Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Women's Christian Temperance Union Records MS 221
MS 221  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (58.16 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Scope and Content
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Arrangement
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

  • Title: Women's Christian Temperance Union Records
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 221
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
    Date (inclusive): 1866-1960
    Abstract: These records of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) consist of documents including membership books, roll calls and reports of meetings and activities.
    creator: Women's Christian Temperance Union.

    Scope and Content

    This collection of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) includes official records such as the original 1890 Certificate of Incorporation, 1942 amendment to the Articles, membership books, roll calls, meeting minutes and various reports. Reports include President and Secretary annual reports, financial reports by the Treasurer, as well as reports on activities from national and regional levels of the organization. There is also correspondence to and from the First Women’s Christian Temperance Union of San Diego, event announcements and pamphlets encompassing annual conventions, and announcements of meetings and programs. A book entitled “New Temperance Reciter, New Band of Hope Reciter, and Temperance Melodies and Hymns,” circa 1866, provides historical information on the Temperance Movement as well as collection of recitations and hymns.

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    The National Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1874. The WCTU rallied support for temperance and was active in many other social issues including woman's suffrage, women's economic and religious rights, as well as prison, education and labor reforms.
    A report included, “Report of the First WCTU of San Diego since 1889,” recounts the early history of the First WCTU of San Diego, stating it was initiated by Frances Willard in 1883. Frances Willard was the second National WCTU President (1879-1898), organized the Prohibition Party in 1882 and during the same year was elected president of the National Council of Women. She was also the first dean of women and professor of aesthetics at Northwestern University. The First WCTU of San Diego received a certificate of incorporation in 1890. No account of its first six years of activity can be found and it is speculated that that the Union may have disbanded for a period of time. Initially, the group met weekly on Mondays, though this changed to primarily monthly or bi-monthly meetings by 1904. Women were required to wear a bow of white ribbon as a badge at all times. At one time woman were fined five cents if they did not wear the ribbon which “brought quite an increase to the treasury.” The trysting hour at noon was observed and was a time when “every heart lifted to God in prayer for a blessing of [their] work.”
    The First WCTU of San Diego was active in the community and made visits to inmates within the prison system; at one time they created at library at a penitentiary. They also delivered temperance literature to school libraries, providing information on the movement to students and teachers. The “Report of the First WCTU of San Diego since 1889” also reports that the first presidents included Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Hinkle, Mrs. House, Mrs. Waugh, Mrs. Todd, Dr. Park, Dr. Strausser and Dr. Crandall. Initially meetings were principally held at the Methodist and Congregational churches.


    The collection is arranged by subject.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

    Preferred Citation

    Women's Christian Temperance Union Records, MS 221, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Jody Valente on October 4, 2011.
    Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Some notebooks contain loose pages and one has mold on the front and back covers. Several documents are frayed and deteriorating at the edges. Binding of the “New Temperance Reciter…” book is loose and a few pages are detached. (October 4, 2011)

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Accession number 950727A.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    First Women's Christian Temperance Union of San Diego.
    Girard, Ruth E.
    Willard, Frances E.
    Women's Christian Temperance Union of California.
    Women's Christian Temperance Union.
    San Diego (Calif.)
    Temperance -- Societies, etc.
    Women -- Societies and clubs