.. the manufacture and sale of intoxicating beverages has already rendered our large cities incapable of wise and self government; has burdened the whole land with enormous taxation for the criminals it has made and the pauperism it has caused and by the desolation it has wrought in the homes of the nation and the degradation of its citizens and voters …

Use and abuse of alcohol was of concern to Northfielders since the town’s inception in the 1850s. It was a topic of debates in the Lyceum Society, and their newsletter articles, too.

Temperance and prohibition have also been the goals of Northfield civic organizations. Among them are the Prohibition Club, which established this constitution in 1877, and the Northfield Prohibition League, formed in 1889. A minutes book, constitutions, and other assorted papers from these groups are now available through the Northfield History Collaborative. The originals reside at the Northfield Historical Society.

The minutes are fairly dry, to be honest – no pun intended. It seems that members would be stirred and active following a rousing speaker, then at other times they’d have trouble convincing anyone to be president. But isn’t that how organizations sometimes go today, too?

Researchers of specific individuals will find a list of 45 league members, 149 signatories of the Million Voters’ Agreement, and 42 who pledged financial support to a prohibition circular.