Spirited: Prohibition in America
In a tumultuous era spanning 13 years, Americans could no longer manufacture, sell, or transport intoxicating beverages. Prohibition was now a part of the Constitution, holding the same status as freedom of speech and the abolition of slavery. Ratified in 1919, the 18th Amendment stirred up a passionate and sometimes volatile debate between “wets” and “drys” that will forever cement Prohibition’s place in history. Spirited: Prohibition in America brings visitors back to this period of flappers and suffragists, bootleggers and temperance lobbyists, and real-life legends, such as Al Capone and Carry Nation.
Adapted from the National Constitution Center’s flagship exhibition, Spirited explores the history of Prohibition, from the dawn of the temperance movement to the unprecedented repeal of a constitutional amendment in 1933. What made the country go “dry” and how did America change during this period in history? Visitors to Spirited will learn about the amendment process, the role of liquor in American culture, the cultural revolution of the roaring ’20s, and how liquor laws vary from state to state today.
The morality and illegalization of liquor split American opinion and created a subculture of rampant criminality. Organized crime grew from localized enterprises to a national network for manufacturing, distribution, and sales of alcohol. The issue catalyzed a number of federal regulations and the passing of the Volstead Act, but little resources were provided for enforcement. Spirited draws on histories told from both sides of the law. Through strong visual and interactive elements, the exhibition demonstrates how America went from a nation drowning in liquor in the 1800s, to campaigns of temperance, and the upswing and downfall of outlawing prohibition.
The exhibition surveys the inventive and ingenious ways lawmakers and the American public responded to Prohibition. Legal provisions for sacramental wine, medicinal alcohol, and the preservation of fruit and the efforts of breweries to stay in business led to the popularization of products such as “Dr. Welch’s Unfermented Wine,” “near beer,” and Coca-Cola. Visitors will learn how transportation networks and clever disguises were used to run liquor from state to state, how speakeasies gave way to the popularization of jazz, and the Charleston dance craze.
Spirited features semi-immersive environments that encompass the sights, sounds, and experiences of this fascinating period in American history. Hosting venues will receive educational and public programming materials that outline ideas for interactive workshops on “speakeasy slang,” ’20s-themed socials, speaker suggestions for topics, such as the women’s suffrage movement, and lesson plans on today’s battle with drugs and alcohol.
Both the original exhibition and this touring version were supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Spirited: Prohibition in America is touring June 2014–August 2024.
Contact: MoreArt@maaa.org or (800) 473-3872, ext. 208
June 16–August 11, 2014
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September 1–October 20, 2014
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November 10, 2014–January 7, 2015
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January 28–March 16, 2015
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April 6–May 25, 2015
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June 16–August 11, 2015
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September 1–October 20, 2015
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November 10, 2015–January 7, 2016
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January 28–March 16, 2016
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April 6–May 25, 2016
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June 16–August 11, 2016
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September 1–October 20, 2016
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November 10, 2016–January 7, 2017
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January 28–March 16, 2017
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November 10, 2017–January 7, 2018
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January 28–March 16, 2018
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Greenville, SC booked
April 6–May 25, 2018
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New London, CT booked
June 16–August 11, 2018
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Enid, OK booked
September 1–October 20, 2018
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November 10, 2018–January 7, 2019
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January 28–March 16, 2019
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South Bend, IN booked
April 6–May 25, 2019
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Eau Claire, WI booked
June 16–August 11, 2019
Kansas City, MO booked
September 1–October 20, 2019
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November 10, 2019–January 7, 2020
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Waco, TX booked
January 28–March 16, 2020
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Lake Wales, FL booked
June 16–August 11, 2020
Mount Airy Museum of Regional History
Mount Airy, NC booked
September 1–October 20, 2020
Saginaw Historical Society
Saginaw, MI booked
November 10, 2020–January 7, 2021
Ella Sharp Museum
Jackson, MI booked
January 28–March 16, 2021
Kentucky Gateway Museum Center
Maysville, KY booked
April 6–May 25, 2021
Boot Hill Museum
Dodge City, KS booked
June 16–August 11, 2021
The History Center
Cedar Rapids, IA booked
September 1–October 20, 2021
Neville Public Museum
Green Bay, WI booked
November 10, 2021–January 7, 2022
Irving Archives & Museum
Irving, TX booked
January 28–March 16, 2022
Kansas City, MO booked
April 6–May 25, 2022
Museum of the Mississippi Delta
Greenwood, MS booked
June 16–August 11, 2022
Louisiana Old State Capitol
Baton Rouge, LA booked
September 1–October 20, 2022
Muscatine Art Center
Muscatine, IA booked
November 10, 2022–January 7, 2023
Field House Museum
St. Louis, MO booked
January 28–March 16, 2023
Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History
Bryan, TX booked
April 6–May 25, 2023
Ellwood House Museum
DeKalb, IL pending
June 16–August 11, 2023
Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum
Auburn, IN booked
September 1–October 20, 2023
Birthplace of Country Music
Bristol, TN booked
November 10, 2023–January 7, 2024
January 28–March 16, 2024
Chandler, AZ booked
April 6–May 25, 2024
Fresno High School
Fresno, CA pending
June 16–October 20, 2024
Wasilla Museum & Visitor Center
Wasilla, AK booked
Exhibition Details & Specifications
The National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, PA in collaboration with Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
Organized ByThe National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, PA in partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance, Kansas City, MO
The exhibition will feature several freestanding units focused on thematic areas; a collection of objects, artifacts, photographs, and paper ephemera; audio/video features; interactive stations, semi-immersive environment settings; and wall-mounted banners and graphics.
On-site support is free to the opening venue for every new NEH on the Road exhibition and to first-time hosting venues on a limited basis.
Expense covered by NEH on the Road. Exhibitor will coordinate with NEH on the Road's registrar for all outgoing transportation arrangements.
Number of Crates/Total Weight
21 crates/7,800 pounds
The exhibition is fully insured by NEH on the Road at no additional expense to you, both while installed and during transit.
