Loyola University Chicago

Department of History


One Night Only: Carry A. Nation, The Famous and Original Bar Room Smasher!

Carry Nation event

Carry A Nation grabbed a drink out of a man’s hand and announced to the crowd, “Anyone who thinks this is fit to drink can come outside and suck it out of the street!” at which point she proceeded to leave the tavern and pour the beer into the gutter. That was the introduction many got to Carry A Nation when she was the scourge of tavern owners in the early 20th century. She’s back in Chicago on April 10 to admonish the students of Loyola University as she did 115 years ago.

What would famed barroom smasher, temperance advocate and anti-tobacco and drugs crusader Carry A Nation have to say about our society today? Learn more about this significant woman who made so many headlines and shaped social discourse in her time; even for those that did not agree with her.

"Sit down and Shut Up!” was often shouted at Carry Nation in her time and is today as well when she appears to modern audiences in churches, taverns and on the street. Carry takes on all comers. She argues and shames the drunkards and sympathizes with and offers to save the innocent victims of Demon Rum.

Well known Chicago performer Ellie Carlson of Ellie Presents recently brought Carry A Nation back for modern audiences. This first-person interpretation is titled The Famous & Original Barroom Smasher: Carry A Nation.Ellie appears as Carry during the early 1900s when she was busy traveling the US and the British Isles in support of her causes: abstinence from alcohol, tobacco and drugs; and rescue for fallen men, women and children who were victims of addiction and the ruin it visited upon their lives.

For upcoming appearances please visit Ellie’s schedule on her website, www.elliepresents.com.

Ellie’s Carry has appeared in universities, churches, libraries and even taverns. In July of 2016 she visited Carry’s home town of Medicine Lodge Kansas to huge crowds and much fanfare. Like the original Carry A Nation she is welcomed into bars because, despite her best efforts, she increases business wherever she appears. In the early twentieth century, tavern owners put up signs “All Nations Welcome Except Carry.” When Carry smashes a bar today and threatens to pour the whiskey into the street and set it on fire, patrons order up.

For more information on Carry and the other seven characters that Ellie portrays please visit www.elliepresents.com or phone 312.771.2400.