The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Graham, Sylvester

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GRAHAM, Sylvester, an American reformer, born in Suffield, Conn., in 1794, died in Northampton, Mass., Sept. 11, 1851. Almost from childhood he was dyspeptic and rheumatic, and having tried successively farm labor, paper making, travelling with a horse dealer, shopkeeping, and teaching, was driven from them all by feeble health and symptoms of consumption. In 1823 he entered Amherst college to prepare for the ministry. There the fervor of his elocution was ridiculed as theatrical, and this almost determined him to seek some other profession; but in 1826 he married, and soon after became a Presbyterian preacher. In 1830 the Pennsylvania temperance society engaged him as a lecturer, and he took up the study of physiology and anatomy, from which he was convinced that the only permanent cure for intemperance was to be found in correct habits of living and judicious diet. This idea, which he extended to the cure of diseases generally, was set forth in his “Essay on Cholera” (1832), and in a course of lectures which he delivered at various places and published under the title “Graham Lectures of the Science of Human Life” (2 vols., Boston, 1839). He also published a “Lecture to Young Men on Chastity,” which made a great sensation, and a treatise on “Bread and Bread Making.” Bread made from unbolted flour still bears his name. A few years before his death he began a “Philosophy of Sacred History,” intended to show the harmony between Scriptural teachings and his views on dietetics; he finished only one volume of it, which was published posthumously.