Liberated SPIRITS: The Characters

Women brought Prohibition into existence and, to a large extent, charted its 13-year course. Mabel Willebrandt and Pauline Sabin set the tone for much of that existence and the men they worked with and against cast a mosaic of the varied forces impacting its fate.

Pauline Sabin, Mabel Willebrandt and  Roy and Elsie Olmstead

Pauline Sabin

Pauline Sabin and sons Paul and JamesPauline Sabin and the sons, Paul (l) and James (r), she hoped to protect from alcohol’s damaging effects.

The New York socialite who, initially, supported Prohibition’s aim of destroying the saloon, but, later, abhorred its intrusion on personal liberty. She would lead the charge for repeal, marshaling a legion of women to banish their own creation.

Bayberry Land postcard from Rogers Memorial LibraryBayberry, the perfect setting for political organizing, fundraising, and decision-making.
(Image courtesy of Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton, NY.)

The women's leadership within the Republican Party in 1921The women’s leadership within the Republican Party in 1921. Their adherence to “women’s issues” challenged Sabin’s desire to have women increase their stake in the party.

James W. Wadsworth Jr.

James W. Wadsworth, Jr., hardline anti-Prohibitionist, anti-suffragist, and Pauline’s political mentor.

A verse from a song for the Prohibition RepealA verse from a song written for the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Repeal.

Sabin (far right) and her colleagues in the fight against Prohibition.Sabin (far right) and her colleagues in the fight against Prohibition.

Mabel Willebrandt

The “first legal lady of the land” battled popular resentment, corruption among her cohorts, insufficient means, and resistance to woman in power, but she never wavered in her belief that the law could be enforced.

Mabel Willebrandt hard at work.Mabel Willebrandt hard at work.

Mabel Willebrandt telegram and photo.

Willebrandt cartoon.A cartoon from the Washington Herald depicting the monumental task in front of Willebrandt.

Willebrandt making history delivering a report to the delegates at the 1928 Republican National Convention.Willebrandt making history delivering a report to the delegates at the 1928 Republican National Convention.

Roy Olmstead

The policeman turned gentleman rum runner who seized an opportunity for vast wealth. His success drove Prohibition agents to tap his phones and trust an unscrupulous double agent to build a case that landed on Mabel Willebrandt’s desk on its way to the Supreme Court.

Olmstead Article and 1913 Puget Sound Map

Roy Olmstead the PolicemanPolice Lieutenant Roy Olmstead

Roths Impressions of Olmstead Trial
Whispering Wires

Olmstead’s Accusers

The Legal TeamThe legal team prosecuting Olmstead: (l to r) William Whitney, Clifford McKinney, John Marshall, and Thomas Revelle.

Dry Unit Faces U.S. Jury Action

Al Hubbard and Treasury Agent BadgeAl Hubbard, “Boy Wonder” and double agent.

Hubbard Admits Perjury Newspaper Headline