Sylvester Graham - Encyclopedia

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SYLVESTER GRAHAM (1794-1851), American dietarian, was born in Suffield, Connecticut, in 1794. He studied at Amherst College, and was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry in 1826, but he seems to have preached but little. He became an ardent advocate of temperance reform and of vegetarianism, having persuaded himself that a flesh diet was the cause of abnormal cravings. His last years were spent in retirement and he died at Northampton, Massachusetts, on the 11th of September 1851. His name is now remembered because of his advocacy of unbolted (Graham) flour, and as the originator of "Graham bread." But his reform was much broader than this. He urged, primarily, physiological education, and in his Science of Human Life (1836; republished, with biographical memoir, 1858) furnished an exhaustive text-book on the subject. He had carefully planned a complete regimen including many details besides a strict diet. A Temperance (or Graham) Boarding House was opened in New York City about 5832 by Mrs Asenath Nicholson, who published Nature's Own Book (2nd ed., 1835) giving Graham's rules for boarders; and in Boston a Graham House was opened in 1837 at 23 Brattle Street.

There were many Grahamites at Brook Farm, and the American Physiological Society published in Boston in 1837 and 1838 a weekly called The Graham Journal of Health and Longevity, designed to illustrate by facts and sustain by reason and principles the science of human life as taught by Sylvester Graham, edited by David Campbell. Graham wrote Essay on Cholera (1832); The Esculapian Tablets of the Nineteenth Century (1834); Lectures to Young Men on Chastity (2nd ed., 1837); and Bread and Bread Making; and projected a work designed to show that his system was not counter to the Holy Scriptures.

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