Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Harry M. Ward

Second Advisor

Dr. R. Barry Westin

Third Advisor

Dr. Ernest C. Bolt, Jr.


The effort to abolish Virginia's liquor trade was a failed experiment in Richmond. The city's liquor industry prospered at the turn of the century, as anti-liquor forces gradually drove saloons from the rural areas of the state. From 1916 until 1933, the political influence of groups like the Anti-Saloon League of Virginia and the Women's Christian Temperance Union led to state-wide prohibition. For seventeen years, various state and federal laws were enacted to stop the flow of ardent spirits. Despite tremendous costs for enforcement, and constant pressure by prohibitionists on the city's courts and juries, many Richmonders flouted the liquor law as the trade in illegal alcohol thrived. This study relies primarily on records of the Virginia Department of Prohibition, legislation, court records, city directories, newspaper accounts and biographical material.

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