Threads Through Time-W.C.T.U Banner

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Unknown artist
W.C.T.U. Banner, 1935-1936
Tasseled fabric, wood, glass, paint
On loan from the Old State House Museum, Little Rock

The Women’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) was founded in 1874 to campaign for the prohibition of alcohol in the United States. The heavy use of alcohol created a number of social problems, including poverty and abuse, for powerless women and children. The W.C.T.U. advocated for the abstinence of alcohol by banning the sale, manufacturing and consumption of it in the United States. Frances Willard, the union’s second president, aligned the mission of the W.C.T.U. with other social reforms like labor, prostitution, health and sanitation, and women’s suffrage. Willard believed that when women had the right to vote, they could forward agendas that protected their homes and families.

The first chapter of the W.C.T.U. in Arkansas was established in Monticello in 1878. More local chapters followed, and the official state chapter was founded in Little Rock in 1879. The most famous member of the Arkansas W.C.T.U. was hatchet-wielding Carry Nation.

This banner was given to the local union who had the “Best All-Around Report” at the yearly state convention of the W.T.C.U. In 1935, it was given to the Lulu A. Markwell Union during the convention held in Russellville, and in 1936, to the West Side Union of Little Rock at the convention in Stuttgart.