1918 epidemic found new use for flasks

“The social impact of the [1918 flu] epidemic extended well beyond medical masks.

“According to the [Asheville Citizen], the health scare led to the reemergence of flasks, despite the state’s 1908 referendum on Prohibition.  Rather than nipping on whiskey, owners now carried mouthwash in the containers. ‘[I]t’s easier to practice oral hygiene when the disinfectant comes from the receptacle which formerly held … Scotch,’ the paper observed.”

— From “The 1918 influenza changes social norms” by Thomas Calder in Mountain Xpress (Oct. 31)

New in the collection: WCTU ribbon

Ribbon for Woman's Christian Temperance Union

“The Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the most prominent temperance society in North Carolina after the Civil War, was organized at Greensboro in 1883 by Frances E. Willard, president of the national WCTU. Its wide range of reform programs included women suffrage, equal rights, child welfare, prison life, international arbitration, world peace, narcotics and tobacco control, child labor, juvenile delinquency, prostitution, and gambling. Two WCTU publications appeared in the state: the Anchor and the North Carolina White Ribbon.”
— From “Temperance Movement” (2006) by Wiley J. Williams in the Encyclopedia of North Carolina

Booklet from Woman's Christian Temperance Union meeting in Winston-Salem in November 1906
A booklet accompanying this ribbon from the 1906 state convention in Winston-Salem included the lyrics to “Prohibition Forever.”
“Hurrah, hurrah!
“Prohibition forever,
“Hurrah! hurrah!
“In the good Old North State.”

J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton on the law and Prohibition

“On June 1, 1925, the Chief Justice of North Carolina in an address to the bar of Wake County, assembled in Raleigh, said: ‘The best friend you have is the law of North Carolina. It protects you before you are born, it surrounds and shields you as long as you live, and it stands sentinel and guard at your tomb.’

“In this sonorous phrase we have the theory of the law.

“On June 1, 1925, in Wake County, one mile from Raleigh, a sergeant of the plain clothes department of the city police, in the presence of the chief of police, without warning, shot and killed S. S. Holt, a prominent lawyer from an adjoining county, as he was returning home from arguing a case in the United States District Court. The only justification advanced for the officer was that Holt’s car had stopped for a moment on the roadside and this made him jump to the conclusion that it was carrying liquor, a judgment, as the event proved, entirely unjustified by fact.

“In this coldblooded taking of human life, we have an important phase of the practice of the law. For thus nowadays in North Carolina is the citizen’s ‘best friend’ apt to operate….

“With Prohibition enforcement to point the way we are rapidly approaching a time when we shall have a government of men — and of such men! — and not of law at all….”

— From “These Things Doth the Lord Hate” by J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton in Virginia Quarterly Review (Spring 1926)

    I’d be interested in learning the outcome of the Holt case — anyone able to dig that up?


Women urged to ‘deal death blow to King Alcohol’

“Dear Sisters: Constrained by the love we bear to our children, brothers, lovers, husbands, and for whose sake we wish to unite our influence, to save them from the terrible evils of Intemperance, we invite you to come out to the election at Flint Ridge, on the first Thursday in August [1881], so that, by our presence, we may encourage those we love to deal a death blow to King Alcohol, and free us from the misery, woe, wretchedness and ruin, caused by this demon, that ‘biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder.’ ”

— From a broadside inviting women, still almost 40 years from being able to vote, to bring their persuasion to bear at a Chatham County polling place for a referendum on prohibition.  (King Alcohol avoided a statewide ban by a margin of more than 3 to 1.)