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Jessie Forsyth (1847-1937) obituary

Ron Forsyth kindly provided me with this obituary

Western Mail 10 November 1937


The Late Miss Jessie Forsyth.

"RECENTLY there passed on to higher service one of the veteran social welfare workers in Western Australia" writes the secretary of the Women's Christian Temperance Union when paying tribute on behalf of the organisation to the late Miss Jessie Forsyth who, for the past 70 years, devoted her time to the service of others. Born in England 90 years ago, the late Miss Forsyth went first to America where she took up temperance work, editing two publications. Coming to Western Australia she continued this work and founded "Dawn" for the Fremantle Women's Service Guild who later handed over the publication to the care of the State executive. Miss Forsyth was also associated with the "White Ribbon," the official organ of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, in which organisation she took an active interest, holding in turn the positions of superintendent of the "Sailors' Rest," Fremantle, State corresponding secretary and State president, ultimately being made a life member. It was due to the influence of Miss Forsyth at the triennial convention in Adelaide in 1916 that the next convention was held in Perth. For over 60 years Miss Forsyth was a member of the International Order of Good Templars, holding various offices including those of International Grand Vice-templar and Grand International superintendent of juvenile work. Miss Forsyth was known to those with whom she came in contact as a woman with the courage of her convictions, a lover of young people, a staunch friend and a tireless worker for the good of humanity."

Randy Carlson collection for sale

The Randy Carlson Collection is for sale.

Drink in Victorian Norwich: Part IV (article)

Rob Donovan, "Drink in Victorian Norwich: Part IV," Brewery History: The Journal of the Brewery History Society 137 (Autumn 2010): 73-166.

Synthetic marijuana

Synthetic marijuana such as Spice and K2, sold as incense, is legal in Ohio and probably elsewhere.


Gin, government and health in 18th-century London (thesis)

Christopher Andrews, "Putting the Genie back into the Bottle : Gin, Government & Health in Eighteenth Century London" (B.Sc. thesis, Wellcome Trust, Centre for the History of Medicine, University College London, University of London, 2003).

Starbucks to grow coffee in China

Starbucks will grow coffee in the Yunnan province of China.

Southern evangelicals and alcohol, 1865-1915 (article)

Michael Lewis, "Keeping Sin from Sacred Spaces: Southern Evangelicals and the Socio-Legal Control of Alcohol, 1865-1915," Southern Cultures 15/2 (Summer 2009): 40-60.

Drink and temperance in Oxford, Ohio

Newspaper article that looks at drink and temperance in Oxford, Ohio, beginning with its first tavern in 1816.

Rise of national breweries in the USA before National Prohibition (article)

Martin Stack, "Was Big Beautiful?  The Rise of National Breweries in America's Pre-Prohibition Brewing Industry," Journal of Macromarketing 30/1 (2010): 50-60.

Women in English public houses, 1880s-1970s (dissertation)

Barbara Gleiss, "Women in Public Houses.  A Historic Analysis of the Social and Economic Role of Women Patronizing English Public Houses, 1880-1970s" (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Vienna, 2009).  In English.  Full text is available online.

Sixth International Conference on the History of Alcohol and Drugs, Buffalo, NY, USA, June 24-26, 2011

The 6th International Conference on the History of Alcohol and Drugs:

The Pub, the Street, and the Medicine Cabinet

 June 24-26, 2011 SUNY University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

 Historical studies of alcohol, illicit drugs, and pharmaceutical drugs are flourishing. Though law and tradition have created a scholarly division of labor, historians and other researchers have become increasingly aware of the cultural, social, political, legal, and medical connections among psychoactive substances.  We are pleased to announce that, for the first time, the biennial conference of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society (ADHS) will join with the American Institute for the History of Pharmacy (AIHP) to interrogate the nature and significance of these divisions and linkages in all periods and geographical contexts.  Though we welcome proposals on all aspects of alcohol and drug history, we especially encourage those that question boundaries and that extend conversations across lines of field and discipline. We also welcome papers from bioethicists and physicians as well as historians and other humanities and social-science scholars. The event’s major sponsors include a range of institutions at the University of Buffalo:  the Center for Clinical Ethics, the Humanities Institute, the Medical School, and the History Department.

