• Australia edition
  • International edition
  • Europe edition

17 January 1920: Midnight signals prohibition in the United States


The Guardian reports on the culmination of decades of campaigning by temperance groups in the US, ushering in an era of racketeering, contempt for the law and a parallel economy that denied the American government much-needed tax revenue. The negative impact of prohibition on the US economy was key to the repeal of the Volstead Act in 1933.

  • Guardian 190
  • National newspapers

comments (…)

Most viewed.

Supported by

Prohibition Era (1920-1933)

prohibition newspaper articles

Why New York Has Such Strange Rules About Alcohol

The Prohibition era produced some long-lasting effects. It also brought us speakeasies and powder rooms.

By Dodai Stewart

prohibition newspaper articles

Shermane Billingsley, Guardian of the Stork Club’s Legacy, Dies at 78

The nightspot her father opened as a Prohibition-era speakeasy endured as a Manhattan institution until 1965. For decades she was “the keeper of the flame.”

By Sam Roberts

prohibition newspaper articles

The House in New York Where ‘Legs’ Diamond Was Killed Is for Sale

The home in Albany, N.Y., has been owned for decades by the author William Kennedy, a devoted chronicler of the gangster’s story. He is now ready to part with it.

By Julie Lasky

prohibition newspaper articles

Celebrating the Roaring 2020s With a Bee’s Knees Cocktail

The Prohibition Era favorite is back on bar menus, with creative ingredients but the same inherent charm.

By Robert Simonson

prohibition newspaper articles

Savoring Bourbon, and Its Storied History, in Northern Kentucky

As new distilleries pop up across the United States, the region along the Ohio River remains a particularly exciting destination for spirits tourism.

By Liza Weisstuch

prohibition newspaper articles

Rumrunning, Bootlegging and More Criminal History of ‘Liquor Island’

Long Island, with its extensive shoreline, became a focal point for figures like Dutch Schultz and Charles “Lucky” Luciano.

By Florence Fabricant

prohibition newspaper articles

Even if Republicans Outlaw Abortion, Americans Will Soon Rebel

Prohibition couldn’t even last 14 years. Will an abortion ban last that long?

By Michael Kazin

prohibition newspaper articles

Abortion, Like Prohibition, Has a Clear Racial Dimension

How long before this unpopular repression also loses favor and falls into decline?

By Charles M. Blow

prohibition newspaper articles

America’s First Moonshine, Applejack, Returns in Sleeker Style

From the Blue Ridge Mountains to Vermont, new distillers are reviving a drink that vanished during Prohibition, giving it the age and polish of a fine brandy.

By Julia Moskin

prohibition newspaper articles

Inside the Mystery of a Country Moonshine Bunker

Distilleries are trendy in rural New York. But this one was open 88 years ago, during Prohibition.

By Devorah Lev-Tov


"Old Magazine Articles"

  • Advertising
  • Legal Disclaimers
  • Privacy Policy
  • Technical Difficulties

Gale Family Library home

  • Research Guides Home
  • Research Tools
  • Library Services

Prohibition & the Volstead Act : Newspapers

  • Secondary Sources: Books & Articles
  • Primary Sources: Archives & Records
  • Images & Artifacts

Suggested Newspapers & Dates


  • St. Paul: Dispatch
  • St. Paul: Pioneer Press
  • Minneapolis:  Minnesota Patriot
  • Minneapolis:  Minnesota Good Templar
  • Minneapolis: Tribune  (available digitally through 1922)
  • January 17, 1919: Minnesota ratifies Prohibition amendment
  • January 17, 1920:  Prohibition amendment takes effect
  • December 5, 1933: Repeal of Prohibition amendment

Useful Resources: 

The Library of Congress's website of digitized U.S. newspapers, Chronicling America, includes information on prohibition . 

Search for Newspapers

  • Minnesota Digital Newspaper Hub A searchable website of Minnesota newspapers. Contains geographically and culturally diverse papers from 1856 to 1924.
  • Historical Minneapolis Tribune Search or browse in the 1867-2001 issues of the Minneapolis Tribune. This database is only available in the library.
  • Library Catalog-Newspapers Search by city and title of newspaper (i.e. Granite Falls Tribune) or by the city and "newspapers" (i.e. Granite Falls newspapers).
  • Newspapers at MNHS Search various historic newspapers for advertisements and articles about people, events, and activities.
  • Chronicling America Access digital historic newspapers from MN and other states through this project by the Library of Congress.
  • Electronic Library of MN MN residents can search online magazine, journal, newspaper, and encyclopedia articles and eBooks.

