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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.

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: Records of the Sons of Temperance, Montauk Division
Dates: 1847-1871 (bulk 1847-1860)
Abstract: The Montauk Division was a regional branch, founded in 1844, of the Sons of Temperance, a fraternal order that assisted its members, both in remaining temperate, and as a mutual aid society. The records reflect the practical operation of a nineteenth-century fraternal organization and are composed of meeting minutes, committee reports, bills and receipts, printed circulars, letters, membership applications, inventories, proposed amendments, records of visitations to sick brothers and investigations of brothers.
Quantity: 0.5 Linear feet (1 box)
Location note: Manuscript cage
Call Phrase: MS 618

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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.

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Scope and Content Note

The records offer insight into the practical operation of a nineteenth-century fraternal organization. They cover aspects such as finances, the activities of the local division and wider organization, upkeep of the meeting hall, the management of its membership -- including investigations into allegations of transgressions of the group's rules and visitations, and payments to qualifying members. The records are composed of meeting minutes, committee reports, bills and receipts, printed circulars, letters, membership applications, inventories, proposed amendments, records of visitations to sick brothers and investigations of brothers.

Arrangement

The records are divided into series and arranged chronologically.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Cooke,Luther D.
  • Dean,Phineas
  • Eldridge,James N.
  • Gardiner Adrian
  • Schellinger, D.W.

Document Type

  • Correspondence
  • Financial records
  • Minutes

Subject Topics

  • Fraternal organizations -- New York (State)
  • Sons of Temperance of North America. Grand Division of Eastern New York.
  • Temperance -- New York (State)
  • Temperance -- Societies, etc ; Sag Harbor (N.Y.)

Family Name(s)

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Administrative Information

Provenance

Purchased by the New-York Historical Society, March 21, 1945.

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Use Restrictions

Permission to quote from this collection in a publication must be requested and granted in writing. Send permission requests, citing the name of the collection from which you wish to quote, to

Manuscripts Curator
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Records of the Sons of Temperance, Montauk Division, MS 618, The New-York Historical Society.

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Container List

Series I: Correspondence, 1846-1858, undated

Scope and Contents note

This series includes incoming and some outgoing correspondence for the Montauk Division of the Sons of Temperance. Letters are from local members as well as other divisions in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

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

General note

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements note

1846-1858, undated

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Series II: Circular Letters, 1847-1853, undated

Scope and Contents note

These are printed circular letters from various divisions of the Sons of Temperance serving as notification of resolutions, amendments, invitations, and other business requiring communication to the wider organization.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Circular Letters
1847-1853, undated

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Series III: Reports, 1846-1859, undated (Bulk 1849-1859)

Scope and Contents note

Within this series are Quarterly Reports, and reports generated by various committees and officers of the fraternity. Among these are the Finance Committee, the Treasurer, and the Conductor (this officer essentially gave an inventory of the division's hall), interspersed with reports from special committees dealing with issues such as the lease of the hall, the creation of a code of by-laws, the creation and printing of a seal, upkeep of the hall lamps, etc.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Reports
1846-1852 April
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Reports
1852 July - 1859

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Series IV: Applications and Certificates, 1846-1860

Scope and Contents note

These include two certificates attesting to the good standing of brothers leaving the division, meant to serve as recommendations to other Temperance divisions. The bulk of the series are applications from individuals interested in membership. Among these are women requesting to be admitted in an auxiliary capacity as "visitors." Applications contain recommendations of prospective brothers by existing members.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Applications and Certificates
1846-1860

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Series V: Health and Illnesses, 1847-1858

Scope and Contents note

Among these papers are letters from physicians attesting to infirmity of members, letters from brothers reporting the illness of a fellow member, and letters requesting benefits due for illness or disability. Also included are outgoing letters of condolence from the Sons of Temperance.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Health and Illnesses
1847-1858

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Series VI: Visiting Committee, 1855-1859

Scope and Contents note

In this series are records of visits made by the Visiting Committee, appointed to call upon sick members. The reports are made on pre-printed forms and include the identity of the member, the date he was reported sick, his condition during the visit, and a recommendation as to how many weeks of benefits he should receive.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Visiting Committee
1855-1859

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Series VII: Investigation and Disciplinary Papers, 1849-1859, undated

Scope and Contents note

This file contains documents relating to the fraternity's investigations into the behavior of its members, charges and disciplinary actions for non-payment of dues, and violations of the organization's ban on the consumption of alcohol.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Investigation and Disciplinary Papers
1849-1859, undated

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Series VIII: Meeting Minutes, 1850-1852

Scope and Contents note

The meeting minutes only cover two years and appear to be rough notes of the proceedings. They are predominantly recorded in pencil and are crossed out, suggesting they may have been re-copied in a more formal manner.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Meeting Minutes
1850-1852

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Series IX: Proposals and Resolutions, 1852-1855, undated

Scope and Contents note

This series contains proposed amendments to the by-laws, resolutions made by the society and proposed preambles, all for the Montauk Division of the Sons of Temperance.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Proposals and Resolutions
1852-1855, undated

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Series X: Bonds, 1846-1855

Scope and Contents note

This folder includes five treasurer's bonds, and one for a trustee. The documents were drafted to indemnify the Montauk Division against financial malfeasance, and stood until the treasurer or trustee had completed their duties and turned over all money and organizational material to their successor.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Bonds
1846-1855

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Series XI: Bills, Receipts and Checks, 1836-1871, undated (Bulk 1846-1860)

Scope and Contents note

The contents of this series cover the expenses for upkeep of the Sons of Temperance Hall, printing, postage and other expenses associated with the operations of the group. It is not clear whether the last few items directly relate to the Sons of Temperance but do appear to be promissory notes for one of its members.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Bills, Receipts and Checks
1836-1851
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Bills, Receipts and Checks
1852-1871

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Series XII: Fragments, 1838, undated

Scope and Contents note

Within this series are documents with little or no context, and in most instances do not appear to have any direct connection to the organization. The items seem to have been from the personal papers of an individual who maintained the Sons of Temperance records. They contain parts of a will, other official documents, poetry, mathematical calculations, and a list of names.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Fragments
1838, undated

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