General Moo

Found in a Book: National Prohibition Guards Pledge

Came across this in a Bible, glued on the inside front cover.
National Prohibition Guards
Slogan: We’ll Help to Safeguard America’s Future
Because I believe it to be the patriotic duty of every
American to obey the laws of the land,
I hereby enroll in the Million Membership Campaign
for Law Observance, promising to abstain from the use of
intoxicating liquors as a beverage, and to obey the Eigh-
teenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States
of America.
Name: Bill Purdy
Date: Dec 4, 1927
National W. C. T. U. Publishing House, Evanston, Illinois
 Do you think Mr. Purdy imbibed when the 18th Amendment was repealed on December 5, 1933,  six years after he signed this pledge, almost to the day? I wonder if the National W.C.T.U. handed out Bibles with this pledge affixed or if they handed out pledge sheets and Young Purdy (or his parents or maybe a sweetheart) gluded it inside his Sunday School Bible.

So many stories we could make up about this artifact.

I love browsing through used bookstores and finding stuff previous owners left in books. Old bookmarks, photographs, newspaper articles. I have a rule that if I don’t buy the book, I leave the stuff in there. I figure it’s a packaged deal. And maybe I’m weird, but I feel that things left inside a book become part of the soul of that book.

 One of my favorite non-English-class books that I read in college was The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition by W. J. Rorabaugh. Did you know that between 1790 and 1830 Americans drank more alcohol per capita than any other country? That’s saying a lot.

I still have my old copy of The Alcoholic Republic–its survived decades of purges. I’ve been intending to re-read it one of these days. This National Prohibition Guards pledge pushed it closer to the top of my TRB list.

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