Woman’s Temple, Women’s Fountains: The Erasure of Public Memory

Carol Mattingly


By the turn of the twentieth century, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) had become the largest and most influential activist group of women the nation had ever seen. With that power, they laid claim to prized public spaces to launch numerous capital construction campaigns, building an early Chicago skyscraper, hospitals, industrial homes, homes for unwed mothers, summer homes at Chatauquas, and drinking water fountains. The monuments, intended to memorialize women and the WCTU, have largely been destroyed or have deteriorated to the point that they are no longer recognized for the significance their builders intended. This article examines the numerous capital projects of the WCTU and the difficulty members of this and similar organizations face when trying to create permanent memorials.

Full Text:


American Studies. ISSN 0026-3079.

This electronic publication is supported by the University of Kansas Libraries