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Origins of the Research Council on Problems of Alcohol: Alcohol education and the Sponsoring Committee of the National Conference on Alcohol,  June 1937-February 1938

As noted in the previous chapter, Bowman and Jolliffe probably joined forces with Moore's group in mid-1938 -- which group, by then, already bore the official name, the Research Council on Problems of Alcohol (RCPA). The earliest documentary evidence I have found on Moore's RCPA shows that it grew out of a precursor organization located in Washington, D.C., calling itself the Sponsoring Committee of the National Conference on Alcohol (SCNCA). The SCNCA was apparently founded in the summer of 1937 -- it probably held its first meeting in June of that year (*1) -- and was comprised of a number of leaders of the country's most influential educational and safety associations. Contemporary SCNCA meeting minutes show that the group changed its name to the RCPA and affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in late December 1937. As noted previously, under the RCPA-name this group would provide the post-Repeal chrysalis for the emergence of the modern alcoholism research movement and absorb similar alcohol-related research initiatives launched by Norman Jolliffe at Bellevue/NYU and Anton J. Carlson at the University of Chicago. What were the origins of this precursor group, the SCNCA? What occasioned its founding, who comprised its membership, and what did the group hope ultimately to achieve?


The SCNCA did not start out as a research-oriented endeavor. Its initial goal had been to stage a national conference at which outstanding factual issues in relation to alcohol would be authoritatively reviewed and resolved by panels of scientific experts. The SCNCA's primary focus was educational rather than scientific; it sought to use mainstream or nontemperance scientists and scientific research to service an essentially pedagogic demand. To most of its active membership, moreover, the SCNCA represented a new Dry-leaning initiative specially tailored to a new rhetorical opportunity emerging in the country's post-Repeal public-education domain.

Why were some of the country's leading educationists interested in the alcohol issue in mid-1937?  Sweeping legislative changes like Repeal fall on different arenas or sectors of society with different implications and degrees of impact. For some, Repeal simply ended an enterprise--for example, Repeal shut down the federal government's efforts to enforce the 18th Amendment. For others, Repeal brought forth new responsibilities and demands for action -- for example, state legislatures would now become responsible for crafting the regulatory and taxation provisions that would govern a newly legalized alcohol trade.  As it happens, Repeal fell on the country's institutions of publicly-supported primary and secondary education with a number of unanticipated implications -- and these, in turn, occasioned the formation and agenda of the SCNCA.

At Repeal, forty-seven of the country's forty-eight states had laws on their books mandating alcohol-related education in state-supported schools (Rogers, 1934a; Roe, 1942--see also, Rogers, 1934b). Such laws were largely the legacy of Mary L. Hunt's scientific temperance education campaign of the 1870s and 1880s (see Pauly, 1990; Mezvinsky, 1961) and, not surprisingly, focused on pro-abstinence and anti-alcohol themes. Thus by 1937 the content of alcohol-related education in U.S. schools had been at least nominally under the sway of temperance thought for fifty years or more in most states.

At Repeal, many Americans no doubt thought it best quietly to leave the alcohol-education territory undisturbed and in the same hands, thus avoiding new controversy in this emotionally-charged cultural arena. Once raised, the alcohol-education issue was bound to rekindle old Dry-Wet animosities. Yet there were social costs associated with letting this sleeping dog lie, too. For example, some contemporary observers wondered at the legality of the state, on the one hand, authorizing a commodity for production, sale, and consumption and, on the other hand, conducting a campaign of vilification of the same commodity in public schools (Harrison and Laine, 1936). Others mused not at the legality but at the symbolic dimension of this seeming contradiction--particularly in "monopoly states," where Dry sentiment was often still strong and alcohol was now sold only in state-run stores (*2).

Thus, the new amendment provided the opportunity, if not the obligation, for contemporary boards of education, school administrators, textbook writers and publishers, teachers, and parents to reassess their alcohol-related pedagogy and its appropriateness for the post-Repeal era. Just as many Americans were breathing a sigh of relief and looking forward to putting the country's decades-long and exhausting debate about alcohol comfortably in the past (Allen, 1968), some educators and legislators were faced with a series of new, far-reaching, and nettlesome alcohol-related issues. What, now, should be the content of legally-mandated alcohol-related education in the new era? How should alcohol be portrayed? Should it be de-stigmatized and domesticated in conformity with its new legitimacy? Or should it remain "demon rum" as past pedagogy had conceived it? Which department or group within the culture should determine alcohol's post-Repeal moral status and alcohol education's pedagogic content? And who should provide the certified knowledge on which alcohol education would be based? In broad terms, the new educational debate signaled that the societal struggle over alcohol had now moved into a new round and institutional location, this time addressed to alcohol's post-Repeal symbolic meaning.

Though Repeal meant that the Wets had won the larger "war" for legalized alcohol (at least temporarily, as Drys saw it), the territory of public primary and secondary education would remain nominally in Dry control for a decade or more after Repeal's passage (see Roe, 1945). In part, this cultural inertia reflected the educational system's fatigue over the topic and the topic's spiney political sensitivity. Other sources of inertia operated as well. One was the culture's longstanding abstinence norm for minor youth. No one--neither Wet, Dry, nor uncommitted--had, after all, sought to extend the option to drink to the nation's school children and minor youth with Repeal's passage. On the contrary, many Wets had argued that prohibition's promotion of illicit rumrunners, bootleggers, and speakeasies actually facilitated youthful drinking, and that such facilitation would soon come to an end when Repeal returned proper regulation to alcohol sales. Moreover, the nation's teachers and educational institutions had long provided bastions of Dry sentiment and support. Many educators were not entirely sure what alcohol-related education would comprise were it not primarily oriented toward abstinence. There were no syllabi and textbooks reflecting a moderationist pedagogy. In many states and school districts, then, textbooks and pedagogy continued to be drawn primarily from temperance sources--the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, the National Forum, Allied Youth, the Methodist Church, the Intercollegiate Association for Study of the Alcohol Problem, and the Scientific Temperance Federation (Roe, 1945, p. 651).

Yet another source of inertia was the relatively long-term trend of declining space and attention paid temperance education in public schools since 1900. This shrinkage, too, had resulted from several historical forces. At the movement's outset, Hunt's push for scientific temperance education had been largely responsible for the introduction and diffusion of physiology and hygiene curriculums in the country's primary and secondary schools (see Stoddard, 1920, quoted in Roe, 1943, pp. 589-590; also, Rosen, 1976, pp. 393-394). By the mid-1890s, however, the famous Committee of Fifty (Levine, 1983), numbering among its members some of the country's leading physiologists, fought to recapture physiology and alcohol-related pedagogy from Hunt's temperance-oriented control (Pauly, 1990). This conflict dealt a severe blow to temperance education's claims to scientific credibility and authority (Pauly, 1990; Ferrier, 1965).

With the onset of national prohibition in 1920 many textbook authors and publishers had simply concluded that the country's struggle over alcohol had been decided once and for all in favor of personal abstinence and public prohibition and no more need be said about alcohol in the country's classrooms (Ferrier, 1965, p. 55). Ironically, prohibition's passage also handcuffed the presentation of temperance education by placing it in a new relation to the law of the land. As one Dry editorialist ("The Defeat," 1933, p. 975) ruefully noted, teaching temperance in a legally Dry society seemed to imply that students retained the legitimate prerogative to break the law, an awkward implication for some contemporary educators. With the coming of the late-1920s, public discourse about alcohol shifted to a focus on prohibition's unexpected and untoward consequences, making temperance education's sole focus on alcohol's negatives appear more and more dated and pass‚. The great societal debate over Repeal in the late 1920s and early 1930s had also seemingly pitted contradictory Dry scientific findings against Wet scientific findings (Sinclair, 1982), thereby tending to undercut the authority of any putatively scientific assertion regarding alcohol and perhaps especially those emanating from scientific temperance. Even the Great Depression undercut temperance education in its way, by creating more pressing problems for educators and parents to worry about (Beauchamp, 1980).

