Marie C. Brehm: Temperance & Prohibition Leader

Marie C. Brehm had an unusual legal name. It was “Suffragette Marie Caroline Brehm.” She was born in 1859 in Ohio. Later she moved to Wheaton, Illinois.

Ms. Brehm joined the Woman’ Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1891. The next year she became district president. In 1895, she became recording secretary of the Illinois WCTU. The following year she became state superintendent of institutes. Soon she became the national superintendent of franchise.

In 1901, Marie C. Brehm was elected president of the Illinois WCTU. In 1906, she began working for the Board of Temperance of the Presbyterian Church.  She was its lecturer on scientific temperance. She appointed by President Taft as delegate to the Twelfth International Congress Against Alcoholism. It was at the Hague in the Netherlands in 1909. Marie Brehm later gave the address on temperance at the World’s Sunday School Convention. That was at Zurich, Switzerland in 1913. President Wilson appointed her delegate to represent the US at the Fourteenth International Congress Against Alcoholism in Milan, Italy.

Marie Brehm was vice-president of the Woman’s Legislative Council of California. She was a member of the new National Party. That party was formed in 1917 by former members of the Socialist Party. They opposed its pacifism. And they wanted a prohibition of alcohol plank.

Marie C. BrehmBrehm’s speaking was described as “eloquent, fluent and graceful making an appeal… to the logical faculties with but little of the gift of humor.”1    

She was chair of the National Prohibition Party Convention of 1920. Thus, Brehm was the first woman to chair a national political convention. She ran unsuccessfully as a state senator in California in 1920. In 1924 she was the Prohibition Party candidate for vice-president of the US. That befit her legal name of Suffragette.

Marie Brehm never married. She died in January of 1926.

References

  1. Peeke, H. Marie C. Brehm. Firelands Pioneer, April, 1925, 23, 577-579.
  2. Stokes, C. Shall it be senator Brehm? The Golden West, Oct 15, 1920, 2(9), 16.