 We are also happy to report that the University of Massachusetts Press is interested in publishing a volume based on the conference.  All submissions will be considered for inclusion unless otherwise requested. Articles not incorporated into the edited volume will also be considered for a special issue of The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs: An Interdisciplinary Journal, unless otherwise requested.

 Topics of interest include, but are by no means limited to, the following:


  • Origins of boundaries —between substances, classes (social, age, gender, ethnic, racial) of people authorized or forbidden to use them, and the conditions or mental states for which they are used.
  • Nature and maintenance of boundaries —who establishes them; who enforces them and how; what logics (research, ethics, marketing) explain/justify them; how do they operate at multiple levels (culture, law, economics)?
  • Impact/significance of boundaries —how do they affect different groups of people including users, prescribers, traffickers, regulators, reformers, and politicians; what purposes do they serve (public health, economic, bureaucratic, entrepreneurial); how well or poorly do they serve those purposes?
  • Tensions, contradictions, challenges , and change over time—countervailing voices, opposition, boundary-crossers; changes in nature, extent, power, location of boundaries; causes of those changes.


The conference will take place in historic downtown Buffalo, New York, at the recently renovated Hyatt hotel and conference center.  Buffalo’s temperate and lovely summers don’t make headlines like its winters, but the city makes the most of them.  The classic downtown features historic architecture, a marina, minor league baseball, theater district, rejuvenated night life, and other low-cost amenities, all within walking distance of the Hyatt.  Public transportation links to destinations such as Niagara Falls or major museums like the Albright Knox ( and the Burchfield Penney (  If enough people are interested, we will charter one of “Forgotten Buffalo’s” famous tavern-based tours of Buffalo history, focusing on the Prohibition era.

 The deadline for the submission of proposals for panels, sessions, and papers is December 20, 2010. Proposals should include an abstract of approximately 300 words and a short CV, and may be submitted in one of two ways:  online at or by mail to


David Herzberg

History Department

University at Buffalo

546 Park Hall

Buffalo, NY 14260


"Temperance Work Essentials" (1912)

Ron Forsyth recently provided me with the text of an essay published in an Australian newspaper,  the Western Mail, 7 Sept 1912.  It was written by Jessie Forsyth (1847-1937), a temperance reformer particularly identified with the Good Templar fraternal society.  Born in London to a family of Scottish descent, she relocated to New England as a young woman for reasons of health.  In old age, she moved to Western Australia where her only relations lived.  It was there that she wrote this essay.  Living another quarter century, she was active in the Australian temperance movement for several years.


The following extracts are taken from a paper read by [Jessie] Forsyth, the superintendent of the Sailors' Rest at Fremantle, the subject of the paper being the essentials for successful temperance work. [Miss] Forsyth has herself spent many years in temperance and general social reform work in the Commonwealth and distant parts of the world.

"A few years ago I was asked to state briefly what I considered the essentials for successful temperance work, and I made my reply in three words, 'Consecration, education, agitation.'

"It is well that we should pray, with faith, with earnestness, with fervour. But our prayers should be for strength to  acquit ourselves nobly in the battle; for knowledge that we may learn where to strike effectively, and for patience that we may never lose heart or become discouraged. And when we have prayed for these gifts, let us go forth resolved to bear a worthy part in the conflict. Let us rejoice in remembering that we are workers together with God and do our work faithfully as becomes true followers and servants. The spiritual uplift and refreshment which comes to us when we unite together in prayer is sometimes so satisfying that we forget the purpose which has called us together. We lose sight of the sin, the suffering, and wrong which exist and against which we are called to fight. While we enjoy the blessings poured out on us let us not fail to do our part in extending these blessings to all mankind. The only real blessing that we have a right to expect is the incentive and the strength for more zealous labour. My plea, therefore, is not for less prayer, but for more practical work as a result of prayer. Let us seek to be consecrated for service, real, true, untiring service. Let us be devoted, indeed, with a flaming fire of devotion to the cause. Then shall our devotional exercises not be barren of results."

