key figures of Repeal Day

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John D. Rockefeller

On June 6, 1932, John D. Rockefeller Jr. did something remarkable. He abandoned his long support for Prohibition in what the New York Times called “the most dramatic single event bearing on the liquor question since the adoption of Prohibition.” The son of Standard Oil Co.’s founder announced his change of position in a letter to the Columbia University President, who had called for a repeal of the nation’s alcohol ban...

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Pauline Sabin

Pauline Sabin was a highly successful leader in promoting the repeal of National Prohibition (1920-1933). To do so, she formed the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform (WONPR) in 1929....

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Pierre Du Point

Although business did not lead the fight for the Eighteenth Amendment, it is clear that the drive enjoyed the active support of many businessmen and the passive support of many more. Yet a decade later, a big business-dominated group led the way in the fight for the repeal of prohibition. The group was the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment (AAPA) and its key figure was Pierre S. du Pont II....

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Charles Scribner III

By 1926, the AAPA's national membership rose to 726,000, with members concentrated in New York, Ohio, Illinois, and California. [...] Some notable members included [...] publisher Charles Scribner, III....

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Marshall Field III

By 1926, the AAPA's national membership rose to 726,000, with members concentrated in New York, Ohio, Illinois, and California. [...] Some notable members included [...] civic leader and philanthropist Marshall Field III....

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Henry Bourne Joy

"It would be startling perhaps to many of our good but blind American citizens to advocate the cause of temperance and common sense in America, where alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Yet that is just the object of this article" is how Henry Bourne Joy starts his Five Years of Prohibition and Its Results...

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Captain William H. Stayton

Naval Captain William H. Stayton (1861-1953) founded the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment in 1918 and incorporated it in 1920. [...] Stayton's interest in Prohibition was based on his belief that the Eighteenth Amendment was both unnecessary and a dangerous intrusion into what should be a state and local matter....

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John Roebling

The Association Against the Prohibition Amendment was a non-partisan, non-sectarian organization open to anyone who had not been in the alcohol business. Membership dues were set at one dollar per year (not a small amount at the time) but membership rose very quickly. [...] An early gift of $10,000 from John Roebling assured that finances would not be a problem. Indeed, it reportedly raised $800,000 between 1921-1926....

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M. Louise Gross

M. Louise Gross (1884-1951) was secretary to New York City Tammany Hall district leader Thomas F. Foley and was a close associate of New York governor Al Smith. She went on to serve in leadership positions in repeal of prohibition organizations including the Molly Pitcher Club, the Women's Moderation Union, and the Women's Committee for Modification of the Volstead Act....

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Al Smith

In his 1922 re-election as governor of New York state, he embraced his position as an anti-prohibitionist. Smith offered alcohol to guests at the Executive Mansion in Albany, and repealed the Prohibition enforcement statute: the Mullan-Gage law. Governor Smith became known nationally as a progressive who sought to make government more efficient and more effective in meeting social needs....

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Jouett Schouse

After Roosevelt's election, Shouse left his leadership position to become president of the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment. That organization played an important role in bringing about the repeal of prohibition in 1933. In this campaign Shouse worked together with Roosevelt's people....

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