If you let women vote, will they take away your beer? There was a time when many Nebraska men feared their wives and daughters would do just that.

Douglas County sheriffs after a raid on an illegal still, ca. 1922. [RG3348-10-11]

Douglas County sheriffs after a raid on an illegal still, ca. 1922. [RG3348-10-11]

The Untouchables of Douglas County. In today’s Throwback Thursday photograph, members of the Douglas County Sheriff Department pose with illegal alcohol and still after a raid in about 1922.

New Year's Eve in the 1920s saw Nebraskans unable to legally include alcohol in their celebrations


Douglas County sheriffs after a raid on an illegal still around 1922. RG3348-10-11


May 1, 1917, the first day of statewide prohibition in Nebraska. NSHS RG0813-40


Edward Rosewater. NSHS RG2411.PH0-4772-2


Prohibition was the law of the land by 1920, but the Prohibition Party was still uneasy. As the presidential campaign season got underway, they feared that neither a Republican nor a Democratic president could be trusted to vigorously enforce the new law. Already there were proposals to weaken prohibition by modifying the law to allow the manufacture of light wines and beer.

Although dating from the 1870s, the city of Lincoln’s preoccupation with the prohibition issue quickened in the first decade of the twentieth century. With the failure of efforts to add a prohibitory amendment to the state constitution in 1890, prohibitionists focused their attention on counties and cities, where they were more successful. The spring election of 1902 in Lincoln resulted in the establishment of a progressive excise, or tax, policy for the city’s saloons, which provided for a gradual reduction in their numbers and limited hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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