But perhaps the most important factor in temperance education's decline was that national prohibition's outset had coincided with the birth of a free-standing and self-conscious health education movement in the U.S. (Rosen, 1976). This movement's growing professionalism, popularity, and, in due course, its elaboration of a fully articulated health-education curriculum inevitably compressed temperance education into a smaller and smaller corner (see Means, 1962). (Dr. Thomas D. Wood--longtime leader in health education movement--was an early member of the SCNCA, but does not appear to have attended meetings or otherwise participated.)

By and large, then, alcohol-related pedagogy probably was not a high-priority issue for most in the nation's educational system in the post-Repeal period. Most educators were more concerned with problems devolving from the Great Depression--wages, secure tenure, dwindling school funding, curriculum reform, etc. (Givens, 1937). Yet here and there the alcohol issue did arise and demand new attentions. West Virginia, for example, issued a new syllabus on alcohol in 1930 (Rogers, 1934a). New temperance education laws were passed in Indiana (1933), North Carolina (1935), South Carolina (1936), and Arkansas (1937) (Roe, 1942, p. 434).

The nation's disposition toward these events was probably well reflected in a 1934 pamphlet issued by the U.S. Office of Education entitled Instruction in the Effects of Alcohol and Tobacco and authored by James Frederick Rogers (1934a), "consultant in hygiene." Rogers' pamphlet began by noting that Repeal's passage had spawned "renewed interest in public-school instruction in the effects of alcohol on the human being" (p. 1). Perhaps in acknowledgment of the topic's recent desuetude, Rogers continued that interest in alcohol "has never fully lapsed" because national prohibition's passage "did not nullify the State laws requiring instruction in this field" (p. 1). After a brief review of the current status of legal requirements in the states, Rogers cautioned that any revival in temperance education should be mindful of the field's troubled history and the pedagogic dissatisfactions it had occasioned in the past. He quoted a lengthy and critical passage from the Committee of Fifty's 1903 report attacking temperance education (Billings, 1903 in Rogers, 1934a, pp. 3-4), introducing the passage by noting that one of the chief objections to scientific temperance education books was that they "did not tell the truth" (Rogers, 1934a, p. 3). Rogers also approvingly cited Fosdick and Scott's (1933) more recent appraisal of alcohol education, with its calls for greater objectivity, less emotionalism, a spirit of tolerance, detachment from "preconceived objectives" [i.e., abstinence], positive promotion of health betterment (rather than negative scare tactics), disdain of exaggeration and "sanctimonious exhortation," and appealing "not to fear or prejudice but to intelligence" (Fosdick and Scott, 1933, quoted in Rogers, 1934a, pp. 4-5).

Many Drys may have shared much the same view. As we saw in Chapter II, post-Repeal Drys sensed the need for a new mood and aesthetic in relation to alcohol-related rhetoric, both in the schools and in popular media. Exaggeration and misstatement was definitely to be avoided in Dry pronouncements about alcohol. To be sure, a conservative--and still influential--wing of Dry sentiment doggedly reasserted the unimpeachable objectivity and authenticity of past scientific-temperance knowledge and pronouncements, and was no doubt puzzled by the growing disdain surrounding what had only recently been regarded by fellow Drys as the best and most authoritative scientific knowledge on alcohol. By mid-1937, however, Repeal had been in effect for three-and-a-half years and some Drys were no doubt looking for means to begin a new Dry initiative with good prospects for at least small-scale success. Any such enterprise would oblige Drys to look for means to (a) repair their damaged public image, (b) re-open societal debate about alcohol in a Dry-favoring context, and (c) bring new scientific research--including research into the country's problematic post-Repeal experience with alcohol--to bear on the question. Updating "scientific temperance" education in public schools may well have offered one of the best avenues toward these goals available to Drys in mid-1937 America.


The SCNCA was initially run from Harry Hascell Moore's personal office at the American Youth Commission (AYC). This fact is significant in two respects: first, the AYC was a sweeping and large-scale effort to reform secondary education in the U.S., this effort being occasioned primarily by the Great Depression (Biebel, 1976); second, the AYC was a Rockefeller-funded endeavor (Biebel, 1976) and (as we will see) the SCNCA's early funds-seeking efforts were addressed to the Rockefeller establishment.

The original group was small but included some powerful personages in the country's educational and public safety establishments. The group's first letterhead stationery (*3) provides a window into its initial form and intentions. It bore the group's name atop and thereunder a two-line assertion reading, AN ORGANIZATION OF SCIENTISTS, BUSINESS MEN, AND EDUCATORS INTERESTED IN HEALTH AND SAFETY. Below that was printed the disclaimer that MEMBERS OF THE SPONSORING COMMITTEE DO NOT OFFICIALLY REPRESENT THEIR RESPECTIVE ORGANIZATIONS. And thereunder, centered, appeared the organization's address (*4), phone number, and "Harry H. Moore/Executive Secretary." Two panels of names were printed to the left and right sides of the letterhead. The right-side panel, headed "Representing Education," offered a distinguished list including some of the country's national education leader ship--Willard W. Beatty, Fred J. Kelly, Homer P. Rainey, Roy G. Ross, Roy Breg, and Roberta Campbell Lawson (see [*5] for individual affiliations). The left-side panel, headed "Representing Health and Safety," offered an equally distinguished list including representatives of national safety organizations and a variety of other fields of interest--F.L. Bishop, Edward A. Strecker, John Sundwall, Albert W. Whitney, C.H. Watson, Ray Lyman Wilbur, Thomas D. Wood, Russell E. Singer (see [*6] for individual affiliations). At the letterhead's very top, left, was "Willard E. Givens, Chairman." The group's aspirations to scientific authority and support from the business community were optimistically evidenced in the letterhead's allusion to "scientists, businessmen, and educators" (emphasis added) in the membership, for although the letterhead's two panels of names and affiliations clearly indicate that national leaders in educational and safety organizations were on board, not one of the members could readily be described as a working scientist or businessman (*7). It is also notable that only one member, Edward A. Strecker of the University of Pennsylvania, could be described as an alcohol specialist--in fact, in alcoholism treatment (see Strecker and Chambers, 1938). One must assume that aside from Strecker the subject of alcohol formed only a small part of these members' lives and professional concerns.

Early meeting minutes reveal that it was primarily the educationists who attended meetings. Safety specialists--like scientists--may well have been regarded as the intellectual resources to be used in the planned national conference. A 25 September 1937 meeting, for example, was attended by five educationists (Givens, Beatty, Breg, Kelly, and Lawson) and two safety specialists (Thomas H. MacDonald, Chief, U.S. Bureau of Roads, and a Mr. Montgomery of the American Automobile Association). An Executive Committee nominated at the same meeting comprised of Beatty, Breg, Kelly, Lawson, and MacDonald (with Givens and Moore acting ex officio)--a ratio of five or six to one (MacDonald from safety) favoring the group's educationists.

