1. Born November 25, 1846, Nation is probably the member of the temperance movement most recognizable to people of the 21st century. (Quick – name 3 others. What? You can? Show off!)
2. Standing almost six feet tall and weighing about 175 pounds, Nation was a very imposing presence. (And possessed an imposing personality.)
3. She is most often remembered for the violent manner in which she opposed drinking; she is often depicted with a hatchet, because of her proclivity for using one to damage saloons and other watering holes. She was arrested 30 times for these acts of vandalism. (As a child, I often mixed up Nation and Lizzie Borden. Axe, hatchet – same thing, you know.)
4. On June 5, 1899, Nation believed she received a vision from God, telling her to smash saloons in Kiowa, Kansas. (Don’t ask me to tell you 10 things about Kiowa.)
5. Many bars placed signs out front for their customers stating “All Nations Welcome but Carrie.”
6. In the (horrible) film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, the rock band The Kelly Affair eventually changes its name to The Carrie Nations. (Possibly the best decision in the entire movie.)
7. While Nation’s methods were excessive and she can be charged with being over-zealous, the original impetus behind the U.S. temperance movement was in a social change tradition that sought to better the lives of the poor and women and children.
8. Classical music composer Douglas Moore created an opera, Carry Nation, under a commission from the University of Kansas. It premiered at the University in 1966 and later that year was given its first professional performance by the San Francisco Opera. (Please fill in your own hatchet-related comment, e.g., “The reviews must have been cutting.”)
9. Nation was also vehemently anti-smoking and her concerns also extended to women’s clothing: she encouraged women to not wear corsets, due to the pain they inflicted and the physical damage they could do to a woman.
10. Nation’s final speaking engagement was in Eureka Springs, AR, where she was then residing, on January, 1911; she collapsed during this engagement and her final words to the public were “I have done what I could.” She died six months later.