Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Cadets of Temperance (N.Y.) Papers, 1847-1850

Finding aid created by
Shannon Wait, June 2010

Summary Information
Title: Cadets of Temperance (N.Y.) papers
Creator: Cadets of Temperance (N.Y.)
Inclusive dates: 1847-1850
Extent: 139 items
The Cadets of Temperance (N.Y.) papers contain correspondence, meeting minutes, financial records, and printed materials concerning the Eagle and Cygnet Sections of the Cadets of Temperance in northwestern New York.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1984. M-4229.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

Cadets of Temperance (N.Y.) Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The Cadets of Temperance papers are arranged into four series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Records
    • Subseries I: Meeting records
    • Subseries II: Bound records
    • Subseries III: Receipts
    • Subseries IV: Applications
  • Series IV: Printed Materials
  • Series V: Realia (Housed in the Graphics Division)


The Grand Section of the Cadets of Temperance of the State of New York was founded around 1846 as a total abstinence society and as the youth wing of the Sons of Temperance organization, which did not admit minors. The Cadets of Temperance accepted members between 12 and 18 years of age, in an effort to instill temperance values in children before they could acquire a taste for alcohol. For its members, the organization prohibited the use of tobacco and served as a mutual aid society in the case of illness.

The Grand Section consisted of numerous local sections named for various animals. One such organization was the Cygnet Section (No. 15), instituted at Rochester, New York, on August 27, 1847. Another western New York branch, the Eagle Section (No. 97), was instituted on March 11, 1848, in Rush, New York. The groups had many practices in common, including charging monthly dues of 10-15 cents and requiring parental consent to join. Members met weekly and engaged in many fraternal rituals, such as the wearing of ceremonial clothing and the use of passwords, songs, recitations, and elaborate titles. Offices within the Cadets included the grand worthy archon (G.W.A.), past worthy archon (P.W.A), grand worthy patron (G.W.P.), vice archon (V.A.), usher, and watchman. Similar titles were also used by the Sons of Temperance.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Cadets of Temperance (N.Y.) papers contain 17 letters, 102 records, and 20 printed items, spanning 1847-1850. The majority of the items concern the Eagle Section of the Cadets of Temperance in Rush, New York, but a few items pertain to the Cygnet Section of Rochester, New York, and the Rush Division of the Sons of Temperance of Rush, New York.

The Correspondence series contains 17 letters, 1847-1850, relating to the business of both the Cadets of Temperance and the Rush Division of the Sons of Temperance of Rush, New York. Grand Worthy Patron (G.W.P.) John F. Graham is the recipient of over half of the letters, which contain information about meetings, new members, elections, and practices of both groups. A letter of December 4, 1847, written by A.B. Clemons describes the threat to temperance posed by the availability of rum in Palmyra, New York. Charles E. Ford wrote a letter about the behavioral problems of members, including one man's refusal to sit down when the gavel sounded (December 13, 1847). On December 15, 1848, Daniel Cody wrote concerning the difficulty of finding adult leadership for the Cadets of Temperance because of the ban on tobacco. Also present are several letters between local sections that were collaborating to put on events.

The Records series spans 1848-1850 and contains several subseries pertaining to the Eagle Section of the Cadets of Temperance: Meeting Records, Bound Records, Receipts, and Applications. The Meeting Records subseries include minutes, attendance lists, an early constitution written at the first meeting (March 11, 1848), and records of votes taken at meetings. In one such vote, the boys debated whether the "Rough & Ready Society is more beneficial to society than the Cadets," which was affirmed by a vote of 7 to 6 (June 21, 1848). In another, they decided the question of whether "the negroes have been abused more than the Indians" (November 29, 1848). These records also document the election of officers, cases of rule violation by members and their punishments, and the payment of initiation and monthly dues. The Bound Records subseries contains three volumes: a book of meeting minutes for March 1848-March 1849 and two membership books that track fee payments for 1848. The Receipts subseries contains five small bundles of receipts for initiation and membership dues, totaling 60 items. The Applications subseries consists of 18 applications for membership, with name, residence, age, and recommender of each applicant.

The Printed Material series covers 1848-1850, and includes constitution and by-laws for the Cygnet Section of the Cadets of Temperance (1848), the Rush Division of the Sons of Temperance (1849), and the Eagle Section of the Cadets of Temperance (n.d.). Also in this series are several instruction cards, an undated booklet with songs and recitations, and a document containing the Cadets' 1850 password.

The Realia Series comprises a wooden box containing two ceremonial collars and a gavel. These items are housed in the Clements Library Graphics Division.

Subject Terms

    • Cadets of Temperance (N.Y.)
    • Sons of Temperance of North America.
    • Temperance--United States--Societies, etc.
    • Temperance--New York (State)
    • Youth--Conduct of life.
    • Youth--Societies and clubs.
    • Armitage, Enoch.
    • Block, Phineas.
    • Clemons, A.B.
    • Cody, Daniel.
    • Ford, Charles E.
    • Lucius, A.B.
    • Nash, Alvah.
    Genre Terms:
    • Correspondence.
    • Financial Records.
    • Minutes.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   47, Small Collections  
    Correspondence,  December 4, 1847-[n.d.] 1850 [series] (2 folders)
    Records [series]
    Box   47, Small Collections  
    Meeting records,  March 11, 1848-July 3, 1850 [subseries] (3 folders)
    Box   47, Small Collections  
    Bound records,  March 11, 1848-December 11, 1849 [subseries] (1 folder)
    Box   47, Small Collections  
    Receipts,  1848 [subseries] (1 folder)
    Box   47, Small Collections  
    Applications,  1848 and undated [subseries] (1 folder)
    Box   47, Small Collections  
    Printed Materials,  1848-1850 and undated [series] (2 folders)
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Alternate Locations

    A wooden box containing two ceremonial collars and a gavel is housed in the Clements Library Graphics Division.