Most of the SCNCA's active members were themselves Dry. And although Moore suggested in the 25 September 37 meeting that "persons representing the extreme points of view toward alcohol control should not be invited" (Minutes, 25 Sep 38, LMA)--suggesting that the group sought to define a middle-of-the-road consensus on alcohol and its control--yet, it is probable that this group's notion of "middle-of-the-road" leaned rather heavily toward the Dry side. Executive Committee member Roy Breg, for example, headed a group called "Allied Youth," which directed its energies toward forming anti-alcohol youth groups devoted to "having a good time without indulgence in alcohol" and studying the alcohol problem (Roe, 1943, p. 653). Breg's organization attempted to fight pro-drinking peer pressure, to which end Breg also published a periodical called Allied Youth, which Roe describes as largely comprised of "pep talks" on the subject and "a service known as Alcoholfax, consisting of quotations from current articles" (Roe, 1943, p. 653; see also, Breg, 1937). SCNCA members Homer P. Rainey and Roberta Campbell Lawson were on Breg's group's board of trustees, suggesting pro-abstinence sentiment as well. Wilbur, himself, was an abstainer. At 1937's end Moore asked Wilbur for a "ten to fifteen line statement regarding seriousness of alcohol problem" which could be used along with statements from other prominent persons "in a memorandum we will sent to business men, educators and others" (Telegram, Moore to Wilbur, 28 Dec 37, LMA). Wilbur obliged with the following quite Dry offering:

The steadily increasing use of beverage alcohol in this industrial age in America means an increase in accident, venereal disease, labor inefficiency, hospital and asylum costs. There is a direct relationship between all of these and the amount of alcohol which circulates in the blood of our people. Our boys and girls are entitled to a sane, reasonable, and unbiased presentation of all of the facts, favorable and unfavorable, regarding this narcotic, so that each may decide upon his own attitude toward its use (Statement, Wilbur to Moore, 31 Dec 37, LMA).
The group's director was Williard E. Givens, Executive Secretary of the powerful (and Dry-leaning [see Milgram, 1976]) National Education Association [NEA]). A brief interview of Givens conducted by Nettie Allen Thomas ([Thomas,] 1938) and published in Breg's journal, Allied Youth, offers a valuable picture of Givens' orientation and organizational limitations with respect to the alcohol topic at the time. Brief as it was, this interview bears close examination.

Thomas' interview report had a strange, almost coded, quality in which the author seems to have sought to convey to her Dry readership that Givens was a true Dry seeking to restore temperance education to prominence in American schools but understandably constrained from saying so outright both by his office as the NEA's Executive Secretary and by the post-Repeal climate of opinion. Thomas began her report by quoting Givens directly: "Dearth of adequate materials in alcohol education, and uncertainty as to methods and procedure do not excuse school administrators and teachers from their duty to this generation of students" ([Thomas,] 1938). Only the presuppositions of this journal's Dry readership, one assumes, would supply what that duty actually was. Thomas continued in her own prose:

Practical schoolman that he is, Mr. Givens understands and appreciates the situations that are being faced by his professional associates, particularly in high schools in regard to the alcohol question....He knows that pressure groups, often in the guise of 'interested citizens,' are preying upon the public schools with their contradictory propaganda, eager to make capital of each school conquest....He knows, too, that the very suggestion of alcohol education has feared controversial implications to many superintendents and principals who feel obliged to avoid any clashing of opinions in their classrooms ([Thomas,] 1938).
In the above, Thomas's narrative conveys the constraints and even the sense of unfair disadvantage surrounding the Dry American educator on the contemporary scene. The situation, Thomas continued, cannot, however, permit delay or default on the part of educationists. For "boys and girls in high school today are facing the choice of drinking or not drinking," she continued. This vague assertion was probably intended to convey that the new post-Repeal era has attached new legitimacy to drinking, which in turn had caused more and more high-schoolers to drink when offered the choice. As is routine in Dry literature, the only choice posed is that between drinking and abstaining.

Next, Thomas drew attention to widespread disagreement among scientific authorities in regard to alcohol. Givens is quoted to the effect that "[w]e cannot quote Science on the effects of alcohol, when scarcely two doctors in any community can agree about its nature, use, and effects" ([Thomas,] 1938). This is a controversial position within Dry thought, in that hard-line Drys preferred to argue that scientific temperance was not biased, unscientific, or unreliable. Yet disagreement over alcohol could also provide occasions for reintroducing alcohol into public and pedagogic discourse. Thomas steered her discussion of such disagreement down rhetorical pathways that least threatened Dry thinking. Givens's National Conference on Alcohol, she continued, would "discover among other things the relationship between the use of alcohol and general health, and the use of alcohol and public safety." Alcohol's relationship to crime and delinquency would also be pursued. "There is a definite relationship between delinquency and drinking," Thomas quotes Givens, "but the exact nature of this relationship needs to be established if possible" ([Thomas,] 1938). By selecting alcohol and health, safety, and crime as topical focuses, the tacit subtext is that disputes concerning alcohol's responsibility for such problems lies in the details of structure and quantification rather than in the broader question of responsibility at all. Such research, in other words, runs no real risk of undercutting the educator's commitment to abstinence from alcohol.

Why, then, bother with such research at all? The enterprise, wrote Thomas, had two main objectives: "1. The discovery and classification of the objective facts that will help people in their social living today[, and] 2. The discarding of all things--opinions, texts, etc.--that are not factually founded." In short, (1) such research would refresh scientific temperance education with new factual materials oriented toward abstinence, and (2) such research would weed out any and all questionable assertions about alcohol--thus enhancing the authority of scientific-temperance education. The style of presentation of the new information would also be new. "The group will ask acceptance of present established facts, per se," wrote Thomas, "without pleading, pressure, or preachment." Such an enterprise also promised to buttress alcohol education with the prestige and authority of the associations involved in the conference.

To the educator who feels discouraged by the meager supply of definitely authoritative data now available in the field of alcohol education, the interest that is growing among men of wide contacts and experiences should be heartening. The National Educational Association, the American Youth Commission, the U.S. Office of Education, and Allied Youth, Inc., are among the leaders in widening and deepening the scope of alcohol education ([Thomas,] 1938).
Thomas ended her interview/article by noting that Givens supported Allied Youth's program of youth education and suasion. Givens also underscored a pedagogic duty to teach about alcohol. "The high school principal or teacher," Thomas quotes Givens as saying,
who refuses to admit the alcohol problems that exists generally among young people today, and to make some provision in his curriculum for alcohol education is almost certain to be failing his students at this point ([Thomas,] 1938).
Of course, Givens' perspective, here, is being filtered through both Thomas' and the Allied Youth's editorial perception. Givens, moreover, may not have reflected the views of all of the group's membership or Executive Committee. Harry Moore, himself, for example, appears to have been Dry but much less committed to a purely Dry stance over the course of the SCNCA's experience. Even so, the Givens interview nicely illuminates how a Dry orientation might find great utility in the SCNCA's purportedly new, scientific approach to alcohol education. The interview's emphases on the beleaguered status of the educational community with respect to alcohol, on the duty of the educator not to avoid the topic, on the discordant condition of scientific information on the subject, on the proper framing of new scientific research in order to buttress the traditional temperance education goal of abstinence, and on the utility of drawing prestigious educational associations into the authentication of this science--all vividly illuminate the several ways the SCNCA might offer desirable avenues for furthering Dry sentiment and interests in the post-Repeal era.


