The following personal data were compiled from Greenville College Alumni Office records by Cornelia May. Political data are from David Fairbanks' 1968 Senior Honors Thesis on Dr. Holtwick (unpublished). Photograph and all information kindly sent by the Greenville College Archives.
Enoch Arden Holtwick was born in southern Montgomery County, Missouri on 3 January 1881, the youngest of a family of 12 children - seven girls and five boys. He attended grade school until he had learned all that they were teaching. He lived with his mother on the home farm until he was 21.
He came to Greenville College in the fall of 1902 and took a year of work in the Commercial Department. Over the following three years, he completed his high school work and one-half year of college work and graduated from the Greenville Prep Department in 1906. During the next three years, he completed his college work and received an AB. degree.
Beginning with his second year at Greenville, he (to use his own words) 'ran the college.' He was the college bookkeeper, collected the money, registered the students, ran the bookstore, distributed the mail, rang the bells for the opening and closing of classes, and in general kept busy. The only other office employee in those years was the president's secretary.
Following college graduation in 1909, he was employed by a real estate firm in Springfield, Illinois, first as a bookkeeper and then as a salesman. His employer, who had extensive holdings in California, transferred him to that state.
From 1910 until 1914, he taught in the high school at Inglewood, California, three years of commercial subjects and two years of history. He earned a Master of Arts degree in History at the University of Southern California in 1914. His thesis was "The Role of the Third Party in American Politics."
In the summer of 1915, he was elected President of Wessington Springs Seminary. He held the position for three years.
In 1919, following a year spent in business and in teaching high. School, he came to, Greenville College as a professor of History. In 1927, he refused election as General Educational Secretary of the Free Methodist Church in order to continue teaching at Greenville.
Prof. Holtwick had a life-long interest in lecturing. He did a great deal of speaking on behalf of the Prohibition Party, of which he was a life-long member. He was three times a candidate for California legislature, during which he increased the Party's vote from 745 to 2765. In Illinois, he ran for State treasurer once and for Senator five times, on the Prohibition ticket. He presided over the Illinois State Convention and over two National Conventions of the Party.
Prof. Holtwick was awarded an honorary LLD by Greenville in 1942. He was a member of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences and of the American Historical Association. In addition to his studies at the University of Southern California, he took summer graduate studies at the universities of Iowa and of Michigan in 1921, 22, 28, 34, and 41.
During his years at Greenville College, Prof. Holtwick had been either a student or a faculty member under every president of the College. His hundreds of students regarded him as gifted, disciplined, and demanding. His frequent 'Round-up of World Affairs' chapel addresses combined a rare brand of humor with his Christian faith in commenting on current affairs, always concluding with predictions on the tum of events to be expected in the future.
Enoch Holtwick died on 28 March 1972, at the age of 91.
The few Prohibitionists of today are popularly portrayed as social reactionaries, but in its early years the Prohibition Party was accepted as an instrument of social reform. It was closely allied with the Progressive movement and with the Populist crusade. The Party's campaigns focused on the liquor problem, its endorsement of the income tax (1896), of child labor laws (1908), of conservation of natural resources (1908), of old age pensions (1916); and of unemployment insurance (1916). In 1892, Party delegates threatened to boycott their convention facilities if seven Black delegates were not given rooms. In 1924, Miss Marie brehm of California won the Party's vice-presidential nomination, making her the first woman to run for that office on the ticket of a ballot-qualified party.
The significance of the Prohibition Party declined sharply after the Prohibition Era, but many supporters, including Holtwick, felt that it was important to continue the battle as a matter of principle.
Holtwick worked energetically, serving both the state and the national Party organizations in numerous capacities after Repeal He was a serious contender for either the presidential nomination or the vice-presidential nomination in every election from 1940 through 1956. He served as Chairman of the national convention five times during this period, as well as running for Senator five times. In 1948, Holtwick lost the presidential nomination to Claude Watson by just 33 votes. Holtwick was the heavy favorite doing into the 1952 convention, but he was defeated by a surprise 'dark horse' candidate, song writer Stuart Hamblen; Hamblen's support snowballed when his gospel song "It ls no Secret what God can Do" was played for the convention. Holtwick was chosen to be Hamblen 's vice-presidential running mate. The ticket appeared on the ballot in 19 states and won 72,778 votes.
Prohibitionists rewarded Holtwick for his long service to the Party by naming him their presidential candidate in 1956. Campaigning on a 'Fifty Cents' budget against Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson, Holtwick and his running mate, YMCA official Edwin Cooper, won 41,937 votes in 10 states.
The Prohibition Party holds the record for the most consecutive defeats in presidential elections, having been smothered in every contest since 1872. Enoch Holtwick's numerous races make him one of the most defeated candidates in political history. But, winning was not the highest priority held, either by the Prohibition Party or by Holtwick, personally.
The Party had realistic hopes of affecting national policy when Holtwick first took up the Prohibition banner, but after Repeal (1933) its impact on national politics was negligible. Holtwick, of course, regretted the demise of the Party to which had devoted so much of his life, but he never felt that his efforts had been wasted. He always believed that his Cause had been just: He was convinced that the true battle in politics was the struggle to hold steadfast to moral principles. Enoch Holtwick lost elections, but he always kept faith with his moral convictions.
Earl Dodge, writing in the February, 1973 National Statesman, said of Holtwick:
Dr. Enoch Arden Holtwick of Greenville, Illinois, who was he Prohibition nominee for President in 1956, was a life-long party member. He was fond of saying that he became a Prohibitionist at the time of his conversion to Christ, and he could not understand why others did not do likewise. As a young man, he was very active in the Intercollegiate Prohibition Association and was a leader in the election battles which sent Congressman Charles Randall to 3 terms in the U.S. House from Los Angeles.
Throughout his career as an educator, a career capped by his long-time leadership of the Department of Government and History at Greenville College, Dr. Holtwick was always ready to serve our cause. He was the party's nominee for U.S. Senator and Governor in Illinois and in 1952 ran for Vice-President on the Hamblen/Holtwick ticket.
An active Free Methodist layman, Dr. Holtwick exuded Christian courtesy and charity, even to those with whom he disagreed most.
I was proud to play a role in his 1955 nomination for President, and one of my fondest memories is that of campaigning with him in New England. Whatever difficulties we encountered -- from auto trouble to an attendance which could have fitted into a phone booth, Dr. Holtwick was his own sweet self. His sense of humor was dignified, but sharp. Being a good Free Methodist, he was not enthused when my wife and I named our son "Calvin." He sent a wire suggesting that we name him "Lazarus," "because he came fourth (forth)" (we already had three children).
Much of Dr. Holtwick's time was given over to speeches and writings to show young people the value of third parties. Most of the facts I use in my own school presentations on that subject are gleaned from memory of hearing him speak in 1956.
Those who had the pleasure of known Enoch Holtwick will long be thankful for his wise leadership (recognized by the party having him serve as National Convention Chairman for many years, until his health would not permit it) and his devoted service.
Enoch Holtwick died 28 March 1972, aged 91.