Just over three-quarters of Pennsylvanian voters chose to repeal Prohibition on November 7, 1933. That decision was later ratified on December 5th. As the stories below illustrate, Prohibition was a troublesome time for Pennsylvania, especially when it came to poisonous liquor.

  • A Washington Post story from 1933 tells of how 12 died in Philadelphia after drinking alcohol that had been stolen from a garage. It had been apparently intended for use in car radiators.

  • Ten years earlier, The New York Times declared that with 875 deaths from liquor, it had “more [deaths] in [a] year than any other city.”

  • Pittsburgh, too, had its problems with poison booze. One newspaper article told of how the city experienced 7 deaths from tainted liquor in one week.


7 in Pittsburgh Killed By Liquor in One Week , The Washington Post (1877-1954); Nov 27, 1923; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 – 1991) , pg. 3

HAS 875 LIQUOR DEATHS. , Special to The New York Times. , New York Times (1857-Current file); Dec 28, 1923; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2004) , pg. 17

Stolen Poison Alcohol Kills 12 In Philadelphia , The Washington Post (1877-1954); Jul 27, 1933; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 – 1991) , pg. 4