Prohibition Era Women: Compelling & Diverse People

These Prohibition era women remind us to avoid stereotypes. Their beliefs and actions were highly divergent surrounding what was a major social issue at the time. People no longer argue about Prohibition. But the lesson to avoid stereotyping is as important today as ever.

Learn more about each woman by clicking on her name.

Prohibition Era Women Listed Alphabetically.

Susan B. Anthony is well-known. But discover the little-known role of sarsaparilla in her career.

Maggie Bailey of Kentucky was called the ‘Queen of the Mountain Bootleggers.’

Quaker minister Daisy Douglas Barr was a leader in both the Women’s Ku Klux Klan  and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).

Stella Beloumant  was a highly successful bootlegger.

prohibition era women

Ella Boole led the WCTU during the height of its power. But it declined with growing opposition to Prohibition, despite her best efforts.

Evangeline Booth, a Salvation Army leader, continued to believe that Prohibition had been a great success.

Marie C. Brehm was was the Prohibition Party candidate for vice-president of the U.S. in 1924.

Bertie (Birdie) Brown was an African American woman who made moonshine that was described as the ‘best in the country.’ Learn the sad fate she met.

Martha McClellan Brown was  a highly effective organizational leader at all levels in advancing the temperance movement.

Colvin Highly Motivated

Mamie White Colvin, who called herself Mrs. D. Leigh Colvin, devoted her entire life to advancing the prohibition movement in an outspoken manner.

Edith Smith Davis, a leader in the Woman’ Christian Temperance Union, was a prolific temperance author.

See Also

Women Leaders of Temperance & Prohibition

Prohibition Trivia

Temperance Timeline

Gloria de Casares was an enterprising and major international bootlegger.

Edna Giard was a bootlegger who helped transport alcohol for Al Capone.

Lavinia Gilman was an 80-year-old woman who operated a 300-gallon moonshine still.

M. Louise Gross  held leadership positions in the Molly Pitcher Club,  the Women’s Moderation Union, and the Women’s Committee for Modification of the Volstead Act.

Mary Hunt was a Major Leader
prohibition era women

Mary H. Hunt

Mary H. Hunt was one of the most powerful and effective leaders of the temperance movement.

Lulu Markwell was the first head of the national Women’s Ku Klux Klan (WKKK). She was also president of the Arkansas Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

Caroline Merrick  worked closely with Mary Hunt  in promoting what was called Scientific Temperance Instruction  as a requirement in every public school in every state.

Mary Ann Moriarity used her daughter to deliver moonshine to customers in an ingenious way.

Carry Nation is Well-Known even Today
prohibition era women

Carry A. Nation

Carry A. Carry (or Carrie) Nation is all too easy to stereotype. In reality, she was a very complex woman who is difficult to understand.

Pauline Sabin originally supported Prohibition. But convinced that it was doing great harm, she became a major leader for Repeal.

Lillian Sedwick  was the leader of the Marion County, Indiana (Indianapolis) Women’s Ku Klux Klan (WKKK) and also the state superintendent of the Indiana Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).

Willie Carter Sharpe hauled over 220,000 gallons of moonshine between 1926 and 1931. This bootlegger had diamonds in her teeth.

Cora F. Stoddard was head of the Scientific Temperance Federation for 30 years. Learn Mary Hunt‘s secret that led to the organization’s existence.

Eliza Thompson, often called ‘Mother Thompson, was a charismatic leader whose actions led to the formation of the WCTU.

Frances Willard was a prohibitionist, suffragette, and racist.

prohibition era women

Ida B. Wise

Ida B. Wise (Ida B. Wise-Smith) valiantly led the WCTU after Repeal occurred. For decades she continued to lead unsuccessful attempts to return the country to Prohibition.

Books about Prohibition Era Women.

Murdock, C. Domesticating Drink: Women, Men, and Alcohol in America, 1870-1940. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U Press,1998.

Paulson, R. Women’s Suffrage and Prohibition. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1973.

Root, G. Women and Repeal. NY: Harper, 1934.

Rose, K. American Women and the Repeal of Prohibition. NY: NYU Press,1996.