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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Tue., Oct. 23, 2012

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Women’s Christian Temperance Union found a new evil to deplore: Women smoking cigarettes.

At a Portland conference, one of the officials of the organization declared that cigarettes “were fastening its tentacles upon the young women of the nation.”

“It is not uncommon,” she said, “for the young women of the smart set to pass the cigarettes after a luncheon and the girl who does not smoke is ridiculed and frequently forced to smoke in self-defense. I do not refer to the disreputable women as the great menace in this evil, but the class of women perfectly respectable, but not refined – between the gentlewomen and the unfortunate sister.”

She said these idle women of the “smart set” are “ready for any new freak, be it the big hat, the narrow skirt, or the extremely low-cut gown.” These women, she said, are “more dangerous to civilization than the poor creatures whom they pass with skirts drawn aside.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1915: Tens of thousands of women marched in New York City, demanding the right to vote. … 1983: 241 U.S. service members, most of them Marines, were killed in a suicide truck-bombing at Beirut International Airport in Lebanon; a near-simultaneous attack on French forces killed 58. … 1987: The U.S. Senate rejected, 58-42, the Supreme Court nomination of Robert H. Bork.

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