Though he chaired it, Willard Givens probably had little direct involvement in the SCNCA's day-to-day activities. As NEA's Executive Secretary he had many other fish to fry. Moreover, neither Givens' oral history reminiscences (Givens, 1980) nor his 1937 state-of-the-association address to the NEA's annual conference (Givens, 1937) make reference to the organization's launching nor even to the subject of alcohol. Early documentation points to Harry Moore as the SCNCA's prime mover and guiding force. As noted already, the early group seems to have conducted business out of Moore's office at the American Youth Commission (AYC) and was implicitly funded by Moore's AYC salary. But, in Cinderella-fashion, this post and Moore's office space were scheduled for termination on 31 December 1937, a fact which determined much of Moore's group-related activities in the waning months of 1937.

Who was Harry Hascell Moore (1881-1949)? By 1937 Moore was in his mid-50s, a social scientist and activist with professional concentrations in both public health and education. He was probably best known at the time for his role as Executive Secretary of the famous Committee on the Costs of Medical Care in the United States (CCMC, 1927-1932), which group had five years earlier completed an ambitious and multi-volume examination of American medical conditions from a public health perspective. Prior to the CCMC project, Moore had completed two thick volumes on public health conditions in the U.S. (Public Health in the United States [1923] and American Medicine and the People's Health [1927]). The lengthy CCMC project had been substantially funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, which also brought Moore into contact with Rockefeller staff, including Ray Lyman Wilbur, who was both a Rockefeller Foundation trustee and the CCMC project's official director--and so Moore's then boss.

In 1933, Moore contributed the chapter on "health and medical practice" in the U.S. to Hoover's Report of the President's Research Committee on Recent Social Trends (Moore, 1933)--this contribution being largely a review of findings drawn from the CCMC project (*8). In 1934, Moore (1934) edited and published We Are the Builders of a New World: A Summons to Youth, an intriguing collection of essays by himself and others intended to provide guidance to youth on the crises in contemporary civilization--about which more in a moment. According to Moore's cryptic entry in Who Was Who In America (1950, p. 380), his next paying job after CCMC ran from December 1935 to May 1936, a six-month period in which he directed a study of public education in New York state. The New York study, which drew on Moore's past experience in educational policy, was also a Rockefeller enterprise, funded by the General Education Board (GEB). In April 1935 the GEB had granted a half-million dollars to the New York State Board of Regents "for a comprehensive investigation of the costs, objectives, and results of public education in New York" (Biebel, 1976, p. 16). The survey's aim was to contribute to the GEB's broader mission to reformulate the purposes of the American educational system in the 1930s (Biebel, 1976, p. 17)--this wider enterprise became known as the "American Youth Commission" (AYC). The AYC, which was funded wholly by the GEB, was institutionally lodged within the American Council on Education (ACE). Its best-known report was probably Douglass' (1937) sweeping reappraisal of secondary education in depression-ridden America. According (again) to Who Was Who, Moore left the New York study to work with the American Youth Commission from "1936" (presumably mid-1936) to (as already noted) the end of 1937. (SCNCA member Homer P. Rainey was the AYC's Director and so was also Moore's current boss.) Moore, then, came to the alcohol territory directly from posts deeply involved in the ferment and change surrounding the American educational system in the mid-1930s.

Moore's book, We Are the Builders of a New World, offers a striking portrait of the man's character and social conscience in the mid-1930s and, I believe, sheds valuable light on his orientation to the alcohol group and to social activism. The book was aimed at a youthful audience in the midst of the great social and economic crisis posed by the Great Depression. The book's two main aims were to provide informed portraits of the dimensions of the present crisis (Chapters 1-7) and then to offer meaningful lines of social activism by which American youth might carry out the society's much needed reforms (Chapters 8-14). Moore sought to transform the unemployment, poverty, and injustice contemporary American youth saw about them into tangible life opportunities for action and sought as well to provide a generalized blueprint for the form such actions should take. One of the book's three appendices offered young readers the names and addresses of activist groups associated with fourteen different contemporary social movements. Moore brought together previously published essays by Walter Lippmann, Raymond B. Fosdick, James Truslow Adams, Philip Gibbs, Walter Rauschenbusch, William Trufan Foster, and--where no previously published work seemed to suffice--authored his own essays. At the book's core were two such self-authored chapters titled "The Need for Action" and "A Call for Master Builders."

In these two chapters Moore employed the apprentice, journeyman, and master builder concepts as an organizing metaphor for the stages of a career in social activism. Apprentice activism applied to high school or college students, journeyman activism to volunteer work after graduation, and master status was reserved for a "few of the most outstanding students among us, keenly sensitive to the fact that we are living in a revolutionary period and that we now face unusual opportunities for social usefulness" (Moore, 1934, p. 76). Such students, Moore wrote, "will want to devote their entire lives to the construction of the new world, as master builders" (Moore, 1934, p. 76).

High school and college students, Moore wrote, might form groups to attack racial or religious intolerance or focus on the need for social legislation such as unemployment insurance, or for resisting compulsory military training, or for working for the election of uncorrupted politicians. Unscrupulous employers, juvenile delinquents, and worthwhile money-raising endeavors might each draw appropriate attentions. Letter-writing campaigns, posters, letters to newspapers, "parades" [i.e., marches], dinners, and mass meetings might be organized. Difficulties would be encountered, of course, and destructively-motivated agitators might try to discredit the activist's well-meaning efforts, Moore conceded, but the great need of the day was action. Tasks for the journeyman social activist must be framed, Moore continued, within the young person's need to find a job, make a living, and, perhaps, start a family. Activism on the job and activism during leisure, however, were both meaningful prospects. Even the simple enterprise of "giving honest goods or services at a fair price," he noted, could be counted among the journeyman's social contributions. Honest advertising and conscientious safety monitoring also counted. Volunteer work might be for any number of social movements--

against tuberculosis, the venereal diseases, cancer, and mental diseases; crime prevention and prison reform; the campaign against child labor; the wiping out of slums; social settlement work; the warfare against war; and a host of other movements (Moore, 1934, p. 83--*9).
It was master builders, however, who occupied the pinnacle of Moore's system. These men and women of "unusual intellectual ability as well as recognized qualities of leadership" (Moore, 1934, p. 86) must lead the way. The master builder's commitment to social change became his profession, and the object of that profession was to reform the very structure of American society. The primary enterprise would be to rebuild the professions and business. Moore detailed the agenda. Medicine was too costly, geographically maldistributed across the country, organized for profit instead of care. Law was built on outdated notions, operated too slowly, and was too susceptible to securing the will of the rich client. Education was anachronistically committed to classical subjects when modern students needed to receive training in the new realities of this scientific and rapidly changing age. The ministry, engineering, journalism, and industry were each subjected to similar appraisals and calls to action.

The undropped shoe in all this was how the master builder might manage to make a living working in these worthy causes. Moore identified two related routes--politics and civil service, on the one hand, and militant social movement organizations, on the other. With respect to politics and civil service, Moore sounded the ancient call for better young men and women to enter these fields--at federal, state, and local levels. Concerning social movements Moore pitched his case at acquainting the young reader with the myriad volunteer organizations associated with a great variety of reforms, all staffed with committed human beings.

