This week on The Historians Podcast, Richard Hamm discusses what really happened during Prohibition. Hamm is co-editor of Prohibition’s Greatest Myths: The Distilled Truth About America’s Anti-Alcohol Crusade (LSU Press, 2020). [Read more…] about Distilled Truth About Prohibition (Podcast)
The Lake Champlain Basin Program is set to host Susan Evans McClure, Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, who will present “Our Best Endeavors: Temperance and Prohibition in the Champlain Valley” on Thursday, February 27th. [Read more…] about Temperance and Prohibition in the Champlain Valley
While we often look back fondly on the Roaring 20s for a number of reasons, it was a very dark period in the North Country in at least one regard: bigotry. For several years, the region was a hotbed of Ku Klux Klan activity during a high-profile recruiting effort.
The assumption today might be that the effort failed miserably among the good people of the north. But the truth is, the Klan did quite well, signing thousands of new members to their ranks. [Read more…] about 1920s KKK Recruiting Efforts in Northern New York
Long Island has a long and complicated history with alcohol stretching back to the first Dutch settlers. From early distilleries and breweries on the western end of the Island to the emergence of temeperance societies in Sag Harbor, alcohol has played a continuing role in the life of the people.
The culmination came in 1920 when Prohibition went into effect. For the next thirteen years, the manufacture, sale and distribution of intoxicating liquours was probibited. Until Prohibition was repealed in 1933, Long Island was in for a wild time as rum runners vied with the coast guard, police raided speakeasies, and every person had to decide for themselves how they would handle the challenges and opportunities that arose. [Read more…] about A Long Island History of Alcohol
The November 2019 “Crossroads of Rockland History,” focuses on how the Volstead Act (Prohibition) changed Rockland County. Rockland County Historian Craig Long discusses several topics, including bootlegging, stills, law enforcement and the connection between religious revivalism, women’s suffrage and prohibition. Long also recounted what he learned from his interviews of local residents in the 1980s who had lived through prohibition in Suffern, NY. [Read more…] about Prohibition and Rockland County
Food and beverage writer Don Cazentre is set to share his research on the Mamie Taylor and other Upstate-connected cocktails in his book Spirits and Cocktails of Upstate New York: A History, on November 15th at 7 pm at the Rome Historical Society.
Upstate New York has held its place in cocktail history for centuries, beginning with the term “cocktail” itself. The word is believed to have first appeared in an 1806 Hudson Valley newspaper, when an editor described a cocktail as “a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind – sugar, water, and bitters – it is vulgarly called a bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, inasmuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head.” [Read more…] about Spirits and Cocktails Talk Set For Rome Historical
Mark Forsyth’s new book A Short History of Drunkenness: How, Why, Where, and When Humankind Has Gotten Merry from the Stone Age to the Present, (Viking, 2018) traces humankind’s love affair with booze from our primate ancestors through to Prohibition.
Almost every culture on earth has drink, and where there’s drink there’s drunkenness. But in every age and in every place drunkenness is a little bit different. It can be religious, it can be sexual, it can be the duty of kings or the relief of peasants. It can be an offering to the ancestors, or a way of marking the end of a day’s work. [Read more…] about A Short History of Drunkenness
Jessie Elliott was a unique figure in the history of the Beaver River country in the west central Adirondacks. Visitors to the tiny settlement of Beaver River are still told she went to prison for her role in the bootlegging that was rampant in the lumberjack days of the early 1920s. She is listed among the “lawless ladies” in Niki Kourofsky’s recent book, Adirondack Outlaws. Pat Thompson’s memoir about life in Beaver River claims Jessie rode her steed through the settlement with her long hair flowing and a pistol in a holster on her belt. More fantastic stories about Jessie can be found in Bill Donnelly’s Short History of Beaver River where she is described, among other things, as a good-looking Calamity Jane, a bootlegger, and a prostitute. The truth underlying the legends reveals a much more complex and interesting wilderness woman. [Read more…] about “Wild Jess” Elliott: Setting the Record Straight
For more than a century, New York City was the brewing capital of America, with more breweries producing more beer than any other city, including Milwaukee and St. Louis.
In Beer of Broadway Fame: The Piel Family and Their Brooklyn Brewery (SUNY Press, 2016,) Alfred W. McCoy traces the hundred-year history of the prominent Brooklyn brewery Piel Bros., and provides an intimate portrait of the company’s German-American family.
Piel Bros. grew from Brooklyn’s smallest brewery in 1884, producing only 850 kegs, into the sixteenth-largest brewery in America, brewing over a million barrels by 1952. [Read more…] about Beer of Broadway Fame: The Piel Family of Brooklyn
Born of necessity in the colonies, fine-tuned and perfected over the centuries – witnessing civil war, Prohibition, and the marketing genius of Madison Avenue – bourbon continues to this day to be one of the most popular and iconic spirits of America.
In Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey (Viking, 2015), Reid Mitenbuler provides a popularly accessible history of this unique industry and a personal commentary on how to taste and choose your bourbon. [Read more…] about Bourbon Empire: America’s Whiskey Past, and Future