Temperance, Tonics or Both – The Life and Times of Leticia Youmans and Lydia Pinkham

This is the story of Leticia Youmans. From her humble beginnings near the hamlet of Baltimore to her international travels on behalf of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, her extraordinary life was lived during a drive for prohibition. It is a period of Canadian history we rarely explore.

But like so many other historical figures, she deserves more than a superficial glance. I will attempt to make a case that Youmans’ life and her activism represent more significant social movements at that time – especially women’s suffrage. This period of great activism saw large numbers of women becoming agents of social change. It resulted in redefining women’s roles within society and their subsequent empowerment. These ripples can still be felt today.

This is a video of the presentation I made to the Cobourg and District Historical Society on September 28, 2021.

Carla Jones also presented that evening. She spoke about Lydia Pinkham, the iconic maker, and marketeer of the company’s famous “Vegetable Compound” and other remedies meant to relieve female complaints among other ailments.

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