Guide to the Whatcom County Woman's Christian Temperance Union Records

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Whatcom County Woman's Christian Temperance Union
Title: Whatcom County Woman's Christian Temperance Union Records
Dates: 1928-1968 ( inclusive )
1949-1968 ( bulk )
Quantity: 0.5 linear feet
Collection Number: XOE_CPNWS0059WCTU
Summary: The Whatcom County Woman's Christian Temperenace Union records document the activities and ideals of this organization. As a chapter of an important national organization, the WCTU actively promoted complete abstinence from alcohol through education, outreach, and activism. Of primary interest are the detailed meeting minutes and financial records.
Repository: Western Washington University, Heritage Resources
Contact Information: Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
Goltz-Murray Building
808 25th St
Bellingham, WA
Telephone: 360-650-7747
Languages: Collection materials are in English.  
Sponsor: Funding for preparing this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the Washington State Legislature to the Washington Women's History Consortium. Funding for encoding the finding aid was awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

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, (2006) claims that they are the oldest continuing non-sectarian women’s organization in the world.

Content Description

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.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

The collection is open to the public.

Preferred Citation :  

Whatcom County Woman's Christian Temperance Union Records, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA 98225-9123.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The collection is organized in accordance with the following series arrangement:

  • Series I. WCTU Administrative Records, 1932 – 1958
  • Series II. WCTU Financial Records, 1904 – 1965
  • Series III. WCTU Activities and Events, 1945 – 1960
Acquisition Information :  

In October 1997 the Whatcom Christian Temperance Union records were donated by Estella Gelder.

Processing Note :  

Victor Burgett processed the Whatcom County Woman's Christian Temperance Union Records in July, 2006

The Whatcom County Woman's Christian Temperance Union Records records were part of a larger donation, but were processed as a seperate record group. The other records now comprise the Progressive Literary and Fraternal Club records, also available at the Center For Pacific Northwest Studies

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I:  WCTU Administrative Records,  1932-1958
1/1 Articles of Incorporation (Revised) 1956
1/2 Resolutions and By-Laws 1946-1958
1/3 Meeting Minutes 1932-1958
1/4 Correspondence 1957
1/5 Newspaper Clippings 1945-1958

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Series II:  WCTU Financial Records,  1945-1958
1/6 WCTU Treasurer's Reports 1945-1958

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Series III:  WCTU Activities and Events,  1938-1958
1/7 WCTU Event Programs 1938-1958

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This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Corporate Names :
  • Whatcom County Woman's Christian Temperance Union
  • Woman's Christian Temperance Union
  • Subject Terms :
  • Popular culture --Moral and ethical aspects --Washington (State) --Whatcom County--History--Sources.
  • Temperance --Societies, etc.--Washington (State) --Whatcom County--History--Sources.
  • Women in community organization--Washington (State)--Whatcom County--History--Sources
  • Women in public life --Washington (State) --Whatcom County--History--Sources.
  • Women--Societies and clubs--Washington (State)--Whatcom County --History--Sources
  • Geographical Names :
  • Whatcom County (Wash.) --Moral conditions --History--Sources.

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