Jul 24, 2012

20 Vintage Photos of Prohibition in Boston

 

Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. The ban was mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Volstead Act set down the rules for enforcing the ban and defined the types of alcoholic beverages that were prohibited. Prohibition ended with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, on December 5, 1933.

The introduction of alcohol prohibition and its subsequent enforcement in law was a hotly debated issue. The contemporary prohibitionists (“dries”) labeled this as the “Noble Experiment” and presented it as a victory for public morals and health. The consumption of alcohol overall went down by half in the 1920s; and it remained below pre-Prohibition levels until the 1940s.

Anti-prohibitionists (“wets”) criticized the alcohol ban as an intrusion of mainly rural Protestant ideals on a central aspect of urban, immigrant and Catholic everyday life. Effective enforcement of the alcohol ban during the Prohibition Era proved to be very difficult and led to widespread flouting of the law. The lack of a solid popular consensus for the ban resulted in the growth of vast criminal organizations, including the modern American Mafia, and various other criminal cliques. Widespread disrespect of the law also generated rampant corruption among politicians and within police forces. [Source: Wikipedia]

In the fascinating gallery below, courtesy of the Boston Public Library’s Leslie Jones Collection, we get a glimpse into the days of prohibition in Boston, Massachusetts. From the Rum Chasers and Rum Runners of the sea, to the speakeasy’s and stills in the city, these Prohibition-era photos provide a glimpse into one of more intriguing periods of U.S. history.

 

 

 

1. Fleet of Rum Chasers in East Boston – c. 1917-1934

 

Fleet of Rum Chasers in East Boston - c. 1917-1934

 

 

 

2. $175,000 in Liquor Seized by Coast Guard – Jan. 18, 1932

 

$175,000 in Liquor Seized by Coast Guard during prohibition in boston - Jan. 18, 1932

$175,000 in liquor seized in Dorchester Bay by Coast Guard men from Base 5. Brought to US Customs Appraisers’ stores. Leslie Jones, 1886-1967 (photographer)

 

 

 

3. Speakeasy Raided and Destroyed by Federal Agents – Feb. 11, 1932

 

speakeasy at 153 causeway street in boston raided and destroyed, most elaborate speakeasy in boston

Speakeasy at 153 Causeway Street, raided and destroyed by Federal agents. The most elaborate joint ever built in Boston. Leslie Jones, 1886-1967 (photographer)

 

 

 

4. Ice Covered Rum Chaser – Jan. 20, 1926

 

rum chaser dallas covered in ice after patrolling in zero weather for 7 hours

Rum chaser – Dallas clad in ice after fighting severe gale in zero weather for 7- hours. Leslie Jones, 1886-1967 (photographer)

 

 

 

5. Boston Police Liquor Squad – 1928

 

group photo of the boston police liquor squad led by oliver garrett

Boston Police Liquor Squad led by Oliver Garrett (second from right) dressed up in evening clothes for visits to Boston hotels on New Year’s Eve. Leslie Jones, 1886-1967 (photographer)

 

 

 

6. Commissioner and Superintendent at Police HQ – 1935

 

police commissioner and superintendent at police headquarters checking out weapons

Commissioner McSweeny and Superintendent King. Police Headquarters (possibly William E. Payne – Gunsmith / George F. Smith – Handwriting Expert). Leslie Jones, 1886-1967 (photographer)

 

 

 

7. Aerial Photo of a Seized Rum Runner – c. 1917-1934

 

aerial photo of rum runner boat that has been seized in boston harbor

 

 

 

8. Casks Seized by Police – c. 1930

 

Police from Division 9 with casks seized during Prohibition posing for camera

Police from Division 9 with casks seized during Prohibition. Leslie Jones, 1886-1967 (photographer)

 

 

 

9. Aerial View of Rum Runners – c. 1917-1934

 

Aerial view of rum runners on the water

 

 

 

10. Man Operates Still out of the Back of a Carriage – c. 1917-1934

 

Man operates still of liquor out of the back of a carriage

 

 

 

11. Rum Chasers: Beagle and Cunningham – Jan. 23, 1927

 

Rum Chasers: Beagle and Cunningham - Jan. 23, 1927

 

 

 

12. Newer Fleet of Rum Chasers: General Green & Frederick Lee – 1928

 

vintage prohibition photos united states boston 7 20 Vintage Photos of Prohibition in Boston

 

 

 

13. Superintendent Crowley Inspects a Speakeasy – 1930

 

Superintendent Crowley Inspects a Speakeasy - 1930

 

 

 

14. Still Raided and Destroyed at Woburn by Federal Agents – 1934

 

liquor Still raided and destroyed at Woburn by federal agents

 

 

 

15. Captured Rum Runner Brought to the Appraiser’s Stores – c. 1917-1934

 

Captured rum runner brought to the appraiser's stores

 

 

 

16. Coast Guard Seizes a Rum Runner – c. 1917-1934

 

Coast Guard Seizes a Rum Runner at sea

 

 

 

17. Still Explosion Kills Man in Reading – 1930

 

Still explodes killing man in Reading

 

 

 

18. Fleet of Rum Chasers in East Boston – Dec. 30, 1928

 

fleet of rum chasers in east boston

 

 

 

19. Boat Suspected of Selling Alcohol is Inspected – c. 1917-1934

 

Boat with sign Fresh Fish and Fruit delivers bottled drinks to men on pier (possibly Prohibition selling illegal alcohol)

Boat with sign “Fresh Fish and Fruit” delivers bottled drinks to men on pier (possibly Prohibition selling illegal alcohol). Leslie Jones, 1886-1967 (photographer)

 

 

 

20. Officers Dismantle a Speakeasy After Raid – c. 1917-1934

 

officers Dismantling a speakeasy after a raid

 

 

 

 

 

 

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vintage mugshots black and white 17 20 Vintage Photos of Prohibition in Boston

 

 

 

 

vintage female mug shots 1 20 Vintage Photos of Prohibition in Boston

 

 

 

 

old vintage police record crime photos black and white sydney 17 20 Vintage Photos of Prohibition in Boston

 

 

 

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