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Ruth Tibbits Tooze Papers, 1938-1940

By Finding aid prepared by Trevor Sandgathe

Collection Overview

Title: Ruth Tibbits Tooze Papers, 1938-1940

ID: MSS Tooze

Primary Creator: Tooze, Ruth Tibbits, 1901-

Extent: 0.08 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Ruth Tibbits Tooze Papers are arranged into one series: I: National Woman's Christian Temperance Union Records, 1938-1940.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Ruth Tibbits Tooze Papers are comprised of materials collected by Ruth Tooze from 1938-1940 during her tenure as Vice President of the Oregon Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). The collection includes correspondence, notes, typescripts, budget records, meeting agendas, pamphlets and leaflets, press releases, educational planning documents, songsheets, event programs, and newsclippings.

Scope and Content Notes

The Ruth Tibbits Tooze Papers are comprised of materials collected by Tooze, Vice President of the Oregon Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), between 1938 and 1940. Included are administrative documents from the Oregon WCTU; materials documenting the WCTU's alcohol education initiatives; an extensive collection of press releases and published WCTU literature; and temperance and religious materials created by other organizations. Records include correspondence, manuscript notes, typescripts, budget records, meeting agendas, pamphlets and leaflets, press releases, educational planning documents, songsheets, event programs, and newsclippings.

Biographical / Historical Notes

The National Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was founded following a series of women-led anti-saloon protests in the early 1870s. At the 1874 New York Chautauqua Assembly, women temperance agitators planned the national convention in Cleveland, Ohio where the WCTU was officially formed. Under the guidance of Annie Turner Wittenmyer, the WCTU quickly grew to include thousands of members across the United States. Frances Willard succeeded Wittenmyer in 1879 and directed efforts toward increasing women's involvement in politics. Initially through the lens of temperance, the WCTU became deeply involved in U.S. moral reformation issues including immigration, poverty, and women's suffrage and founded the National Council for Women and the International Council of Women. The WCTU campaigned for prohibition of alcohol and tobacco, labor reform, purity education, women's rights, and social services through a robust publishing program, local and national demonstrations and events, child and adult educational outreach, and political lobbying.

The WCTU experienced aggressive growth throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, reaching its peak in the late 1920s. The WCTU was instrumental in the success of the women's suffrage movement, the constitutional ban on alcohol in the United States (1920-1933), and the 20th century anti-tobacco movement. In the post-Prohibition era, the WCTU continued to campaign for legislation against alochol, tobacco, and other narcotics and remained supportive of social conservatism. The WCTU's presence in Oregon was evidenced by more than eighty local chapters and the construction of WCTU-sponsored drinking fountains in the communities of La Grande and Roseburg. The WCTU continues to operate today, identifying itself as the "oldest voluntary, non-sectarian woman's organization in continuous existence in the world."

Ruth Tibbits Tooze (born 1901) served as Vice President of the Oregon WCTU in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1959, she was elected to serve as the WCTU's ninth national president, a position she held until 1974. Tooze was active in the WCTU's outreach campaigns, targeting youth through educational opportunities and providing guidance for the WCTU's Loyal Temperance Legion (for children ages six to twelve) and the Youth Temperance Council (ages thirteen to twenty).

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 1 box

Statement on Access: The collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: The Ruth Tibbits Tooze Papers were acquired by the Special Collections & Archives Research Center in 2014.

Related Materials:

The Edwin T. Reed Papers (MSS Reed) include a 1913 address welcoming the Woman's Christian Temperance Union Convention to Oregon Agricultural College. Plans for the WCTU Children's Farm Home can be found in the Corvallis and Benton County, Oregon, Maps (MAPS Corvallis). Other materials related to the temperance movement in the United States are included in the U.S. Civil War Collection (MSS CivilWar), and the E. E. Wilson Papers (MSS WilsonEE).

