Our Medical Work from 1866--1896

Our Medical Work from 1866--1896--No. 6

Health Education Through the Printed Page.

K.L.J, R.N. & H.M.W., M.D.

In the second article of this series, we presented a brief statement regarding the general health teaching prior to 1866 by such men as Sylvester Graham, Dr. James Jackson, Horace Mann, and Dr. R. T. Trall. Education in health principles carried on fol­lowing Ellen G. White's first vision was not confined to the article on "Health" in "Spirit­ual Gifts," Volume IV, or the first health book, "How to Live," or the publishing of health journals represented by the Health Reformer and the Pacific Coast Journal. We find at this early date other literature in the form of books, pamphlets, and tracts on the subject, emanating from the old steam press in our pioneer printing house established in Battle Creek, Michigan.

It would be impossible in this brief article to mention all the health leaflets, books, and articles published at this time. We shall here introduce to you only a few of the outstanding works of the early pioneers of the message. Although it is very evident that these early writers in our work were influenced more or less by contemporary writers of their day, it is just as clear that their zeal in the promul­gation of the principles of healthful living was a result of the instruction received through the messenger of the Lord, who gave special em­phasis to the importance of the spread of these principles. In other words, God's natural laws were to be made known to the people who wished to serve Him to the best of their powers in their daily lives. "To make natural law plain, and to urge obedience to it," be­came an integral part of the activity connected with the giving of the threefold message.

One of the unique pieces of literature from the viewpoint of the modern reader was the Hygienic Family Almanac, which was issued annually and had a most extensive sale during its lifetime. The first edition was published in 1875. In 1881 the name was changed to the Family Health and Temperance Annual. In the first issue of the Hygienic Family Almanac, we are told why the almanac method was used by the early pioneers. The statement reads as follows:

"For many years the Family Almanac has been a favorite and very efficient means through which quacks and charlatans have sought to place before the public deceptive advertisements of their wares and nostrums. Such is in no sense the object of the present publication. Indeed, it is not an advertise­ment of any creed, party, or institution ; its primary object is to call the attention of the people to a subject the importance of which is insusceptible of overestimation ; viz., that of health reform. For more than thirty years this question has been agi­tated; and it has been constantly receiving more and more of the attention which its momentous bearings demand, until we now find it assuming its proper rank among the great problems of the day."

Thus we note that these early pioneers were quick to see how to counteract unscientific health teaching. They did not believe that a method was wrong simply because it was used in a wrong way, but were alert to use every method and every agency wherein principle was not at stake in getting over to the people the teachings which they felt would benefit the human race. Accompanying each page on which the time of sunrise and sunset and much other valuable factual information appeared in the calendars, we find the subheading, "Sanitarium for January," "Sanitarium for February," and so on, for the year. Under these headings, counsel was given to the reader relative to certain features that they should especially note if they wished to prevent dis­ease during that month. Instead of the old quack almanac, featuring the signs of the sun and the moon and the stars, these practical pioneers brought forcefully to the attention of the early readers of the Hygienic Family Almanac, sound, sensible instruction, based on hygienic principles and natural law. One illus­tration will show the pertinency of the mate­rial which appeared in the monthly instruction to those who purchased the Almanac:

Sanitarium for April: With the approach of milder weather, and the loss of the cool, invigorat­ing, vivifying air of winter, there comes a general complaint of lassitude, 'biliousness,' headache, and general weakness. While this may be in part due to the frequent showers of this month and the sud­den increases of temperature which occur, the main cause is the excessive indulgence in clogging, car­bonaceous foods which is customary with most peo­ple during the winter months. Fat pork, lard in pies and cakes, fried dishes of various sorts, to­gether with large quantities of sugar, sirup, molasses, honey, and rich preserves, are vastly more respon­sible for spring 'biliousness' than any atmospheric or climatic change. In the days of bloodletting it was fashionable to submit to an annual opening of the veins to remove a portion of their turgid contents. Now, a few doses of purgative pills or powders, a half-dozen bottles of some 'tonic,' bitters,"blood purifier,' or other quack compound is more custom­ary. All these so-called remedies are enemies to life, and inevitably damage the system, no matter if the apparent effect may be temporarily beneficial. Frequent ablutions, at least three or four a week, total abstinence from animal fats, great moderation in the use of sugar, salt, and milk, abundant exer­cise in the open air, the free use of fruits and nutritious grains, with plenty of sleep, are the essen­tials of the proper treatment of 'biliousness' and the many ills connected therewith."