Download this glossary here.
Alcohol proof is a measure of how much alcohol (ethanol) is contained in an alcoholic beverage. In the United States, the proof of an alcoholic beverage is twice its alcohol content expressed as percentage by volume at 60°F. An 80-proof whiskey is 40% alcohol. Recently, the United States began labeling bottles containing wine and spirits with the percentage of alcohol by volume, instead of proof.
Prohibition-era criminal Alphonse Capone (known as Al or Scarface) was born in Brooklyn, New York, and got involved in gangs at a young age. He worked for New York gangster Frankie Yale (1893–1928) who sent him to Chicago in 1919 when Capone hospitalized a rival New York gang member. Capone became a prominent gang member in Chicago by working for John Torrio (1882–1957) and helped him manage his bootlegging business. Capone eventually took over the Chicago Outfit (previously run by Torrio) and controlled speakeasies, brothels, distilleries, nightclubs, breweries, and more. He was Chicago’s “public enemy number one” after multiple murders including the 1929 St. Valentine Day’s massacre. He served a one-year sentence for gun possession and later eight years of an eleven-year sentence for tax evasion.
A change in the words or meaning of a law or document (such as the Constitution); the process of amending by constitutional procedure. The following are amendments (in full text) that relate to the Prohibition era.
- Fourth Amendment—The right of the people to be secure in their persons, house, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
- 16th Amendment—The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States and without regard to any census or enumeration.
- 17th Amendment—The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures. When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
- 18th Amendment—After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the transportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
- 19th Amendment—The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
- 21st Amendment—The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
The ASL was one of the leading organizations in favor of prohibition and was founded by Howard Hyde Russell (1855–1946). The ASL called itself “the Church in Action against the Saloon” and used political force through national legislation, congressional hearings, and religious leaders to eliminate liquor in America.
Billy Sunday (1862–1935) was a baseball player who played for the Chicago White Stockings, Pittsburgh Alleghenys, and Philadelphia Phillies from 1833–90. He gave up his baseball career to become a preacher and preached against liquor. When Prohibition was finally enacted, he said “The reign of tears is over—men will walk upright now, women will smile, and the children will laugh. Hell will be forever for rent.”
The term black-and-tan refers to nightclubs in larger cities in which social mingling of blacks and whites took place united by jazz music, dancing, and drinking.
A bootlegger is a person that makes or sells alcohol illegally. Moonshine was also known as “bootleg” during Prohibition.
Carry Nation (1846–1911) was born Carrie Amelia Moore in Kentucky in 1846 and lived in Missouri during the Civil War. Married to a doctor, Nation had a marriage that fell apart as a result of alcohol abuse. Her husband died, she then married David Nation and settled near Medicine Lodge, Kansas where she organized a local branch of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and campaigned for enforcement of the state’s liquor laws. Nation supported women’s suffrage and women’s rights. She is most famous for conducting raids on saloons, smashing bottles and barrels, and using a hatchet in support of Prohibition. Carry Nation’s group of followers were known as the “Home Defenders.”
This dance became popular in the 1920s and defines the flapper era. The Charleston was danced to ragtime jazz music in a fast paced rhythm and consists of moving ones’ knees (twisting in and out) and swinging ones’ heels (sharply outward) and kicking sideways on each step.
A constitution is a charter that establishes how the government will operate, what the roles are, and how power is balanced. The Constitution of the United States in the supreme law of our country and defines how the government works. It was written in 1787 at a convention in Philadelphia and went into effect (after being ratified by nine states) in June of 1788. Constitution Day is celebrated on September 17, the day the document was signed by the convention delegates in 1787.
The Cotton Club was a famous Harlem, New York speakeasy originally located on Lenox Avenue where jazz musician Duke Ellington became famous. It was one of the city’s most famous nightclubs in the 1920s–1930s and hosted noted musicians such as Cab Calloway and Louie Armstrong. The Cotton Club practiced a bizarre form of segregation—it was located in an all-black neighborhood and featured black musicians for an all-white clientele.
A special glass bottle into which wine, whiskey, or other alcoholic spirits is poured into from its original bottle and from which it is served.
The process of adding other substances to alcohol that makes it unfit to drink but still useful for other purposes such as medicinal use.
Diocletian Lewis (1823–1886) was a Temperance leader, preacher, food and health eccentric who traveled the country lecturing about the evils of alcohol. He wrote and sold books that promoted temperance. The stop he made in Hillsboro, Ohio, in 1873 inspired Eliza Thompson, famous for leading “Mother Thompson’s Crusade” against alcohol.
Dr. Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Rush (1745–1813) was a colonial physician and writer who advocated that Americans change their drinking habits. He published a moral and physical thermometer temperance diagram that showed the effects of hard liquor and other spirits on one’s psychological and physical health.
Marked by the absence of alcoholic beverages. If a person is ‘dry’ they don’t drink. If a state or county is ‘dry’ alcohol is prohibited.
Eliot Ness (1903–1957) was a Chicago police officer who became a Prohibition agent and was famous for his efforts to enforce Prohibition in Chicago. He destroyed numerous breweries owned and operated by Al Capone was responsible, in part, for Capone’s arrest and eviction for tax evasion. The Chicago Tribune newspaper dubbed Ness and his squad of agents “the Untouchables” because they couldn’t be bought by corruption “to look the other way” at organized crime.
Eliza Thompson (1816–1905) was the daughter of former Ohio governor and the wife of a local judge who became inspired by travelling lecturer Diocletian Lewis took up action against alcohol. Eliza led a group of women through Hillsboro Ohio saloons to protest the effects of liquor and drinking establishments. They knelt in the snow and prayed outside the door of the town’s saloons. Within days of this act, nine of the town’s 13 drinking establishments closed. This act known as “Mother Thompson’s Crusade” spread across the country.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902) was an author, lecturer, and chief philosopher of the women’s rights movement. She formulated the agenda for women’s rights that has guided the struggle to the present. She with Susan B. Anthony were the leaders in the women’s suffrage movement.
