In 1917, the Old-Time Printers’ Association of Chicago sent a letter in support of Prohibition to Illinois Representative Charles Eugene Fuller. Featuring Benjamin Franklin’s portrait on its letterhead, the letter was written a few months after America entered World War I by declaring war on Imperial Germany. It tied saloons to propaganda that linked beer and brewing with Germans and asked Congress to “remove the blighting curse of the liquor traffic, root and branch, from American life.”
In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin described his teetotalling experience working at a London printing house in the 1720s. While the other printers drank pints of beer before breakfast, and continued drinking throughout the work day, Franklin imbibed only water. He favorably compared his press work to that of the tipsy printers. Nearly 200 years later, the Old-Time Printers’ Association of Chicago followed Franklin’s tradition of temperance. Prohibition took effect in 1920, three years after this letter was written, and was ultimately repealed in 1933.