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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION CONVENTION

WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION CONVENTION

The WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION CONVENTION in Cleveland 18-20 Nov. 1874 institutionalized TEMPERANCE as a social movement, marking the formal organization of the national Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). On 15 Aug. 1874, an assembly at Chautauqua, NY, issued a call to "make permanent the temperance work of the last few months." A letter to national temperance leagues ordered the election of one woman delegate from each congressional district to the first national meeting in Cleveland. The convention opened at the Second Presbyterian Church on Superior St., east of PUBLIC SQUARE, with over 200 women present, as well as visitors and representatives from all over the country. Men were relegated to the "Amen corner" and warned not to interfere. A welcome speech delivered by Dr. L. D. McCabe, president of the Ohio WCTU, reexamined the organization's fundamental principles and called the women to arms.

The opening sessions established the Committee on Credentials, to which Cleveland's MARY INGHAM was appointed treasurer. Another committee eventually provided for 2 publications: the Union Signal and the Young Crusader. The next day delegates adopted a "plan of work" for all temperance societies, urging the establishment of adult and juvenile societies, a glee club, coffee and reading rooms, and home missionary work, as well as the circulation of literature, instruction in schools, abstention pledges, the use of the pulpit as a soapbox, and elimination of wine at religious services. Other resolutions protested against the medicinal prescription of alcohol and requested that public officials and their wives refrain from its use. On the last day the convention adopted a preamble and constitution which provided an organizational structure and linked national and state temperance societies.


Clark, Norman H. Deliver Us from Evil (1976).