‘Joys Of The Simple Life’ – By Dugald Semple – Now 100 Years Old
Ernest Bell Library items – ‘Joys Of The Simple Life’ by Dugald Semple. Published by Ernest Bell in 1915.
Happy 100th Birthday to
‘Joys Of The Simple Life’
1915 – 2015
Dugald Semple (1884 – 1964) was a co-founder of ‘The Vegan Society’ with Dorothy & Donald Watson in 1944.
Donald Watson wrote about Dugald in the first ever issue of The Vegan News –
“Our friend and fellow member Dugald Semple tells us he has never tasted cheese, therefore it cannot be considered as an essential ‘binding agent’ for body and soul! “ – The Vegan News No.1 November 1944 – links below.
A 1916 press note about Dugald & mentioning the book “Joys of the Simple Life” – from the –
London Standard, Tuesday, February 8, 1916
Mr. Dugald Semple, the Scottish Thoreau, who has been living in a caravan at Bridge of Weir for about nine years, has accepted a position as secretary of the London Vegetarian Society, and in the meantime, will turn his back on “the simple life” in Scotland.
His career was sketched in The Standard of September, 15, 1910, in an article “The Simple Life.” Thoreau’s “Walden” and other similar books started him in his battle for freedom to live his life as he wished to do, free from the thraldom of city life.
It remains to be seen how a Tolstoyan, vegetarian, anti-smoker, anti-vivisectionist, and antivaccinationist will be able to adapt himself to city life.
His views and story are told simply in his little books, “Joys of the Simple Life,” “Living in Liberty,” and “Simple Life Visitors.”
Thraldom = the state of being a thrall; bondage; slavery; servitude. = the state of being in the power of another person or under the sway of an influence.
Thrall = a slave, servant, or captive.
More about Cathie’s & Dugald’s time in London in 1916 & 1917 – here.
……back to the photo – above.
The 3 copies of ‘Joys Of The Simple Life’ on the left are 1915 First Editions – with various binding fabrics used. WW1 was running & Ernest Bell was using up scraps to keep the price as low as possible. This was Ernest Bell’s first book publishing collaboration with Dugald Semple. The single copy – on the right – is a Second Edition – undated – circa 1917.
Dugald’s short Foreword to – ‘Joys Of The Simple Life’
Some background details – Dugald was still a bachelor in 1915 – he married Catherine ‘Cathie’ Amos in 1916 – much more about them here. The ‘vardo’ / Romany style caravan on the cover was pulled by a horse ‘Bob’ – we know from Dugald’s other books that ‘Bob’ was very well cared for & that he died of natural old age. ‘Vegan Police types’ please ‘Shhhhhhh’ – this was 100 years ago. Cathie & Dugald got a car in the 1930s.
In ‘Joys Of The Simple Life’ Dugald talks about simple living, cooperation, humanitarianism, vivisection…… He also talks about ‘vegan’ living almost 30 years before the name ‘vegan’ was thought up.
Some extracts for your pleasure –
p51 – I left off eating flesh-meat and drinking tea ten years ago, and for over eight years have hardly used milk, eggs, salt, sugar, dairy butter, white bread, or condiments of any kind. My health has improved considerably and I have never regretted the change. I usually take three light meals a day, consisting chiefly of wholemeal bread, nut butter, dates, fruits and vegetables in season. In winter I take more starchy food, more salads, and less acid fruits. Water is my only beverage hot or cold, and taken at the end or between meals. My main idea is to eat only when hungry that which has no taint of the slaughter-house, but comes from nature direct full of sunshine and health-giving vitality.
p59 – Think for a moment of the horrors of vivisection going on in our midst; fiendish savages could not be more cruel. To take a poor defenceless creature and strap it down on a bench and perform admittedly cruel experiments is a disgrace to science and a shame to humanity.
p71 – When he heard that I ate fruit seeds, skins of potatoes, and wholemeal bread, he seemed quite thunderstruck, but, poor man, did not know that his trouble was really due to constipation caused by eating refined foods like white bread and other clogging starchy mushes.
p79 – Surely they could do without milk for one day in the week, when I have done without it for nearly ten years now.
‘Joys Of The Simple Life’ is a glorious little book – Dugald’s thinking was incredibly ‘ahead of his time’. The Ernest Bell Library is raising funds for a ‘Centenary Edition’!
The Ernest Bell Librarywas conceived in 1934. It is still strong & active eighty years later – its primary objectives are to: –
Collect all of Ernest Bell’s book & non-book works and make them easily accessible to everyone.
Collect the literature of vegetarianism and all the other humanitarian movements in which Ernest Bell was so deeply involved.
Assist students and scholars in their research.
Introduce all aspects of Ernest Bell’s life, including his writings, campaign work, influences and his circle of friends.
Undertake our own research into missing aspects of Ernest Bell’s life and work.
We already have more than 300 pieces of Ernest Bell’s own writings.
We have a passion for sharing excellent quality vegan articles / items – making them easily available to 21st C folk.
Most early books & magazines on veganism were originally only published in the hundreds or in the low-thousands of copies.
Wars, weather, insects, careless humans, etc. have combined to make many of them very hard to find.
We are actively building a collection of examples of promotional material, campaign material, fundraising & marketing activities etc. – related to: –
veg(etari)an books & other publications.
animal rights organisations.
animal rights publications.
rambling clubs run by members of the above groups & related publications.
the work of Richard St. Barbe Baker & the ‘Men of the Trees’ organization & its many sub-branches.
There are currently more than 2,800 items in the Ernest Bell Library.
We will complete the cataloging of the collection as & when adequate funds are available.
It is long past time for the library to go online!
“I have little doubt that the proposal for the establishment of an Ernest Bell Library, which would specialize in humanitarian and progressive literature, and so form a sort of centre for students, will meet with a wide response.”
Working to promote vegan businesses since 1978. Henry S. Salt Archive - researcher & fundraiser. The Humanitarian League - researcher & fundraiser. The Ernest Bell Library - archive manager. Collecting & republishing historical material of vegetarianism and other humanitarian movements. Running the 'Hum-an-imal Badge Co.'.
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