Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Temperance mss., ca. 1863-1885, consists of over two hundred letters and signatures, as well as some images, relating to the Temperance Movement in Britain. Letters are principally addressed to Edwin Barton and Robert Whitworth, honorary secretaries of the Central Association for Stopping the Sale of intoxicating Liquor on Sundays, and Robert Martin, Secretary of the License Amendment League. Barton and Whitworth also worked closely with other societies advocating temperance such as the Band of Hope, which focused on educating children about the "evils of drink."

The Temperance Movement was a social movement against the sale or drinking of alcoholic beverages. In Britain, the movement reached its peak in the mid-to-late 1800s, as alcohol consumption and alcohol-related violence was a wide-spread problem. Advocates formed numerous societies and associations to combat alcoholism, each group with their own ideas about how to go about stamping out the problem. Some advocated moderation in drinking, while others espoused complete abstinence; some focused on the religious message of temperance, while others sought to put pressure on the government to pass temperance legislation. The Central Association for Stopping the Sale of Intoxicating Liquor on Sundays, centered in Manchester, England, focused on petitioning parliament to pass legislation that would close public houses and bars on Sundays. During the 1860s and 70s, the issue became highly politicized as the Temperance Movement became closely tied to the aims of the Liberal Party.

The collection is organized into the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Signatures; III. Other Materials.

Correspondence includes letters by William Edwart Gladstone (Chancellor of the Exchequer), John Bright (MP for Manchester), C. H. Spurgeon, James Nugent, Edmond Beales, George Grossmith (House of Commons Reporter for the London Times), Edward Crawford, Sir Francis Sharp Powell (MP for Northern Division of West Riding, Yorkshire), Sir John Lubbock (MP for Maidstone), Lord Brassey, Lord Eustace Cecil, Algernon Egerton (MP for Lancashire South), Rev. William Caine, John Farrar (President of the Wesleyan Conference), as well as many others. Most are written by members of parliament in reference to petitions from the Central Association for Stopping the Sale of Intoxicating Liquor on Sundays.

Correspondence is organized chronologically, signatures in alphabetical order.

An inventory is available.

Acquired: 2008

Collection size: 276 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.