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Sylvester Graham - Graham Crackers
By Mary Bellis

Return Food History

Sylvester Graham invented Graham Crackers in 1829. Graham was a Presbyterian minister and avid vegetarian, who promoted the use of unsifted and coarsely ground wheat flour for its high fiber content. The flour was nicknamed "graham flour" after Minister Graham, the main ingredient in Graham Crackers.

Sylvester Graham was born in West Suffield, Connecticut in 1795 and died in 1851.

From:
"Graham Family Papers"
William L. Clements Library - The University of Michigan
Graham Family
Papers, 1724-1850
ca.85 items plus 360 pp. of lecture notes

"...Sylvester Graham was raised by a succession of relatives, working as a farm hand, clerk and teacher before chronic ill health led him to choose the ministry as a less stressful profession. Graham preached under the auspices of the Presbytery of Newark in New Jersey during the early 1830's, during which time he began to propound his distinctive, all-encompasing reformist ideas on diet and health...

...Beyond diet, he recommended hard mattresses, open bedroom windows, chastity, cold showers, loose clothing, pure water and vigorous exercise. He became a well known, if controversial, lecturer on not only the Grahamite philosophy, but physiology and anatomy and the position of the Bible on wine and meat, and he directed a special series of lectures toward African-Americans. "

From:
"American Food — It's As Varied As The Melting Pot"
Written By Richard Blunt
Backwoods Magazine, Issue 30, November/December 1994

"A Presbyterian minister, Graham preached that all bread should be cooked at home and baked with whole wheat flour. This didn't make him popular with commercial bakers, and on more than one occasion he required police protection to hold meetings."

Sylvester Graham : genius or humbug?
Was it true, as one 19th-century newspaper put it, that a "greater humbug or a more disgusting writer never lived"?

Sylvester Graham (1795-1851)
Sylvester Graham was an American Presbyterian minister (ordained in 1826) who preached on temperance and stressed whole-wheat flour and vegetarian diets. He was known for his graham crackers.

The Straight Dope on Graham Crackers
Is it true graham crackers were invented to cure the dread fever of lust?

“The Stomach First”
Sylvester Graham, Grahamism, and dietary change in New York City in the 1830s and 1840s

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