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Beverage Cooler

From a tavern in Alexandria, VA
This salt-glazed stoneware cooler was probably made for the Alexandria, VA, tavern run by John W. Smith. It was made between 1831 and 1841, a time when Americans were consuming more alcohol than at any other period in their history. This cooler may have been used to dispense whiskey, gin, brandy, or some other alcoholic beverage. About the time this cooler was made, the temperance movement launched a powerful response to the unprecedented consumption of alcohol. Established in 1836, the American Temperance Union was waging a campaign to end workplace drinking. It also set up so-called temperance hotels as an alternative to traditional taverns, like J.W. Smith's.

Made at the pottery owned by Hugh C. Smith of Alexandria, about 1831-41
Marked (not visible in photo) "ALEXa./D.C.," because at that time the city of Alexandria was still part of the District of Columbia
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