She tells us that: "When as a mere child, scarcely yet in my teens, I often saw Dr. Graham at the house of a friend, the senior publisher of his 'Science of Human Life.' He was then engaged in superintending the passage of this work through the press, and I first read it in the original manuscript. Receiving from the author a large share of attention and petting because of a real or fancied resemblance to some young friend (his own daughter I think), perhaps also from the eager interest with which his new theories inspired me, my juvenile mind then received its first impressions of Hygienic reform.
"While, therefore, not believing all of his opinions entirely correct, nor strictly complying perhaps with all I do perceive, I am yet indebted to his works, and others which I was induced to pursue by the interest thus awakened, for an incalculable amount of good.
"For, although my physical constitution, if I ever had any, had been poisoned by as large an amount of allopathic drugs as ever fell to the lot of mortal child to swallow, and survive; yet, thanks to 'all kinds of strange notions,' then imbibed, I soon regained a degree of health quite unexpected to my anxious friends, many of whom were thus induced to examine the 'notions' more impartially. From a complimentary copy of his 'Lectures, etc.,' received at that time and preserved until now, perhaps because to my young mind complimentary copies of new books involved new experience, I quote as follows: . . ."
These references to Graham and Grahamism are but a few of many contained in the Journal and in the Science of Health which indicate the strong influence that Graham exercised in the movement. Many more such references could be quoted, but these are sufficient. Inspired by the temperance movement, in which he had been an active worker, Graham wanted to know why temperance should be limited to alcohol. With this question in his mind he delved deeply into the subject and came up with answers that have proved very satisfactory for millions of people. Under the vivifying influence of Grahamism, new ideas rapidly emerged.
The medical historian, Richard Harrison Shryock, says in The Development of Modern Medicine (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1936), of Graham's crusade for physiological reform: "Personal hygiene was an old story, but carrying it to the people with the fervor of a crusader was something relatively new." He credits Graham with sincerity, but limits the existence of what he calls an "articulate hygienic cult," which grew up around the name of Graham, to the decades from 1830 to 1860. Somewhat contradictorily, he says that the most effective means of reaching the public was the "health papers," of which he says some 80 appeared in the United States from the year 1830 to 1890. He says of these "health papers," most of which were ephemeral, that "their cumulative influence may have been of some significance," for, he adds: "Certain it is that their publication coincided with an improvement in the hygienic habits of the American people."
Perhaps in an effort to cast a slur at Graham, Shryock says that Graham established "Ladies Physiological Reform Societies," but makes no mention of the Physiological Reform Societies that were composed of men. He would seem to be trying to make it appear that Graham was preying upon "gullible women." I do not want to be unfair to Shryock, who is the only medical historian of whom I know who has favorably discussed Graham and his work. If I have misjudged his intent, it is only because it is a general rule of medical writers to attempt to discredit Graham.
Medical deprecations of Graham's work began very early. One Dr. Bell wrote a Prize Dissertation on Diet, in which, while presenting the generally prevailing public and professional view of the subject, he took advantage of the occasion to castigate Graham. He reduced Graham and Grahamism to smouldering ruins with such matchless and devastating logic as "eutopian dreamers," "modern empirics and modern innovators," "self-conceited and opinionated dogmatism," "visionary novelties," "new sect of fanatics," "men of erratic and visionary genius," "modern Pythagoreans," "bigoted exclusives," etc., etc.
The first annual meeting of the National Health Association was held in Caneserage Hall in Dansville, New York, in the evenings of the two days of September the 14th and 15th, 1859. Arrangements were under the immediate auspices of Dr. James C. Jackson and his associates. Dr. Trall served as chairman and proceeded immediately, upon taking the chair, to explain the fundamental and radical differences between the Hygienic System and the systems of drug medication. The convention unanimously elected Dr. Trall as president of the Association for the ensuing year and elected 29 vice presidents from states as far apart as Maine and Texas, Vermont and Utah, New Hampshire and Mississippi.
At this convention it was made clear that "to restore the race to its primitive condition," of health and vigor, it is necessary to unfold and demonstrate the principles of Hygiene and to wean men and women from the ancient pill box and drug shop. It was noted that the spirit of inquiry on the subjects of health and disease had been awakened and men were beginning to question the divinity of disease and to wonder if health is not of God. Should health not be the rule and disease the exception, they asked. The necessity of studying the laws of life and their relation to human health and happiness in the practical application of these laws in our daily life was stressed.
This was not the beginning of organized effort to promote Hygiene, but it marked a mile-stone in the progress of the new movement. It is a matter of satisfaction to the author that he can record that there has been an uninterrupted effort to promote the principles and practices of Hygiene down to the very time he writes these words.
If you ask: what has the Hygienic movement accomplished during the years of its existence--what have we to show for our labors? we answer first by asking a counter question: "what has been accomplished by the false cures and fraudulent treatments?" What have the other schools to show for the compromises they have made, for their betrayal of the real principles of Hygiene? How have the sick profited by their desertion of truth? Their one positive achievement has been to obstruct the growth of a genuine revolutionary health movement.
But let us answer the question. Millions of pages of tracts, books and magazines have been broadcast over the land, almost over the world; indeed, thousands of lectures have been delivered; many Hygienic practitioners have been created to serve the people and these covered much of the land and all grades, conditions and ranks of society have been reached and people by the thousands have turned to Hygiene and flown from drugs. Great armies of invalids have been restored to health and the average life-span has greatly increased. All of this influence countered the poisoning practices of the medical profession and led to the permanent adoption by all of the people of some of the Hygienic System.