General/ vegan history/ vegetarian history

WWII Era Peaceful Humorous Veggies – American Vegetarian Party – The American Vegetarian Magazine

We love eccentric vegetarian folk!

Here is a post remembering E. L. Pratt,  John Maxwell & Symon Gould –  3 very focused US & British veg-evangelizers – active in the 1930s, 1940s & 1950s. Wonderfully extreme! They each exhibited / practiced full-on veg-enthusiasm.

Plus we will share 3 related circa 1947 Cinderella stamps promoting vegetarianism. They are being lovingly cared for in the Ernest Bell Library.


“Many meat-eating persons resent this, but a moment’s consideration should prove the truth of it. Naturalists are agreed that animals left to their own devices are not generally ferocious. Flesh-eating man is.”


“Temperance-workers, peace-advocates, anti-vivisectionists, mothers, or any of the other millions of well-meaning workers in the world – all wasting energy in hitting at nothing unless they aim at the root of the thing that contaminates our world to-day more than any other one thing, – the consumption of animal flesh.”

– both from – E. L. Pratt – 1957


I have –  “tasted no meat for 45 years”

– John Maxwell – 1947


“Such are the benefits of severe rationing that in England, which is practically a vegetarian country by now, it’s practically impossible to die any more.”

– Symon Gould – 1943 – Source


John Maxwell & Symon Gould had ‘tongue in cheek’ Presidential aspirations.

E. L. Pratt – promoted both of them enthusiastically in his magazine / broadsheet – The American Vegetarian –  published  in Pismo Beach CA.  He claimed a national circulation of 18,500 copies.

John Maxwell – 1948 Vegetarian Party Presidential Nominee – Maxwell was born in England, and thus determined to be ineligible. He ran a vegetarian restaurant in Chicago – we will share more about John Maxwell in future posts.

Symon Gould – was the founder of the American Vegetarian Party, formed in 1948. He was their candidate for President of the United States in the 1960 and 1964 presidential elections. Gould was also secretary of the Vegetarian Society of New York, and a promoter of Herbert M. Shelton’s American Natural Hygiene Society.


Symon Gould, editor of American Vegetarian magazine and leader of New York’s Vegetarian Society, decided to capitalize on the moment and transform the dietary and lifestyle choice into a political cause. In 1947, Gould and a group of naturopathic doctors, who relied on nutrition and fasting rather than medicine to treat ailments, organized the American Vegetarian Party. The group selected as their presidential candidate 84-year-old vegetarian restaurateur John Maxwell, who told TIME magazine he had “tasted no meat for 45 years”. Maxwell didn’t just run on an anti-meat platform, however. The American Vegetarian Party also eschewed alcohol, tobacco and medicine. Source.

 A flyer from –  

The American Vegetarian

– kept in the  Ernest Bell Library. – promoting their Cinderella stamps.


The 3 Stamps Enlarged



E. L. PRATT – presentation from the – 

15th World Vegetarian Congress 1957
Delhi/Bombay/Madras/Calcutta, India

Editor, The American Vegetarian, Pismo Beach, California

1. One sometimes is tempted to take time out and compile some kind of statistics on just how much energy is wasted per annum per capita in hitting at nothing. On every hand, serious-minded, well-meaning persons are exerting themselves to the utmost, and accomplishing nothing whatever, simply because they are working on the wrong end of the problem.

2. If a child contracts a fever, diligently fanning him will not cure the fever, as virtually any one knows; yet the plan of attack made by some of our most intelligent persons on vital problems is equally as ridiculous.

Barbarism Destroys Will-power

3. We have for instance temperance workers, working faithfully, self-sacrificingly, trying to make the drunkard see the folly of his ways. He may see it, but in most in cases he will not, perhaps cannot,  forsake the thing that has hold of him until the CAUSE IS REMOVED.

4. That cause is barbarism! Barbarism that causes humans to take into their systems the carcasses of other animals. Barbarism that causes them to allow innocent animals to be tortured and slaughtered to make so-called food for themselves. That food is poison to the human system. That poison weakens the entire human system,-mind, morals, and will-power. That poison breeds a desire for all that is degenerating.

Desire for Cruelty

5. Our anti-vivisectionists put everything they have into fighting that evil; to endeavoring to convince those who profane the name of science by butchery of the worst kind. So long as these men (and women, too, difficult as it is to believe,) take into their systems the foul poisons that produce that desire to wallow in gore, just so long are our worthy anti-vivisectionist workers wasting energy in hitting at nothing.

Breeding Murderers from Innocent Children.

6. Even our greatest of heaven’s creatures, the mothers of the world, who would lay down their lives for their children, fail to aim at the real source of the evils they would sweep from the path of their loved ones. In far too many cases – this will shock many mothers to the point of skepticism – they are actually FEEDING their innocent little children the germs that breed murderers, prostitutes, drunkards, gangsters, and morons. A most shocking, horrifying revelation but, tragically, a true one. These faithful adoring mothers work from early morning till late at night in an effort to make the finest possible men and women of their children and to fit them for happy lives. Yet all unwittingly, they are doing the exact opposite, and all their efforts are but frantic blows at nothing.

