Outline of History
For an overview of the social milieu out of which the Prohibition Party evolved, see:
McGerr, Michael () -- A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America, 1870-1920: Free Press, 395pp.
Hofstadter, Richard and Robert Weibe (1955) -- The Age of Reform
Hofstadter, Richard and Robert Weibe (1967) -- The Search for Order
The standard work on the history of the Prohibition Party is Roger Storms' "Partisan Prophets," published in 1972. Storms died in 1980, of complications from injuries sustained in a traffic accident. No one has collected Party records since 1972, although much information has been preserved in the monthly issues of the Prohibition Party newsletter, "The National Statesman." A stash of Partisan Prophets was recently discovered, and single copies are now available on request from the Prohibition National Committee, Box ll, McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania 17233.
Storms' work is not error-free, unfortunately. When Storms and this
website contradict each other, this website is more likely to be correct.
Please notify the editor
of any additional mistakes in Storms.
The last Prohibition Party members to win election to office in the 20th Century were three local officials in the town of Lee, ME in 1978. Fred Dingley won re-election as town moderator, for a total of 30 years of service in that office. Roger Storms was re-elected to the District 30 School Board, and his wife Margaret was re-elected as town clerk.
These people were elected as non-partisan candidates (no party label on ballot), although they were Prohibition Party members. The last Prohibition Party candidates elected in the 20th Century were two members of the Winona Lake, Indiana town council, in 1959.
The first Prohibition Party candidate to be elected in the 21st Century was James Hedges, township assessor in Thompson Township, Fulton County, Pennsylvania. Hedges was elected in 2001, for a 4-year term. He was re-elected in 2005, after which the state legislature abolished the office of "Township Assessor." (Incumbents were allowed to complete their terms.)
Prohibition National Committee Chairmen
Between 1933 and 2003, the chairman of the National Committee served
as editor of the National Committee's newsletter, The National Statesman.
The Statesman was founded by then national chairman Edward Blake in 1933.
It was discontinued in 2003.
"photo by Earl Higgerson, 1997"
Legend: Condo unit at left is the "Russell Building," 128
West 11th Ave, Denver, Colorado
Dodge sold the condominium late in 1999, for unexplained reasons. He then said that he had moved the office into his house, saying several times in print that he would build/had built an addition onto his house to accomodate the office.
No building permit was issued for an addition. In June, 2001, the city building inspector visited the property and reported that no addition had been built. Driving by Dodge's house during the 2001 conference, one could see several piles of "stuff" sitting under plastic tarpaulins in his driveway. Through an open garage door, one could see that his basement was piled to the ceiling with boxes and furniture.
A person who attended the 2001 conference, which at the last moment had been moved from the announced public location to Dodge's house after Dodge discovered that dissident Party member James Hedges had arrived in Denver bearing two proxies to attend the meeting, said that there was no discussion of any addition at the meeting, nor is any room in Dodge's house is used exclusively for Prohibition Party work. However, Dodge had purchased himself a garden tool shed, and he had obtained an electrical permit to run a line from the house to the tool shed.
A report distributed by Dodge to members of the Prohibition National Committee after the meeting repeated the claim that he had built an addition onto his house.
No member of the Prohibition National Committee can legally challenge this situation, because Dodge has transferred most Party assets to a "National Prohibition Foundation" controlled by his family. He states, in the above-cited report, that the trustees of the Foundation are now himself, his daughter Karen, and a once-influential Michigan Prohibitionist who is now senile and is being cared for at home by relatives. Dodge's notary is his wife, Barbara.
This legal structure ensures that, even though the Prohibition National Committee has now ousted Dodge as Chairman, the Dodge family still control most Prohibition Party assets.
The condominium was owned by the Foundation, not by the National Committee. It therefore could be sold without the approval of or even notice to the National Committee. Among other things, the family Foundation also owns the domain name of the "official" Prohibition Party website, www.prohibition.org.
Dodge neglected to renew the incorporation of his "National Prohibition Foundation" in 2001, and members of the Action! Prohibitionists Caucus made a new corporation using the same name.
Dodge still claims to own the name, but he incorporated (also in Colorado) an "American Prohibition Foundation" in 2002. For many years, Dodge has avoided paying Social Security taxes on his own income from Prohibition Party sources by laundering it through the non-profit (but not tax-deductable) Foundation. An IRS spokesman with whom the Editor recently spoke by telephone refused to state whether or not this tactic was lawful.
There have been several official and unofficial periodicals associated with the Prohibition Party. There was "The Voice" in New York, "The New Voice" also in New York, "The Lever" in Chicago, "The Vindicator" in Pennsylvania, a "National Prohibitionist" in Chicago and Winona Lake, and "The National Statesman" which moved from place to place ending in Denver.
The list of editors which follows is for the National Prohibitionist started in Chicago which was later re-named the National Statesman. The National Statesman was disassociated with the Prohibition National Committee in 2003, but has continued to be published by Chairman Emeritus Earl F. Dodge as his personal journal of opinion.
National Statesman editors
The Storms Collection
The Storms Collection of lapel buttons and other campaign artifacts was begun in 1968, on the initiative of Earl Dodge, and was dedicated to Storms in October, 1981, after Storms' untimely death. It was being stored by Earl Dodge at his home in Lakewood, Colorado at the time of his (Dodge's) death.
A third major Prohibition Party collection is held by the WCTU Library at Evanston, Illinois. We have invited them to send us a listing, but we have not yet received a response.
The New York (City) Public Library holds about 4000 volumes on temperance subjects. They have a special interest in Prohibition Party materials. About 450 periodical titles are held; 15 are currently received. There is WCTU material, the James Black temperance collection, the Mary Hannah Hunt correspondence, the Gerrit Smith (family) collection, and the Cyrus Williams papers.
David Fahey notes that some of the items will be difficult for library staff to locate and that much of the ephemera is in poor physical condition.
A collection of temperance material (not necessarily of Prohibition Party material) is included in the Hay Library at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. It is described as "a large and interesting collection of temperance material from both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including extensive runs of some temperance newspapers."
Public exhibits of Prohibition party campaign artifacts
The Museum of American Political Life, at The University of Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut emphasizes presidential elections. A small amount of Prohibition Material is included. The Museum is based on the personal trove of the late J. Doyle DeWitt.
The Museum's brochure states: The Museum of American Political Life explores the history of American politics and presidential campaigns. Serving the academic community and a wide public audience with permanent and temporary exhibits, public lectures, outreach programs, and special tours, the Museum is designed to evoke interest and participation in the spirit of our political process. For scholars, it is a resource for primary research materials and provides a focus for the study and teaching of American presidential campaigns. The Museum collects, preserves, and exhibits artifacts and other materials relating to presidential campaigns, presidents and the electoral process.
To get there: In Hartford, take I-84 to the Prospect Avenue exit, turn north on Prospect and go to Albany Avenue (Route 44), turn east on Albany, then take a hard left at the light onto Bloomfield Avenue (Route 189). The University of Hartford is half a mile down Bloomfield, on the east side. Museum visitors may park in Lot V or in Lot L.
Museum hours are 1100-1600 Tuesday through Friday and 1200-1600 weekends (closed Mondays). Admission is free, but donations will be requested. To arrange group tours, call 860-768-4089.