Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)

Woman's Christian Temperance Union

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) is the oldest voluntary, non-sectarian women’s group in continuous existence in the world. In addition, it was among the first groups to keep a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. to promote its agenda. The group’s name is the “Woman’s” rather than “Women’s” Christian Temperance Union. That’s because it’s the individual …

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The Non-partisan WCTU: Woman’s Christian Temperance Union

Many people have heard of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). But few have heard of the Non-partisan WCTU (NWCTU). The WCTU was formed in 1874. Within five years it had over 1,000 local units or “unions.” It continued to grow during National Prohibition (1920-1933). Its peak membership was 372,355 in 1931. Yet almost 20 …

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World’s Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WWCTU)

The World’s Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WWCTU) began in 1883. The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) formed it. The intent was to coordinate the work of WCTU chapters (unions) around the world. The first convention of the World’s Woman’s Christian Temperance Union was in 1891. By then, WCTU unions existed in over 40 countries and …

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Edith Smith Davis: Major Prohibition Leader

loyal temperance legion

Edith Smith Davis contributed greatly to the temperance movement. She was a dedicated and highly effective leader. Born on a farm near Janesville, Wisconsin, she attended Milton College and Lawrence University. At the latter, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She became superintendent of two departments of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). One …

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Ida B. Wise (Ida B. Wise-Smith, Ida Wise): Prohibitionist

Ida B. Wise was a strong advocate for Prohibitiont. She became Ida B. Wise-Smith upon her marriage. Early Commitment to Prohibition As a young woman she joined the Iowa Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). She showed commitment and very good leadership. Therefore, she steadily advanced through the organization. For twenty years she was president of …

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Frances Willard: A Major Temperance Leader

women and temperance

Willard’s Early Life Frances Willard was born in 1839. Her full name was Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard. She was sturdy. She was independent. And she was very strong-willed. Friends called her Frank. She graduated college in 1859. Twelve years later became president of a women’s college. When it merged with Northwestern U, she became dean …

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Martha McClellan Brown: Prohibition Leader

Martha McClellan Brown

Martha McClellan Brown was a highly effective leader in advancing the temperance movement. Martha McClellan was born in 1838 in Baltimore. She was orphaned by age eight. Martha and her sister were raised by a neighbor. At age 18 she married the Rev. W. Kennedy Brown. Shortly after, she began college and graduated from Pittsburg …

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