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Guide to the Prohibition Collection 1977.127

128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Miranda Schwartz

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on January 23, 2012
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Title: Brooklyn Prohibition collection
Dates [inclusive]: 1893-1942
Dates [bulk]: Bulk, 1893-1921
Abstract: The Prohibition Collection contains temperance periodicals, publications, correspondence, photographs, lecture invitations, campaign material, and newspaper clippings, 1893-1942, relating to the Prohibition movement in the U.S. and in New York State and City in particular. This material provides a look at this American political movement from the local level in New York and Kings Counties. The bulk of the material was donated in 1932 by George B. Hilliard, who was involved in the Prohibition movement for decades and was a county organizer and executive committee member for the Prohibition County Committee of New York. Some of the items date from 1933 to 1942 and their provenance cannot be established.
Quantity: 0.8 Linear feet in 2 document boxes and one oversize box.
Language of Materials: Materials in English
Graphic materials [Oversize]: 1977.127 3 of 3 (OS-25)
Call Phrase: 1977.127

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Historical Note

The American Prohibition movement began in the mid-1800's and grew in influence and popularity until it achieved its greatest victory in 1918 with the passage of the 18th Amendment, which stated: “After one year from the ratification of this article, the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.” 1

Never universally popular and a heralded example of the difficulty of legislating morality via the U.S. Constitution, the 18th Amendment was repealed by passage of the 21st Amendment in 1933. The movement in New York fielded candidates for mayor of New York City and state governor, and a national party defined an issue platform and fielded candidates for President and Vice President of the U.S.. The enthusiasm with which the Prohibitionists embraced their cause can be seen in a quote from Clarence Elwyn Pitts, chairman of the Prohibition Central Committee in New York State, to a fellow Prohibitionist: "If we build wisely and well; sink personal differences into the commonweal; and plan carefully, we shall inaugurate a system of organization and development of work which will result in a mighty forward movement all over the state.” 2


1. Accessed January 18, 2006.

2. Clarence Elwyn Pitts, in a letter to John Berry, December 12, 1910. Prohibition Collection, ArMs 1977.127, Box 1, Folder 4, Brooklyn Historical Society.

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Scope and Contents Note

The Prohibition Collection documents the activities of the New York State Prohibition Party as well as many other organizations that were active in the prohibition movement in New York City and Brooklyn, including the Prohibition Parties of New York and Kings Counties, the Woman's Christian Temperance League, and the Young People's Prohibition League. While the collection covers the years 1893-1942, the bulk of materials in the collection covers roughly the mid 1890s through the 1910s when the Prohibition movement in the United States was at its most active.

Included in the collection are administrative records of the New York State Prohibition Party; Prohibition literature, including periodicals and informational booklets; campaign materials, including brochures and leaflets; events materials, such as event programs and photographs of events; maps of the National Prohibition Park in Staten Island, as well as photographic and engraved portraits of prominent figures of the New York Prohibitionist movement.

Arrangement Note

The collection is organized in 7 series: Series 1. Administrative Documents, Series 2. Campaign Materials, Series 3. Clippings, Series 4. Correspondence, Series 5. Events Materials, Series 6. Literature, Series 7. Maps, Photographs and Works on Paper. Within each series, folders are organized alphabetically by title and materials in each folder are arranged chronologically.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Hilliard, George B.

Document Type

  • Correspondence
  • Engravings
  • Maps
  • Photographs

Subject Organizations

  • Brooklyn Young Peoples Prohibition League.
  • Kings County Prohibition Committee (Kings County, N.Y.).
  • New York County Prohibition Committee.
  • Prohibition Party. (U.S.)
  • Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

Subject Topics

  • Prohibition -- United States
  • Social movements -- United States
  • Temperance -- United States
  • Temperance -- United States -v Periodicals

Subject Places

  • National Prohibition Park (New York, N.Y.)
  • Staten Island (New York, N.Y.) |v Maps
  • United States |x Politics and government

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection are in the public domain.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Prohibition Collection, ArMs 1977.127, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisiton

Donated by George B. Hilliard in 1932.

Processing Note

The processing of this collection by Pratt Institute GATEWAI intern Miranda Schwartz involved reorganizing items, adding new folders, placing items in chronological order, photocopying brittle newspaper clippings, leaflets, and periodicals onto acid-free paper while saving the original clippings in protective sleeves, and writing the finding aid. The Finding Aid was edited by Dr. Petit in May 2006. The collection was further processed and the finding aid was further edited and entered into Archivist's Toolkit by Matthew Gorham in June 2009.

Photograph Records

Item-level description and digital versions of images from the collection are available for searching via the online image database.

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Container List

Series 1 - Administrative Documents, 1896-1913

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 New York State Prohibition Party

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Series 2 - Campaign Materials, 1892-1931

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Brochures and Leaflets

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Series 3 - Clippings, 1900-1942

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Clippings

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Series 4 - Correspondence, 1900-1911

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Correspondence

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Series 5 - Events Materials, 1895-1921

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Kings County Prohibition Committee
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Miscellaneous
Box: 1 Folder : 7 New York County Prohibitionists
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Young People's Prohibition League
circa 1900

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Series 6 - Literature, 1896-1942

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Booklets
Box: Box 1 Folder : 10 Periodicals

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Series 7 - Maps, Photographs and Works on Paper, circa 1890-1910

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Maps - National Prohibition Park, Staten Island
circa 1890-1897
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Photographs - Events and Campaigns
circa 1890-1919
Box: Cabinet Card Folder : 1 Photographic Portraits - Cabinet Cards
circa 1890-1919
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Photographic Portraits - Groups
c. 1890s-1910s
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Photographic Portraits - Individuals
c. 1890s-1910s
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Works on Paper - Engraved Portraits
circa 1890-1919

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