MSSU Archives & Special Collections Exhibits: Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Illinois

Digital exhibits created by the MSSU Archives and Special Collections department.

The Nokomis, Illinois Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was founded in 1879 and would continue meeting until the Nokomis local union was dissolved in mid-1962. Remaining members of the Nokomis local union joined the Montgomery County Woman’s Christian Temperance Union of Hillsboro, Illinois, which was the regional chapter of the organization.

Meetings of the local union occurred around once a month. These meetings consisted of discussions of various topics, including temperance issues. These discussions usually included the reading of newspaper clippings about the subject. Meetings also included prayers, scripture readings and the singing on hymns. Once a year, members would meet in the local cemetery to decorate graves and remember those who had passed.

Woman’s Christian Temperance Union members had to pledge to ‘solemnly promise, God helping me, to abstain from all distilled, fermented, and malt liquors, including beer, wine, and cider, and to employ all proper means to discourage the use and traffic in the same.’ While promoting temperance was the WCTU’s titled purpose, the organization was also involved in social welfare issues, such as promoting child labor laws, prison reform and women’s suffrage. The WCTU worked closely with the Red Cross and promoted peace and arbitration, and Christian education.

Exhibit curated by Whitney Hamm and Haley Hembree, 2020-8

All images are the property of Missouri Southern State University. Contact for reproduction and use rights.

Nokomis WCTU Local Union Documents
1904 WCTU Meeting Minutes
1961-1962 WCTU Meeting Minutes
WCTU Scrap Books
WCTU Flyers & Handouts

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