Moore was defining the enterprise of social activism as a profession. No doubt he saw his own calling as both pursuing that profession himself and providing or expanding the marketplace of reform organizations so that they might absorb larger, upcoming cohorts of youthful activists. Unfortunately, Moore makes little mention of alcohol in this book beyond his reference to this area in his reform-group appendix. His comments in this regard, which appear under the title "Temperance and the Liquor Problem," are worth quoting in full:

The nullification of the Prohibition Amendment has by no means solved the liquor problem. Intemperance, drunkenness, and alcoholism will continue and may increase, and money needed for food and clothing will again be wasted on alcoholic beverages. Educational, legal, and social measures will be needed in the future quite as much as in the past (Moore, 1934, p. 152).
Moore's list of principal activist organizations in the alcohol area were confined to Dry groups: the (by now defunct) Anti-Saloon League, the Intercollegiate Association for the Study of the Alcohol Problem, the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union, the Scientific Temperance Federation, and, lastly, the Foundation for Narcotics Research and Information, Inc.

Moore emerges from these pages very much the career activist, radical but constructive in his orientation to social problems, and perhaps blessed with a measure of naive idealism and optimism in the face of the country's contemporary crisis. A measure of elitism also is evident in Moore's fawning emphasis on the "highly talented minority" that would form the key cadres for social change. But evocative as this picture of Moore is, we nevertheless can still only guess at the factors that drew him specifically to focus on the alcohol territory in mid-1937. The alcohol topic was certainly the career lifeboat Moore was fashioning for his post-AYC employment. As such it probably offered him several would-be virtues. The state of alcohol education in America's secondary schools was seen as in need of reform; the field probably would engender increasing societal interest before long; the field probably struck Moore as an excellent combination for his public health and education backgrounds; the field seemed likely to capture the interest and support of Wilbur and the Rockefeller establishment--the funds-granting institution he had had the most contact and involvement with in the past; and, finally, the field probably fit Moore's aspirations to engage modern science in the solution of social problems. For the time being, and in lieu of better documentation, we will have to be content with these guesses.


From June to September 1937 the young SCNCA assembled a membership, designed and printed letterhead stationery, and denominated officers and subgroups. Despite these accomplishments, however, the group was still in its early formative stages and still defining its goals and avenues of action. For example, Moore's minutes of a late-September meeting find the group discussing the "appointment of a subcommittee on the formation of objectives," plans for the recruitment of new members, and newly nominating an Executive Committee--comprised of Beatty, Breg, Kelly, Lawson, and MacDonald (with Givens and Moore acting ex officio)(Minutes, 27 Sep 1937, LMA). The plans for the group's great conference were also clearly in the formative stages.

In this early stage Moore's group was not focused primarily on research but rather on informational and "fact-finding" endeavors relative to alcohol. Their conference plans called for assembling authoritative experts in the field who in turn would provide sound information on a variety of important alcohol-related topics. The main consumers of this information were American educators, who in turn would repackage this information for primary and secondary school students. By late September, new members had been added and eight subcommittees formed to "do the fact-finding work necessary before final arrangements can be made for the conference." By late November, the group's letterhead had changed to reflect eight "fields of study" now being pursued: General Health, Mental Health, Traffic Accidents, Crime and Delinquency, Destitution, Insurance, Agencies and Materials, and, finally, Economic and Sociological Aspects--the list, once again, reflecting a Dry orientation to the alcohol topic.

As the end of 1937 approached--with its prospect of no further AYC office space and the end of Moore's AYC appointment--Moore's group went into a flurry of activity. At a 20 December 1937 Executive Committee meeting (attended by Givens, Moore, MacDonald, Singer, Kelly, and Rainey) Moore reported on his own proposal "that the committee seek an affiliation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science." Someone present suggested that the group first investigate the possibility of affiliation with the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), and Moore was detailed to meet with NAS Executive Secretary, Albert L. Barrows, at Barrows' office the next day. Fortunately, Barrows made a record of his interactions with the SCNCA in separate memorandums of 20 and 21 December 1937. That record now provides a snapshot of Moore's then current vision of the group's intentions.

Barrows' 20 December memorandum began:

Doctor Frederick J. Kelley [sic], of the U.S. Office of Education, telephoned this afternoon to inquire whether the National Research Council would be willing to discuss with Doctor Harry Moore (formerly executive secretary of the Committee on the Cost of Medical Care, and now with the American Youth Commission) a project for the study of alcoholism and the presentation of the alcohol situation educationally. This project would be sponsored jointly by the American Youth Commission of the National Youth Association, the National Educational Association, the National Safety Council, etc., and this coordinating, sponsoring organization would wish to have the backing and support of a scientific body such as the National Research Council in the authentication of its findings (Memorandum, Barrows, 20 Dec 1937, NAS).
Barrows' memo also noted:
Doctor Kelley observed that the country has now gotten beyond the emotional stage of some decades ago in the consideration of this problem and that a more rational method of approach is needed. The schools as yet have not been able to do much about this because there is not sufficient reliable information on which to base constructive teaching (Memorandum, Barrows, 20 Dec 1937, NAS).
Barrows' meeting with Moore occurred as scheduled the next day and was duly recorded in Barrows' second memorandum. Moore apparently described the SCNCA to him in terms of a three-point program: (1) to do short-term investigations of alcohol-related issues, (2) to formulate larger research programs at universities and other institutions, and (3) to present
facts developed through these studies before important agencies which might be in position to make educational use of them in their dealings with the public, such as the National Education Association, an association of text-books writers, book publishers, and state superintendents of education, etc. (Memorandum, Barrows, 21 Dec 1937, NAS).
"The Committee," Barrows' memo noted, "has no funds at present and I judged is in the stage of orienting itself in the problem." Barrows also sought to educate Moore concerning the NRC and its operating procedures. Barrows noted that the NRC had "no general funds which it could devote to research undertakings" but instead usually functioned "in an advisory capacity through setting up committees which prepare programs" whose elements in turn are carried out by "various cooperating agencies and individuals." Barrows also offered Moore the following advice:
I also suggested that in an undertaking of this sort on which there is doubtless in existence a large amount of literature, one of the first steps would seem to be to make a critical and interpretive survey of present knowledge in this field and on the showing from this survey to construct a program of additional investigations which might seem to be desirable and possible of attainment under the present situation of supporting fields of learning. It would seem necessary, I added, to engage for this survey a man of high competence and to be able to pay him in proportion to the value of his services (Memorandum, Barrows, 21 Dec 1937, NAS).
In due course these words would prove remarkably prophetic. Barrows' memo noted at the close: "My impression was that the plans of the committee are not at all fully developed and that Doctor Moore himself has not yet determined upon what procedures to follow or what avenues of approach to take" (Memorandum, Barrows, 21 Dec 1937, NAS). At least some of this indeterminacy no doubt came from Moore's unsureness about how to present the primarily educational vision of the SCNCA to a scientific organization like NRC. In any case, Moore returned to the next SCNCA Executive Committee meeting--on 27 December 1937--with the news that the NRC was not interested in any sort of affiliation.

Bacteriologist Earl Baldwin McKinley (1894-1938) perished in the summer of 1938, when a Pan American clipper crashed into the Pacific on a flight from Guam to Manila.  According to a newspaper account, McKinley and an associate were "utilizing the flight to test a theory that germs of some diseases are carried thru the air."  (Neither this picture nor caption appeared in my dissertation's original text.)

