The Kelloggs


What does breakfast cereal, holistic treatment institutes, Arabian horses and abstinence have in common?

The Kellogg family!

Early Life

John Harvey Kellogg was born in 1852, we'll refer to him as JH for simplicity. He was one of what would become 17 children

Most of JH's youth isn't incredibly important, but there is one aspect that we have to talk about

Papa Kellogg sought long and hard to find a religion that did it for him and he could raise is family in, until eventually he landed on the 7th Day Adventist church. And oh my, do we need to talk about these guys

Episode: File 0046: Cereal Offenders of the Human Race Pt. 2

Release Date: October 1 2021

Researched and presented by Cayla

The 7th Day Adventists

A religious sect established in 1863, with one of its founders a woman no less, who claimed to receive visions from god. Yes. You read that right.

But to board this crazy train we need to hop back in time a little. In August 1831, a Baptist preaching farmer named William Miller stood in the town-square of Dresden, New York and declared that the 2nd Advent of Christ was coming, saying the son of god would visit between 1843-44. No exact dates, just somewhere in those two years Christ would show up and the world would be judged

And people really didn't give a shit, until a year later when he submitted a 16 part article to the Vermont Telegraph (a Baptist paper) and they were published. Soon he was flooded with letters and a new Christian schism began!

By the 1840s Miller had become a big deal, and the movement had got its own name, the Millerites. But the summer of 1844 came and there hadn't been any sign of Jesus, so it was decided that Jesus would be making his reservation of October 22nd 1844

And the day in question came, instead of me describing it here's a quote by Henry Emmons, a Millerite: 

"I waited all Tuesday [October 22] and dear Jesus did not come;- I waited all the forenoon of Wednesday, and was well in body as I ever was, but after 12 o'clock I began to feel faint, and before dark I needed someone to help me up to my chamber, as my natural strength was leaving me very fast, and I lay prostrate for 2 days without any pain- sick with disappointment."

And a disappointment this was, one so phenomenal it actually became known as THE great disappointment. People were pretty bummed out by this and many Millerites threw in the towel. But the devoted few argued that Miller's calculations hadn't been wrong, but that his interpretation was slightly flawed and that Jesus was scheduled to arrive at the "Most Holy Place of Heavenly Sanctuary" instead on that date, and that his tour to earth hadn't been canceled! He was just preparing the courtroom for all that judging he would have to do (seriously you can't make this shit up, well you can, but you know what I mean)

These remaining Millerites split into several new loosely knit religious groups known as Adventists. The members of these groups attended a variety of different churches, but for one sect the thing that bonded them all together was through a publication known as the "The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald" written and published by James White

And who was at the center of this? James's wife, Ellen G White. See shortly after the great disappoint, Ellen was struck with a vision from god. Not long after, she'd meet her husband and he would validate her visions, she indeed was hearing the word of god, and they needed to tell the world and thus they published it

And this is how the group that would become the 7th day adventists came to be

Oh and the BEST part. Any guesses what inspired Ellen's faith in god? She was hit in the face with a rock when she was

"This misfortune, which for a time seemed so bitter and was so hard to bear, has proved to be a blessing in disguise. The cruel blow which blighted the joys of earth, was the means of turning my eyes to heaven. I might never had known Jesus Christ, had not the sorrow that clouded my early years led me to seek comfort in him" ~ Ellen G White

Back to JH

Flashback the Kelloggs. Papa Kellogg and a handful of other successful business men were super into the White's publication and eventually tried to convince the Whites to relocate to the Battle Creek Michigan with their publishing business. Which they did in 1855, after receiving huge sums of money from these believers including Kellogg senior

But when you pay your prophet and religious leaders to come to a place, you kind of want to be there, so Kellogg senior moved his family from Tyrone Michigan to Battle Creek, where he would establish a broom factory. JH would be 4 at the time

The group wouldn't formally establish themselves as a church until 1863, but it didn't stop them from practicing

