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OP: Fifty Years History of the Temperance Cause

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by J. E. Stebbins
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Hartford: L. Stebbins, 1874. Hardcover. Very Good.

You can’t have a serious discussion about cocktail culture in the US without first talking about Prohibition and the temperance movement that led to it. Fifty Years History of the Temperance Cause (1874) is a robust and impassioned example of the discourse that preceded the passing of the 18th Amendment.

If the subtitle doesn’t effectively sum up the argument—The Great National Curse, Threatening the Purity and Stability of Our Institutions, Secular and Religious; The Fruitful Source of Poverty, Misery, Crime, and Degradation of the Individual and Family—the following 500 page missive makes the case.

Jane Stebbins, who published a number of books exploring theological and moral themes, writes here with the fervor and poetry of a preacher at the pulpit. Stebbins’ plea is a passionate one and all the more persuasive for it. Her emphasis, rather than being directed at individual responsibility, is on government intervention.  

A thoroughly captivating read for food and cocktail historians alike.

Ours is a first printing in excellent shape, given its age. The green cloth of the case is rubbed and lightly frayed about the edges, the gold stamping remaining bright. One corner bears a modern repair. Slight tilt to the spine. The interior is clean with spots of discoloration, though the bottom fore corner is dampstained for about the first third of the pages. We have had the endpapers replaced to sturdy the binding. Handsomely and delightfully illustrated.

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