A young woman in the 1920s who dressed and behaved in a way that was considered very modern was known as a Flapper. Flappers wore loose fitting clothing and shorter skirts and bobbed hair.
Flip was a colonial-era mixed drink made from eggs, sugar and alcohol. Recipes added rum, brandy, or ale to the egg and sugar mix. Flip was served in a special glass.
Frances Willard (1839–1898) was a temperance leader, suffragist, and progressive reformer who was the second President for the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in 1879 until her death. She rallied women around the concept of “Home Protection” and “Do Everything” to save families from the devastating effects of alcohol. She eventually became President of the Evanston, Illinois College for Ladies in 1871 and in 1873 was the first Dean of Women at Northwestern University.
Gin is a colorless alcoholic beverage made from distilled or redistilled neutral grain spirits flavored with juniper berries and aromatics (as anise and caraway seeds).
Grape bricks were solid blocks of grape juice concentrate that became juice just by adding water. Grape bricks were sold as a way for companies to legally market products useful in the manufacturing of alcohol. Instructions printed on grape bricks advised users to not add yeast or sugar or leave it in a dark place for too long because “it might ferment and become wine.”
A growler is a metal galvanized pail with a lid that was used to carry beer from the tavern home. Their insides were often smeared with lard to keep the foam down leaving more room for beer. In urban slums, housewives and children often stood outside the salon door and lunchtime waiting for someone to come outside to fill the growlers.
Distilled liquor was added to cider to keep it from spoiling giving it an alcoholic content of at least 10%. Hard cider was common in rural communities because apples were plentiful and easy to grow.
Howard Hyde Russell
Howard Hyde Russell (1855–1946) was the founder of the Anti-Saloon League (1893). He was a successful lawyer who became an ordained minister and who felt that the ASL was founded by god. His goal was to close saloon by administering political retribution to those public officials who opposed the anti-alcohol cause.
A law is a system or set of rules made by the government of a town, state, country, etc.
Liquor is a distilled rather than fermented beverage.
Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound
Lydia Pinkham (1819–1883) founded the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine company in order to market an herbal medicine, Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, that she developed to treat medical problems of her female friends and family. The compound was made of black cohosh, life root, unicorn root, pleurisy root, fenugreek seed and a substantial amount of alcohol. In 1925 her annual profits peaked to $3.8 million.
Mabel Willebrandt (1889–1963) was Assistant Attorney General from 1921–29 who prosecuted violators of Prohibition. She was a Prohibition agent who was nicknamed “Prohibition Portia.”
During Prohibition, certain distilleries were granted licenses to manufacture liquor for the pharmaceutical trade. Physicians sold prescriptions for a variety of ailments. Patients could redeem prescriptions at the pharmacy (one pint of liquor a week).
Illegal, homemade liquor was called moonshine from the nighttime secrecy its manufacture required. Moonshine is made from a “still” using a mixture of crushed grains, water, and sugar and placed in a boiler with added yeast. As the alcohol from the steam evaporates, it travels into another container. The cooled steam condenses into a liquid, drinkable alcohol and is filtered into a jug.
National Crime Syndicate
The National Crime Syndicate was the name given by the press to a loosely organized, multi-ethnic group of gangsters who bootlegged liquor. When they met in 1929 in Atlantic City at a strategic conference, criminals from Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Newark, and New York City (including Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, and Meyer Lansky) divided up territories, fixed prices, and made cross-territorial distribution deals that transformed crime from local organizations into a national network.
In the 19th century in the United States, nativists favored the interests of established inhabitants over those of immigrants. The Anti-Saloon League enlisted the support of nativists in its cause to close saloons. Nativists thought closing saloons would undermine the comfort and influence of new immigrants in big cities, especially the Germans, Jew, Irish, and Italians.
Near beer is a malt liquor that does not contain enough alcohol to be considered an alcoholic beverage.
Pauline Morton Sabin
Pauline Morton Sabin (1887–1955), although an initial supporter of Prohibition, founded the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform (WONPR) in 1929. Sabin’s women’s organization challenged the long-held assumption that virtually all women in the United States supported National Prohibition. The ineffectiveness of the law, growing power of bootleggers, and decline of temperate drinking prompted her to work toward the repeal of Prohibition. She had 300,000 members in WONPR in 1931.
A populist is a supporter of the rights and power of the people. The Anti Saloon League enlisted the support of populists in its effort to close saloons. Organizations like the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) believed liquor was a weapon used by capitalists to weaken the working class.
A progressive is a person who actively factors or strives for progress toward better conditions, as in society or government. The Anti Saloon League enlisted the support of progressives in its effort to close saloons. Progressives considered alcohol an evil that stood in the way of their efforts to reform society, such as eliminating political corruption and strengthening families.
The forbidding law of the manufacture, transportation, sale, and possession of alcoholic beverages; the period from 1920–1933 during which the 18th Amendment forbid the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in force in the United States.
These agents enforced the law that forbid the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages and were assigned to the Bureau of Prohibition under the U.S. Treasury Department. Some prohibition agents were not effective and many were corrupt.
The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or propagation of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause. Material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause.
A public house is a tavern, saloon or public drinking establishment where alcoholic drinks are served.
A racist is someone who believes that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that one race is superior to others. Discrimination or prejudice is based on race. The Anti Saloon League enlisted the support of racists in their cause to close saloons. Racists, including the Ku Klux Klan, used the stereotype of the “drunken Negro” to demonize African Americans and protect their own power in the segregated South.
“To ratify” is to formally confirm approval, and it’s the final step in the amendment process. Without approval of the amendment by three-fourths of the states, an amendment can’t become part of the Constitution.
Repeal is to revoke or rescind, especially by an official or formal act. Prohibition was repealed by the ratification of the 21st Amendment.
A rumrunner is someone who illegally transports alcohol over water or by sea. A bootlegger is one who transports alcohol illegally overland.
A saloon is another word for tavern or social hall where alcoholic drinks are served.