Papa Kellogg was all about his church, believing fervently in all of their beliefs most of which were your typical Christian fair: attend church on the weekend, keep your body pure through eating kosher and not consuming alcohol or tobacco. No sex until marriage and no gays unless they're not active practicing

But one of their best beliefs is that Christ was coming, any day now and we had to be ready! So there was no point in formal education for your children. So JH only attended public school from ages 9-11, graduating to broom sorting at his dad's broom factory

I swear this guy is going to grow up and be totally fine, with a healthy relationship with the world

JH's Education

While JH couldn't go to school, he was a voracious reader and this passion led him to educate himself on a wide variety of topics. At 12 the Whites offered JH a job at their publishing company and he rose quickly from errand boy to editorial work

JH was as believer through and through so the opportunity to spend time with the Whites the very leaders of his church thrilled him to no end. Among the projects he worked on with the Whites, was editing and setting articles for a publication that would be later known as "The Good Health Journal" and was ripe with Ellen's theories for good health as you would expect

JH absorbed all of this like a sponge and followed her recommendations such as vegetarianism. Ellen would describe her husband's relationship with JH as closer than the one with his own children

JH wanted to become a teacher and at 16 taught at a district school in Hastings, Michigan. By 20 he had enrolled in a teacher's training course offered by the Michigan State Normal School (or now known as Eastern Michigan U). But due to pressure both from the Kelloggs and the Whites, JH joined his half brother and some of the White children in a 6 month medical course at Russell Trall's Hygieo-Therapeautic College in Florence Township, New Jersey

The goal of these two industrious families was to develop a group of trained doctors for the Adventist inspired Western health Reform Institute in Battle Creek

From here JH would attend medical school in Ann Arbor and New York City. He graduated in 1875 with a medical degree. One year later he'd become the director of the Western Health Reform Institute, which he renamed the following year as the "Battle Creek Medical Surgical Sanitarium" coining the term "sanitarium" meant to imply both medical care as well as promote the importance of sanitation and personal health

Within 10 years of JH taking over the San, the institute went from treating 300 patients a year to 1,200. In 1906 the institute had over 7000 guests and over 800 staff members 

It wouldn't be long before JH's younger brother, WK would join the staff of the sanitarium leaving behind their father's broom factory in favor of helping JH manage his empire 

Battle Creek Sanitarium

JH described the Sanitarium system as 

"a composite physiologic method comprising hydrotherapy, phototherapy, thermotherapy, electrotherapy, mechanotherapy, dietetics, physical culture, cold-air cure, eugenics, and health training"

What does that mean? Well it was a boarding house that was also a clinic/hospital/spa/personal growth center. They did all the normal things that clinics and hospitals did, diagnosis, treatment and surgery. But what it prided itself in was its holistic approach to betterment. JH's belief was that personal health was a multi-faceted thing and that to be truly healthy, it wasn't just your body that needed to be healthy, but also your mind, your spirit and your morals

This meant that treatments for ailments and injuries weren't just straight up silver bullets. If your appendix was bursting JH would remove it, but he would also assign you a diet and exercise regimen to help you get to your best self, even a better a self than you were before, all sprinkled with one of the dozens of creative therapies "the San" (as it was known) offered

In 1879 JH would marry Ella Eaton, who developed the same passion for holistic care as her husband and also joined him in his work at the sanitarium. Ella was bright, having attended Alfred University and American School Household Economics

God and Medicine

JH believed that god and science were intrinsically linked, which was as very controversial idea at the time. Many churches were scared that science would kill god and the 7th Day Adventists weren't different. Even though their leaders were the ones responsible for sending JH to medical school and putting him in charge of a medical facility, they began to get concerned that with all his exploration of medicine and alternative therapies he was at risk of losing his faith.