The group immediately turned its attentions to the AAAS, apparently authorizing new member Earl B. McKinley (*10) to put the affiliation proposal to the AAAS Executive Committee, which was fortunately meeting at the time in Indianapolis. The alcohol group sought the status of an "associated society" with the AAAS, meeting minutes reveal, and desired "that the name of the American Association for the Advancement of Science should be used on the letter-head of the committee if agreeable to the permanent secretary of the Association." It was on this occasion that the group also voted to change its name to the "Research Council on Problems of Alcohol" (Minutes, 27 Dec 37, LMA). By the Executive Committee's next meeting--on 12 January 1938 (with Givens, Moore, Beatty, Breg, Kelly, MacDonald, McKinley, Rainey, and Singer present)--McKinley could report that he had met with the AAAS's Executive Committee and that the RCPA had won its sought-after associated-society status. (Among other things, Givens also reported that new office space had been secured in the Transportation Building--Moore would have a place to continue the group's efforts.)

A second and perhaps more reliable snapshot of the group is available in an outline of "a memorandum describing the purposes and program of the council which had been prepared for approaching foundations" that Moore presented at the same 12 January 1938 meeting. Moore may have been working on such an outline in late December and early January both to provide a concrete proposal to the Rockefeller establishment and to provide the AAAS with a document defining the group's basic character (*11). The text runs approximately three and a half single-spaced typewritten pages and provides a one-page 5-month and 3-year budget projection. It began with a call to action:

Recent developments in the advertising, distribution and consumption of alcoholic beverages have led a small group of scientists, educators and other public spirited citizens to the belief that an organization should be created to ascertain the facts about the effects of alcohol and to make those facts known (Outline-C, Moore, n.d., p. 1, LMA).
This opening assertion set an urgent but vague tone. Next, the memorandum provided a section titled "Purpose and program." The first paragraph asserted that the group
has been organized to conduct and promote fact finding studies which will make available accurate information regarding the effects of alcohol on the individual and society, and to disseminate the results of such studies (Outline-C, Moore, n.d., p. 1, LMA).
The group would not engage in the "study or promotion of legal measures for the control of the sale of alcoholic beverages," the memo continued. There is a definite need for alcohol information, the memo asserted, and so the "usefulness and value" of the group's studies "are assured." The RCPA's program was divided into two equal parts, research and education. As Moore had told Barrows, both short-term and long-term studies would be done. The motivation for these was described as follows:
The need for research in this field appears to be particularly pressing. Gaps in our present knowledge must be filled; contradictions must be dealt with; exaggerations must be corrected. The Council is as interested in disproving erroneous statements as establishing the validity of accurate formulations. It desires to conduct and promote fact finding work so thoroughly scientific in character that the results thereof will endure and be useful for generations to come (Outline-C, Moore, n.d., p. 1, LMA).
Significantly, longer term research projects were not described further save to say that "a special committee representing various research agencies" would be appointed to plan these. Shorter-term fact-finding ventures, however, were given relatively detailed treatment, covering most of the memo's third page. These, the memo stated, "will consist largely in the assembling, revising and harmonizing of data already available." There was an emphasis on timeliness as well: "The Council plans to get these studies under way at once with the hope that they will make available within a year's time, at least a few data which may be promptly be used for educational purposes." The group's eight subject areas would be pursued, each with its own subcommittee. One area's fact-finding agenda (alcohol and general health) was spelled out in more detail by way of illustration. "The committee will attempt to make available factual data on questions such as the following" (Outline-C, Moore, n.d., p. 3, LMA):
What is the relation of alcohol to length of life?

What is the effect of alcohol on the pneumonia and tuberculosis death rates?

What is the relation of alcohol to cirrhosis of the liver, disorders of the circulatory system and diseases of the kidneys?

What is the effect of alcohol on digestion?

Under what conditions is alcohol a stimulant and under what conditions a depressant?

What proportion of applicants for insurance in various age groups are rejected because of indulgence in alcoholic beverages?

The list bore the marks of haste. The last question might well have been better included under the "alcohol and insurance" section, as the second to last might have under the "alcohol and mental health" section. The fact-finding ventures, once more, had a decidedly Dry tilt--perhaps particularly so because the memo did not differentiate light or moderate from heavy alcohol use and its consequences.

On the educational side, the RCPA's program would consist of

conferences of scientists, educators and various persons interested in the application of science to public welfare, and of the distribution of the results of research through the Council's own publications and through the cooperative activities of other organizations (Outline-C, Moore, n.d., p. 2, LMA).
Research results would be "made available particularly to elementary and secondary schools," the memorandum continued, and "[i]t is believed that formulations of factual data regarding alcohol, prepared by the Council, will be extensively used by state and city school systems throughout the United States." Adult education was also emphasized, particularly so because "the teachings of the school may largely be neutralized by the educational influence inherent in the conduct and customs of the student's family and other citizens in the community." The memorandum's educational section closed with a declaration of neutrality with respect to alcohol-related policy.
The Council has made and will make no commitments in respect to 'prohibition', 'abstinence' or 'temperance'. As the preliminary work has developed, Council members have become increasingly impressed by the importance of keeping its program on a high scientific plane (Outline-C, Moore, n.d., p. 2, LMA).
This separation between research and policy was offered as the chief distinguishing characteristic between the RCPA's endeavors and other contemporary alcohol-related research enterprises. "There are various agencies in the United States promoting national prohibition or local option, some of which are also doing educational work," the memorandum asserted.
All existing agencies, as far as we are informed, are primarily concerned with such objectives as 'prohibition', abstinence' or 'temperance' (the last term usually meaning abstinence)....There is no agency committed to a program of scientific fact finding, and to a dissemination of those facts and of those facts alone. The Council seeks to be such an organization (Outline-C, Moore, n.d., p. 1, LMA).
This embargo on policy served, on the one hand, to insulate the RCPA from traditional Dry-Wet policy controversies. On a deeper plane, sidestepping policy issues also allowed the group to sidestep the question of how, exactly, scientific research could indeed solve the country's morally and politically laden alcohol problem. This avoidance of policy issues may have also reflected the group's primarily educational or pedagogic focus, in that educationists were no doubt less concerned with determining social policy than with gaining accurate speech content for their teaching on alcohol. Finally, it bears noting that the word "alcoholism" does not appear in this early statement of the RCPA's purpose and orientation. This is but one indicator--and more were present--of how thoroughly the organization still drew its fact-finding and information-disseminating agendas fully from the country's still lively Wet-Dry preoccupation--even while it sought to distinguish itself from the self-serving research endeavors of both the Dry and Wet camps.

The memorandum's proposed budget can be profitably read as a rough quantifier of the group's priorities and plans. It was divided into two parts--the first part covered the first five months of operation (totaling $18,150) and the second part covered the remainder of three subsequent years of operation ($146,850 per year). Two-thirds of the five-month start-up budget was consumed by personnel costs for the director, associate director, and secretaries ($8,000) and eight research assistants ($4,000), one for each of the eight topic-defined subcommittees. The remainder of this budget was used up with supplies, operating expenses, rent, and overhead. The chief item in the yearly budget ($146,850) was grants-in-aid for research ($50,000), followed by administrative office expenses ($27,000), publications ($20,000), national and regional conferences ($10,400), a field secretary with traveling expenses ($8,000), the services of a public relations counsel ($5,000), and the services of "especially qualified writers for condensations of reports on researches, educational pamphlets, articles for magazines etc." ($5,000). Together, these items accounted for $125,400, or 85 percent, of the RCPA's estimated annual budgets for three years. In all, the group's pricetag summed to $458,700 for its first three years of operation, though it is not made clear how the first five months of the first year related to the 12-month "annual" budget in the first year (Outline-C, Moore, n.d., p. 1, LMA).

