Map of New York City to Accompany The Temperance Movement or the Conflict Between Man & Alcohol

“A chart of the capital city of the region of despair.” – Henry William Blair

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This fascinating persuasive map of New York City was published in 1888 as part of Henry William Blair’s book, The Temperance Movement. Blair was a Congressman and Senator from New Hampshire, and during his work as the former, he introduced the first prohibition bill in United States history. His work is a lengthy tome on the evils of alcohol, benefits of total abstention of drinking, and temperance organizations and their goals.

The map is a striking accompaniment that provides visual proof of New York’s hedonism. Blair’s work explains, “When we consider that this great city controls the pivotal State of the Union, and how helplessly it drifts in the maelstrom of alcohol, we require more than the faith which removes mountains if we are still to hope for the republic. Whoever continues to hope – and no only do we hope, but we will conquer yet – must have the courage to attack and destroy this plague.”

The image does very much look like a city infected with the measles – red dots representing ‘saloons or places where liquor was obtainable’ are scattered throughout. Notable concentrations can be seen along the waterfront, down nearly all of Third Avenue, and in the Theater District. According to text below the title, over 9,000 licensed locations are identified within the image.

A wonderful example of the ambitious efforts undertaken by the Temperance Movement in the late 19th century, with New York exemplified as the modern-day Gomorrah.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1888

Author: Henry William Blair

Sheet Width (in): 21.4

Sheet Height (in): 9

Condition: A-

Condition Description: Separated from the original volume, with light creasing along fold lines and a 2" tear in the upper right (to the left of the R in Hudson River) has been repaired on the verso with archival tape. Marginal wear and toning, including a few other small tears and a ragged left edge. Includes a copy of Temperance Movement in fair condition, with a broken spine and loose contents.

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