British temperance periodicals (chapter)

Researchers should not overlook a relatively old contribution to temperance bibliography, the chapter on temperance periodicals by Olwen C. Niessen in J. Don Vann and Rosemary T. VanArsdel, eds., Victorian Periodicals and Society (University of Toronto Press, 1994).

Coming of age birthday cards and drinking culture (article)

Hilda Loughran, "Eighteen and Celebrating: Birthday Cards and Drinking Culture," Journal of Youth Studies 13/6 (December 2010): 631-645.  Based on Irish card stores.

Susanna Barrows, historian of modern France, dies at age 65

Susanna Barrows, professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote on many aspects of modern France including its drinking culture.  She died on October 27, 2010, at age 65.

Mind-Altering Drugs in History and Culture (exhibition)

The Wellcome Collection, London, England, is host to an exhibition called "High Society: Mind-Altering Drugs in History and Culture, November 11, 2010, to February 27, 2011.  A book with the same title by Mike Jay was published by the Psychedelic Press in November 2010.

How much coffee does the world drink?

According to economist Stefano Ponte, 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily throughout the world. 

Bertrand Russell on Smoking

Bertrand Russell interview: "I owe my life to smoking." 

Alcohol Ranked Most Harmful Drug

Alcohol is more dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin and crack cocaine, according to a new study. Read more here.

Tea trade in China and Tibet (book)

Michael Freeman, The Tea Horse Road: China's Ancient Trade Road to Tibet (River Books, forthcoming 2011).

Prehistory of alcohol deregulation in Australia (article)

Robin Room, "The Long Reaction against the Wowser: The Prehistory of Alcohol Deregulation in Australia," Health Society Review (June 2010).

Jewish taverns in rural Poland (article)

Glenn Dynner, "Legal Fictions: The Survival of Rural Jewish Tavernkeeping in the Kingdom of Poland," Jewish Social Studies 16/2 (2010): 28-66.

Four Loco: blackout in a can?

Four Loco, invented in 2005 by Ohio State grads, is a controversial drink sometimes called "blackout in a can" or "liquid crack."  Sold in large cans, it has as much alcohol as six cans of light beer, as much caffeine as two cups of coffee, and as many calories as a McDonalds cheeseburger happy meal with a Coke. See

Intoxicants and intoxication in historical and cultural perspective (conference)








     TUESDAY 20th JULY - THURSDAY 22nd JULY 2010




    Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council



    11.30 – 1.00   Lunch and Registration


    1.00 – 1.10      Introductions -  Angela McShane and Phil Withington


    1.10 – 2.00      Key Note - David Courtwright, University of North Florida

     Intoxication, Limbic Capitalism, and Pleasure Meccas


    2.00 – 3.20     Panel One - Chair: James Kneale, UCL

    Being Affected by Alcohol in the Night-Time City

    Robert Shaw, Durham University


    Addictive Architecture: The Crystal Palace, Gin Palaces and Women's Desire

    Julia Skelly, Queen’s University, Canada


    Everything in its Right Place: Drinking Places and Social Spaces in Nineteenth Century Mexico

    Deborah Toner, University of Warwick

    3.20 – 3.40   Tea


    3.40 – 5.20    Panel Two - Chair: David Clemis, Mount Royal

    Addict Doctors and Drug Addiction Treatment in Denmark, 


                       Jesper Vaczy Kragh, University of Copenhagen


    Whose Intoxication is it Anyway? Liquor Control and Ideas of Addiction in Ontario, 1900-1945

    Dan Malleck, Brock University, Canada


    ‘Physical and Moral Havoc’: Methylated Spirits and Deviant Drinking in Interwar Britain

