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Sylvester Graham (1794-1851) was a Presbyterian minister who is today most famous for inventing the Graham cracker in 1829. Less well-known are the social reforms and health theories he championed. He believed, for example, that a vegetable diet and eating homemade, coarsely ground whole-wheat flour promoted mental and physical health and prevented alcoholism. He also advised Americans to sleep on hard mattresses and to take cold showers, a health regimen that evolved into hydropathy, or the "water cure." By the 1840s Graham was a well-known and eccentric resident of Northampton, Massachusetts, where a newspaper in 1851 derided him as "Dr. Bran, the philosopher of sawdust pudding." Graham's theories influenced many later diet reformers, including the Kellogg brothers and C.W. Post, who pioneered the invention of granola, corn flakes, and other breakfast cereals. This recipe for Graham Bread appeared in a "Hydropathic Cook-Book" in 1855.


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Graham Bread Recipe from "The New Hydropathic Cook-Book"

publisher   Fowlers and Wells
author   Robert Thacher Trall (1812-1877)
date   1855
location   New York
width   5.0"
height   7.5"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Books/Book
accession #   #L01.002

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Membership card to the "National Christian Temperance Union"

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