Correspondence with Tooze can be found in the Delmar D. Gibbons Papers held at the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library. Additional information on the WCTU's activities in Oregon can be found in the Oregon Historical Society's Temperance Collection, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Oregon, Cataskani Auxillary Records, the Beaverton Temperance Collection, and the Catherine Julia Adams Diary and Letter. The Sleeth Family Collection at Lewis & Clark College includes Oregon WCTU materials collected by Mattie Sleeth.

Preferred Citation: Ruth Tibbits Tooze Papers (MSS Tooze), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Tooze, Ruth Tibbits, 1901-
Loyal Temperance Legion
Woman's Christian Temperance Union
Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Oregon
Youth Temperance Council

People, Places, and Topics

Alcoholism--Study and teaching--Oregon.
Temperance and religion.
Tooze, Ruth Tibbits, 1901-
United States. Constitution. 18th Amendment.
United States. Constitution. 21st Amendment.
Women--Political activity.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Woman's Christian Temperance Union, 1938-1940
Box-Folder 1.1: WCTU Administrative Records, 1938-1940
This file is comprised of a letter from F. D. L. Squires, of the WCTU's Publicity Research Council, to Tooze planning a Youth Temperance Council (YTC) campaign to monitor print media for temperance-related content; drafts of YTC resolutions adopted in September 1938; a draft of the WCTU's legislative program for 1939 as it related to alcoholic beverages, narcotics, civil service, education, gambling, international relations, motion pictures, social hygiene, and women and children; a budget sheet for the Oregon WCTU's Temperance Education Fund (February 1939); an agenda for the 1940 Oregon WCTU Mid-year Executive Meeting; instructions for conducting surveys of local liquor sale and use; a list of activities to be conducted by the Oregon WCTU Civics Department; a typescript titled "Law Enforcement" providing figures on the impact of alcohol on crime in the United States; and a typescript of a speech titled "The Liquor Problem Up to Date."
Box-Folder 1.2: WCTU Alcohol Education Materials, 1939
This file includes a newsletter from the Oregon WCTU Department of Alcohol Education; a "Plan of Work" for teaching temperance to minors; coloring cards featuring pro-temperance inscriptions; temperance poems; and a handwritten itinerary for a series of children's educational sessions held in May 1939. Also included are lesson outlines for a vacation Bible school alcohol education course, a curriculum for "Narcotics and Youth Today: A Course for Young Peoples Conferences," and a list of activities for celebrating the Frances Willard Centenary.
Box-Folder 1.3: WCTU Informational Publications, 1938-1940
This file contains numerous publications from the WCTU headquarters in Evanston, Illinois and the WCTU's Signal Press. Included are two cards featuring WCTU slogans; offerings from the WCTU's "Think a Minute" series; more than fifty pamphlets and leaflets including "Alcohol is a Poor Medicine," "Can You Drink and Still Be a Gentleman," "Alcohol and Syphilis," and "Are You Buying Liquor for the Unemployed?"; sheet music for "What the World Needs is Jesus" and "Let the Beauty of Jesus"; and several publications from the Loyal Temperance Legion and the Youth Temperance Council.
Box-Folder 1.4: WCTU Press Releases, 1938
This file is comprised of eight press releases published by the WCTU in 1938. Included are releases titled "Beer's Own Record Explodes Proposed Program," "Liquor Floods in Canada--When Will They Recede?", and "Why Do People Drink? A Scientific Study in Every-Day Language." Many of these news releases focus on perceived economic and societal costs brought about by the repeal of Prohibition.
Box-Folder 1.5: Miscellaneous Materials, 1938-1940
This file is comprised of materials created by organizations other than the WCTU. Included is a program and sheet music from a 1939 performance by Edward Lango and his Spiritual Jubilee Singers; a Prelude to Prayer booklet; a leaflet entitled "America's Liquor Bill--1937"; a pamphlet describing the National Council of Women's public health program for 1938-1939; a convocation address given by George Barton Cutten in 1939; a song, "Work for Temperance," published in the Missionary Monthly; alcohol-related newsclippings from 1939 editions of the Oregonian; and a clipping featuring a pro-temperance parable.

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