Skip Navigation
Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Carrie Nation

b. 1846, Garrard County, Kentucky; d. 1911, Leavenworth, Kansas

Official records give her name as “Carry,” and it is this spelling that she used most of her life, operating as “Carry A. Nation.” Though the issues for which she fought ranged from hygiene to prison reform to world peace to women’s suffrage, she raised the hatchet—literally and figuratively—against alcohol and gambling, which she viewed as both sinful and socially destructive. She joined the temperance movement in 1890, developing an unusual form of agitation: a powerful physical presence, standing six feet tall and weighing almost 180 pounds, Nation led bands of hymn-singing women into saloons, where she would smash the liquor stock with stones, a hatchet, and a cane. Her “hatchetation” strategy achieved national notoriety and she was imprisoned and physically assaulted many times. Nation published a number of newsletters, including the Smasher’s Mail. Her dream of prohibition was not realized until 1919, after her death.