Primary Source Analysis

Primary Source Analysis

Cherrington, Ernest Hurst, Albert Porter, William Eugene Johnson, Cora Frances Stoddard eds., Standard Encyclopedia of the Alcohol Problem. 6 vols. Westerville, OH: American Issue Publishing Company, 1925.

The primary source chosen for my topic of Prohibition is Ernest Hurst Cherrington’s Standard Encyclopedia of the Alcohol Problem.  This encyclopedia has 6 volumes and contains terms used to describe alcohol, alcoholism, medical terms, doctors, and groups for the Prohibition Movement.  There are also some colored illustrations as well as photographs of important figures contributing to the Prohibition cause. The volume of encyclopedias was written between the years 1925-1930.

You know right away Cherrington’s view of Prohibition by the title of the encyclopedia’s itself, Standard Encyclopedia of the Alcohol Problem. Cherrington realized that there needed to be more information on alcohol and its effects available world-wide, so he created this encyclopedia. Prohibition became an idea contemplated by many nations after the United States took hold to it, and he felt that a comprehensive universal understanding was needed. Cherrington supported the Temperance Movement during the late 19th century and helped established the World League of Alcohol in 1893.  He believed education would help people understand the hazards of alcohol.

I will use this source for my paper in multiple ways.  I will use it to look up leaders of Prohibition Movement as well as terms relative to alcoholism.  Since my research topic is about alcohol and the family dynamics during Prohibition, I will also use the encyclopedia to see these terms defined through eyes of a man supporting the movement. That could help me understand the time period and the ways in which he saw the ‘world-wide alcohol problem’ and use it as a primary source. One problem that I could potentially have would to be not able to see Prohibition through someone who does not support it.  I will have to find more primary sources to use as reference so I can determine which side of the argument I want to take.

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