Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in Appalachia


The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) became the largest women’s organization to date during the temperance movement of the late 19 th and early 20 th century. All states in the Appalachian region had active state and local chapters of the WCTU. However, the WCTU in Appalachia has not been analyzed nearly as much as chapters outside the region, and therefore, more general information about the national organization must also be used for research. Much of the information specific to Appalachia will come from more general works on temperance and prohibition issues in Appalachia as well as possible primary sources outside of the Appalachian Collection. The combination of general and specific works provides a foundation for further research on the WCTU in Appalachia .

Introductory Text: 

Dean, Meredith, Gosden, Susan R., Howe, Barbara J., Hasbrouck, Clara, Henson, Sandra, and Riverstone, Lori. “Women’s Groups.” Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Ed. Abramson, Ruth and Haskell, Jean. Knoxville : The University of Tennessee Press, 2006. Page 193. ASU Appalachian Collection. F 106.E53 2006

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly relevant:

  • Prohibition - History
  • Prohibition - North Carolina
  • Temperance - History
  • Woman’s Christian Temperance Union
  • Women’s Christian Temperance Union - History


  • African American women - Southern states - History
  • Drinking of alcoholic beverages - History
  • Popular culture - Moral and ethical aspects - United States - History
  • United States - Moral conditions - History
  • Women - Southern States - History
  • Women social reformers - United States - History
  • Women social reformers - Southern States - History
Clipping Files Subject Headings – W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 

Highly relevant:

  • Mountain whites - Temperance (#577 and #733)


  • Alcohol issues
  • Human Relations Area Files
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • HV 5292
  • HV 5017
  • HV 5227
  • HV 5229
  • HV 5232
  • HV 5297
  • HV 5280
  • HV 5090
  • HV 5089
  • LD 7501
  • HQ 1904
  • HQ 1438
  • BL 2525
  • M 2198
  • QP 36

Bordin, Ruth. Woman and Temperance: The Quest for Power and Liberty, 1873-1900. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1981. ASU Main Stacks. HV 5229.B67

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Benowitz, June Melby. Encyclopedia of American Women and Religion. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC - CLIO, 1998. ASU Main Stacks. BL 2525.B45 1998

Cherrington, Ernest Hurst. Standard Encyclopedia of the Alcohol Problem. Westerville, OH: American Issue Publishing Company, 1925-1930. ASU Main Stacks. HV 5017.S7 v. 1-6

Kleber, John E. The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1992. ASU Appalachian Collection. F451.K413 1992

Lender, Mark Edward. Dictionary of American Temperance Biography: From Temperance Reform to Alcohol Research, the 1600s to the 1980s. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1984. ASU Mains Stacks. HV 5292.8.L46 1984

Wilson, Charles Reagan and Ferris, William. Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989. ASU Appalachian Collection. F 209.E53 1989


Appalachian Bibliography. Morgantown , WV: West Virginia University Library, 1980. #6740. ASU Appalachian Collection. Z 1251.A7 A6 1980

Bryant, Ron D. Kentucky History: An Annotated Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000. Pages 361, 363, 364, 186, 199. ASU Appalachian Collection. Z 1287.B79 2000

Smith, Sam B. Tennessee History, A Bibliography. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1974. Pages 208, 209. ASU Appalachian Collection. Z 1337.S55

“Social Reforms.” Women in Tennessee History: A Bibliography. www.mtsu.edu/~library/wtn/wtn-soc.html

Thorton, Mary Lindsay. A Bibliography of North Carolina, 1589-1956. Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1958. #100082. ASU Appalachian Collection. Z 1319.T495

Abstracts and Indices: 

America : History and Life

Google Scholar


Project MUSE

ATLA Religion


Allen, Crystal Hart. “The History of Cameron, West Virginia.” Marshall County WVGenWeb. November 6, 2006. www.rootsweb.com/~wvmarsha/crystal.htm

“Black WCTU” North Carolina Civil Rights Timeline . North Carolina Museum of History. November 6, 2006. www.king-raleigh.org/history/nccivilrightstimeline.htm

“Women” page contains WV WCTU information. West Virginia Division of Culture and History . November 6, 2006. www.wvculture.org/history

Other Sources: 

Blacksville, WV Woman’s Christian Temperance Union Minutes . West Virginia University: West Virginia and Regional History Collection.

Jonesborough, TN Woman’s Christian Temperance Union Minutes . East Tennessee State University: Archives of Appalachia.

Morgantown, WV Woman’s Christian Temperance Union Documents . West Virginia University: West Virginia and Regional History Collection.

West Virginia State WCTU Documents . West Virginia University: West Virginia and Regional History Collection.

WCTU Librarian/Archivist Virginia Beatty *Contact information can be found at www.wctu.org)

Compiled by: 

Compiler: Anna Rachel Terman, 30 November 2006