Besides these counsels, which to some extent supplemented the needs of the month before, there was additional valuable instruction. It is interesting to note that there existed then, as today, individuals who restricted healthful living to a narrow concept of one item, such as not eating meat, or water treatments, or to diet alone. These early health reformers had to contend with the same problems of mis­understanding and narrow concepts which to­day often bring more harm to the program of health education than all the best efforts that balanced instructors can rectify. We quote from the Almanac of 1875, so that the readers of the present day can be benefited by the in­struction given by those who were instrumental and zealous in making health teaching a funda­mental part of the activities of the early church.

"For more than thirty years the subject of health reform has been agitated in this country ; hence there are now few localities in which it has not been heard of, and nearly every town contains one or more who claim to be believers in the doctrines which it inculcates. But, unfortunately, the opin­ions held with reference to the character of this movement are more generally erroneous than other­wise; and, consequently, the judgment of its merits is often a mistaken one, being founded in error and prompted by prejudice. Like every other great re­form, this also has its quacks, tyros, extremists, fanatics, and pretenders, as well as its true, con­sistent advocates and adherents. On this account, it is always liable to misrepresentation before the public, and so receives stigma and opprobrium which may be justly due to individuals, but in no proper sense attach to the system.

"By far the largest share of this reproach arises from the eccentric and fanatical freaks of narrow-minded individuals who seize upon a single idea, make it a hobby, and allow it to carry them to such ridiculous extremes that they are made the legiti­mate laughingstock of all sensible individuals, and are subjected to the mortification of ignominious failure. We earnestly protest against the consider­ation of such individuals as proper representatives of health reformers in general. Nor can they be considered as the natural result of the principles of the system, any more than gluttons are the natural result of eating, or religious enthusiasts of the prin­ciples of Christianity.

"'Cold-water cure,' hunger cure,' and like epi­thets, are misnomers when applied to the system advocated by true health reformers. The terms originated in the ignorant and unsuccessful practices of certain specialists in their attempts to find a panacea for all diseases. 'Water cure,' hydropathy,' and 'vegetarianism' are also epithets which cannot be justly applied to the system comprehended by the term health reform. They are appropriate names for certain branches of the subject; but neither one of the terms includes the whole.

"It must not be supposed that everything which lays claim to connection with health reform can support such a claim. Many who claim to advocate the system are as ignorant of its principles as are the great majority of those who the most bitterly oppose it. Subject to the test of careful scrutiny and comparison with true principles every proposi­tion before accepting it."

Then under the title "What Health Reform Is," there follows "a code of laws to the advo­cacy of which health reform is devoted, and the careful observance of which is requisite for the maintenance of health." (See inset, next page.) It is interesting to compare this statement with the platform of health principles adopted by the General Conference in session at San Francisco in 1936. (See inset, page 33.)

Another book published in 1874 was entitled the "Hygienic Family Physician, a Complete Guide for the Preservation of Health and the Treatment of the Sick Without Medicine." This book by Dr. M. G. Kellogg contained articles on the prevention of disease, and the value of hot and cold applications and other therapeutic measures in the treatment of the sick. The readers will recall the emphasis we placed on the fact that the first health book published among us, "How to Live," with its seven chapters by Ellen G. White, contained also the writings of outstanding contemporary health workers. We find this true throughout all that early period, and in the book, "The Hygienic Family Physician," a large section was devoted to lectures by Sylvester Graham on the science of human life.

In the preface, due credit is given to the value of Graham's life and influence as a pioneer in the health reform movement. Per­haps there is no treatise written prior to this period which is deserving of more mention. than the works of this man, who died in September, 1851, at the age of 57. During his short life he revealed in his writings a highly trained mind and a research attitude comparable to that displayed in the controlled studies in some of the scholarly discussions of our own modern day. Graham's extensive knowledge was based very largely on his own study and research in the field of healthful living from a physiological basis. We see something of his attitude and objective point of view in arriving at the conclusion that a vegetable diet was the most suitable for man.

"From the natural turn of my mind, I had from childhood been given very much to observations and reflections and inquiries concerning the anatomy and physiology of the human body ; but without any other object in view than the gratification of my thirst for knowledge, and particularly knowledge of first principles, and the relation of cause and effect. ...

