Greater Grand Rapids Womens History Council
  P.O Box 68874, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-8874                     Phone: 616-574-7307



November 2, 2015

GGRWHC Board of Directors

Mary Seeger,
Jo Ellyn Clarey,
Ruth VanStee,
Connie Ingham
Jennifer Bryant 
Jo Ellyn Clarey
Susan Coombes
Falinda Geerling 
Sharon Hanks
Connie Ingham 
Kyle Irwin
Mary Seeger
Ruth Stevens
Julie Tabberer
Ruth VanStee 
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Spirited Women:
Grand Rapids and the Push for Temperance 

 Ruth Van Stee & Julie Tabberer 
of the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council 
6 p.m. Tuesday, November 17 
Meijer Theater, Grand Rapids Public Museum 
Free with cost of admission to the museum.
Supplementing the Grand Rapids Public Museum's exhibit, "American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition," Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council speakers Ruth Van Stee and Julie Tabberer will take a look at the local scene during 13 years of speakeasies and bathtub gin and tell the stories of area women in the massive social movements surrounding the Prohibition years 1920-1933.

"Spirited Women: Grand Rapids and the Push for Temperance" will illustrate how the "True Woman" of the nineteenth century and the "New Woman" of the Jazz Age relate to contemporary women (and men) of Grand Rapids as "Beer City USA"!

For a century before 1920, Grand Rapids women (and men) had been pushing temperance as a solution to social ills that were intensified by the misuse of alcohol. Immediately after the Woman's Christian Temperance Union was established nationally in 1874, the Michigan chapter was founded in Grand Rapids. Summer headquarters for the national WCTU soon moved to Bay View north of Petoskey, and Michigan became a magnet for speakers; many of whom stopped in Grand Rapids. Indeed, some local women also became speakers and started traveling for the cause.

Once Prohibition was passed, Grand Rapids entered the Roaring Twenties of speakeasies, and the "flapper" was born. Single young women moving to the city had money to spend, gin to drink, and the seeming freedoms of Jazz Age parties, but the 1920s also became a period of backlash to advances made by women during the earlier Progressive Era.

Prohibition proved itself a disastrous legal experiment, but the social effects of the broader temperance movement were long-standing. Women who had been laboring for over a century for their full rights as citizens continued the effort in Grand Rapids and in the nation. 

See you November 17!

Can you guess why this lady is laughing? 
QUIZ: Can you identify the above feminist activist who bought the first alcohol in Kent County, following the repeal of Prohibition? She worked for prohibition reform and Michigan temperance education, and on December 30, 1933, bought the first bottle of champagne to celebrate a new year and new life after a failed social experiment. Michigan was, in fact, the first state to vote for the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment! 

Two More November Dates!

Go to the Movies with GGRWHC!

*** 6 p.m. Tuesday, November 10: See the new GVSU documentary on 1940s-1950s Grand Rapids Chicks women's baseball, A Team of Their Own. Grand Rapids Public Museum. Free with the price of admission to the museum: For more information, click here..

*** 6:30 p.m. Friday, November 20: Come to Celebration Cinema North when Suffragette opens in Grand Rapids. GGRWHC is hosting a premiere viewing of the film in its own reserved small theater! After the film, GVSU women's historian Gretchen Galbraith will discuss when the film is rooted in fact and when it slides into fiction and how the British and American women's movements were related. $10, RSVP at EventBrite:  

Check for updates on our website and look for our table in the lobby for up-to-the-minute information on opening night. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m, and the 1 3/4 hour film will begin at 6:45 p.m. Come early! Seating could be limited. Remember to print your ticket from EventBrite and bring it with you. Celebration Cinema North is located at northwest corner of Knapp and the Beltline at 2121 Celebration Drive NE. For a two-minute trailer, see:   
For more details about all these events and programs,  
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Not a current member of GGRWHC?   Register or renew your membership and help offset the expenses associated with annual research and programs. Your membership helps to set the record straight on the women who've made history here in our community.

GGRWHC Board Meetings

Board meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at the Vanderveen Center for the Book at the Grand Rapids Public Library. If you have suggestions for programs, oral histories, or other items, please email us or plan to attend a meeting.



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Thank you for your interest in preserving and celebrating the history of the many phenomonal women who've helped to shape West Michigan!  If you aren't already a member of the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council, consider showing your support through annual membership.  Visit our web site for more information and the ability to register using Pay Pal online!

Hats off to the historical women who've shaped West Michigan!