She spent more that twenty-five years campaigning against the use of tobacco, in addition to prohibition and woman suffrage. Lucy organized the National Anti-Cigarette League. She lobbied before state legislatures and even the Chicago city council. She also appeared before the National Congress in Washington, D.C., trying to convince legislators that it was their job to outlaw the use of tobacco. She even wrote a letter to President Warren G. Harding. He was an avid smoker, and she felt that he was setting a bad example by his habit of tobacco use.
Lucy did become successful in pushing through a law in Illinois that prohibited minors from being able to obtain and smoke cigarettes. Chief of Police McWeeney deputized Lucy, which enabled her to enforce this law. She personally arrested a handful of 16 year old boys when she saw them smoking. Lucy termed the cigarette as a "Coffin Nail". In 1907, Lucy was instrumental with the law put forth by the Chicago City Council where it was deemed illegal to make, sell or give away cigarettes in the State of Illinois. The law was challenged and defeated on a technicality, otherwise those choosing to disregard the rule would have been fined $100 and jailed for up to 30 days.
Lucy and her family lived in Marshall County, Illinois during her formative years. She attended and graduated from Lacon High School, and was the valedictorian at her commencement exercises.
Lacon School 1877 Commencement brochure, paperchase-LucyPageGaston
|map of the location of the first schools where Miss Gaston taught from 1876-1879, paperchase-LucyPageGaston|
|page 1 Lucy Page Gaston obit August 28, 1924 Lacon Home Journal, paperchase-LucyPageGaston|
In Your Backyard
by david dellinger
Lacon,, IL January 2011
Lucy Page Gaston campaigned as a candidate for the presidency of the United States in 1920. Obviously her campaign was not successful, as she was not elected. However, she had a good platform : "Clean morals, clean food and fearless law enforcement." She filed in the primary of South Dakota, but dropped out of the race before the election. She could not support Warren G. Harding because he was an avid smoker, even stating that he had a smoker's face which was unbecoming to her. She attended the convention of the Prohibition Party, and supported the candidate William Jennings Bryan.
Further information about Lucy P. Gaston can be found in the following publications, as taken from www.sites.google.com/site/LucyPageGaston/Genisis-of-Research
Cigarette Wars, The Triumph of the “Little White Slaver” by Cassandra Tate
For Your own Good by Jacob Sullum
Thank You For Not Smoking by Gordon Dillow
The Little White Slaver in Kansas by R. Alton Lee
The Smoking Gun by Robert Loerzel
Lost Cause by Frances Warfield
Women Building Chicago 1790-1990 by Schultz & Hast
Readin’ and Ritin’ and Rithmetic Through The Years; Education in Marshall County, Illinois
by B.K. Doxhelmer