Online Exhibits - Carry A. Nation, Part 6
The Famous and Original Bar Room Smasher
An International Figure
Like many leading reformers, Carry Nation gained international fame. She traveled extensively and used her notoriety to promote her cause.
After first turning down several offers for public appearances, Carry Nation finally agreed to a lecture tour organized by a New York promoter. This lecture poster probably dates from the tour. Nation also toured the British Isles in 1908, making many public appearances to promote her cause.
Nation also appeared in vaudeville theaters and at carnivals. Other reformers sometimes criticized her choice of venues, but to Nation it was a matter of finding the people who most needed to hear her message.
Very much aware of the symbolism of her name, the reformer registered "Carry A. Nation" as a trademark in Kansas, thereby replacing "Carrie" with "Carry." Many continued to use the original spelling, though.
Reactions formed around the United States as the reformer's fame spread. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the noted women's rights leader, stated to the New York World that Carry Nation's actions were justifiable because the women of Kansas had waited long enough for prohibition laws to be enforced. A Michigan supporter sent a stonecutter's hammer to Nation, who in turn donated it to the Kansas Historical Society.
Nation's name sometimes was used in ways she did not approve. A Mardi Gras club in New Orleans was named for her, as was a winning American Quarter Horse. "All Nations Welcome But Carrie" became a standard phrase in bar rooms across America as a result of her saloon-smashing crusade.
A Glimpse at a Personal Life
In 1977 a trunk was discovered by Nation's descendants at the house of Callie Moore, Carry Nation's niece. Among other things, it contained many of Nation's personal effects, including clothing, photographs, and letters. Over 20 years later, Dianne and Jerald Kelly--she being Nation's great grand-niece--donated the trunk's contents to the Kansas Historical Society.
As a teenager, Callie Moore had lived with the Nation family in Medicine Lodge. Nation came to see her as a potential successor. While she traveled with her aunt to the British Isles and other engagements, Moore never took up the temperance cause.
The trunk from Moore's house held a bonnet, cape, and shawl frequently worn by Nation and seen in several photographs of her. The dress Nation is wearing in the photo at left was included in the Kelly's donation, and is pictured here. It is made in one of her favorite styles.
Also in the trunk were dentures which probably belonged to Nation. Read more about Nation's dentures.
Carry A. Nation is an online exhibit developed by the Kansas Museum of History.
- How Well Do You Know Carry Nation? - Fun quiz.
- Hatchetations and Home Defenders - Why reformers smashed saloons.
- Paying the Bills - Selling hatchet pins, buttons, and newsletters.
- Taking on the Role of Crusader - Personal tragedies in Nation's life.
- Other Crusades - Women's health, woman suffrage, and anti-smoking.
- An International Figure - People all over the world followed Nation's work.
- She Hath Done What She Could - Final days in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
- An American Icon - Carry Nation is a household name today.
- Temperance Timeline - Timeline of alcohol reform.
Contact us at KansasMuseum@kshs.org