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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION, NON-PARTISAN, OF CLEVELAND

WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION, NON-PARTISAN, OF CLEVELAND

The WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION, NON-PARTISAN, OF CLEVELAND, formally organized in March 1874 as the Woman's Christian Temperance League, was one of the city's principal TEMPERANCE organizations and participated in the founding of the national non-partisan group. Among the league's leaders were SARAH FITCH, MARY INGHAM, and Sarah Duncan. Protesting the endorsement of the Prohibition party, the league split from the national and state Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1885 and added Non-Partisan to its name. The Non-Partisan National WCTU organized in Cleveland in Jan. 1890, and by 1892 was active in 21 states and the District of Columbia. WCTU Non-Partisan's activities resembled those of the WCTU: establishing drinking fountains, praying at saloons, opening reading rooms, holding mothers' meetings, starting kitchen gardens, and attempting moral reformation. It built and maintained several social-welfare institutions, including the Mary Ingersoll Club for Working Girls. In 1874 the group established Central Friendly Inn. Originally financed by memberships from Protestant churches and prominent businessmen such as JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER, by 1918 it received support from the Welfare Federation. After the passage of Prohibition (1918), the WCTU Non-Partisan continued to maintain Friendly Inn, the RAINEY INSTITUTE, and a Training Home for Girls. In 1926 the group became the WOMEN'S PHILANTHROPIC UNION, which administered the funds that partially sustained these institutions. The Women's Philanthropic Union continued to run and fund the agencies established under the WCTU, Non-Partisan into the 1950s.


Ingham, Mary. Women of Cleveland (1893).

Woman's Christian Temperance Union Records, WRHS.

Rose, Mrs. W. G. The Western Reserve of Ohio and Some of Its Pioneers, Places and Women's Clubs (1915).

See also TEMPERANCE; WOMEN.