Nation, Carry Moore, 1846–1911, American temperance advocate, b. Garrard co., Ky. During her childhood her family moved a great deal, finally settling at Belton, Mo., where she married (1867) Charles Gloyd, a physician. She abandoned Gloyd when he became a hopeless alcoholic, and in 1877 she married David Nation, an itinerant minister and lawyer. A proponent of temperance (see temperance movements) for many years and convinced of her divine appointment to destroy the saloon, Carry Nation gained fame in 1900 while living in Kansas when she began to supplement public prayers and denunciation with the personal destruction of saloon liquor and property. From Kansas she traveled to New York and soon became a national figure in the temperance cause. She presented a formidable obstacle to anyone attempting to stop her; her size (6 ft, 175 lb) and her use of the hatchet to smash saloons became legendary. Nevertheless, she was often attacked and beaten badly and was arrested 30 times in her life. Because of her unorthodox tactics, most temperance organizations were hesitant to support her. She did, however, focus public attention on the cause of prohibition and helped to create a public mood favorable to the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment. She was also a forceful advocate of woman suffrage, although she received little support from suffrage organizations.
See her autobiography, The Use and Need of the Life of Carry Nation (1904), and biographies by H. Asbury (1929), C. Beals (1962), and R. L. Taylor (1966).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.