In 1878, JH was brought before the Seventeenth Annual Session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, where the leaders of the church expressed their concerns and tried to pressure JH to take a step back from such controversial ideas. This would be the beginning of tensions that would only grow as the years went on

It's around this time that JH's mentor and 7th day Adventist prophet Ellen began to doubt her protege's commitment to the cause

In 1902 tensions were rising with the church, which was only aggravated by JH's attempt to get his book "The Living Temple" published through the Whites' publishing, which the Adventists were aggressively against as it contained some of JH's more controversial ideals of harmony between the bible and science

JH would end up hiring a private printer, but in December 1902, while everything was ready for the book to begin printing, the publishing building caught fire and this was just be the beginning of JH's fire troubles

One pressing concern for the church was the sanitarium. It had been founded and was paid for by the church, but JH was the one running it with his heathenistic views. It's because of this that when the sanitarium burnt to the ground, Ellen said it was the cleansing sword of holy fire that had done the task and was vehemently against rebuilding the institute

Of the 400 guests at the time, only two didn't make it (one having run back in to find his money that he had stashed about his room) but the property loss was estimated between $300k-$400k, about twice its insured value

Despite her protests, JH was able to get the board of directors support to not just rebuild the institute, but also double its size and it reopened May 31 1903, this time built in fireproof brick and 6 stories high

It reportedly cost more that $700k to rebuild the institute and a good chunk was funded by the proceeds of JH's book which he finally managed to get published that year, much to the chagrin of Ellen and the church and cereal, which we'll get to shortly 

In 1907, JH was finally disfellowshipped from the church. Despite this he managed to keep control of the Battle Creek Sanitarium and the American Medical Missionary College he'd founded and continued to promote Adventist ideas of health and well-being at those institutions up until his death in 1943

JH continued to speak positively about the church and even Ellen, citing her as a massive influence on his life and admitting that like anyone, she was only human and thus fallible. Maybe ironically, today the 7th Day Adventists proudly recognize JH as one of their own, quoting him and praising his success and ignoring the fact that he'd been disfellowshipped 

Biologic Living

So what was JH doing that was so damn controversial?

JH was a skilled surgeon who often donated his services to the impoverished patients at his clinic. He was generally against unnecessary surgery. And he had attracted a fair number of notable patients over the years

  • Former president William Howard Taft
  • aviator Amelia Earhart
  • economist Irving Fisher
  • founder of the Ford Motor Company Henry Ford
  • inventor Thomas Edison
  • African-American activist Sojourner Truth
  • actress Sarah Bernhardt

He invented and improved a plethora of medical instruments, but he never did it for profit. JH had become very much a leader in progressive health reform, and his work and notoriety led to many breakthroughs in medicine some great, some not so great

He wrote extensively on science and health, his methodology of "biologic living" combined scientific knowledge with Adventist belief. 

"This was the idea that appropriate diet, exercise, and recreation was required in order to maintain a healthy body, mind, and soul. As such, the policies and therapies at the Battle Creek Sanitarium were very much in line with these principles of biologic living, such as the focus on vegetarianism or drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day. In fact, his belief that biologic living would protect his health was so strong that he did not even feel it necessary to get vaccinated against smallpox"

JH Kellogg
JH Kellogg

Yeah, so today he totally would be an anti-vaxxer so that's a definite strike against him. But the idea that health was more than just ailments and injuries and but was tied deeply with emotional and mental state, as well greatly impacted by the things you consumed, was revolutionary. We have to remember that he practiced during a time where mercury was thought to be a cure for everything and coca cola was considered medicine

JH documented his philosophy into seven textbooks that were prepared for Adventist schools and colleges. Emphasizing the importance of fresh air, exercise and sunshine, while warning of the dangers of alcohol and tobacco

JH's beliefs cover so many topics and methodologies and the easiest way to get into this is break them down

Substances are bad mm'kay?

So we know that he thought alcohol and tobacco were bad, but what was he doing about it?


JH was a prominent member of the anti-tobacco campaign and often spoke out about the issue. He believed tobacco caused physiological damage but also pathological, nutritional, moral, and economic devastation onto society. His belief was that

"tobacco has not a single redeeming feature... and is one of the most deadly of all the many poisonous plants known to the botanist."

