The WCTU is the oldest continuous, non-sectarian woman’s organization in the world. It began in Cleveland, Ohio in November 1874, after a group of women listened to a lecture by Dr. Dio Lewis. Women were moved to a non-violent protest against the dangers of alcohol. Normally quiet housewives dropped to their knees in pray-ins in local saloons and demanded that the sale of liquor be stopped. In three months the women had driven liquor out of 250 communities, and for the first time, saw what could be accomplished by standing together.
Behind the WCTU’s temperance reform was “protection of the home.” Through education and example the WCTU obtained pledges of total abstinence from alcohol, and later also tobacco and other drugs. By the late nineteenth century, dues-paying members numbered 200,000.
The WCTU has proposed, supported and helped establish:
Maine WCTU is part of the national and world organizations. We are dedicated to the promotion of total abstinence as the only means of preventing the irreversible damages caused by the use of alcoholic beverages. We produce these results by example, through education and by working alongside local ministries, public and private schools, (primary and secondary), medical facilities, government agencies and legislative bodies.
Maine boasts of having two National WCTU Presidents: Mrs. Lillian M.N. Stevens, who was the 3rd National President (1898-1914); and Mrs. Rachel C. Bubar Kelly, the 12th National President (1988-1996). Mrs. Stevens and Frances Willard, who was the 2nd National President and first woman to have her statue placed in National Statuary Hall, were personal friends of Neal Dow. Together they educated a national and world on Prohibition and the women’s suffrage movement.