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Guide to the Records of the Sons of Temperance, Montauk Division
1836-1871 (bulk 1847-1860)
  MS 618

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Ted O'Reilly

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 09, 2011
Description is in English.

Historical Note

The Sons of Temperance, a total abstinence society, was founded in New York in 1842. The fraternal order provided assistance for its members, both in remaining temperate, and as a mutual aid society. More broadly, they promoted the societal benefit of abstinence and temperance. The Montauk Division, a regional branch of the Sons of Temperance, was founded in Sag Harbor, in 1844.

In contrast to its immediate predecessor, the Washington Movement, the Sons recruited members from among those already well affected to their cause. Though they refrained from taking public stances on religious and political matters, they did advocate ending the temptation by stopping the production and sale of alcohol.

As a mutual aid society, the Sons of Temperance doled out sickness and disability benefits and allotted money to assist with the burial of fellow brothers and their wives. The attractiveness of its benefits led the organization to operate as a secret society, with stringent rules and a highly restricted membership. Allegations of intemperance and other transgressions were routinely investigated and often led to expulsion from the organization.

Though the Sons of Temperance survived through the Civil War, the Montauk Division ceased operation in 1865, replaced by the Agawam Division in 1867.