In his 1922 book Tobaccoism, or How Tobacco Kills, Kellogg cited many studies on the negative impacts of smoking, and went so far as to attribute the longer lifespan of women to the observation that they partook in tobacco less than their male counterparts


At the time it was a common belief that alcohol was a stimulant and even a valuable therapeutic tool that many doctors prescribed in tonics or cocktails (commonly it was prescribed as a treatment for Spanish influenza and pneumonia!)

JH did not buy this for one second, citing contemporary research, he believed that it couldn't possibly be a stimulant because it " lessened vital activity and depressed vital forces"

Seeing its effects on plants, animals, and humans, he felt that alcohol was a poison. Kellogg noticed the effects that alcohol had on both the brain, the digestive system, and the liver, among other organs.

Not only did he believe it had horrible effects on the body, it was also damaging to the mind and morality. Alcohol was

"one of the devil's most efficient agents for destroying the happiness of man, both for the present and the hereafter."

Even moderate drinkers were subject to these effects, as Kellogg felt that a poison was a poison in all doses.


I mean did you really think he was just going to let this one go?

JH was opposed to all beverages containing caffeine, especially tea and coffee, as he viewed caffeine as poison. He believed caffeine caused numerous physiological and developmental problems, but also believe it led to moral deficiencies (you noticing a trend yet?)

"nature has supplied us with pure water, with a great variety of fruit juices and wholesome and harmless flavors quite sufficient to meet all our needs." 


With his opinions about substances you bet JH had a plethora of beliefs when it came to nutrition

First of all, he believed nutrition was an actual thing and that humans needed vitamins and minerals, and a balanced diet to be healthy. Which is totally legit and was revolutionary at the time (people were real scared of fruits and vegetables, thinking that eating 3 tomatoes in a day could kill you), but like everything JH does, he would take this to an extreme

Now vegetarianism wasn't as popular then as it is now, so prepared products that meet those requirements weren't readily available. This is where JH turned to his brother WK and his wife Ella to begin experimenting and see if they could develop products for their patients at the san

The san was equipped with its own experimental kitchen where Ella would help develop new foods and supervise classes on food preparation for home makers. She even published a cookbook: Science in the Kitchen, containing 100s of recipes along with discussions of nutrition and household diet management. A woman well ahead of her time

Through their experiments they developed a ton of products and processes when it came to food production that we still use today. Their ideal diet was low in protein and rich with high fiber foods, so many of their products were designed around this theory. And whether or not he intended it, he became the first creator and distributor of "health food"

Peanut Butter

The history of peanut butter is a complex one, with a half dozen people credited with its creation, but one of these names is indeed JH. JH was particularly fond of nuts, which he believed would save mankind in the face of decreasing food supplies and would invent the process for making peanut butter, though he never patented it explicitly, which he did this on purpose

"Let everybody that wants it have it, and make the best use of it"

Beyond Meat

As I am sure you won't be surprised JH and his wife put a lot of effort into figuring out meat substitutes

Nuttose: In 1896, Kellogg introduced but did not patent "Nuttose", the first commercially produced alternative to meat. It was made primarily from peanuts and resembled "cold roast mutton" By seasoning or marinating, Nuttose could be made to taste like fried chicken or barbeque. Served with mashed potatoes and vegetables, it could mimic a traditional American meal

On March 19, 1901, Kellogg was granted the first United States Patent for a "vegetable substitute for meat", for a blend of nuts and grain cereals called "Protose".

Nuttose and Protose were the first of many meat alternatives

In addition to developing imitation meats variously made from nuts, grains, and soy, Kellogg also developed the first acidophilus soy milk which was patented in 


He originally made the product under the name granula but was a legal problem as another had a product of the same name, so he changed it to granola. You can guess which product was more successful


The part you have been waiting for.

the Kelloggs: WK, JH and Ella would pioneer the process of making flaked cereal in 1894. Who exactly was the original creator between the three is hotly debated, but one thing is true that all three did work on the product

JH was thrilled with this creation and wanted to make it available commercially like many of their other food related inventions. but not necessarily to make money, but to make them available to everyone

"I desire to make clear...that the food business I have been carrying on is a part of my general scheme to propagate the ideas of health and biological living. Otherwise, I should not have engaged in it as a commercial enterprise, but I have carried it on as a part of the general philanthropic work in which I was engaged."