    Stella Moss, University of Oxford


                       ‘Getting High’: Work In Progress Screening

                       Victor Silverman, Pomona College USA


    5.30 – 6.20    Keynote - Martin Jones, University of Cambridge

    Intoxicants in the Deep Human Past

    7.00             Reception and Finger Buffet





    9.00 – 9.50    Keynote - Christine Guth, V&A

    Intoxication and Otherness in Japanese Visual Culture


    10.00 – 11.40  Panel Three - Chair: Ciaran Regan, UCD

    Representing the Labor of Opium in Mid-Nineteenth-Century British India

    Hope Marie Childers, UCLA


    The Taste of Opium: Opium Monopoly and its Techno-scientific Practices in Colonial Taiwan, 1895-1945

    Hung Bin Hsu, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan


    Means and Methods of Intoxicant Use: Paraphernalia of Drug Giving and Taking

    Michael Montagne, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Boston


                       Intoxicants in Native North America

                       Sean Rafferty, University of Albany


    11.40 – 12.00  Coffee 

12.00 – 1.20  Panel Four - Chair: Rebecca Earle, University of Warwick

                       Target America: Visual Culture and the Science of the

                       Hijacked Brain

                       Timothy Hickman, University of Lancaster


    Exclusion/Inclusion: The Imagery of Drinking and Drunkenness in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Europe

    Thomas Nichols, University of Aberdeen


                        Projecting Addiction: Film and the Visual Imaginary

                        Robert Stephens, Virginia Tech


    1.20 – 2.00    Lunch


    2.00 – 3.40    Panel Five - Chair: James Nicholls, Bath Spa

    Liquid Lives: Mariners and Intoxicants in an Early Modern Port

                       James Brown, University of Oxford


                       Brenda Dean Paul: Drug Addict

    Christopher Hallam, LSHTM


    Becoming "Tight" While Advocating Temperance? College Student Drinking in Antebellum America

    Michael Hevel, University of Iowa


                       Intoxication in the American Civil War

                       Scott Martin, Bowling Green State University


    3.40 – 4.00   Tea


    4.00 – 5.40   Panel Six - Chair: John Chartres, University of Leeds

    Politics, Porter, and Poitin: Contesting Visions of Alcohol Consumption in Eighteenth Century Ireland

    Tanya Cassidy, National University of Ireland, Maynooth; University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada


    Liquor Licences and Spirit Boycotts: The Struggle to Control Liquor in Ibadan and Abeokuta, Southern Nigeria, 1908-9

                       Simon Heap, Plan International


    Drinking for Power: The Great British Drinking Contest of the late-Georgian Era

                       Charles Ludington, Duke University


    Wine, Intoxication and the Politics of Corruption in Eighteenth-Century Stockholm

                       Karin Sennefelt, Uppsala University


    6.00 – 6.50    Keynote - Allen Grieco, Florence

    "I should doe no small benefite…if that I shoulde set out a booke of the natures of wines"; or, Teaching Consumers to Drink Wine in Late Sixteenth-Century England


    7.30             Dinner





    9.00 – 9.50    Keynote - Tom Brennan, US Naval Academy 

    Voices in the Tavern: A Comparative Perspective on Public




    10.00 – 11.40  Panel Seven - Chair:  Rebecca Flemming, Cambridge

    The Origins of Inebriation: Archaeological Evidence for the Use of Alcohol and Drugs in Prehistoric Europe

    Elisa Guerra Doce, University of Valladolid, Spain


    ‘It puts good reason in our brains’: Popular Understandings of the Intoxicating Effects of Alcohol in Seventeenth-Century England

    Mark Hailwood, University of Warwick


    ‘Drinking somewhat liberally': the Role of Alcohol and Intoxication in the 1641 Depositions

