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Vegetarian Societies in the USA

Pacific Food Reform Society

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), January 1885, p27:

San Francisco - We have received copy of the Woman's Herald of Industry for Nov. 1884, where we find announcement of the "Pacific Food Reform Society." Mr. L. C. Kelly is president, Mrs. Stow vice-president, Mr. E. N. Boyd treasurer, Mrs. Tarrant Siddons secretary and treasurer, and Professor Van Der Naillen chairman of the executive committee. The society purposes holding meetings at least fortnightly, at Heald's Business College, 24 Post Street, when friends interested in food and temperance are invited to be present.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), October 1885, p307:

San Francisco - About thirty-five persons (the members of the two sexes being about equally divided) assembled last night (Thursday, June 25th) at 519, Clay Street, to celebrate the first anniversary of the organisation of the Pacific Food Reform Association. The Association was founded by Mrs. Tarrant Siddons on June 25, 1894, and has for its objects the education of the masses in the knowledge and appreciation of the advantages of a purely vegetable diet as the sole source of health, wealth, long life, happiness, and physical and moral wellbeing. Naturally the celebration took the shape of a Vegetarian banquet, in which vegetables and fruits of many varieties and in various disguises furnished the entire bill of fare.

Among others present were Brother O. G. Gardner (the President of the Society); Mrs. Tarrant Siddons, its secretary and founder; Dr. Barlow J. Smith, of water-cure fame; H. C. Wilson, Principal of the Point Lobos Avenue School and President of the Society of Progressive Spiritualists; Rev. John N. Parker, an eloquent exhorter of the same society; Rev. Nicholas Boyd, who is at present engaged in preparing the catalogue of Adolph Sutro's library; Sister Stow, the President of the Social Science Sisterhood, having for its purpose the adoption of bifurcated garments for feminine wear; Mrs. Webb, Secretary of the same Society and champion lady swimmer of the Pacific coast; L. E. Kelly, paying teller of Lather & Co.'s Bank; and last, but not least, Levi Simpson Elphick, nearly 80 years of age, whose peculiar costume has recently attracted considerable attention in the streets.

Mr. Elphick, who is a remarkably well-preserved old gentleman, with a bronzed complexion, a keen eye, and long hair of silvery white, claims that for 55 years no aninmal food, or animal products with the exception of milk, has passed his lips. To such an extent does he carry his aversion to the products of animal life that his clothing even is manufactured entirely from vegetable products. Hence he roams the streets in all weathers clad in coat and trousers of linen, with his feet encased in slippers of canvas with soles of cork, so that even as to his feet he avoids contact with the objectionable hide of the forbidden cow. Mr. Elphick never wears a hat or head-covering of any description, his motto being to keep the head cool, the feet warm, and the mouth and tongue clean.

After a few remarks by Brother Gardner on the objects of the Society the Rev. Dr. Parker asked a blessing on the beans and other delicacies provided, and the herbivorous and granivorous ladies and gentlemen present, assisted by a few carnivorous members of the press, attacked the edibles, consisting of lentil soup, haricot bean pie, vegetable pie, succotash, tomato farcies, lentil cutlets, macaroni and cheese, potatoes, string beans, beets, peas, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, peaches and figs, washed down with copious libations of tea, coffee, milk, and spring valley extra wet.

The remainder of the evening was spent in speeches, eulogising the advantages of Vegetarian diet.- San Francisco Chronicle, June 26, 1885.

A pleasant report of the gathering was also given in the San Francisco Call, from which, equally with the above, it appears evident that the disciples of Vegetarianism are not only able to make their power felt, but also afford some merriment to the denizens of that Californian town. The latter paper, after referring to the various speakers and their speeches, concludes by saying "the banquet terminated with the reading of a poem by Secretary Mrs. Tarrant Siddons on the substitution of cream pies, apple tarts, and all other sweets of the vegetable kingdom for the debasing fibre of the shambles." [no idea what that means.... ed.]

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), February 1886, p57:

San Francisco. - The Call of November 28 gives a comic notice of a meeting of the Californian Food Reform Association. Mrs. Stowe was present, and stated that she could not altogether overcome the taste for meat. Mrs. Tarrant Siddons read an essay on "Economy in Food."