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Water Drops from Women Writers

Water Drops from Women Writers

A Temperance Reader

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Edited by Carol Mattingly


E-book (Other formats: Hardcover)
6 x 9, 13 illustrations


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About the Book

The temperance movement was the largest single organizing force for women in American history, uniting and empowering women seeking to enact social change. By the end of the century, more than two hundred thousand women had become members of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), and numerous others belonged to smaller temperance organizations. Despite the impact of the movement, its literature has been largely neglected. 

In this collection of nineteen temperance tales, Carol Mattingly has recovered and revalued previously unavailable writing by women. Mattingly’s introduction provides a context for these stories, locating the pieces within the temperance movement as well as within larger issues in women’s studies.  


The temperance movement was essential to women’s awareness of and efforts to change gender inequalities in the United States during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In their fiction, temperance writers protested physical and emotional abuse at the hands of men, argued for women’s rights, addressed legal concerns, such as divorce and child custody, and denounced gender-biased decisions affecting the care and rights of children. Temperance fiction by women broadens our understanding of the connections between women’s rights and temperance, while shedding light on women’s thinking and behavior in the nineteenth century. 


Water Drops from Women Writers features biographical sketches of each writer as well as thirteen illustrations.


Carol Mattingly is the director of the Writing Center at the University of Louisville. She is the author of Well-Tempered Women: Nineteenth-Century Temperance Rhetoric. 


“The introduction to this collection, along with the author biographies and the stories selected, makes clear and compelling evidence that women temperance writers deserve serious consideration, not only in terms of their literary legitimacy, viewed inside the conventions and strategies of this particular genre, but also in terms of their feminist politics.”—Jamie Barlowe, author of The Scarlet Mob of Scribblers: Rereading Hester Prynne