    Annaleigh Margey, University of Aberdeen


    From Panacea to Pariah: Psychedelic Drugs and the Problem of Experience

                       Sarah Shortall, Harvard University


    11.40 – 12.00 Coffee


    12.00 – 1.20   Panel Eight - Chair: David Beckingham, Cambridge

    Drinking Places: the histories of drinking cultures in Stoke-on-Trent and Eden

                       Mark Jayne, University of Manchester


    Clubbing, Drugs, Intoxication and the Dance Scene: A Global Perspective

                       Geoffrey Hunt, Institute for Scientific Analysis, Alemeda, CA


                        From Dependence to Binge: Alcohol in Nottingham 1950-2007

                        Jane McGregor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical


    1.20 – 2.00    Lunch


    2.00 – 3.40    Panel Nine - Chair: David Anderson, University of Oxford

    The Intemperate Reich? The Conception and Consumption of Intoxicants inTwentieth-Century Germany

    Victoria Harris, University of Cambridge


                        Anti-Opium Rhetoric in the Age of Empire: Japan, 1895-1945

                        Miriam Kingsberg, University of Colorado at Boulder


    The Making of the National Drug Problem in Pre-Civil War Nigeria: the Colonial State, Doctors and Soldiers on Indian Hemp

    Gernot Klantschnig, University of Nottingham


    From Moral Reform to Bio-Politics? The Anti-Alcohol Movement, 1870-1940

                       Jana Tschurenev and Nikolay Kamenov, Swiss Federal

                       Institute of Technology, Zurich

    3.40 – 4.00    Tea


    4.00 – 5.00    Roundtable - Led by Virginia Berridge, LSHM



    Conference Ends






  © 2010 Faculty of History, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9EF
  Information provided by 
[email protected]



Women's drinking and the English public house (dissertation)

Stella Maria Moss, "Cultures of Women's Drinking and the English Public House, 1914-39" (D.Phil. dissertation, St. John's College, Oxford University, 2009).  Stella Moss also is the author of  "'Wartime Hysterics': Alcohol, women and the politics of wartime social purity," in British Popular Culture and the First World War, ed. Jessica Meyer (Brill, 2008); and "'A Grave Question': The Children's Act and Public House Regulation, c. 1908-1939," Crimes and Misdemeanours 3/2 (2009), at

Dr. Moss presented a related paper at the conference, "Spaces of Drink," sponsored by the London Group of Historical Geographers in early 2010.  The papers include: 

19th January 2010 David Beckingham (University of Cambridge)
Liberalism, liberty and the geography of the Inebriates Acts, 1879-1914

2nd February 2010 Stella Moss (University of Oxford)
Spitting and Sitting: Gender, Space and the English Public House, 1918-39

16th February 2010 James Brown (University of Oxford)
Drinking Geographies in Early Modern England

2nd March 2010 Deborah Toner (University of Warwick)
Everything in its Right Place? Drinking Spaces and Popular Culture in 19th Century Mexican Literature

16th March 2010 James Nicholls (Bath Spa University)
The pub and the people: drinking spaces and UK alcohol policy, past and present

New York City saloons, 1843-1902 (thesis)

Christopher J. Krantz, "Beer Barons, Saloons, and the Working Class in New York City, 1843-1902" (M.A. thesis, Rutgers University, 2010).

Tavern owners, Barren County, Kentucky, 1799-1851 (booklet)

Sandra Kaye Laughery Gorin, Barren County, Kentucky Tavern Bonds, 1799-1855 (Glasgow, KY : Gorin Genealogical Publishing, 2010). Includes list of tavern owners, 1799-1851, and photocopies of tavern bonds, 1848-1855.

Mexico's alleged "king of heroin" enters not guilty plea

After his arrest, Jose Antonio Medinia Arreguin, Mexico's alleged "king of heroin," has entered a not guilty plea.

Drinking at home in England (article)

Sarah L. Holloway, Mark Jayne and Gill Valentin, "'Sainsbury's Is My Local': English Alcohol Policy, Domestic Drinking Practices and the Meaning of Home," Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 33/4 (October 2008): 532-547.  Sainsbury is a grocery chain.  See also Mark Janes, Gill Valentin, and Sarah L. Holloway, Alcohol, Drinking, Drunkenness (Ashgate, forthcoming 2011).  Offers the perspective of geographers.

