[Chicago]: Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform, [1930?]. Single sheets. 6 1/8" x 9 1/8" Each broadside is mildly age-toned, all have creases from folding along the short dimension, two have light stains, and two have tiny chips at ends of a fold crease. Fine condition overall.
Women in the early 20th century were assumed to favor Prohibition, and indeed had been a powerful force--in the form of the Women's Christian Temperance Union--in getting it passed. By the late 1920s, however, Pauline Morton Sabin could not ignore Prohibition's very destructive (if unintended) consequences. She founded the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform in 1929 to fight for repeal, and within a year had attracted 100,000 members. The WONPR quickly became the nation's largest anti-Prohibition organization. It's goal achieved by passage of the 21st Amendment in December, 1933, the organization disbanded.
These four data and statistics driven leaflets published by the WONPR convincingly illustrate the failures of national alcohol Prohibition. They are individually titled:
- Has Prohibition Brought Temperance?
- Tax Payers! Do You Know!
- For Your Children's Sake
- Do You Want To Put the Criminal Out of Business? Help the Unemployed?
The first broadside uses statistics to show drunkenness and alcohol abuse increased under Prohibition. The second lays out the combined fiscal damage from lost tax revenue and heavy enforcement costs. The third argues that Prohibition fosters speakeasies, bootlegging, furtive drinking, disrespect for the law, and very profitable crime. The fourth shows that Prohibition's restrictions just enriched the criminal element willing to flaunt it.
Together these ephemeral pieces are a fascinating artifact in the lesser known story of women passionately fighting for repeal of Prohibition.