But WK wanted to keep it secret. So JH compromised, only allowing those in the sanitarium to see the process, one of these patients was a man named CW Post who was at the San to try and find a cure for his recurring mental breakdowns in 1891 

They say the only way to keep a secret is to tell no one, but they could trust their patients right? It's not like CW Post would find his cure by stealing the idea, making his own company and make millions of dollars under the name of Post Cereals, right? 

But hey, I'm sure people quickly forgot about Post Cereals and there's no way that it would become General Foods and even Kraft foods for a short while. Yeah. This is why we can't have nice things

But WK didn't take this laying down. He left the sanitarium and established his own business the Sanitas Food Company around 1897 with the help of JH. They would focus on the production of whole-grain cereals, pushing the boundaries of traditional breakfast foods. At this time the well off ate eggs and meat for breakfast, while the poor and less fortunate had porridge, gruel and other boiled grains

During their first year of production, the Kelloggs sold tens of thousands of pounds of flaked cereal, marketing it as "Granose". They continued to experiment using rice and corn as well as wheat, and in 1898 released the first batch of Sanitas Toasted Corn Flakes.

Tension between the brothers would eventually reach a head when WK suggested they begin to add sugar to their cereal, which JH was NOT into. Plain food only.

I have to assume someone lost because in 1906 WK would found Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company that would eventually become the Kellogg Company, the same company that brings you frosted flakes. This would be the beginning of a 10 year feud between the brothers

Alright back to JH's other philosophies 

Gut Flora:

JH was miles ahead of the times as an early believer of germ theory. He felt that intestinal flora and bacteria were very important to overall health and disease prevention. His belief in vegetarianism was rooted in this. He believed that poor diets caused to the infestation of harmful bacteria in the gut, which would infect the tissues in the body and poison the blood

JH pioneered a unique way to clear out this bad bacteria and replant healthy flora using water enemas. He would then administer the patient with a pint of yogurt. Half to eat, half to go in the other side to fertilize the intestines with good bacteria.  You're welcome for that imagery


JH was all about that aqua, believing its chemical compounds to be a bit of a miracle and its incredible versatility making it an oft overlooked treatment. He had couple medical applications he swore by

Refrigerant: using water to cool the body

Sedative: yup, he thought water was a sedative

"While other substances serve as sedatives by exerting their poisonous influences on the heart and nerves, water is a gentler and more efficient sedative without any of the negative side-effects seen in these other substances"

He also believes that a hot bath may sooth pain when every other drug had failed to do so, which I can't really argue against? Who doesn't love a good bath?

While he believed strongly in hydrotherapy he also acknowledged its limits

"In nearly all cases, sunlight, pure air, rest, exercise, proper food, and other hygienic agencies are quite as important as water. Electricity, too, is a remedy which should not be ignored; and skillful surgery is absolutely indispensable in not a small number of cases."

And he was quick to criticize "cold-water doctors". Doctors that would prescribe a cold bath during the harshest winters and worst maladies. Kellogg recounts an instance where a patient with a low typhus fever was treated with 35 cold packs while in a feeble state and died

Kellogg posits this excessive and dangerous use of hydropathy as a return to the "violent processes" of bloodletting, antimony, mercury and purgatives


JH stressed the importance of cleanliness. When he first began practicing medicine it was common for Americans to have one bath a week on Saturday evenings. JH suggested having a bath every day is actually more beneficial not just for cosmetics, but that the body regularly secreted toxins in the form of sweat and if left on the skin it could cause a myriad of skin conditions 