The Minnesota Historical Society holds the  world's largest collection of Minnesota newspapers , with dates ranging from 1849 to the present day.

Past  issue s of  most newspaper titles are available on microfilm in the MNHS library, but there is also digital access to select newspapers . 

Use the links to t he left to search for newspapers available at MNHS and to search within digitized newspaper collections.   

MNHS Reference Staff

Gale Family Library Minnesota Historical Society Library

Located on the Second Floor of the Minnesota History Center 345 West Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55102

Library Hours: Thursday to Saturday: 10am to 4pm Sunday to Wednesday: Closed  

More Information on Visiting the Library

Contact Us:


Visit our Main Website

  • << Previous: Primary Sources: Archives & Records
  • Next: Images & Artifacts >>
  • Last Updated: Oct 9, 2023 12:33 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.mnhs.org/prohibition


Primary Sources: The 1920s: Prohibition

  • Prohibition
  • Business - General
  • Labor & Employment
  • Stock Market & the Crash
  • Personal Sources
  • Politics & Government
  • Science, Medicine & Tech
  • Ku Klux Klan
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Immigration
  • World Affairs
  • Film & Radio
  • Harlem Renaissance
  • Music & Dance
  • Pop Culture
  • Armstrong, Louis
  • Cather, Willa
  • Coolidge, Calvin
  • Dalí, Salvador
  • Darrow, Clarence
  • Du Bois, W.E.B.
  • Faulkner, William
  • Fitzgerald, F. Scott
  • Ford, Henry
  • Harding, Warren G.
  • Hemingway, Ernest
  • Hoover, Herbert
  • Hughes, Langston
  • Hurston, Zora Neale
  • Johnson, James Weldon
  • Lewis, John L.
  • Lindbergh, Anne Morrow
  • Lindbergh, Charles
  • Mencken, H. L.
  • O'Keeffe, Georgia
  • Pound, Ezra
  • Roosevelt, F. D.
  • Home & Family
  • Women - General
  • Law & Crime - General
  • Leopold & Loeb (1924)
  • Sacco & Vanzetti (1921)
  • Scopes (1925)
  • Mississippi Flood of 1927
  • Digital Collections
  • The Great Depression
  • Primary Sources Home