What is perhaps most notable about this budget, however, is not its princely pricetag but rather the implied fact that the group was seeing itself as offering a single (albeit multifaceted) ambitious project that the group itself would administer and carry out. This sort of budget was designed for the consideration of a single major contributor and not designed for the support of many smaller contributors. In fact, the group's early documentation leaves little doubt that it had at first orchestrated its fund-raising energies toward just such a single, big donor--namely, the Rockefeller establishment.

The RCPA's funds-winning record over its first year was dismal indeed. Early meeting minutes (on 25 Sep 37, LMA) show it had collected a total of $375 (of which $168.85 had been expended) since its start. These minutes also noted that "[t]here was considerable discussion of the Committee's financial problem," though no substance of this discussion was revealed. After a full year of operation the group had collected a total of only $2,191.66, comprised of "$550 from a member of the Board and from agencies represented by the Council members, and $1,641.66 from an anonymous friend" (Minutes, 16 Jun 38, LMA). Total expenditures had somewhat exceeded revenues, so that there were "a few unpaid bills," the minutes also noted. In effect, then, aside from the generosity of the anonymous contributor no funds whatever had come in from outside the group itself.

The shadowy presence of a plan to approach the Rockefeller establishment is evident in a variety of documentary evidence. At the group's 20 December 1937 meeting, Givens reported

on an interview with Mr. Arthor W. Packard, representative of Mr. John D. Rockefeller [Jr.]. He stated that Mr. Packard was interested in the organic set-up of our committee. He also said that a proposal had been made that we incorporate. Mr. Moore reported on an interview with an officer of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. He stated that in order to be sure that a gift from a foundation would not be taxed, we would have to incorporate and call ourselves a "trust" (Minutes, 20 Dec 1937, LMA).
Packard's interests in the "organic set-up" of the committee and his apparent comment that "a proposal had been made that we incorporate" strongly suggest that Rockefeller staff and perhaps Rockefeller himself were in consultation with the RCPA leadership in regard to the sort of structure it should have to be able to receive Rockefeller funding. Moore's contacts with the IRS suggest the same.

By 25 January 1938 the group made bold to send Packard a formal proposal and budget (*12). The proposal was accompanied by two letters. The first, a cover letter, was signed by Givens alone; the second, a letter of transmittal for the proposal, was signed by Givens and four additional RCPA board members. The cover letter enumerated several "basic" changes made in the organization of the group as a result of a conversation with Packard "a few weeks ago." The organization's name had been altered; the organization had become incorporated; a relationship to the AAAS had been established; and several new persons, "most of whom are occupied more fully in strictly scientific work than our present members," had been invited to join. Having done all this, and having done it apparently at Packard's suggestion, Givens offered that the group now felt "in a better position than before to deal in an effective manner with the problems of alcohol." There is the hint of an implied pre-contract in this communication--as if Givens now expected Packard to operate under an obligation to fund the RCPA because the group had dutifully transformed itself directly as a result of Packard suggestions. The second letter asked Rockefeller's support for the five-month period and noted that the letter's authors "would welcome the opportunity to discuss with him or with you the program for the future." "We believe," the letter's authors somewhat inconsistently concluded, "that if Mr. Rockefeller will aid us now in developing the program for a relatively few years, support from numerous other sources will then become available" (RCPA Board to Packard, 25 Jan 38, LMA--emphasis added).

In spite of Givens' and Moore's earlier contact with Packard, their effort was probably ill-fashioned to receive Rockefeller's support. Most importantly, the letters and proposal made no effort to assert that Rockefeller would not be the enterprise's initial and sole supporter. Secondly, the mention of "a few years" of start-up experience and the half-million-dollar pricetag surely ran against Rockefeller's inclination toward small-scale, experimental beginnings (*13). Packard responded quickly and negatively:

The possibility of being helpful has been carefully considered and I am sorry to be under the necessity of saying that while Mr. Rockefeller, Jr. is appreciative of the objectives which are presented in the Council's proposals, it does not seem wisely possible for him to contribute as requested. You will recall from our conversation here on December 7th, I am sure, the nature of those financial restrictions which condition the consideration which may be extended to proposals of this character (Packard to Givens, 31 Jan 38, LMA).
Moore's brave-faced and still-hopeful reaction to this ostensibly flat rejection surely demonstrates how much he had counted upon specifically Rockefeller support for the RCPA program. Of Packard's response, Moore wrote to Wilbur on 1 February 1938 that "[t]his seems somewhat discouraging but his remarks may apply only to the proposal that Mr. Rockefeller contribute the entire amount (of the preliminary budget)." Moore added in a hand-written note below: "Occasionally Mr. Rockefeller gives complete support to an enterprise (the reconstruction of Williamsburg, for instance); but usually he insists, Mr. Packard said, that three or four others also make contributions" (Moore to Wilbur, 1 Feb 38, LMA). Two weeks later Moore again noted to Wilbur that "Mr. Givens and Dr. McKinley seem to think Mr. Packard's response is not unfavorable." Moore reiterated Packard's focus on the need for "three or four" other givers, and then informed Wilbur that the group was now concentrating its "efforts on finding some other individuals or agencies who will give from $3,000 to $5,000 each" (Moore to Wilbur, 14 Feb 38, LMA). This marked an important transition for the group--thenceforth it would tailor its structure and mission to a wider audience of smaller-scale potential donations.

Though still in its earliest developmental stages, the young group had already faced the dilemma of Wet offers of support. Minutes of 12 January 1938 (LMA) note that Givens "brought up the subject of finances" in connection with the reconsideration of just such an offer. The minutes regarding this issue bear full quotation:

The committee first reconsidered its attitude toward a possible grant from a gentleman prominently associated with the repeal of prohibition. There was general agreement that a grant from this man in his capacity as an officer of an organization representing the repeal point of view would not be acceptable. Several members saw no reason to refuse a personal contribution from him, if available, provided he were only one of several donors. It was moved and seconded that if a clear statement in writing were obtained from this gentleman indicating that his contributions was given without any conditions attached thereto, the committee would be glad to accept it. The motion was carried.
That this support offer was being "reconsidered" implies, of course, that a similar offer had been made on a previous occasion or occasions and declined. It is notable that the group thought it could find adequate protection in taking a personal contribution, melding this person's support with others, and obtaining a "clear statement" disavowing any strings attached to the gift. No doubt the pressure of circumstances was being felt. There was rent to pay on the new quarters, and Moore, as of 1 January 1938, was serving "without a salary until funds might become available" (Minutes, 27 Dec 37, LMA). Nevertheless, the fledgling RCPA had cracked a door that Everett Colby never had.


Where, then, did the SCNCA fit in the story of the country's post-Repeal evolution of alcohol-related concerns and initiatives? Colby's Council for Moderation (Chapter III) was a "Damp" initiative seeking to win a new cultural consensus around moderate alcohol use (at least among drinkers). Jolliffe's (Chapter IV) initiative was neither Wet, Dry, nor even Damp, but derived from a pre-existing tradition of alcoholism treatment now seeking renewed interest and support in the post-Repeal circumstance. Moore's initiative--I have argued--represents a Dry, or Dry-leaning, post-Repeal effort aimed at reopening the societal debate over alcohol not in the moderationist terms offered by Colby (and others) but in terms, and at a cultural venue, more comfortable to the Dry perspective.

