Monday, October 21, 2019

The Modern Plague of New York

During the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries the Temperance movement campaigned against the consumption of alcohol. The tendency of the Temperance movement to see alcohol or alcoholism as some form of social disease is apparent in maps such as the Modern Plague of London, which was created by the National Temperance Publication Depot in 1886.

Almost at the same time as the National Temperance Publication Depot was mapping the location of pubs in London a Republican senator, called Henry Blair, was mapping the locations of saloons in New York City. The Saloon Map of New York map plots 10,168 saloons and places selling alcohol across the city. The map was published in 1888 and shows that in some areas of New York there were nearly as many saloons as there were buildings.

The senator wasn't the first person to map drinking establishments in New York City. In 1881 the secretary of the Church of England Temperance Society, Robert Graham, traveled to America and in 1883 he published a pamphlet entitled, Liquordom in New York City, New York. The pamphlet included a number of maps showing the locations of 'liquor saloons' and 'lager beer saloons'.

As with senator Henry Blair's map the maps in Robert Graham's pamphlet show that many neighborhoods in Nineteenth Century New York City had a fantastic choice for those who liked a little drink (or even a lot).

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