When Tipping Was Illegal in Iowa, And How A U.S. President Broke That Law

Waiters in the state’s restaurants predicted unsatisfactory service for patrons starting in July 1915 after a new law was passed by the 36th General Assembly of Iowa. The Anti-Tipping Law came into effect on July 5 and promised a misdemeanor for employees of hotels, restaurants, barber shops or transportation establishments who accepted tips. Both the giver and the receiver were subject to arrest, a 10-day jail term and a fine of not less than $5 or more than $25. Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is a former history teacher, newspaper editor, and public television project manager.