Search and Seizure
During Prohibition, the Supreme Court issued dozens of decisions related to the enforcement of the Fourth Amendment that protects a person’s privacy against unreasonable searches and seizures. Twenty cases arose during Prohibition surrounding issues of wiretapping, warrantless searches of homes, boats and cars and entrapment.
A speakeasy is a place for the illegal sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks during Prohibition in the United States.
The right or privilege of voting and the exercise of such a right.
Suffragists were women or men who lobbied for womens’ right to vote. The Anti Saloon League enlisted the support of Suffragists for the cause of closing saloons. Suffragists had close ties to the Temperance Movement, viewing both causes and integral to the improvement of women’s lives.
Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906) was a school teacher from upstate New York who entered public life in the 1840s as a temperance worker with the Daughters of Temperance. By the 1850s, she worked alongside fellow suffrage campaigner Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902) to secure the vote for women so they could vote to close the saloons.
Temperance may be defined as moderation in all things healthful and total abstinence from all things harmful. The temperance movement supported abstinence from alcoholic drink and originated as a mass movement in the late 18th and 19th centuries as a concern over drinking, drunkenness, and alcoholic excess as a culture rose. The temperance movement in 1830s and 1840s in America was rooted in America’s Protestant churches. After the Civil War, women began to protest and organize politically for the cause of temperance and formed the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.
The Volstead Act is another name for the 1919 Prohibition Act. Andrew Volstead (1860–1947) was a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Minnesota who managed the legislation. He served as the House Judiciary Chairman as a member of Congress and collaborated with Wayne Wheeler to draft the Volstead Act.
Wayne Wheeler (1869–1927) was the chief lobbyist for the Anti Saloon League who rallied major support for the war on alcohol. He rallied votes by enlisting support state by state to send ‘dry’ candidates into office in state and federal elections. Wheeler was the driving force behind the 18th Amendment.
Women’s Christian Temperance Union
The WCTU grew out of the American temperance movement begun in the late 1800s and 1900s. In 1874, discussions were held by women to act against the harmful effects of alcohol and a national convention was held—the WCTU was formed. The primary objective for temperance reform was “protection of the home.” A white ribbon bow was the symbol for the WCTU and symbolized purity. Frances Willard (1839–98) was the WCTU’s most famous member and second President whose leadership made the WCTU a 250,000 army. They soon realized however that without the right to vote (suffrage) their political power was limited. Suffrage became an important element in the campaign. Agitate, educate, and legislate was and still in the mantra for the WCTU.
Wet is the term for someone who drinks alcohol or a place that allows the sale of alcohol.
An alcoholic liquor distilled from grain, such as corn, rye, or barley, and containing approximately 40 to 50 percent ethyl alcohol by volume.
William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan (1860–1925) was a famous speaker and statesman (a congressman from Lincoln, Nebraska). Inspired by his political and religious views, he thought Prohibition could improve the lives of ordinary Americans. He supported women’s suffrage and Prohibition. Bryan ran three times for President but lost. While serving as Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924) he served grape juice instead of wine at formal diplomatic functions.
Exhibition Reference Materials
Download this bibliography here.
Materials accompanying the exhibition are marked with an asterisk (*).
Allen, Frederick Lewis. Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics (1st perennial classics edition), 2010.
Altman & Company. 1920s Fashions. Dover Publications, 1998.
Bondurant, Matthew. The Wettest County in the World: A Novel Based on a True Story. New York: Scriber, 2007.
Burns, Eric. Spirits of America: A Social History of Alcohol. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004.
Courtaway, Robbi. Wetter than the Mississippi: Prohibition in St. Louis and Beyond. St Louis: Reedy Press, 2008.
Currell, Susan. American Culture in the 1920s. Edinburgh: Edinburg University Press, 2009.
Davis, Marni. Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition. New York: New York University Press, 2012.
*Duis, Perry R. The Saloon: Public Drinking in Chicago and Boston, 1880-1920. Urbana:
University of Illinois Press, 1983.
Eighmey, Rae. Soda Shop Salvation: Recipes and Stories from the Sweeter Side of Prohibition. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2013.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Beautiful and the Damned. New York: Scribner and Sons, 1922.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Flappers and Philosophers. New York: Scribner and Sons, 1959.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner and Sons, 1925.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Jazz Age. New York: New Directions Publishers, 1996.
*Gourley, Catherine. Flappers and the New American Woman: Perceptions of Women from 1918 through the 1920s. Minneapolis: Twenty First Century Books, 2008.
Gourley, Catherine. Gibson Girls and Suffragists: Perceptions of Women 1900 to 1918. Minneapolis: Twenty First Century Books, 2007.
Hallwas, John E. The Bootlegger: A Story of Small Town America. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998.
Hill, Jeff. Defining Moments: Prohibition. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 2004.
Hirschfeld, Al and Gordon Kahn with an introduction by Pete Hamil. The Speakeasies of 1932. Milwaukee: Glen Young Books, 2003.
*Kuenzle & Streiff. One Hundred and One Drinks As They are Mixed: Recipes for Cocktails and Other Beverages Served During Prohibition. Chicago: Compass Rose Technologies, 2011.
*Kyvig, David E. Repealing National Prohibition. Kent: Kent State University Press, 2000.
Laubner, Ellie. Fashions of the Roaring 20s. Atglen: Schiffer Publishing, 1996.
Lehman, La Lonnie. Fashion in the Time of The Great Gatsby. New York: Shire, 2013.
Lerner, Michael A. Dry Manhattan: Prohibition in New York City. Boston: Harvard University Press, 2008.
Lieurance, Suzanne. The Prohibition Era in American History. Berkeley Heights: Enslow Publishers, 2003.
*Mappen, Marc. Prohibition Gangsters: the Rise and Fall of a Bad Generation. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2013.
Mills, Eric. Chesapeake Rumrunners of the Roaring Twenties. Centreville: Tidewater Publishers, 2000.
McCutcheon, Marc. The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life from Prohibition through World War II. Cincinnati: Writer’s Digest Books, 1995.
