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About this collection

Carry Nation, best known for her crusade against the liquor trade, was born Carrie Amelia Moore on November 25, 1846, in Garrard County, Kentucky, to George and Mary Campbell Moore. On November 21, 1867, she married Charles Gloyd, not realizing the young physician who had fought for the Union side during the Civil War was an alcoholic. Carrie's pregnancy made it evident that Gloyd was not able support a family due to his drinking problem. Carrie returned to the home of her parents and her husband died in 1869.

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In 1877 Carrie was married to David Nation, who variously found employment as a minister, attorney, and newspaper editor. After living for a time in Texas, the Nations moved to Medicine Lodge, Kansas, in 1889. There Carrie became known as "Mother Nation" for her charity and religious work. She also organized a local chapter of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in keeping with her conviction that alcohol was the cause of many societal problems in the United States. In 1880the citizens of Kansas had passed a prohibition law; however saloons continued to operate illegally throughout the state. Members of Nation's WCTU chapter indirectly worked to close the Kansas saloons by assembling outside to sing hymns and to pray loudly. In June, 1900, in Wichita, Kansas, Nation adopted a more direct approach by throwing bricks through the window of a saloon. In 1901, in Topeka, Kansas, Nation obtained a hatchet which she used thereafter to destroy liquor and saloon property. Although Nation's husband, David, was sympathetic with Carrie's principles, he did not support her fanaticism and the marriage ended in divorce in 1901. Carrie toured the nation, rallying anti-alcohol forces and leading fierce attacks on saloons. She was arrested some 30 times between 1900 and 1911 for what she referred to as "hatchetations," but which police called "disturbing the peace." Believing herself divinely ordained to wipe out the presence of strong drink in the United States, she officially changed her name to Carry A. Nation in 1903.

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This digital collection includes thirteen issues of the newspaper, The Smasher's Mail, published by Carrie A. Nation in 1901. This publication contains anti-alcohol essays and editorials, reprints of letters Nation received from supporters and opponents, half-tone illustrations, cartoons, and poetry devoted to the temperance and prohibition cause.

 
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