Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 92 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Richard F Hamm

Committee Members

Lauren Kozakiewicz


alcohol, jean sheppard, liquor control, new york, prohibition, temperance, Liquor laws, Prohibition, Drinking of alcoholic beverages, Temperance

Subject Categories

History | Public Policy


The amending of the Volstead Act and repeal of national prohibition did not answer the "liquor question" but passed the issue to the states. This thesis examines New York's reaction to the change in national alcohol policy and the states decision to legalize and regulate the beverage with the establishment of the New York State Liquor Authority. It traces the activities of Jean Sheppard who led the state division of the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform (WONPR) and became one of the key architects of New York's modern alcohol control system. As an expert in alcohol control policies Sheppard developed a plan she believed would be respected by the public while also mitigating the problems associated with alcohol. Sheppard proposed an elaborate system of control which made temperance the objective. Through her position as Chairman of the New York State WONPR Sheppard gained the attention of Governor Herbert H. Lehman who nominated her to the New York State (Conway) Commission on Alcoholic Beverage Control Legislation. As a member of the Commission and then the New York State Alcohol Beverage Control Board, Sheppard was given the opportunity to propose her theories on control. The final legislation creating the New York State Liquor Authority embodied Sheppard's plan in regards to administrative structure but fell well short of her dream of a system that used the full power of the state to put temperance ahead of revenue.