Issue, during a single month consumed 950 pounds of ink and fifty tons of paper.

American Issue Publishing Company
Ernest Cherrington

The general manager of the Company was Ernest Cherrington. He 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. Of course, it publish an enormous quantity of temperance materials.

However, it also produce some of the most prestigious works in support of Prohibition. One was The Standard Encyclopedia of the Liquor Problem. Ernest Cherrington edited this six-volume work and published it between 1925 and 1930. The Anti-Saloon League gave copies to every school and college in the U.S.

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.

Indeed, almost one in five U.S. adults supports outlawing all alcohol drinking by everyone. Of any age. And for any purpose.

Most people are surprised to learn that not even National Prohibition (1920-1933) went that far. Discover what it prohibited and what it didn’t. You’ll be surprised!

Resources on the American Issue Publishing Company

  • American Issue Publishing Company. The Next President and Prohibition. Washington, D.C.: Campaign Committee of the Anti-Saloon League of America, 1928.
  • ______. American Issue Publishing Company Catalogue of Temperance Posters Issued by the American Issue Publishing Company. Westerville, OH:, 191-.
  • ______. Ohio State Prohibition Campaign Songs. Westerville, OH: ______, 1914.
  • ______. 1924 catalogue, Temperance Posters. Westerville, OH: ______, 1924.
  • ______. Academy Heads Deny Drinking among Youths. Westerville, OH:______, 1930.
  • ______. The America Issue. Periodical. Westerville, OH: ______, 1919-.
  • ______. Catalogue of Temperance Publications Comprising Books, Pamphlets, Leaflets and Tracts on the Alcohol Problem in all Its Phases, Scientific, Educational, Economic,Statistical, Religious, Moral, Legal, Historical, also Maps and Posters. Westerville, OH:______., 19- .
  • ______. Anti-Saloon League. http://www.wpl.lib.oh.us/AntiSaloon/resources/american_issue/4
  • ______ The New Republic. Periodical. Westerville, OH: ______, 1919-.
  • ______. The labor journal defends prohibition. Westerville, OH: ______ 1926.
  • Cherrington, Ernest H. Standard Encyclopedia of the Alcohol Problem. Westerville, OH: ______, 1925 through 1930.
  • ______. Twenty Eventful Years: Being a Report of the Work of the American Issue Publishing Company. Westerville, OH: _____ 1930. http://www.wpl.lib.oh.us/AntiSaloon/resources/american_issue/twenty_eventful_years
  • ______. The American Issue Publishing Company:Twenty Years of Achievement. Westerville, OH: ______, 1929.
  • Hanson, D. Alcohol Education. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996.
  • Odegard, P. Pressure Politics: The Story of the Anti-Saloon League. NY: Columbia U Press, 1928.
  • Stoddard, C. and Woods, A. Fifteen Years of the Drink Question in Massachusetts. Westerville, Ohio, American Issue Publishing Co., 1929 .