"My theory in relation to the diet of man, there­fore, has neither been founded on, nor suggested by, the opinions of others who have taught that vege­table food is the proper aliment of the human species ; but my eye has been continually fixed on the living body, observing its vital phenomena, study­ing its vital properties and powers, and ascertain­ing its physiological laws : and wholly without the consciousness •that any human being had ever ad­vanced the idea that man should confine himself to vegetable food ; and wholly without the purpose in my mind, of establishing such a position!"

When we read Graham's lectures, which were so popularly received, not only by the general lay people, but by the general edu­cators of his day, we do not find it surprising that the early pioneers of our message were able to select out of the material of the day such sound and balanced writings to become a part and parcel of the published material that went out from the Seventh-day Adventist press. The contributions of Sylvester Graham, Doctor Jackson, and Doctor Trail cannot be overlooked as a factor in influencing the pro­gram of health teaching during the pioneer days in the establishment of our work in this country. Horace Mann, the great educator, was also regarded highly by those early pio­neers who often quoted from his lectures and writings.

Another book published in Battle Creek in 1876, which soon became popular, was "The Uses of Water in Health and Disease," by Dr. J. H. Kellogg. In the preface of this old volume, Doctor Kellogg advises the readers to note definitely that the use of water in the treatment of disease is not presented as a panacea for all ills, A "Household Manual" printed in 1875 covered the subjects of do­mestic hygiene, foods and drinks, common dis­eases, and accidents and emergencies, and gave useful hints and recipes. There were also some discourses by those not of the ministry on the relationship of healthful living to spirit­ual life. Perhaps the most striking illustration of this effort was the book printed in 1879, written by Dr. J. H. Kellogg, entitled "Har­mony of Science and the Bible on the Nature of the Soul and the Doctrine of Resurrection." There is much of value in this book, although in some of the presentations the conclusions arrived at would be open to question today by theologians and the medical profession.

Not only were large books printed, such as those we have just mentioned, which often were volumes of from 200 to 300 pages of very small type, but there was also put out a series of tracts covering such topics as the following: "What Health Reform Is, and What It Is Not," "Dyspepsia," "Startling Facts About Tobacco," "Twenty-five Argu­ments for Tobacco Use Briefly Answered," "Tea and Coffee, Why Their Use Is Unhealth­ful," "True Temperance," "The Effect of Alcohol," "The Drunkard's Arguments An­swered." Many of these pamphlets can be found today in the Ellen G. White Publications library, bound together in three volumes en­titled, "Health and Temperance."

Besides the publication of books and tracts, we find during this entire early period in the pages of our church paper, the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, many articles exhorting members of the church to recognize God's claim in maintaining their bodies for service. When we contemplate the small numbers of that early group and the mammoth task which they were undertaking in addition to the pub­lication of health literature, we recognize the  zeal with which they must have been urged forth in the carrying on of this work, which was supplementary to the giving of the third angel's message.

Perhaps one of the unique evidences of this sense of responsibility by the nonprofessional group is seen in a little book entitled "Hand­book of Health and a Brief Treatise on Phys­iology and Hygiene," written by J. N. Lough­borough in IS% This was earlier than the issuing of the Almanac and the books by the professional groups in our ranks. This book is made up entirely of questions and answers. Elder Loughborough, in giving the reason for this method of presentation, said he thought that it would be more forceful and better understood by the average reader in contrast to the larger and more technical treatises avail­able in that day. In the preface he frankly acknowledges the use of the experience, re­search, and writings of such men as Graham

Statement of Principles

As Adopted by the General Conference in 1936

"We recognize that it is in God that we live and move and have our being; that man is not his own, but belongs to God by right of creation and redemption ; that the body is claimed by God for the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, and that man's mental faculties and physical powers should be used to show forth Christian character and service.

"We believe that 'whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,' and that a disregard for natural law and the violation of it are attended by physical penalty; that much of the disease from which man suffers could be prevented by obedience to the laws of health, and that as Christians we owe it to God and our fellow men to observe these laws as fully as possible.

"We believe that the difficult and serious times upon which we have entered make ex­traordinary demands upon our reserve of physical and mental energy ; that good health is especially important to enable us to meet the emergencies of these strenuous times; and that if we would preserve our health, we must have an understanding of the laws which govern our physical well-being and follow them in all our habits of living.

"We believe that God has given His people a special message for this time that will enable them to stand in the crisis just before them and to triumph in His kingdom. As an es­sential part of that message God has given instruction regarding the care of the body, which, if rightly practiced, will bring health and strength, with increased vigor and energy for His service.