*Murdock, Catherine Gilbert. Domesticating Drink: Women, Men and Alcohol in America 1870-1940. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1998.
Ness, Eliot and Oscar Fraley. The Untouchables. Cutchogue: Buccaneer Books, 1993.
Ogren, Kathy. The Jazz Revolution: Twenties America and the Meaning of Jazz. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1992.
*Okrent, Daniel. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. New York: Scribner, 2010.
Patterson, Martha. The American New Woman Revisited: A Reader, 1894-1930. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2008.
Peak, Kenneth J. and Patricia Peak. Kansas Temperance: Much Ado About Booze 1870-1920. Manhattan: Sunflower Press, 2000.
Peck, Garrett. The Prohibition Hangover: Alcohol in America from Demon Rum to Cult Cabernet. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2009.
Pegram, Thomas R. Battling Demon Rum: The Struggle for Dry America, 1800-1933. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1998.
Powers, Madelon. Faces Along the Bar: Lore and Order in the Workingman’s Saloon, 1870-1920. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.
*Rorabaugh, W.J. The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979.
Rose, Kenneth D. American Women and the Repeal of Prohibition. New York: New York University Press, 1996.
Sagert, Kelly Boyer. Flappers: A Guide to an American Subculture. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Press, 2010.
Sanders, Paul (editor). Lyrics and borrowed tunes of the American Temperance Movement, Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2006.
Steel, William C. The Woman’s Temperance Movement. Ulan Press, 2012 (a reprint the originally published text from 1923).
*Stewart, Bruce E. Moonshiners and Prohibitionists: The Battle Over Alcohol in Southern Appalachia. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 2011.
Thornton, Mark. The Economics of Prohibition. Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2012.
Walker, The Night Club Era. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.
West, Elliott. The Saloon on the Rocky Mountain Mining Frontier. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979.
Zeitz, Joshua. Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.
Books for Younger Readers
Altman, Linda Jacobs. The Decade That Roared: America During Prohibition. Springfield: 21st Century Books, 1997.
*Blumenthal, Karen. Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2011.
Dunn, John. Prohibition (American History). Farmington Hills: Lucent Books, 2010.
Feinstein, Stephen. The 1920s from Prohibition to Charles Lindbergh. Berkeley Heights: Enslow Publishing, 2006.
Hanson, Erica. A Cultural History of the United States Through the Decades: The 1920s. Farmington Hills: Lucent Books, 1999.
*JusticeLearning.org. The United States Constitution: What it Says, What it Means: A Hip Pocket Guide. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Lieurance, Suzanne. The Prohibition Era in American History. Berkeley Heights: Enslow Publishers, 2003.
*Slavicek, Louise Chipley. The Prohibition Era: Temperance in the United States. New York: Chelsea House Publications, 2009.
The Jazz Age: The 20s (Our American Century). Time Life Books, 1998.
Worth, Richard. Teetotalers and Saloon Smashers: The Temperance Movement and Prohibition. Berkeley Heights: Enslow Publishing, 2009.
Black and Tan Fantasy. DVD. Written by Dudley Murphy. 1929; New York: Kino Video, 2001.
Boardwalk Empire. DVD. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Burbank: HBO series, 2012.
Capone. DVD. Directed by Steve Carver.1975; Beverly Hills: Twentieth Century Fox, 2011.
The Cotton Club. DVD. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. 1984; Beverly Hills: MGM Video, 2001.
The Flapper. DVD. Directed by Andie Hicks and Alan Crosland. 1920; Los Angeles: Image Entertainment, 2005.
The Great Gatsby. DVD. Directed by Baz Luhrman. Burbank: Warner Home Video, 2013.
Izzy & Moe. DVD. Directed by Jackie Cooper. 1985; New York: Screen Media, 2004.
Little Caesar. DVD. Directed by Elmer Clifton and Mervyn LeRoy. 1931; Warner Home Video, 2005.
Miller’s Crossing. DVD. Directed by Ethan and Joel Cohen. 1990; Beverly Hills: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2003.
Once Upon a Time in America. DVD. Directed by Sergio Leone. 1984; Burbank: Warner Home Video, 2011.
*Prohibition. DVD. Directed by Ken Burns. Culver City: PBS Home Video, 2011.
The Public Enemy. DVD. Directed by William Wellman. 1931; Burbank: Warner Home Video, 2005.
The Untouchables. DVD. Directed by Brian De Palma. 1987; Hollywood: Paramount, 2004.
The Roaring Twenties. DVD. Directed by Raoul Walsh. 1939; Burbank: Warner Home Video, 2005.
Smart Money. DVD. Directed by Alfred Green. 1931; Burbank: Warner Home Video, 2008.
What? No Beer? DVD. Directed by Edward Sedgwick. 1933; Beverly Hills: Metro Goldwyn Mayer, 2011.
Bessie Smith Greatest Hits. Fabulous, 2005. Compact disc.
Duke Ellington Classic Tracks of the 1920s and 1930s. New York: BMG. 1998. Compact disc.
King Oliver Off the Record: The Complete 1923 Jazz Band Recordings. Champaign: Archeophone Records, 2007, Compact disc.
*The Music of Prohibition. New York: Columbia/Legacy, 1997. Compact disc.
The Roaring 20s Rare Original Music. Hollis: Vintage Music Productions, 2009. Compact disc.
The Speakeasy Times. New York: Sony Music Commercial Music Group, 2011. Compact disc.
*Vintage Music: Original Classics from the 1920s and 1930s. 2009. Compact disc.
18th and 19th Century American Drinking Habits
Dr. Benjamin Rush
Susan B. Anthony
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
The Anti-Saloon League
Howard Hyde Russell
The Volstead Act
The 18th Amendment
Non-Alcoholic Products during Prohibition
Bootlegging during Prohibition
Organized Crime/Prohibition Gangsters
Mabel Walker Willebrandt
Repeal of the 18th Amendment
Discussion Topics and Suggested Speakers
Download this list here.
