Sylvester Graham, 1794 - 1851

Sylvester Graham was an outspoken advocate of proper health, hygiene, diet, and sexual reform in nineteenth-century America.  Although he had no medical training, Graham was convinced of the need for vegetarianism, unbolted flour, moderate exercise, loose clothing, cold baths, and strict temperance.  He lectured to large audiences in the 1830s, wrote several books on chastity and nutrition, including his influential Lectures on the Science of Human Life (1839), and promoted rigorous discipline in the avoidance of stimulants of all sorts.  His followers--called Grahamites--shared in his almost religious zeal for physical and moral purity, and even today the Graham cracker still bears his name.  Graham's ideas influenced not only Amos Bronson Alcott's Fruitlands community, but also Brook Farm, the Northampton Association, the Oneida community, and Shaker villages.