A Temperance Pledge

Our hardworking volunteer, Rita Thomas, has been working hard on transcribing the diaries of Theodore W. Bean.  This afternoon, she came across a temperance pledge taken by Richard J. Stewart witnessed  by Bean and pasted into his 1868 diary.

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It got me wondering what else we had in the stacks about the nineteenth-century temperance movement.  One thing I found was a small booklet titled “The National Temperance Songster” features hymns of the anti-drink movement.

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The National Temperance Society was based in Saratoga Springs.  It published thousands of pamphlets promoting temperance and petitioned Congress on temperance causes.  A frequent metaphor of their literature is to judge the tree by the fruit it produces.  Some of the fruits in this image are misery, crime,  mystery, madness, and death.  You can click on the image for a better look.

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This pamphlet tells the story of “two good mechanics [who] earned fair wages,” John Thirsty and John Thrifty.  After ten years of employment, both men were let go by their employer.  John Thirsty has spent $72 a year on beer, while John Thrifty saved his money and owns a home.

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As to whether or not Richard J. Stewart kept his temperance pledge, we don’t know.  Maybe Theodore W. Bean will let us know in his diary.

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