Invite area K-12 educators to view the exhibition at your site for an in-service program or special educator event to demonstrate Common Core curriculum connections tied to English Language Arts, History, and Social Studies through lesson ideas and activities inspired by the exhibition (see education outreach kit and lesson ideas in the educator resources section of this guide).
1920s Fashion Show
Partner with area/local vintage clothing stores or regional collectors of 1920s vintage clothing, shoes, and hats or a local theatre with a 1920s costume collection, to host program featuring men’s and women’s fashions from the roaring twenties. With assistance from area antique stores or dealers, a small display of clothing, jewelry, or other accessory items that help contextualize the era could also be arranged. A public speaker who is an authority on period clothing (see the list of speakers in this guide for ideas) could emcee or narrate the program.
Theatre Performance or Reading
Collaborate with locate theatre groups or an area University Theatre Department and have actors perform in the character of individuals such as Carry Nation, Billy Sunday, or William Jennings Bryan. Read a speech or sermon in character or perform an act or excerpt from a temperance play such as PT Barnum’s The Drunkard. The opera Carry Nation, written by composer Douglas Moore is another resource for a performance (see performance copyright in programming resources for additional information).
Host a public series of film screenings that illustrate the story of Prohibition (note that you will need to obtain a screening license—please see the program resources section of this guide for for screening rights information and the bibliography for a list of film ideas). Invite a local historian to host the series. Consider screening video clips of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire for a short discussion that compares and contrasts the series with historical fact.
Soda Fountain Social
Using the recipes in the book Soda Shop Salvation: Recipes and Stories from the Sweeter Side of Prohibition (see bibliography) as inspiration, host a program in which participants create and/or taste their own soda fountain drinks or ice cream treats. Contextualize the program by sharing the history of soda fountains and the rise in ice cream consumption during Prohibition. Consider hosting the author of this text (see list of speakers for contact information) to present a short history of the sweeter side of Prohibition and/or host a book signing in conjunction with your ice cream social.
Mocktail or Cocktail “Mix-Off”
Using the recipes in the book One Hundred and One Drinks As They are Mixed: Recipes for Cocktails and Other Beverages Served During Prohibition (included as a resource that travels with this exhibition), invite a local mixologist or noted bartender or cocktail expert (see the list of speakers for known cocktail experts and contact information) to recreate several cocktail or mocktail recipes inspired by the Prohibition era. This program can include the history of the cocktail with a short lecture prior to the tasting. The event can be made into a competition by inviting several bartenders to prepare drinks for tasting. Check your region or state for any “world cocktail week” celebrations and consider collaborating with a local pub, winery, distillery, brewery, or bar in your community for promotion or sponsorship of this program.
1920s Music Performance and/or Speakeasy Event
Collaborate with regional jazz ensembles, University music departments, or bands whose music reflects the era and instrumentation of the 1920s (see list of speakers for music experts or referrals to bands across the nation). Host a concert and/or a lecture inspired by the exhibition. The program could be expanded as a Prohibition era speakeasy event by adding elements of dance, fashion, food/drink and tables/chairs etc. A Charleston dance-a-thon could also be inserted as a component of a speakeasy event.
Panel Discussion Prohibition, Search and Seizure, and Rights to Privacy
Use the Fourth Constitutional Amendment (“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”) as a framework for discussing contemporary questions of privacy and national security and law enforcement. Share examples of how the Fourth Amendment was enforced throughout history using specific examples related to search and seizure and privacy during the Prohibition era. Compare/contrast and discuss/debate this constitutional law in light of history and our ever-changing society.
Book Club Discussion: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Using the literature of F. Scott Fitzgerald (see list of titles in bibiliography), to host a series of book discussions that address various works to learn more about the era, Fitzgerald’s personal life, and literary style. Invite a local or national literature scholar or an expert in history to host each reading discussion (see list of speakers for contact information to Fitzgerald experts).
Panel Discussion: Consequences of Prohibition
Share scholarship from economists and historians related to the economics of the Prohibition era, the rise in organized crime, and the impact of organized special interest groups on politics. Following historical analysis of data, if desired, invite and debate discussion about prohibition as a topic in general and other contemporary and controversial issues.
The Prohibition Amendments and Freedoms of Today
Invite a local scholar (see speaker list for contact information) to review the rise of the Temperance movement and the 18th and 21st Amendments to the Constitution, then compare and contrast connections to contemporary society and prohibitions on things such as the proposed New York restrictions on the sale of sugary drinks, or the ban on smoking in indoor spaces. Are the health activists of today similar to the temperance supporters from one hundred years ago? To what extent can lifestyle be mandated by a state or federal government?
Presentation: Prohibition’s Notorious Gangsters and the National Crime Syndicate
Invite local scholars, law enforcement interested in history, and/or the author of Prohibition Gangsters: The Rise and Fall of a Bad Generation (see speaker list for contact information—this book is included as a resource that travels with this exhibition) to share a colorful PowerPoint lecture of varied 1920s era gangsters, their rap sheets, and to describe how the National Crime Syndicate formed and why.
Local Prohibition Stories
Solicit and collect stories from residents in your community related to Prohibition (What were the names of local speakeasies that might still be operating as bars today? Were there families whose livelihood depended on making moonshine or other products during Prohibition? Were there families who were engaged in the Temperance movement?) Select several stories from area residents to be featured as storytelling program and/or have them published in a low-cost printed booklet or handout that can be offered in conjunction with the exhibition.
Complementary “Local” Exhibition of Prohibition Items
Localize the Spirited: Prohibition in America exhibition by pairing it with a small show of artifacts from the Prohibition era from local sources (local businesses with related archives, or private individuals willing to loan their items) or items mined from your own museum’s permanent collection.
