Document 9: Oberlin W.C.T.U. Minute Book Entry,
9 January 19011

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The reach of the Oberlin W.C.T.U. was not limited to the North American continent. As this minute book entry shows, the W.C.T.U. of Japan also contacted the Oberlin W.C.T.U. asking for their support. The women responded as they did to the Canadian temperance issue, promising to lift temperance work in Japan up in prayer. This indicates how integral religious experience was to the work of the Oberlin W.C.T.U.

As with the previous set of documents, the nature of the minute book entry makes identifying some of the women difficult. I have identified the women that I could find in Oberlin newspapers and the index of past Oberlin students, but some women could still not be found.

Document Text:

Jan. 9th 1901; We were led in devotional exercises by Mrs. Johnston2 followed by a memorial service for our two promoted members Mrs. Beecher and Mrs. Powers.3 Sect. and Treas. reports - accepted. $9.32 in Treasury. The Treasurer urged that dues be paid early in the year and the canvass for funds be made in order that we meet our pledge for Mrs. Reidinger. Mrs. Crafts4 reported concerning picture moulding. Mrs. Durfee moved that a committee consisting of Mrs. Hinman,5 Mrs. Hart, and Mrs. A.B. Johnson6 be asked to gather photographs of our older members, especially charter members, carried. Motion prevailed that Mrs. Davis have quarterlies to send to other unions and that Mrs. Durfee distribute them wherever she please. A letter was read from State Pres. urging distribution of literature. Mrs. Sperry7 read a Coworkers letter from Mrs. Hunt8 addressed to County presidents. Mrs. Davis said there never is a place for a Women's Christian Temperance Union to stop work. Mrs. Jones read a paper by Miss Dora Webb on Social Purity. Motion carried that Mrs. Jones send for Miss Webb for petitions. Mrs. Curtis was introduced and brought greetings from the W.C.T.U of Japan9. The need for temperance and social purity is great in that country. The missionary and temperance work are really one in Japan. Thirty years ago things were worse than now. She asked prayer for their work - not once a week or once a month but every day.

[1] Transcribed by Lizzie Edgar.

[2] Mrs. Adelia A. Field Johnston (1837-1910). She received a literary degree from Oberlin in 1856 and returned to Oberlin in 1870 to become the principal of the Woman's Department, as well as the first woman to receive membership on the Oberlin faculty. She served as the principal of the Woman's Department until 1900 and as professor of medieval history until 1907. In the W.C.T.U., she worked on the committee for Sabbath observance (Oberlin Archives Finding Guide).

[3] Both Elizabeth (Mrs. A.N.) Beecher and Minerva Powers had recently died.

[4] Annie Francis Crafts (1873-?) married Walter Crafts in 1898. Born Shandon, Ohio, she was living in Paddy's Run, Ohio, when she enrolled at Oberlin 1890-1897. (Oberlin Heritage Center; General Catalogue of Oberlin College, 1833-1908)

[5] Susan Hinman (1867-1952) (Oberlin Archives Finding Guide).

[6] Wife of Judge A.B. Johnson, Oberlin Class of 1864. She was honored for her W.C.T.U. work in October 1909 (Oberlin Review).

[7] Rosalie Sperry of Bellevue, Ohio, married Lyman B. Sperry (OC 1863) in 1870 (Oberlin Review).

[8] Annis Mead-Hunt (Catalogue of Officers and Graduates)

[9] Between 1886 and 1913, at least twelve women with World WCTU titles toured or lived in Japan. These women encouraged local Japanese women to form women's unions. Those unions joined into Japan's first voluntary women's national organization, the Japan WCTU (Nihon Fujin Kyofukai), in 1893 (Yasutake 2006, 91-111).