Fargo, North Dakota: Fargo Union Mission, n.d. (ca. 1933-1940?). Unbound tract (ca. 5.5" x 4"). 3 pp. Light toning. Preserved in a mylar sleeve. Very good. Item #3248
A LURID WARNING OF THE WAGES OF SIN FOR A LIBERATED "MODERN" WOMAN FOLLOWING THE REPEAL OF PROHIBITION IN 1933. Scarce: no other copy has been located.
The dread specter of the flapper girl appears seems to have reached Fargo sometime in the 1930s. The protagonist of the present tracts states: "From other folk whom I thought to be my friends I caught the 'Repeal Fever.' I bobbed my hair, rolled down my stockings, cut off my skirts, penciled my eyebrows, painted my lips and stained my fingernails." The consequences of "Repeal Fever" are (of course) drunkenness and early death.
Interestingly the protagonist names one of the earliest catalysts for her downfall: cigarette ads on the radio, in magazines, and on billboards. From there she started "sitting in public places." She lost the desire to go to church or congregate with parishioners; instead she favored dance halls, road-houses, and "soon became brazen enough to call for a drink at the bar." She learned to gamble and had many "after-midnight dates." In her ruin she bewails the fact that she had been a "modern girl" and had her "personal liberty," and in doing so:
"My virtue is gone; my beauty is gone [...]. Here I am an ugly, blear-eyed (sic) blotch-faced, cigarette stinking, half-crazed drunken sot. I have repealed everything that was good [...] My body is diseased; my heart is broken; my noble ideals crushed; my motherly instincts dead [etc.] -- Here I am waiting for death to end it all, for I am nothing now but just a Repeal Girl."
The present tract was issued by the downtown Fargo Union Mission, which was incorporated 1928, and still serves the homeless (now located at 1902 3rd Avenue North). The text notes that the Repeal Girl's account was reprinted from an English journal ("The Flame"). The text recurs in the August 1939 issue of the "Bible Monitor," a publication by the Drunkard Brethren (sic) in Ohio.