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Bootlegging in South Dakota, 1929

23 April 2013

In a study of South Dakota Congregationalist churches, Jesse Fenn Perrin tried to pinpoint, among other things, which social sins ministers thought presented the greatest threat. In Perrin’s survey there were ten listed: gambling, theft, corruption in public office, juvenile delinquency, sex misbehavior, public dance, vandalism, poverty, lax law enforcement, and bootlegging. The response?

Bootlegging is the most serious problem according to the ministers. Seven report that in their community it is very serious. Twenty-six report it as a serious problem. Nine say that it is a minor problem and only six report that it is not a problem with them. The public dance is the second most serious problem in the South Dakota towns. Public dances usually nowadays carry with them a crowd that are strong patronizers of the bootleggers and the whole situation at the dance hall becomes very unwholesome.

(Jesse Fenn Perrin, “Preaching in South Dakota Congregational Churches,” B.D. Dissertation, The Chicago Theological Seminary, June 1929, 34).

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