List of Speakers
TOPIC: Food History and Prohibition Soda Fountains
Rae Katherine Eighmey
Independent author and historian
St. Paul, Minnesota
Author of Soda Shop Salvation: Recipes and Stories from the Sweeter Side of Prohibition
Rae Katherine Eighmey is an award-winning author and cook. She brings events and people to life through the foods of their times in her seven books about the intersection of food and history. In addition to Soda Shop Salvation: Recipes and Stories from the Sweeter Side of Prohibition, her recent works include case study approach to World War I food conservation efforts, Winning the War with Food: Minnesota’s Crops, Cooks, and Conservation During World War I, and Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen: A Culinary View of his Life and Times, published by Smithsonian Books in February 2014.
TOPIC: 1920s Fashion
Professor, Texas Christian University Department of Theatre
Fort Worth, Texas
Author of Fashion in the Time of Gatsby
LaLonnie Lehman has served as professor and costume designer at TCU since 1972. In addition to her TCU degrees, she studied at Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Mexico, Michigan State University and Jackson (Michigan) Junior College. She teaches Costume History, Costume Design, Period Styles, Costume Crafts and Pattern Drafting. She has published articles in the Cutters’ Research Journal: A Quarterly Devoted to Clothing, Accessories, and Textiles and is a member of both national and regional chapters of the United States Technical Institute for Technical Theatre and the Costume Society of America.
Curator, Fashion History Museum
Jonathan Walford received degrees in Canadian history and Museum Studies. He started working in the museum field in 1977 and has lectured and published on the subject of historic costume and social history since 1981. Walford has amassed a collection of over 8,000 pieces of historic fashion from the 17th century to the present. Walford has also held curatorial positions with several institutions including the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto where he was the founding curator. He is currently the curatorial director of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario.
TOPIC: Prohibition History
Michael A. Lerner, Ph.D.
Historian and author
New York City
Author of Dry Manhattan: Prohibition in New York City
Michael Lerner is a featured historian in Ken Burn’s three-part PBS series and is Principal of Bard High School Early College in New York City.
Author of the Rise and Fall of Prohibition
Curator for the exhibition American Spirits
Lives in Manhattan and Cape Cod
Daniel Okrent’s 40-year career has encompassed nearly every form of mass media. In book publishing, he was an editor at Knopf, Viking, and Harcourt. In magazines, he founded the award-winning New England Monthly and was chief editor of the monthly Life. In newspapers, he was the first public editor of the New York Times. On television, he has appeared as an expert commentator on many network shows, and talked more than any other talking head in Ken Burns’s Baseball. Novelist Kevin Baker in Publishers Weekly wrote that Okrent was “one of our most interesting and eclectic writers of nonfiction over the past 25 years.”
TOPIC: Prohibition and Religion
Martin E. Marty
The Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago
Religious scholar and speaker
Martin E. Marty, a renowned historian and Lutheran pastor, is called the most influential interpreter of American religion by Bill Moyers. Marty taught at the University of Chicago for 35 years, chiefly in the Divinity School, where the Martin Marty Center for advanced studies has since been founded, and in the History Department. He is an ordained Lutheran pastor since 1952 and has served in parishes in various locations before joining the University of Chicago faculty. He is the author of more than 60 books and is a contributor to hundreds of books and more than 5,000 articles.
TOPIC: Economics of Prohibition
Mark Thornton, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, Ludwig von Mises Institute
Author of Economics of Prohibition
Mark Thornton is Senior Fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He serves as the Book Review Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. He served as the editor of the Austrian Economics Newsletter and as a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Libertarian Studies. He has served as a member of the graduate faculties of Auburn University and Columbus State University. He has also taught economics at Auburn University at Montgomery and Trinity University in Texas. His publications include The Economics of Prohibition (1991), Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War (2004), The Quotable Mises (2005), The Bastiat Collection (2007), and An Essay on Economic Theory (2010). He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and received his PhD in economics from Auburn University.
Chris Berry, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, The University of Chicago
Harris School of Public Policy
Christopher R. Berry is an associate professor in the Harris School. His research interests are in the political economy of American local government and the politics of federal spending. Professor Berry is the author of Imperfect Union: Representation and Taxation in Multilevel Governments, published by Cambridge University Press, as well as many other scholarly publications. He recently taught a seminar at the Harris School of Public Policy about the Political Economy of Vice that discussed drinking and the recreational use of drugs and the government’s authority over individual behavior using Daniel Okrent’s book, The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, as one topic of discussion.
TOPIC: Personal Prohibition Stories
Author of The Wettest County in the World: A Novel Based on a True Story
Lives in Texas
Contact: Alex Glass
Trident Media Group
New York, NY
Matt Bondurant’s second novel The Wettest County in the World (Scribner 2008) was a New York Times Editor’s Pick, and San Francisco Chronicle Best 50 Books of the Year. A former John Gardner Fellow in Fiction at Bread Loaf, Kingsbury Fellow at Florida State, and Walter E. Dakin Fellow at Sewanee, Matt’s short fiction has been published in journals such as Prairie Schooner, The New England Review, and Glimmer Train, and he has recently held residencies at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony.
TOPIC: Prohibition and Organized Crime
Marc Mappen, Ph.D.
Highland Park, New Jersey
Author of Prohibition Gangsters: The Rise and Fall of a Bad Generation
Marc Mappen was formerly the executive director of the New Jersey Historical Commission and is currently a lecturer in the History Department at Rutgers University. Marc has been described by the New York Times as “the eminent New Jersey historian.” The New York Times says of his most recent book (his sixth), Prohibition Gangsters: The Rise and Fall of a Bad Generation, “Mappen. . . proves an adept story teller as he takes readers beyond Boardwalk Empire.”
TOPIC: Cocktail History and Prohibition
Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown
Spirit historians, contributing cocktail and travel editors, and writers
Live in the UK
Authors of Spirituous Journey: A History of Drink
The inseparable cocktail couple, Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller, are the directors of Mixellany Limited®, a consultancy and publishing company that specializes in anything and everything to do with spirits and mixed drinks. During the course of their 20-year collaboration, Miller and Brown have written more than 30 books including Shaken Not Stirred®: A Celebration of the Martini, Champagne Cocktails, Cuba: The Legend of Rum, The Mixellany Guide to Vermouth & Other Aperitifs, and their latest title Cuban Cocktails. Their research into Prohibition extends far beyond cocktails, deep into the history of the era. Jared’s family, brewers for three centuries, lost everything because of taxes and fines imposed for beer sold during Prohibition. They supplied Al Capone’s New York equivalent: Dutch Schultz.