Online Sources: Prohibition

  • 18th Amendment U.S. Constitution
  • 21st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (National Archives)
  • 7507 [S. Glenn Young] - Federal Prohibition Agent more... less... identification card of a prohibition agent
  • 8321 [Daisy D. Simpson] - Federal Prohibition Agent more... less... identification card of a prohibition agent
  • Alcohol, Temperance and Prohibition Collection more... less... "The digitized items in the Alcohol, Temperance and Prohibition Collection are from the Alcoholism and Addiction Studies Collection, as well as from various collections in the Brown University Library — broadsides, sheet music, pamphlets and government publications."
  • Anti-Saloon League (1893-1933) more... less... "From 1893 to 1933, the Anti-Saloon League was a major force in American politics. Influencing the United States through the printed word and lobbying, it turned a moral crusade into a Constitutional amendment. The League left a legacy of printed material at a site bequeathed to the Westerville Public Library which houses the Anti-Saloon League Museum." The library has made selected materials available online.
  • Brewers’ Campaign Against Prohibition: Topics in Chronicling America
  • Carrie Nation: Topics in Chronicling America
  • Clash of Cultures in the 1910s and 1920s more... less... An online exhibit providing access to a variety of primary source materials related to the changing American culture in the early 1900s. The site was created by The Ohio State University Harvey Goldberg Center for Excellence in Teaching in the Department of History.
  • DPLA Search: Prohibition more... less... Items in the DPLA related to prohibition.
  • The Dry Years
  • Eighteenth Amendment (Constitution Annotated) Click on the link Eighteenth Amendment Explained for more information.
  • Ken Burns - Prohibition - Photo Gallery (PBS)
  • The Ladies of Rum Row more... less... The Ladies of Rum Row: More Than 25,000 Women Have Been Fined or Sentenced to Imprisonment for Violating the National Prohibition Law by Jack O'Donnell
  • Letter from O. A. Calandria to Miss Mabel Willebrant more... less... "From 1918 to 1933, concerned citizens and interest groups wrote to the government to offer suggestions and to express their views on prohibition and its enforcement. "
  • Letter to George Cotterill regarding prohibition, June 22, 1923 more... less... Arthur Toombes, State Superintendent of the Prohibition League, writes to George Cotterill to ask for his assistance in the efforts to maintain prohibition while it grows increasingly unpopular with the American people.
  • Library of Congress - Web Guides - 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Prohibition) more... less... A guide provided by the Library of Congress that provides links to digital collections related to the 18th Amendment.
  • Primary Sources: The 18th Amendment
  • Primary Sources: The 21st Amendment
  • Proclamation Announcing the Repeal of Prohibition
  • Prohibition: Topics in Chronicling America
  • Prohibition Prescription form for medicinal liquor more... less... Handwritten prescription for whiskey from Dayton L. Katham, a physician in Schenectady, NY, dispensed by Henry A. Kerste, a pharmacist in Schenectady to Henry L. Sickler, a Ballston Lake, (Town of Clifton Park) NY resident, Duplicate of prescription torn from a printed prescription pad issued by the U. S. Treasury Department.
  • See Also: Temperance and Prohibtion
  • State Rights Versus Prohibition Enforcement more... less... Ohio State Monitor 02, no. 38 (03/06/1920): 04
  • Temperance & Prohibition (OSU) more... less... This site from Ohio State University provides background information as well as some primary source materials.
  • Twenty-First Amendment (Constitution Annotated) Click on the link Twenty-First Amendment Explained for more information.
  • The Volstead Act and Related Prohibition Documents more... less... "The lesson relates to the power of Congress to amend the Constitution as specified in Article V, and also relates to Amendment 18, which banned alcohol, and to Amendment 21 which repealed national Prohibition. It offers 9 documents as primary sources, including photographs, the 18th and 21st Amendments, the Volstead Act, memos and letters, and the Presidential Proclamation 2065 of December 5, 1933. Appended are a written document analysis worksheet, a cartoon analysis worksheet, and the primary source documents. "
  • William H. Anderson and the Anti-Saloon League Papers 1903-1928 more... less... "Contains correspondence, press releases, speeches, and reports. Material documents Anderson's work with the Anti-Saloon League and the League's relations with John D. Rockefeller and the Black Belt Farms Company. Correspondents include Charles S. Whitman, two-time governor of New York. This finding aid includes links to digital images of all or part of the collection. "
  • “Not Rum but Righteousness” more... less... "Billy Sunday, the most famous preacher of the early 20th century, began his career as a professional baseball player. He emphasized a rugged, swaggering, masculine Christianity spoken in plain, slangy English. Widely regarded as the model for novelist Sinclair Lewis’s Elmer Gantry, he combined the modern and the traditional in attacks on liquor, like this excerpt from one of Sunday’s sermons. Sunday denounced the government’s attempt to regulate and tax liquor as immoral. In his famously forceful and slangy style, he insisted that America needed God, not liquor. " - History Matters at GMU
  • “Shall We Gather at the River?” more... less... "Aimee Semple McPherson, pastor of the enormous Angelus Temple in the booming city of Los Angeles, preached to a vast radio audience and pioneered the novel technique of faith healing over the airwaves. In this audio clip from a 1924 sermon, McPherson described a loving, kind, and rewarding God instead of the severe, wrathful God of Old Testament tradition. Her youthful persona and cheery good humor helped make her radio presence highly effective. Following a well-publicized scandal involving a mysterious lover, McPherson and other fundamentalists began to lose the prominence they enjoyed in the 1920s. " - History Matters at GMU
  • “The national gesture.” more... less... "... 1926 cartoon by Clive Weed in the satirical weekly Judge comments on the escalation of governmental corruption during Prohibition. " - History Matters at GMU
  • Tacoma Alcohol Seizure Investigation (1930–1934) more... less... Records related to the investigation of the Tacoma, Washington, police department, the mayor of Tacoma, and a number of city officials for Prohibition violations.