JH believed that daily exercise was a big part of overall health, but knew it would be a challenge to get the American people on board. He began developing exercise machines for use at the San to help encourage this activity. His exercises may be the first recorded exercise program when in the 1920s the Columbia Gramaphone Company produced a set of recordings based off his carefully planned fitness regime 


Also known by the less terrifying moniker: vibrational therapy was discovered by JH in 1884. He found that using high-frequency oscillation it could increase blood circulation and worked as passive exercise. One of his many inventions was an electrotherapy exercise bed that if used for 20 minutes, created muscular stimulation equivalent to a brisk four mile walk

Everything Else

He was also big into photo therapy (sun bathing) breathing exercises and mealtime marches. So overall, some pretty good stuff, some of it a little bit misguided but the intentions are good

But we wouldn't be here if this was all roses and sunshine, time to talk about abstinence 


I mean, look at this cracker (Sylvester Graham)
I mean, look at this cracker (Sylvester Graham)

Sex is bad and sullies the soul, thus should only be participated in with the intention of reproduction. So JH was really into suppressing sexual desire, one way he believed this could be done was through the consumption of bland food as inspired by Ellen White and Sylvester Graham

Graham who inspired the creation of the graham cracker believed that keeping a plain diet would prevent sexual arousal and that temptation could be avoided by not consuming stimulating food and drinks and eating very little meat.

Graham also warned that many types of sexual activity, including "excesses" that couples could be guilty of within marriage, were against nature, and therefore, extremely unhealthy.

Though Graham had died from opium enemas in 1851, so I am not sure that JH or anyone should've been taking his beliefs too seriously

JH was a staunch advocate of sexual abstinence, touting the damage of sexually transmissible diseases such as syphilis as a reason to not slut around, as a cure wouldn't be created until the 1910s.

He devoted large amounts of his educational and medical work finding ways to discourage sexual activity, using the danger of STDs and the beliefs of the church as strong points against rampant sex.

He was so into this that even though he married Ella in 1879, The couple would maintained separate bedrooms and never had any biological children. Though they did foster 42 children, legally adopting 8 of them before Ella died in 1920. Many say that their marriage had never been consummated

But she seemed to be into it as they spent their honeymoon together writing 156 pages of updated material for his book on sex, Plain Facts for the Young and Old

Interestingly though,  despite his beliefs in abstinence he had strong beliefs in sex education. In this same book he goes into intense detail of how reproduction functions in plants, animals and humans and advises parents to speak to their children about this soon as their child shows any interest.


so if sex is bad, you know what else is bad? Masturbation! JH hated masturbation, and like all his beliefs he pulled upon both the bible and medicine to support his beliefs. One of his favorite sources was a Dr Adam Clarke who is quoted saying

"neither the plague, nor war, nor small-pox, nor similar diseases, have produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of onanism"

JH had his own words to say on the topic as well, claiming of masturbation-related deaths "such a victim literally dies by his own hand", among other condemnations. He felt that masturbation destroyed not only physical and mental health, but moral health as well.

Kellogg also believed the practice of this "solitary-vice" caused cancer of the womb, urinary diseases, nocturnal emissions, impotence, epilepsy, insanity, and mental and physical debility; and "dimness of vision". Kellogg thought that masturbation was the worst evil one could commit; he often referred to it as "self-abuse"

JH was such an advocate against masturbation that he encouraged genital mutilation to help prevent temptation, even circumcising himself at age 37. You can't say he didn't practice what he preached

In his Plain Facts for Old and Young: he wrote:

"A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed."

Further a method of treatment [to prevent masturbation] ... and we have employed it with entire satisfaction. It consists in the application of one or more silver sutures in such a way as to prevent erection. The prepuce, or foreskin, is drawn forward over the glans, and the needle to which the wire is attached is passed through from one side to the other. After drawing the wire through, the ends are twisted together, and cut off close. It is now impossible for an erection to occur, and the slight irritation thus produced acts as a most powerful means of overcoming the disposition to resort to the practice

And In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid (phenol) to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement.