TOPIC: F. Scott Fitzgerald and Literature
Bryant Magnum, Ph.D.
Professor of English
Virginia Commonwealth University
Author, F. Scott Fitzgerald In Context
Bryant Magnum teaches early twentieth-century American literature and has published numerous books and articles about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing and life. He is a member of the Modern Language Association, F. Scott Fitzgerald Society, American Literature Association and College English Associate. In 2009, he received the Elske v.P. Smith Distinguished Lecturer Award.
Scott Donaldson, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, College of William and Mary
Author of Fool for Love, F. Scott Fitzgerald (literary biography of Fitzgerald)
Scottsdale, Arizona (winters)
San Diego, CA (summers)
Scott Donaldson taught at the College of William and Mary in Virginia for 26 years, retiring as Louise G.T. Cooley Professor of English, Emeritus, in 1992. He was twice a Fulbright senior lecturer, in Finland and Italy; the Bruern fellow at the University of Leeds in England, and a visiting fellow at Princeton. On two occasions he received major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support his writing, as well as awards from the Rockefeller foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the American Philosophical Society, and William and Mary. Among his eighteen books are Fool for Love, F. Scott Fitzgerald (1983), Hemingway vs. Fitzgerald: The Rise and Fall of a Literary Friendship (1999), and Fitzgerald and Hemingway: Works and Days (2009).
TOPIC: 1920s Jazz Music
Lewis Porter, Ph.D.
Jazz historian and jazz pianist (NOTE: Lewis will travel to speak only if there is also a performance scheduled)
Director, Jazz History and Research
Port Chester, New York
Lewis Porter is a jazz educator and author of books including the most celebrated volume on John Coltrane, is also very active as a jazz pianist, keyboardist and composer. Porter has performed with three trombonists who are famous for playing Duke Ellington and other 1920s era jazz–Art Baron, Vincent Gardner, and Wycliffe Gordon. The critics have said that Porter is “A helluva piano player” (Jazz Times). “Mixing experimental with traditional, [he] plays up a storm.” (Midwest Record) “Porter is a deep thinker.” (Swing Journal). His music is “founded upon depth and cunning use of space” (ejazznews.com). Porter was nominated for a liner-note Grammy in 1996.
American Jazz Museum
Gerald Dunn, Director of Entertainment, Blue Room General Manager
Greg Carroll, Executive Director
Kansas City, Missouri
Gerald Dunn, the Entertainment Director for Kansas City’s American Jazz Museum has earned and maintained a spot as one of the city’s premiere saxophonists. He has toured and played with the world renowned Illinois Jacquet’s Big Band based in New York. Kansas City artists like Oleta Adams, Kevin Mahogany, Bobby Watson and Karrin Allyson are among those who have also given Gerald performance opportunities.
Greg Carroll, Chief Executive Officer for the American Jazz Museum, completed a ten-year appointment as Director of Education for the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE). Previous positions have included Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Instrumental Music Director for several Colorado School Districts. Carroll is currently an appointed Commissioner on the Arts Commission for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, is a member of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Advisory Board and serves on the Mayor’s Task Force for the Arts. He is highly active as an Education Consultant globally, including work with LRS Media and the “Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis” TV Series.
Lesson 1: Reading and Writing the 1920s
Reading and Writing the 1920s: F. Scott Fitzgerald and Flapper Speak
In this lesson, high school students will explore the historical decade of the 1920s as described through an F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work of literature (Bernice Bobs Her Hair, is one short-story example, though any novel can also be used. The Great Gatsby is also a novel that could be read and then viewed in the filmic version for comparison and contrast). This lesson will compare the experience of visiting the exhibition Spirited: Prohibition in America and historic fact to fiction writing. While reading the fiction text, students will note Fitzgerald’s use of various slang terms and references to aspects of popular culture related to 1920s historical context to gain a better understanding of the era and compare it to contemporary perspectives. Using the supplemental Flapper Speak definitions included with this lesson and known historical social mores related to the Prohibition era, each student can invent his or her own short story or write a character study that describes and reflects the life of a 1920s teen or young adult using one’s own imagination, inspiration from F. Scott Fitzgerald, historical knowledge gleaned from Spirited: Prohibition in America, and personal contemporary insight.
Download the full lesson here, including writing prompts, a slang dictionary, and connections to Common Core standards.
Lesson 2: Regional Relics of Prohibition
Regional Relics of Prohibition
In this lesson, high school students will research, write about, and document Prohibition history in his or her own community. Using varied research from resources (such as the local library, the local historical society, and community historic objects related to Prohibition); interviews with local residents (bar owners, wineries, law enforcement, antique shop owners etc.); and by documenting research and interviews using cell phone photography or video; students can compare and contrast local stories with historic facts and objects experienced through the Spirited: Prohibition in America exhibition. Information can be shared with fellow students or the public as a simple oral presentation, multi-media presentation, (YOU Tube video, PowerPoint), or as an online web-based class project using free Open Source website design software that integrates text, photos, and video.
Download the full lesson here, including step-by-step instructions and connections to Common Core standards.
Lesson 3: Temperance Tantrum
Temperance Tantrum: Civic Action and Protest
Using historical knowledge about the origins and impact of the temperance movement in America, students will explore a contemporary topic in their community they desire to change. By examining methods of protest employed by temperance leaders (such as Diocletian Lewis, Eliza Thompson, Frances Willard, and Carry Nation), understanding the temperance movement’s relationship to Women’s Suffrage and the ultimate power of the church and state led by the Anti Saloon League (which ultimately impacted Constitutional change), students will research, discuss, plan, and collaborate with each other and community members to design a civic action project to make change.
Download the full lesson here, including step-by-step instructions, a timeline, and connections to Common Core standards.