Book Sources: Prohibition

  • A selection of books/e-books available in Trible Library.
  • Click the title for location and availability information.

prohibition newspaper articles

Search for More

  • Suggested terms to look for include - diary, diaries, letters, papers, documents, documentary or correspondence.
  • Combine these these terms with the event or person you are researching. (example: civil war diary)
  • Also search by subject for specific people and events, then scan the titles for those keywords or others such as memoirs, autobiography, report, or personal narratives.
  • << Previous: General
  • Next: Business >>
  • Last Updated: Nov 28, 2023 11:19 AM
  • URL: https://cnu.libguides.com/1920s

Articles on prohibition

Displaying all articles.

prohibition newspaper articles

Impractical and unrealistic: why an Indonesian bill to ban alcohol would cause more problems than it solves

Choky R. Ramadhan , Universitas Indonesia

prohibition newspaper articles

Trump’s law-and -order campaign relies on a historic American tradition of racist and anti-immigrant politics

Austin Sarat , Amherst College

prohibition newspaper articles

How Prohibition changed the way Americans drink, 100 years ago

Jay L. Zagorsky , Boston University

prohibition newspaper articles

The long moral shadows cast by South Africa’s colonial history

T.J. Tallie , University of San Diego

prohibition newspaper articles

The Prohibition-era origins of the modern craft cocktail movement

Jeffrey Miller , Colorado State University

prohibition newspaper articles

Legalizing once-illicit substances can have a public health impact

David Jacks , Simon Fraser University

prohibition newspaper articles

Want cannabis stores banned in your town? Read this first

Dan Malleck , Brock University

prohibition newspaper articles

Why Canada’s craft beer explosion isn’t leading to big acquisitions

Alfons Weersink , University of Guelph and Michael von Massow , University of Guelph

prohibition newspaper articles

Why bland American beer is here to stay

Ranjit Dighe , State University of New York Oswego

prohibition newspaper articles

Decriminalise use of medical marijuana and legalise small-scale cultivation

Gary Potter , Lancaster University

prohibition newspaper articles

Tasmania’s ‘ smoke-free generation’ is undemocratic age discrimination

Brendan Gogarty , University of Tasmania

Related Topics

  • anti smoking laws
  • Medical marijuana

Top contributors

prohibition newspaper articles

Director, Tas Law Reform Institue / Associate Professor, University of Tasmania, University of Tasmania

prohibition newspaper articles

Clinical Associate Professor of Markets, Public Policy and Law, Boston University

prohibition newspaper articles

William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, Amherst College

prohibition newspaper articles

Reader in Criminology, Lancaster University

prohibition newspaper articles

Associate Professor, Medical History, Department of Health Sciences, Brock University

prohibition newspaper articles

Professor, Food Economics, University of Guelph

prohibition newspaper articles

Professor, Dept of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Guelph

prohibition newspaper articles

Professor of Economics, State University of New York Oswego

prohibition newspaper articles

Associate Professor of Hospitality Management, Colorado State University

prohibition newspaper articles

J.Y. Pillay Professor of Social Sciences, Yale-NUS College

prohibition newspaper articles

Lecturer, Universitas Indonesia

prohibition newspaper articles

University of San Diego

  • Unfollow topic Follow topic

University Library

The National Prohibitionist

From 1907 to 1911 the National Prohibitionist was the official organ of the Prohibition Party, an influential “third party” of the Progressive Era. The Progressive Era produced at least twenty “third” parties, and the Prohibition Party was among the more influential, certainly the most enduring. The newspaper was formed by the consolidation of multiple Prohibition Party papers, including the New York Defender , the Chicago Home Defender , and the Chicago New Voice . Its editor, William P.F. Ferguson, was a Methodist minister active in the prohibition movement as both an author and a public speaker. He had previously edited the New Voice and the Defender .

The core of the party’s platform was always an uncompromising opposition to the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages, but over the party’s lifetime this core principle had different policy ramifications. In 1908, it resulted in a platform closely aligned with contemporary progressive thought, advocating the rights of labor, increased regulation of industry, a graduated income tax, conservation of natural resources, women’s suffrage, and child welfare. Women and children were considered the collateral damage of alcohol abuse, as intoxicated men were more likely to beat their wives and children. A factory worker or farmer could easily spend half the family income on alcohol if he was even an average drinker, and women’s inferior legal status limited their ability to act against abusive or spendthrift husbands. The National Prohibitionist reported extensively on families that had been ravaged by alcohol.

