Whatcom county chapters of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union date back to 1883. At various times since then, there have been simultaneous chapters in Sehome, Fairhaven, Lynden, Sumas, Bellingham, and possibly elsewhere. The consolidated Whatcom County chapter is documented in this collection from 1932 (right before the repeal of prohibition) to 1958. During this period the chapter organized resistance to the sale and use of alcohol (and, to a lesser extent, tobacco) through protest and education. The chapter also promoted other Christian causes, such as their effort to have the Lord’s prayer recited in public schools.
As a national organization, the WCTU was formed in 1874 to spread the message of complete abstinence from alcohol. Their web site, www.wctu.org (2006) claims that they are the oldest continuing non-sectarian women’s organization in the world.
The Whatcom Christian Temperance Union records document the organization’s activities and philosophy from 1932 to 1958. A full and detailed volume of meeting minutes is the most valuable document to researchers, since it describes the WCTU’s ceremonies, positions, goals, and procedures. Other materials include financial records (mostly treasurer’s reports), event programs, by-laws and position recommendations, and a small amount of correspondence and clippings.
Whatcom County Woman's Christian Temperance Union Records, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA 98225-9123.
Articles of Incorporation (Revised)
Resolutions and By-Laws
WCTU Treasurer's Reports
WCTU Event Programs