Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1999


The Woman's Christian Temperance Union's (WCTU) Department for the Promotion of Purity in Literature and Art, established in1883, worked for legal censorship, but also created a "pure" literary, artistic, and popular culture. This WCTU program blurs the distinctions some historians have made between producers of culture and their audience(s) or, alternatively, between repressive censors and creative artists. This article documents the WCTU's publication of its own children's magazine, distribution of cheap reproductions of famous paintings, and promotion and production of educational pro-temperance movies. Moral transformation of youth, activists argued, could only occur through the positive influence of a pure culture. As WCTU women pursued a strategy of supporting and producing culture, they made crucial contributions to shaping the public arena in the United States. Asserting their right to be the arbiters of culture themselves, women reformers insisted upon a tie between art and morals.


Per, authors may archive publisher's version/PDF on author's personal website, departmental website or institutional repository

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Parker, A. M. M. (1999). "Hearts Uplifted and Minds Refreshed": The Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the Production of Pure Culture in the United States, 1880-1930. Journal of Women's History 11(2), 135-158. The Johns Hopkins University Press.