Posted on March 1st, 2012 by Jennifer
The sooner prohibition is done away with the better it will be for the people of theUnited States. All the wickedness existing now among Americans is indirectly traceable to prohibition. I always have been an opponent of the Volstead act and, I may add, a militant opponent.
– The Rev. Dr. William Rosenau, rabbi of the Eutaw PlaceTemple, The Baltimore Sun, January 6, 1930
As the archivist at the Jewish Museum of Maryland the man quoted above was very familiar to me. We have many items in our collection related to Rosenau including a small manuscript collection (MS 44) and this picture taken only a few years before his statement against Prohibition.
- Dr. Hynmm, Dr. Samuel Rosenblatt, Cantor Josef Rosenblatt and Dr. William Rosenau, December 1927. 1989.159.33
As you might imagine a lot of the local Baltimorearticles about Prohibition center on police raids and the violation of the Volstead Act (the act that outlined what Prohibition would be). A January 14, 1922 article in The Baltimore Sun, describes five raids that took place here in the very neighborhood where the JMM stands (which was at that time a predominantly Jewish neighborhood). The article details many dramatic moments including an attack on law enforcement. “Sergeant Ferguson, Central district, was struck over the head by an alarm clock thrown by a woman supposed to be Mrs. Levine.” (pg. 16) A few paragraphs later the article describes the discovery of an unfortunate bootlegger operating out of his bakery a few blocks away. He might have escaped the raids except that a fire broke out in his business drawing attention to two hidden stills. Stories like this occurred throughout Baltimore and the rest of theUnited States during the 1920s and early 1930s. Like Rosenau many people opposed Prohibition. He spoke out against it while other citizens put their protest into action by continuing to buy or even make alcoholic drinks.
Unidentified woman, 1920s. Unconnected with any of the idividuals in the article described above, but still a fabulous period image. 1988.46.12