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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

World Vegetarian Day

World Vegetarian Day is observed on October 1. It was established by the North American Vegetarian Society in 1977 "to promote the joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism" ( It was endorsed by the International Vegetarian Union in 1978.

October 1 is also the start of Vegetarian Awareness Month, which ends with World Vegan Day on November 1. Non-vegetarians who pledge to go meat-free for Vegetarian Awareness Month could win up to $1,000 in a random drawing sponsored by the North American Vegetarian Society.

I have been a vegetarian since July 1, 2001. I decided that I didn't want to eat animals any more. Although I am not vegan, the majority of the food that I eat is vegan. If there is such a thing as "semi-vegan", that is the most accurate description of my diet.

Vegetarianism has a long history. The ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras was a vegetarian. His followers, the Pythagoreans, also practiced vegetarianism. Until the nineteenth century, vegetarianism was often referred to as the Pythagorean diet. During the European Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci and Pierre Gassendi were vegetarians.

In 1809, the Bible Christian Church was founded in Salford, Greater Manchester, England by William Cowherd. Members of the church abstained from eating meat. The Vegetarian Society in Greater Manchester, England was founded on 30 September 1847. On 15 May 1850, the American Vegetarian Society was established, but ceased during the 1860s. The Vegetarian Society of America was founded in 1886.

Chicago, Illinois was a major center for the vegetarian movement in the United States. The Chicago Vegetarian Society was founded in 1889. The Vegetarian Federal Union had an exhibit at the World's Fair: Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The 3rd International Vegetarian Congress was held in Chicago at 1893. The Pure Food Lunch Room, located at 176 E. Madison Street, opened in 1900 and was the first vegetarian restaurant in Chicago. Some of my ancestors were living in Chicago at the time that these events took place.

John Harvey Kellogg developed the first meat analog ("meatless meat") in 1896. It was peanut-based. By the early 1930s, Kellogg was producing textured soy proteins.

Vegetarian personal ads were placed as early as the 1850s. Some personal ads which were placed in The Water-Cure Journal in 1855 are reproduced on Slate's history blog The Vault. It would be interesting to find an ad that was placed by an ancestor!

 Trenton State Gazette, vol. IV, issue 1028, 17 May 1850, page 2.

 Daily Inter Ocean, vol. XIX issue 258 (8 December 1890) , page 7.

Vegetarian Federal Union stall, Chicago World's Fair, 1893. Available from International Vegetarian Union.

"Attendance At The Fair: Comparisons With The Centennial Ex-Position: More People At The Chicago Exhibition." New York Tribune, 16 May 1893, page 7.

New York Herald-Tribune, 6 February 1895, page 8.

Advertisement for the Pure Food Lunch Room, Chicago's first vegetarian restaurant, 1900. Available from

Rev. Henry Clubb, president of the Vegetarian Society of America. Photo from Henry S. Clubb, "The Vegetarians."Good Housekeeping, vol. 36 no. 2 (February 1903), page 112. Available from Google Books.

The Vegetarian Magazine, vol. 13 no 4 (December 1909), page 50.

 Urbana Daily Courier, 16 February 1909. Available from Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections.

Kentucky New Era, 7 February 1911.

World Vegetarian Day poster, 2014. Available from

Chicago, Vegetarian Capital of America (c. 1905)
Christian Vegetarianism
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and Battle Creek Foods: Work with Soy
The Exquisite Wistfulness of 19th-Century Vegetarian Personal Ads
History of Vegetarianism
Timeline of Vegetarian History - The Ancient World
Timeline of Vegetarian History - From 1400 to 1800
Timeline of Vegetarian History - 19th Century to 1888
Timeline of Vegetarianism - 1889-1907:  The Beginnings of International Vegetarianism
World History of Vegetarianism
World Vegetarian Day
World Vegetarian Day - NAVS

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