National Prohibitionist, 25 June 1908

The paper also reported on, and helped to prosecute, the Prohibition Party’s feud with the Anti-Saloon League. Although both groups shared a common goal, the Anti-Saloon League opposed the formation of third parties, believing it more effective to act through the existing two-party system. The Anti-Saloon League allied itself primarily with the Republican Party, and this alliance drew voters away from the Prohibition Party. The Prohibition Party retaliated by attacking the Anti-Saloon League in the pages of the National Prohibitionist . In an attempt to discredit the Republican Party on the prohibition issue, the paper exposed Republican politicians supposedly in league with the “liquor interest.”

National Prohibitionist, 2 April 1908

The paper’s period of publication was probably the party’s most progressive, but also a period during which its members began embracing the ideology of Americanization. Unassimilated immigrants were considered more vulnerable to the deleterious influence of the liquor interest, and the party struggled to gain traction with the “foreign born” population. The party did not codify Americanization as an actual policy solution until 1916, roughly concurrent with the foundering of first wave progressive consensus over the same issue. In the pages of the National Prohibitionist one finds an uneasy mixture of the progressive with the reactionary, and while the balance still tilted toward the progressive, the paper editorially viewed immigration as a social problem, albeit one susceptible to progressive solutions. The paper’s war on the “white slave trade” provides a good example of how sympathy for immigrants could easily turn into fear of immigration: the emotional appeals at the heart of much progressive discourse could justify the use of state power as a coercive instrument of assimilation, and the National Prohibitionist reveals a blurry line between progressive idealism and reactionary intolerance.

The National Prohibitionist was digitized with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program.


  1. Prohibition Articles

    prohibition newspaper articles

  2. Pin by Julie Morris on Entry 5

    prohibition newspaper articles

  3. End At Last Prohibition 1933 Repeal

    prohibition newspaper articles

  4. The Society Queen Who Dethroned Prohibition

    prohibition newspaper articles

  5. Pin by Eddie Sanchez on History

    prohibition newspaper articles

  6. 1920 The American Issue front page reporting that Prohibition begins across the United States

    prohibition newspaper articles


  1. Where Can I Find Newspaper Articles With Graphs?

    A newspaper article with a graph can be found in a number of newspapers. Anything that provides data can have a graph used in the article. Examples include economics, unemployment, and more.

  2. How to Read Newspaper Articles Online

    Nowadays, many people prefer to get their news online. But with so much information available online, it’s more important than ever to get your news from reputable sources. For some people, that means relying on traditional newspaper outlet...

  3. What Are the Different Parts of a Newspaper Article?

    Parts of a newspaper article include the headline or title, byline, lead and story. Before writing these individual parts, the author should conduct adequate research and find reliable sources to authenticate facts included in the story.

  4. Introduction

    ... Prohibition Amendment" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers. Introduction · Search Strategies & Selected Articles. Newspapers

  5. Prohibition

    Learn more about Prohibition through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.

  6. Search Strategies & Selected Articles

    The links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in Chronicling America. You can further explore the

  7. 17 January 1920: Midnight signals prohibition in the United States

    The Guardian reports on the culmination of decades of campaigning by ... newspaper archive · Facebook · YouTube · Instagram · LinkedIn · Twitter

  8. Prohibition Era (1920-1933)

    News about Prohibition Era (1920-1933), including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times.

  9. Prohibition history

    In the attached article journalist gathered data from various newspapers that were located in states that were already dry in order to study how the experiment

  10. Prohibition & the Volstead Act : Newspapers

    Search various historic newspapers for advertisements and articles about people, events, and activities. Chronicling America. Access digital

  11. Primary Sources: The 1920s: Prohibition

    Not for books or articles! Search Guides. Primary Sources: The 1920s ... Newspapers · Databases · Digital Collections · The Great Depression

  12. American Issue Prohibition Newspaper

    There are also cartoons and news articles about alcohol and temperance-related subjects. The last page has a cartoon of Ohio from the

  13. prohibition

    Articles Contributors Links. Articles on prohibition. Displaying all articles. Most Muslim-majority countries don't ban alcohol. Wahdi Septiawan/Antara Foto

  14. The National Prohibitionist

    The Progressive Era produced at least twenty “third” parties, and the Prohibition Party was among the more influential, certainly the most