Barbarism breeds War-mongers

7. Our world peace-advocates are working and praying to abolish War. They know it is the trade of barbarians. They know it is a game in which the people always lose. They are sincere. They are self-sacrificing. They are endeavoring to abolish the trade, whereas they should be abolishing the barbarism that bred these traders in human lives and the desire to quarrel, fight, and kill.

A World Contaminated by Flesh.

8. Temperance-workers, peace-advocates, anti-vivisectionists, mothers, or any of the other millions of well-meaning workers in the world-all wasting energy in hitting at nothing unless they aim at the root of the thing that contaminates our world to-day more than any other one thing, – the consumption of animal flesh.

Vested Interests Trade in Evils.

9. All these evils that are bred by the poisons in the system of the meat-eater are further promoted by those who would commercialize on each of these evils. The drunkard is first made a drunkard by the desires within him. Some may say, “No, he is made a drunkard by associates.” The fact remains that were his own ideals high enough, associates would be unable to influence him. He is encouraged in his folly by dealers in the intoxicating, beverages which he consumes. Will-power is required for a mastering of his desire, which was caused by animal toxins taken into his system and enhanced by the persuasion of bill-boards, open doorways associates like himself; but his diet has deprived him of will-power! Take away the toxins and these temptations cease to be temptations. They then appear as the folly and the harmful things they are. Until this deadly cause is removed, pleading, tears, threats – in at least ninety per cent of the cases-are of no avail whatsoever, and of but temporary use in nine per cent of the other ten per cent.

Mad Desire to Kill & Torture.

10. The vivisectionist is likewise faced with his temptation. He has been inoculated by the poisons in his food with morbidity, with a desire to kill, to handle the mangled bodies of animals, to view blood and suffering. He cannot help this unless his will is stronger than the poison that caused the desire. His will has been weakened by that poison. Therefore he is fighting a losing battle if he tries to listen to a counsellor. The counsellor is hitting at nothing unless lie enlightens the vivisectionist as to what is causing the mad desire.

11. All who have lived long enough to be either mothers or fathers know the odds against which the parent battles; other children previously launched on the wrong path ; narcotics peddled in the schools where they were introduced by others made fiends by the poisons of dead animals dens where the lowest have fallen and where they would drag innocent youngsters down with them ;-these and countless other pitfalls the Parent battles.

Only Weapon against Temptation.

12. We endeavour to keep our children away from such places and such persons. We spend hours frantically endeavouring to instil into their impressionable minds the evils of such places and persons, and the dire results. We are but hitting at nothing. These children are not the masters of themselves so long as their bodies are “nourished” on barbarism! They may the wrong of indulging in all those vices, but man’s only weapon against temptation is WILL-POWER When that has been destroyed by the poisons that have been FED to him, and in its stead viciousness inculcated, however much the whole world preaches to him or however well-reared he may be, little progress can be made in the direction of reform.

Animal Toxin – the Satan.

13. Most of us wish to be decent, to be humane, to relieve suffering. Most of us wish to treat all creatures with kindness, to be sympathetic with those unable to protect themselves. yet most persons feel, that there is some other force fighting against their best impulses. There is another such force doing just that. That other force is the poison from the meat taken into the system! It is the animal toxin overpowering the human characteristics. Just as, often, in the intermingling of two nationalities the result is a far less commendable breed, so in the mingling of the animal toxin and the natural human characteristics we have something far more bestial than any beast.

14. Many meat-eating persons resent this, but a moment’s consideration should prove the truth of it. Naturalists are agreed that animals left to their own devices are not generally ferocious. Flesh-eating man is.

Germs Of Trouble in Meat.

15. If we would enjoy to the fullest life as the Creator obviously intends that we enjoy it, we must eliminate all the vices that our temperance-workers, our anti-vivisectionists, our mothers all over the world, our peace-advocates and all other well-meaning persons are seeking to eliminate ; but, before me can accomplish this, we must do more than fan the feverish child ; me must rid the world of the germs of the trouble-germs taken into the system through the meat that is consumed. Otherwise, however hard me work for the betterment of mankind, or even for our individual selves, we are but hitting at nothing.

The American Vegetarian

The following is from The Vegetarian (VSUK magazine), Summer 1996 issue, looking back 50 years to 1946:

On the other side of the Atlantic, The American Vegetarian was a broad-sheet style monthly newspaper published by E L Pratt, Pismo Beach, California. We have a few bound copies of this, but we don’t really know much about it. The 1945-46 volume was number 4 in the series so we assume it must have started around 1940. It seems to have been enjoyed by British readers as well as American – the July issue has a rather wistful letter from a Mrs Williams of Hull, musing about the many ads for nuts and tinned fruits the paper contains and wondering if American vegetarians realised how lucky they were! “American vegetarians have so vast a variety of foods to choose from. One advertisement names the Marzipaned Prunes. Couldn’t I just enjoy a taste of these prunes for my birthday? Tinned fruits are such a luxury, one person out of ten will be lucky to get some. I have not tasted any since before the war.” The editor, I’m pleased to say, took pity on Mrs Williams and sent her two large tins of California peaches!


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