He also recommended, to prevent children from this "solitary vice", bandaging or tying their hands, covering their genitals with patented cages and electrical shock. In his Ladies' Guide in Health and Disease, for nymphomania, he recommended Cool sitz baths; the cool enema; a spare diet; the application of blisters and other irritants to the sensitive parts of the sexual organs, the removal of the clitoris and nymphae.

Plain Facts for the Young and Old

And here's some choice quotes  and observations from his book Plain Facts for Old and Young

  • He believed that in girls, brunettes entered puberty earlier than blonds, as did girls of a nervous disposition
  • JH had a lot to say about periods. How women on their rag had "more or less a disinclination to society" and that each time this occurred it makes them especially susceptible to "morbid influences, and liable to serious derangements"
  • The feeling of malaise that usually accompanies the period is nature's way of telling everyone that the woman needs to rest
  • There is no doubt that many young women have permanently injured their constitutions while at school by excessive mental taxation during the catamenial period
  • Indigenous women have painless births and are just overall in much better constitution than white women because they leave the lodge when on their period and spend the time alone and at rest
  • It is not an uncommon thing for young ladies to attend balls, visit skating rinks, and otherwise expose themselves to the influences in every way the best calculated to do them the most harm at this particular period, observing not the slightest precaution. Such recklessness is really criminal; and the sad consequences of physical transgression are sure to follow. A young lady who allows herself to get wet or chilled, or gets the feet wet, just prior to or during menstruation, runs the risk of imposing upon herself life-long injury
  • Multiples: JH is fascinated by multiples, and talks about how many animals have a uterus designed for many offspring at once but that humans don't, despite that there are these historic instances
  • One declares that the simultaneous birth of seven or eight infants by the same mother was an ordinary occurrence with Egyptian women!
  • A traveler in the seventeenth century wrote that he saw, in the year 1630, in a church near the Hague, a tablet on which was an inscription stating that a certain noted countess gave birth at once, in the year 1276, to 365 infants, who were all baptized and christened, the males being all called John, and the females, Elizabeth. They all died on the day of their birth, with their mother, according to the account, and were buried in the church, where a tablet was erected to their memory.
  • JH was frequently appalled at how dismissive many parents were about their children flirting or exploring their sexuality
  • He tells a story of a friend of his that was teaching at a country school and learned that a large number of girls and boys 8-14 years would collect in barns and "in a state of nudity imitating the "Black Crook" with all possible additional nastiness." in horror the teacher informed the parents, who laughed it away "Pooh! it's only natural; perfectly harmless; just like little pigs!" As though pigs were models for human beings! It is not pleasant to consider what must have been the moral status of parents who could hold such views; and it is no wonder that they should produce such children. Doubtless they learned, too late, that those "natural" manifestations were the outgrowth of incipient vices, planted and fostered by themselves, which in later years destroyed shame and gave loose rein to lust.
  • Sexual life begins with puberty, and, in the female, ends at about the age of forty-five years, if nature's law is disregarded and she continues sexual activity she will suffer disease, premature decay and local degenerations could occur
  • The primary object of marriage was, undoubtedly, the preservation of the race
  • JH is horrified at some countries legal ages of marriage: Romans believed 13 (girls)/15(boys) | Lycurgus 17/37 | Plato 20/30 | Prussia 15/19 | Austria 16/20 | France 16/18 | JH recommends 20 / 24
  • He strongly believed that large differences in ages doomed a marriage from the beginning,

"An old man who forms a union with a young girl scarce out of her teens-or even younger-can scarcely have any very elevated motive for his action, and he certainly exposes himself to the greatest risk of sudden death, while insuring his premature decay."

"We are, therefore, forced to the conclusion that the children of old men have an inferior chance of life; and facts daily observed confirm our deductions. Look but at the progeny of such marriages; what is its value? As far as I have seen, it is the worst kind-spoilt childhood, feeble and precocious youth, extravagant manhood, early and premature death."