Coffee as a substitute for alcohol in 19th-century Norway (article)

Ole-Jørgen Skog"Studying Cultural Change: Were the Changes in Alcohol and Coffee Consumption in the Nineteenth Century a Case of Beverage Substitution," Acta Sociologica 49/3 (September 2006): 287-302.  Evidence from Norway.

Cider in nineteenth century (book)

Zachary Chastain, Cornmeal and Cider: Food and Drink in the 1800s (Broomall, PA: Mason Crest, 2011).

Tea history (book)

John Charles Griffiths, Tea: A History of the Drink that Changed the World (London: Andre Deutsch, 2011).

Drink in Beijing and Shanghai (dissertation)

Hui Cheng, "A Tale of Two Cities: Drinking Practices and Problems in Two Metropolitan Cities in China, Beijing and Shanghai" (Ph.D. dissertation, Michigan State University, 2009).

American taverns, saloons, speakeasies (book)

Christine Sismondo, America walks into a bar: a spirited history of taverns and saloons, speakeasies, and grog shops (Oxford UP, 2011).

Yuengling growing

Family-owned Yuengling was founded in 1829.  Cautiously growing, it has added a brewery in Memphis to existing ones in Pottsville (near Philadelphia) and Tampa. Although it produces about the same amount of beer as does Boston Beer (brewer of Samuel Adams), Yuengling has only about 250 employees as compared with Boston's 900. Among America's top ten breweries, Yuengling is the one one to post a double digit increase in sales in the last year.  By the way, some drinkers think that Yuengling (pronounced ying-ling) is a Chinese import.  See the Wall Street Journal article,

Protestant binge-drinking countries seek to impose solutions for their problems on others (article)

Stanton Peele, "Alcohol as Evil--Temperance and Policy," Addiction Research and Theory 18/4 (August 2010): 374-382.  Protestant countries that combine binge-drinking with otherwise low alcohol consumption seek to impose solutions designed for their peculiar problems on other countries.


Comparing the illegal drink trade in Stockholm and New Orleans, 1920-40 (article)

Hans Andersson, "Illegal Entrepreneurs: A Comparative Study of the Liquor Trade in Stockholm and New Orleans, 1920-1940"

A Renegade History of the United States

is the title of a new book by Thaddeus Russell (American Studies at Occidental College) published last month by Simon and Schuster.  Following is the end of the first chapter titled  "Drunkards, Laggards, Prostitutes, Pirates, and Other Heroes of the American Revolution"  

In the last years of his life, Adams wrote to his friend Jefferson a set of plaintive questions:

"Will you tell me how to prevent riches from becoming the effects of temperance and industry?

Will you tell me how to prevent riches from producing luxury? 

Will you tell me how to prevent luxury from producing effeminacy, intoxication, extravagance, vice, and folly?" 

Jefferson had no answer.  And there would be no winner in the war between pleasure and discipline.   During the Revolution Americans began what would be a long resistance to the obligations and sacrifices required by the dark side of democracy.  the fight was on between disciplinarians and renegades, but neither would win.  The founding of the United States simply began the war that continues today.

Upmarket Cadbury Cocoa Houses to challenge coffee shops in England

Borrowing from the tradition of the Lyons tea shops (begun in 1894), the Cadbury Cocoa Houses will challenge American-style coffee shops with upmarket foods and service.

Rise and fall of Cadburys (book review)

In nineteenth-century Britain three Quaker-owned chocolate companies dominated the market, Cadbury, Fry, and Rowntree.  The last of the companies to survive, Cadbury, was sold to the American company Kraft in 2010.   A distant relative Deborah Cadbury has written Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers  For a review, see

Alcohol in southern Appalachia (book)

Bruce E. Stewart, Moonshiners and Prohibitionists: The Battle over Alcohol in Southern Appalachia (University Press of Kentucky, forthcoming, 2011).

