Big Announcement!

Am so very excited and proud to announce that my book manuscript will, in fact, be going forward with the University of North Carolina Press.  More details forthcoming as they sort out, but needless to say am very excited by this development and to place the book with a press that produces such interesting, compelling and unique scholarship!


Journal Article in Food, Culture and Society

Am happy to announce and link to my new article on the development of Protose and vegetarian meat substitutes appearing in the current issue of Food, Culture and Society. The article is accessible if you sign up for a free preview. Just received the print edition, which is full of fascinating articles, most of which deal with the issue of food, identity and definition. Good stuff.


On Jourdon Anderson

Update (4:27 PM): One other thing that I would like to is interesting that the letter is being promoted as somehow recently or newly discovered, when it actually appears in many recent histories of slavery (as well as some textbooks and primary source readers).

Update (3:04 PM):
Also of note, the letter was reprinted in Lydia Maria Child's The Freedman's Book, a compilation of short stories, poems and abolitionist essays aimed at inspiring recently freed slaves by illustrating the accomplishments of African-Americans. It seems as if Anderson was serving as an inspiration even back in the nineteenth century.

Update (2:41 PM):
Worth mentioning is that The Liberator mentions the author as being "George Anderson" though I am not sure this change the equation much. If interested, the citation is George Anderson, "Letter from a Freedman to His Old Master"The Liberator 35, 1 September 1865: 140.

Original Post:
This is entirely unrelated to my usual blog content, however it was an issue that I wanted to chime in on. The Huffington Post yesterday had an article referencing a letter written by an ex-slave to his former master. The letter is remarkable in its restraint, while effective in its total take down of the former slave master. However, what struck me was (despite a link to an image of the article in the New York Tribune) a thread of comments doubting the veracity or existence of the letter (the original article notes that Anderson dictated his thoughts which were accurately reflected in the letter). I was interested to find out more. What I did find is that the article was reprinted throughout the northern press, including The Liberator, but also throughout the daily press of places stretching from Maine to Ohio.

Just as importantly, I believe that I have located Anderson in the historic record. The 1870 census lists Anderson as being born in Tennessee, living in Dayton, Ohio, and having a wife "Amanda" (named Mandy in the letter) and daughter Jane. Also interesting to note, is that Anderson is listed as being literate, able to both read and write.

To hopefully quell any doubts regarding this remarkable man's existence, I have posted the corresponding documents here. A shred of skepticism to claims of historic documents online is surely needed, however there was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction of negativity in the Huff Post article's comments.

Here is the full census:

And the lines on Anderson and his family (the two tick marks next to each other refer to ability to read and write, whereas the one on the far right denotes one male over 21 years of age living in the household):

And here is the article as it appeared in three locations, first the New Haven Daily Palladium:
Second, the Daily Cleveland Herald:

And lastly, the Boston Daily Advertiser:


Celebrity Endorsements

One of my favorite ads for the Battle Creek health empire's burgeoning line of fake meat products (dating to June 1899), with an endorsement from Clara Barton:

As vegetarianism became commercialized at the end of the nineteenth century, the vegetarian press and product marketers alike emphasized the dietary practices of celebrities and other prominent individuals as a means to vie for social and cultural acceptance. Barton herself was a some time vegetarian to treat bouts of illness, beginning with a visit to a health sanitarium in upstate New York in the early 1880s. Utilizing a non-doctrinal vegetarian like Barton to advocate for vegetarian products helped broaden the appeal of vegetarian eating, though at the same time helped lessen organizational vegetarianism's focus on social issues in deference to a more consumption-oriented culture.

More examples to follow...
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