"We believe that the light revealed in true science, in the Bible and Spirit of prophecy, is of benefit only as it is followed, and that all our people should with confidence accept the truth concerning healthful living, and prac­tice its principles in their homes and in their individual lives.

"We believe that the principles of health reform demand total abstinence from all in­toxicating beverages, such as beer, wine, and spirituous liquors, tobacco in all its forms, tea and coffee, and irritating spices and condi­ments.

"We believe in sufficient and appropriate ex­ercise and in proper and sufficient hours of sleep and relaxation.

"We believe in the proper clothing of the body as relates to warmth, protection, sim­plicity, and modesty.

"We believe in strict cleanliness of person and premises; and protection against disease-bearing insects and against all disease-produc­ing conditions.

"We believe that we should always do our best to supply the body with wholesome and nourishing foods, used with simplicity in variety and amount, and properly prepared.

"We believe that man's best diet is that originally provided for him : grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables, to which may be added eggs and dairy products when obtained under assured health conditions.

"We believe that flesh food at its best is only an emergency food; that while it has food value, it at the same time contains poisonous products of animal tissue wastes; and that its use as food under ordinary con­ditions is attended by risk to the health.

"We believe that with the present great increase in diseases in animals, the use of flesh as food is attended by an ever-increas­ing danger ; that we should give serious heed to the urgent instruction given us to en­deavor earnestly to provide for our tables that food which is most wholesome and best suited to health.

"We believe that the principles of healthful living should be adopted by our people, and practiced as fully as possible. We are not unmindful of the fact that there are in some countries conditions of poverty or scarcity that make it difficult or even impossibe for believers to obtain a sufficient quantity or variety of those foods best suited to promote health, and therefore we would not urge diet standards impossible to attain. We also be­lieve that no one should sit in judgment on others in matters of diet."—General Confer­ence in session, San Francisco, 1936.

Trail, Lambert, Hitchcock, Mendenhall, and Taylor. He gives special mention to Graham's lectures on the science of human life and to Doctor Trail's "Hydropathic Encyclopedia," and commends these two books to those who wish to go into a deeper investigation.

The book is a classic today. To the modern reader the forcefulness of Elder Loughborough's answers to the questions indicates the practical consideration which he gave to every type of question. We wish it might be pos­sible to make available to the readers of the Ministry verbatim more of this valuable ma­terial, for we find in our search through the old volumes that some of the outstanding prin­ciples of healthful living which we have been teaching for many years are not a newly conceived idea of the last century, but that throughout all the ages great principles of God's natural laws in the preservation of man have been made known to peoples of the earth by pen and by voice, as early as records are available in tracing the history and the habits of mankind. Truly this should serve to in­crease our confidence in, and our zeal for, the promulgation of sound, balanced principles of healthful living that affect the development of the mental and moral faculties, as well as the physical!                         

K. L. J. & H. M. W.


Graham, Sylvester, "Lectures on the Science of Human Life," p. ii. Horsell, Aldine Chambers, Lon­don, 1849.

"Health and Temperance Pamphlets," Office of the Health Reformer, Battle Creek, Michigan.

"Household Manual," Office of the Health Re­former, Battle Creek, Michigan, 1875.

Hygienic Family Almanac, Nov., 1875; Office of the Health Reformer, Battle Creek, Michigan, pp. I, 5, 9, 26, 28.

Kellogg, M. G., "The Hygienic Family Physician," Office of the Health Reformer, Battle Creek, Michi­gan, 1873

Kellogg, J.H., "The Uses of Water in Health and Disease," Office of the Health Reformer, Battle Creek, Michigan, 1876; "Harmony of Science and the Bible in the Nature of the Soul and the Doctrine of the Resurrection," Review and Herald Publishing Association, Battle Creek, Michigan, 1879.

Loughborough, J. N., "Handbook of Health; or a Brief Treatise on Physiology and Hygiene," Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Asso­ciation, Battle Creek, Michigan, 1868.

Trail, R. T, "The Hydropathic Encyclopedia," 2 vols., Fowlers and Wells Publishers, New York, 1854. White, Ellen G., and others, "How to Live," Steam Press of Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Associa­tion, Battle Creek, Michigan, 1866.

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K.L.J, R.N. & H.M.W., M.D.

May 1940

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