A mammoth and very rare chromolithographic Temperance Map illustrating the baneful effects of alcohol and tobacco, issued near the apogee of the Temperance movement.
Most “temperance maps” with which I am familiar are allegorical in nature, depicting a poor sinner’s journey through an imaginary landscape. By contrast, this arresting image is meant to be taken entirely at face value. In fairness, it is much less a “chart” than a “map,” though it could be argued that it maps the journey of the human body from good sobriety and good health to dissolution and destruction.
At the top are portraits of “The Healthy,” “The moderate drinker,” “the chronic drunkard,” and a drinker far gone “In Delirium.” Below these are, among other things, images showing the effects of alcohol and tobacco use on the organs (including a particularly gnarly-looking liver), portraits of a “Healthy Boy” juxtaposed with a “Cigarette Smoker,” and a “workingman” apparently drinking his wages away at the end of the day. The large scale and vivid chromolithography render many of the images memorable and even horrifying. At the base of the chart are statistics related to alcohol use, along with an explanation of “Where many a Workingman’s money goes,” and the following gem:
“Half the idiots in the world are the children of drunkards. More than half the insanity is due to alcohol, while it produces four out of every five of our paupers and nine out of every ten of the criminals with which our prisons are crowded, and the misery and wretchedness which it brings are not only upon those who use it, but upon their parents, wives and children are beyond all calculation.”
This poster was issued early in the 20th century (one source suggests 1903) by F.C. Hardacre of Vincennes, Indiana, a publisher of educational maps for schools. At the time the Temperance movement was nearing its height of influence in the United States, the apogee of course being the enactment of Prohibition by the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. It has been suggested that Hardacre was commissioned to produce the poster by a member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which was strong in the Vincennes area.
The chart is extremely rare. I find only two institutional holdings, at the Western Illinois Museum and New York City’s landmark James Brown House. In 1910 a smaller but very similar Temperance Map was issued by one J. F. Dreisbach & Co. of Kansas City. That version is if anything rarer: I am aware of but a single institutional holding, at the University of Colorado-Boulder, acquired from me some years ago.