Repeal not only changed alcohol's legal/commercial status but challenged the society with new questions regarding alcohol's symbolic status as well. The cultural pressure point for this challenge lay in the country's primary and secondary educational system. Alcohol education, though long under Dry control, had fallen into disuse. Yet temperance education could be regarded as a Dry cultural stronghold even after Repeal. Abstinence was the standard of choice for the country's youth; alternative pro-moderation school curriculums were nowhere to be found and (in any case) might have attracted little support in a territory so thoroughly committed to encouraging abstinence for youth. The SCNCA's Dry educators, I have suggested, ultimately came to see the educational field as a good sociocultural venue for launching a post-Repeal Dry counterattack.

This Dry initiative, however, involved a gambit. Though drawing mainstream or nontemperance science into the Dry/Wet stuggle offered the promise of drawing support for the Dry cause from influential neutrals (i.e., mainstream scientists), it also harbored a perilous and double-edged risk. First, such a strategy tacitly conceded that traditional scientific temperance pedagogy was not altogether trustworthy or, at a minimum, was not perceived as such by much of the public. Second, mainstream science might not generate results entirely tuned to Dry pedagogic requirements. SCNCA leadership may have accepted these risks partly because they shared in a common contemporary Dry conviction that the Dry view of alcohol--if tested on a level cultural playing-field by neutral agencies--would in the end prove true and prevail.

At least at the outset, the Great Depression aided these Dry-leaning plans. The social crisis occasioned by the depression had prompted wide-ranging and critical re-examinations of the country's major social institutions, including its educational system. Such enterprises could provide valuable cover for the reappraisal of the alcohol-education issue at a time when alcohol was still an unpopular topic in public life. The depression may also have assisted the new Dry-leaning initiative by providing someone like Moore--a social activist looking for a social issue with which to demonstrate the prospects for meaningful social reform through intelligent activism--to engineer the new assault.

Such an enterprise would need financial backing, and the Rockefeller establishment was the first potential source to which the group turned. The SCNCA's early Rockefeller contacts (with Packard), moreover, deflected the group's course down paths compatible with the Rockefeller establishment's premiums on supporting scientific activity in controversial social arenas (*14). Yet Moore and others in the SCNCA appear to have misread the Rockefeller establishment's interests and inclinations in the alcohol area. As we will see in Chapters VII and VIII, the group's need to attract both mainstream scientists and new potential funding sources would soon dislodge it from securely Dry aims, ultimately sending it down new paths entirely.


(*1) This is an educated guess based on two observations: (1) Meeting minutes of 16 June 1938 (LMA) contain a report on a financial statement for the period 1 June 1937 to 31 May 1938 that was probably intended to cover the group's first full year of operation; (2) the formative character of the group's activities in the summer and fall of 1937 (as noted in the text) suggests recent origin.

(*2) In Repeal's immediate wake, two states retained absolute prohibition (Alabama and Kansas); five states retained prohibition but permitted the sale of low alcohol-content beer; 26 states licensed private enterprises to produce, distribute, and sell; and 15 states turned to state-monopoly systems of sale--hoping thereby to reduce the power of private enterprise's profit motive to encourage intemperance. Monopoly states tended to be located in the South or along the Canadian border and often harbored stronger anti-alcohol sentiment than license states. Thus the seeming conflict between the state's previous anti-alcohol ethos and the state's role as alcohol dispenser was especially acute. (See Harrison and Lane's [1936] classic description and analysis of post-Repeal alcohol-control structures.)

(*3) The earliest letterheaded document I have found is a letter from Moore (in Washington, D.C.) to Ray Lyman Wilbur (at Stanford University), dated 23 Aug 37 (LMA).

(*4) 744 Jackson Place, Washington, D.C.

(*5) Affiliations on the education side were: Beatty, Recent President, Progressive Education Assoc.; Kelly, Chief, Division of Higher Education, U.S. Office of Education; Rainey, Director, American Youth Commission of the American Council on Education; Ross, General Secretary, International Council of Religious Education; Breg, Executive Secretary, Allied Youth; and Lawson, President, General Federation of Women's Clubs.

(*6) Affiliations on the health and safety side were: Bishop, Highway Education Board; Strecker, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Member, Scientific Administration Committee, National Committee for Mental Hygiene); Sundwall, President, American Association of School Physicians; Whitney, National Conservation Bureau; Watson, President, National Safety Council; Wilbur, [listed as] Chairman, Council on Medical Education and Hospitals, American Medical Association; Wood, Chairman, Joint Committee on Health Problems, National Education Association and American Medical Association; and Singer, General Manager, American Automobile Association.

(*7) The group's membership at this time, according to contemporary meeting minutes, did not extend beyond those listed in the letterhead.

(*8) Moore's 53-page essay contains but a single--fleeting but intriguing--mention of alcohol. In reference to the expansion of medical treatment in U.S. clinics, Moore wrote:

All types of diseases are now treated. In 1796 the Boston Dispensary announced that "persons suffering from the venereal diseases or from the effects of alcohol" were excluded "as being victims of their own sensual indulgences." Today there are about 850 clinics the sole purpose of which is to deal with the venereal diseases. About 1,000 permanent clinics are operated for the treatment of tuberculosis and over 400 for mental and nervous diseases (Moore, 1933, pp. 1071-1072).

No specific mention was made of the relative absence of clinics for alcohol-related treatment.

(*9) Moore's omission of alcohol from the list is interesting but not unambiguously interpretable.

(*10) Dr. Earl B. McKinley's name's first appearance in the young group's files occurs in a 15 October 1937 letter from Moore to Wilbur (LMA) noting that McKinley had been added to the group and to its newly-formed Executive Committee. McKinley (1894-1938) was, as already noted, Dean of the George Washington University Medical School and a research-oriented physician specializing in tropical diseases, particularly leprosy. From 1928 to his appointment as Dean in 1931 he was director of the School of Tropical Medicine at the University of Puerto Rico "under the auspices" of Columbia University. He had served as field director of the Rockefeller Foundation in Manila, Philippine Islands in 1927-1928 (see Who Was Who, 1942, p. 817 and Kayser, 1973, p. 156). McKinley was also a member of the Executive Committee of the AAAS and served as liason between the alcohol group and both the AAAS and the AAAS's Executive Secretary, Forest R. Moulton, during his brief association with the new alcohol group. On 28 July 1938 McKinley was killed in the crash of a Pan American Airways clipper en route from Guam to Manila. According to the Washington Daily News report ("G.W. Medical," 1938), McKinley was "utilizing the flight to test a theory that germs of some diseases are carried thru the air" (p. 5). Moore's singular reference to McKinley and Moulton in his brief 1940 account of the RCPA's origins (Moore, 1940) no doubt reflected one more effort by Moore to strengthen the image of the group's scientific ties and orientation.

(*11) Wilbur's files hold three separate versions of Moore's memo, each reflecting revisions and adjustments. Unfortunately, these outlines are not dated and I have not been able to divine with certainty their correct time order. I have guessed at time order, however, and labeled the versions A, B, and C, reflecting the most likely sequence. For brevity's sake, I focus on version C's contents.

(*12) Probably the "C" version of Moore's outline--see note (*11).

(*13) See Chapter III, Section II.

(*14) See Chapter III, Section II.

To Chapter VI...