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Online Exhibits - Sinners and Saints, Introduction

"Kansas SmokeLess Kids" at Capitol.Vice and Reform in Kansas

One hundred years ago reform movements swept the nation.

People banded together to combat alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and prostitution. Kansans were caught up in the reform fervor and became leaders in curbing the use of alcohol and tobacco.

While what was deemed a vice changed over time, Kansas reformers were confident they could eliminate it. They passionately believed their actions could make a difference.

Sinners and Saints: Vice and Reform in Kansas is an online exhibit addressing Kansans' efforts at reform. It is a companion piece to Carry A. Nation: The Famous and Original Bar Room Smasher. Both displays were developed by the Kansas Museum of History.

This online exhibit is divided into 11 sections, including three timelines. Click on the first link below to embark on your exhibit tour, or visit them in any order.

  1. A Moral and Pure Society - Creating better communities was the goal.
  2. Alcohol - The politics behind alcohol reform.
  3. Agitate, Educate, Organize! - Women's role in prohibition laws.
  4. Gambling - Betting men took money away from their families.
  5. Gambling Timeline - Kansas issues.
  6. Prostitution - Seen as threatening the moral fabric of society.
  7. Prostitution Timeline - Kansas issues.
  8. Smoking - Cigarettes were believed to corrupt youth.
  9. Smoking Timeline - Kansas & U.S. issues.
  10. Vice in the 20th and 21st Centuries - They're still vices, but now the issue is health.
  11. Kansas Reformed? - The definition of "vice" has shifted over time.