David F. Musto, historian of U.S. drug policy, dies in China

David F. Muston (1936-2010) died of an apparent heart attack during a visit to China. In 1973 he pioneered the history of U.S. drug policy with the publication of The American Disease: Origins of Narcotic Control (Oxford, 3rd ed., 1999).   He also wrote or edited One Hundred Years of Heroin (Auburn, 2002), Drugs In America: A Documentary History (NYU, 2002), and The Quest for Drug Control (Yale, 2002). Amy Mittelman alerted me to the New York Times obituary

Brothers of a Vow

This is the title of a new book by Dr. Ami Pflugrad-Jackisch (WGS Dept. at UM-Flint) subtitled "Secret Fraternal Orders and the Transformation of White Male Culture in Antebellum Virginia".  Much about the Sons of Temperance is included.  The introduction starts with:

    On a warm evening in June, 1847, Nelson Rodgers, a thirty-seven-year-old butcher from Harrisonburg, Virginia, stood outside the antechamber door of the local Sons of Temperance lodge.  He heard three soft raps, and then the door swung open to reveal...

Published 2010, by University of Georgia Press

Tobacco in China (book)

Carol A. Benedict, Golden-Silk Smoke: A History of Tobacco in China, 1550-2010 (University of California Press, forthcoming 2011).

Phylloxera and the transformation of wine (book)

George Gale,  Dying on the Vine : How Phylloxera Transformed Wine (Berkeley: University of California Press, forthcoming 2011).

Cultural history of wine (book)

John L. Varriano, Wine: A Cultural History (London: Reaktion, forthcoming 2010).

Insurance and fraternal temperance societies

The story about the Sons of  Temperance dropping its insurance business is a reminder that part of the appeal of the Good Templars (founded a few years after the Sons) was a lack of insurance.  This made the new organization willing to admit the elderly and others who were poor health risks.  The Good Templars also argued that a material incentive to join a temperance organization was wrong in principle.  Despite this, various regional Good Templar societies toyed with offering insurance.  In the nineteenth century a majority of fraternal societies, temperance and general, provided insurance, not always on a sound financial basis that guaranteed benefits to  members when they needed them.

168 Year Old "Sons of Temperance" Readies to Make a Landmark Change

Three years ago the Sons of Temperance Friendly Society "ceased the effecting of new long term business" which means they stopped offering new insurance to members, but they still have many existing policyholders.

At a Special General Meeting a few weeks ago in Warwickshire, UK, their membership "approved a radical scheme of reorganisation ."  Next year, "At the 2011 AGM [Annual General Meeting], members will be asked to adopt a new set of rules reflecting the society's new circumstances." Simply stated, the Sons will cash out their assets and terminate any future insurance payouts.

From its formation in 1842, in New York City as a "Beneficial Society based on Total Abstinence" (from its founding call) members were required to pay insurance premiums.  Today their present total assets are over £3,000,000 and their membership is under 6,000 people, almost all residing in the UK.  £500,000 is planned to be held over to run the reorganized 'Sons' with the remainder to be distributed to members who bought and still hold policies, many of whom cannot be located.

Immediately upon organizing in September, 1842, the Sons acquired the procedures and regalia prominent to the Odd Fellows and Masons. Today these trappings are long gone.  But it will not be until next year that the Sons of Temperance plans to finally end its charter purpose as a "Beneficial Society" which was also originally intended to distinguish it from the unprecedented proto-populistic Washingtonian total abstinence movement that surged into New York in March, 1841.

Nevertheless, in a perspective of institutional purpose and evolution, it might be shown that today's 12 step movement, which has never offered monetary benefits from dues paying, has more in common with the Sons of Temperance movement than it does with the Washingtonian Total Abstinence movement.

States in USA changing laws in order to allow loaded guns in bars

Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia, and Virginia now allow customers with gun licenses to bring loaded guns into bars unless the bars say otherwise (which few do).  In addition, eighteen states allow loaded guns in restaurants that serve alcohol.  For more, see

Prohibition in the Canadian province of Alberta (article)

Hugh A. Dempsey, "The Day Alberta Went Dry: Prohibition of Selling Liquor in Alberta in 1916," Alberta History 58/2 (2010).