Woman’s Christian Temperance Union

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

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The Non-partisan Woman’s Christian Temperance Union vs the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union

woman's christian temperance union

Many people have heard of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). But virtually no one has heard of the Non-partisan Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (NWCTU). The WCTU was formed in 1874. Within five years it had established over 1,000 local units or “unions.” It continued to grow during National Prohibition (1920-1933). Its peak membership was …

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Edith Smith Davis: Major Prohibition Leader

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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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Frances Willard: A Major Temperance Leader

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Willard’s Early Life Frances Willard (Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard), was born in 1839. She was sturdy, independent, and very strong-willed. Friends called her Frank. She graduated from college in 1859. Twelve years later became president of a women’s college herself. When it merged with Northwestern University, she became dean of women there. She resigned 1874 …

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