Washington Temperance Society Medals
The Washington Temperance Society of Baltimore was founded on April 5th, 1840 by six men in Chasels Tavern on Liberty Street, Baltimore. These friends, business and family men, had slowly come to realize the power of alcohol over their lives and decided to form a society and help each other overcome this addiction. They were not a temperance movement in the sense of overcoming societies ills when it came to alcohol but in terms of the individuals reliance drinking. They pledged to meet weekly and these meetings were to be based on individual experiences with alcohol and not abstract principles or discussions.
They also immediately began recruiting friends and associates who had drinking problems to join the Society; within 6 months there were 80 to 90 members. The organization soon grew so large, and their meetings so crowded, that it was decided to form chapters in different parts of the city. And other similar groups had sprung up imitating the principles of the Washington Temperance Society. On the first anniversary of their founding a grand procession was held and was reported to have been attended by 6000 to 8000 individuals. Soon after "missionaries" were sent out and chapters were formed around the country. It is estimated there were as many as 600,000 members at one time.
The larger temperance movements that became more concerned with the use of alcohol in society as a whole, and legislating against its manufacture and sale, seemed to bring about the end of the Washingtonians. By 1866 one author wrote
"...their thunder is worn out. The novelty of the commonplace narrative is used up, and we cannot raise an interest..." (
Marsh,J. Temperance Recollections. New York; Scribner, 1866).
The Washington Pledge
"We, whose names are annexed, desirous of forming a society
for our natural benefit, and to guard against a pernicious practice,
which is injurious to our health, standing and families - we do
pledge ourselves as gentlemen, not to drink any spirituous or malt
liquors, wine or cider."
Temperance Declaration Medal
Baker 328A, copper, 42mm
Baker 328A, bronze, 42mm
Baker 328C, brass, 41.8mm
Baker 328D, white metal, 42.1mm
American Juvenile Temperance Society medal, white metal, 33mm
Most likely not the work of Robert Sr. but obviously done by someone who had seen his earlier medal and decided to copy the reverse design.
Washington Temperance Society silk ribbon
House of Temperance Medal
Baker 329, bronze, 42mm
Baker 329A, brass, 42mm
Baker 329B, white metal, 41.6mm
Temperance medal by Halliday, white metal, 44.8mm
| This is not the work of Robert Sr. but notice the similarities in the reverse design. Was this a common image of the temperance movement that both designers adopted or did one copy the other?
Temperance Society Award Medal
Baker 356, copper, 41.5mm, unawarded
Baker 356A, bronze, 42mm
Baker 356B, white metal, 42mm
The "Awarded To" die was also used by Robert Sr.
on the Essex County Institute Award medals and with
the Rochester Mechanics Literary Association die, although
the muling above may have been done by George H. The
Washington Temperance Society die and House of
Temperance die were also muled with the Literary
House of Temperance / Awarded to mule
| In his book on Augustus B. Sage Q. David Bowers list this combination of dies and says an example was offered in a Sage fixed price list of 1859 in which it was called "very rare". I have not seen an example of this pairing.
Unkown Temperance Society Medal
White metal, 39.75mm
Under magnification the obverse of this piece appears to be from
Robert Lovett Sr.'s Washington Temperance Society die
although the signature is not visible. The motto on the reverse
We do pledge ourselves as gentleman that we will not
drink any spiritous or malt liquors, wine, or cider". The surfaces
are very rough - from rusted dies, poor planchet quality,
corrosion? Anyone with any knowledge of this piece please