Carrie A. Nation Pin, 1905

By her own account, temperance reformer Carry A. Nation used rocks, a sledgehammer borrowed from a blacksmith, and a bar room billiard ball to destroy five Kansas saloons—before she took up a hatchet to destroy a Wichita, Kansas, saloon on December 27, 1900. Saloons were illegal under Kansas state law, but tolerated by officials. Explaining her choice of weapon, Nation recalled that the state’s “liquor interests” had nothing to fear from the usual temperance advocates, “but they were not prepared for a furious woman and a hatchet.” Her saloon smashings became known as “hatchetations”—a play on words coined by the publicity-savvy Nation.
A Topeka, Kansas, druggist supplied Nation with little pewter hatchets to sell to cover her legal fines and travel expenses. Nation found that the public clamored for her hatchet souvenirs and readily grasped the meaning of them.
associated person
Nation, Carrie
associated organization
Woman's Christian Temperance Union
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
mother of pearl (overall material)
overall: 2 in x 1 in; 5.08 cm x 2.54 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Clay F. Gaumer
Unlinked Subject
See more items in
Political History: Political History, Womens History/Reform Movements Collection
Government, Politics, and Reform
American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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