Dr. Jesse Mercer Gehman
IVU Vice President 1960-77
IVU Regional Secretary for the Americas 1960-75
- a statue of Christopher Columbus was commissioned for the city of
Reading, PA, USA. Full details of this on the Columbus
Monument Pages include:
"Interesting detail: in the booklet published at the occasion
of the unveiling a photo is included of the 'Reading Boy Who Posed
for Columbus Statue.' This 'boy' was Dr. Jesse Mercer Gehman, a physical-culturist
from Reading, who lived in New York."
They also show the photo left, presumbaly taken around the same time.
of Natural Healing (history page) :
Today Dr. Lust is generally recognized as the founder of American
naturopathy. Dr. Lust's student, Jesse Mercer Gehman, DC, ND, expanded
the practice of natural healing from the 1930s through the 1970s and
for a time served as president of the American Naturopathic Association.
Much of his work was supported and expanded into a spiritual focus
that addressed the new youth counter culture of the 1960s and 1970s.
With this specific group of seekers in mind Dr. Gehman and his good
friend Vincent Collura created The Natural Healing Foundation International.
Photo right: 1920's Jesse Mercer Gehman Beefcake. Nice photo
of the American Apollo, the man who posed for the statue of Christopher
Columbus that stands in Reading, PA, and a pioneer of the vegetarian
diet and lifestyle in America. Click for a
1949 saw the holdong of the 'First
American Vegetarian Convention' which founded the American
Vegetarian Union and elected Dr. Gehman as its first president.
1950 IVU Congress, minutes from the General Meeting: ". . . Messages
and greetings were read from the Los Angeles Vegetarian Society and
from the President of the American Vegetarian Union (Dr. Gehman).
1960 IVU Congress, from the GM minutes: - "Regional Secretaries
Appointed: Mr J N Mankar (India and the East), Dr Jesse Mercer Gehman
(The Americas)" - and - "Vice Presidents elected: . . . Dr
Jesse Mercer Gehman (USA) . . .". The post of 'Regional Secretary
for the Americas' had been created in 1958 and initially held by Dastur
By 1963 there were eight Vice Presidents from the USA: Mr Lowell Fillmore,
Dr Jesse Mercer Gehman, Dr W Mc Gregor, Mr S H Linnio, Dr J Maxwell,
Mr Curtis Freshel, Prof Scott Nearing, Prof H B Stevens.
1965 WVC General Meeting minutes: - "General secretary: The committee
re-appointed Mr Geoffrey L.Rudd, and re-appointed the Regional Secretaries:
Mr J N Mankar (India & the East), Dr Jesse Marcer Gehman (The Americas)
(Dr Gehman's new address is POB 68 Duncannon Rd., 3, Pennsylvania 17028,
Also in 1965 Geoffrey Rudd compiled a brief history of IVU which stated:
"Dastur Framrose Bode worked in America during Mrs. Gasque's Presidency,
and then the appointment passed to Dr. Jesse Mercer Gehman - a dynamic
personality in the American natural health movement and a good friend
made at the first American Convention."
Dr Jesse Gehman, with a fine Hippy hairstyle, and his wife Agy,
whose mountain retreat near Harrisburg is the editorial home of
"The American Vegetarian-Hygienist".
In 1968 Geoffrey Rudd toured North America, his report included the
photo right, and the following comments:
We then had a few days' rest at the mountainside retreat of Dr Jesse
Gehman and his wife, Agy - at Duncannon in Pennsylvania - an idyllic
spot with large floppy swallowtail butterflies, strange flowers and
birds. Of course, my film camera had been busy whenever possible,
not only recording the country and its inhabitants but the exotic
flora, fauna and avifauna - Red Cardinals, Eagles, Chipmunks, Woodchucks,
Mandrake, Indian's Paint Brush, and, believe it or not, Humming Birds.
I had met Jesse at the first American Vegetarian Convention, near
Milwaukee in 1949 - James Hough was there, too - and we had corresponded
ever since. I had never expected to see him again, and there we were,
idling in his garden overlooking the Susquehanna River, once a stamping
ground of the Indians. His home was Kahagon - Indian for "at
the foot of mountains." It was hard to believe ; and always the
nagging thought, "Had our offer for Parkdale been accepted?"
I had made the Society's bid for the new premises just before I left.
A yard-long black snake slid by my wife's feet and made for the rockery.
Wild tortoises ate the strawberries if you didn't watch out. Tilly,
a little Sheltie bitch, followed us everywhere and chased racoons
until they turned and bared their sharp teeth ; deer barked in the
forest. A nice break, full of interest, and Agy knew all about cooking,
even understood the English need for a cuppa. Chatted with farmers
and delved for information as in England. Corn cobs were stacked high
in wire-mesh cylinders for cattle and pig feed. Milk production was
no longer profitable for small farmers, so they fattened beeves instead.
A.I. was not successful, they said, and preferred their own Hereford
bulls - nice to see other Englishmen in the fields. Cherry trees were
loaded with fruit by the roadsides and we ate as we walked.
The American Vegetarian Union, Inc. President: Dr. Jesse Mercer
Gehman, P.O. Box 68, Duncannon, Penn. 17020. Tel.: 717-834-4504.
Periodicals include: American Vegetarian-Hygienists, published
by American Better Health Publications. Editor: Dr. J. M. Gehman.
Monthly. An. sub. U.S. $4.50, abroad $5.50. Single copy, 35 cents.
P.O. Box 68, Duncannon, Pa 17020.
1971 GM minutes: - The Secretaries remained the same: Mr. B. J. Gunn-King,
as Hon. General Secretary; Shri J.N. Mankar, as Hon. Regional Secretary
for India and the East, and Dr. J.M. Gehman, as Hon. Regional Secretary
for the Americas.
In 1975 the role of 'Regional Secretary for the Americas' was replaced
by separate Secretaries for North and South America, and Dr. Gehman
retired after 15 years in the post.
1977 - GM Minutes - "The Congress expresses its deep and sincere
regrets on the passing over of our following colleagues:- . . . Dr.Jesse
mercer Gehman, former Hon.Reg.Sec. for The Americas and Sec. of the
former American Vegetarian Union; . . . Please join with me in a period
of silence to mark our esteem for them all."
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