  • The reproductive act is the most exhaustive of all vital acts. Its effect upon an undeveloped person is to retard growth, weaken the constitution, and dwarf the intellect.
  • It may be true, and undoubtedly is the case, that the greater share of the guilt of flirtation lies at the door of the female sex; but there are slutty men too
  • Arguments against polygomy: While it is true that there are a few more adult women than men, the difference is not sufficiently great to require the introduction of polygamy as a remedy for enforced celibacy. [If all men were paired, the women that have left out deserve no consideration as there are large numbers of women who are unfit to marry and would be injured by doing so, making them more wretched than they already are
  • In the country of Iceland, a land which is scarcely more than semi-civilized
  • JH had an extensive list of people who should not marry:
  • Person with a serious disease of character or body (it's a sin against the offspring who have a right to be born well)
  • Persons that have a chance of hereditary disease in their family should not marry those with the same chance
  • Should cousins marry? They can but probably shouldn't
  • Persons with severe congenital deformities
  • Criminals
  • Persons who are greatly disproportionate in size
  • Person of great age disparity
  • People who are really different
  • Marriage between widely different races is unadvisable. experience shows that such marriages are not only not conducive to happiness, but are detrimental to the offspring. It has been proven beyond room for question that mulattoes are not so long-lived as either blacks or whites.
  • Persons who can't sustain themselves or a family
  • Persons whose moral character will not bear the closest scrutiny
  • Indigenous people had an entire absence or vices and diseases of civilization, without the help of Christianity before we showed up! Meaning that there's something in civilized life that spawns these things
  • JH was greatly concerned about the lax morals of clergymen and demanded that they be held to higher standards so as not to taint a congregation. JH claimed that when clergymen went out they were always presented with the richest sweets, cakes, teas and other fine-flour bread stuffs and that it was up to hostesses to not do this as it could corrupt the clergyman and put her own daughter in peril. It's up to women to preserve the virtue of their ministers
  • Wealthy women could do more to cure the "social evil" by adopting plain attire than all the civil authorities by passing license laws or regulating ordinances. Have not Christian women a duty here?
  • Men are bad: 

Man, in whatever condition we find him, is more or less depraved. [..]. His appetites, his tastes, his habits, even his bodily functions are perverted

It cannot be denied that men are in the greatest degree responsible for the "social evil." The general principle holds true here as elsewhere [..]. If the patrons of prostitution should withdraw their support by a sudden acquisition of virtue, how soon would this vilest of traffics cease! The inmates of brothels would themselves become continent, if not virtuous, as the result of such a spasm of chastity in men

  • Women on the other hand aren't as innocent as they seem.  JH says that society expects women to be pure and innocent but that they would be shocked if they knew the frequency in which women and girls give in to depravity. The testimony of many eminent physicians whose opportunities for observation have been very extensive shows that the evil is enormously greater than people generally are aware.
  • The desire for sexual congress naturally exists in the female only at or immediately after the time of periodical development.
  • The taste for novel-reading is like that for liquor or opium. It is never satiated. It grows with gratification. A confirmed novel-reader is almost as difficult to reform as a confirmed inebriate or opium-eater. The influence upon the mind is most damaging and pernicious. It not only destroys the love for solid, useful reading, but excites the emotions, and in many cases keeps the passions in a perfect fever of excitement.
  • Selective breeding: JH loves to talk about how with livestock and other domestic animals we will carefully select partners for them to procreate with to get the ideal results, a practice that maybe humans should consider

Humans procreate in a haphazard and reckless manner with no consideration taken about the impact to the future child by the physical and mental condition of the parents at the moment of conception. Nor the conditions that mothers are surrounded by during gestation.

the poor of our great cities virtually "spawn children," with as little thought of influences and consequences as the fish that sow their eggs broadcast upon the waters, is not so great an exaggeration as it might at first sight appear to be.

Who can tell how many of the liars, thieves, drunkards, murderers, and prostitutes of our day are less responsible for their crimes against themselves, against society, and against Heaven, than those who were instrumental in bringing them into the world? Almost every village has its boy "who was born drunk," a staggering, simpering, idiotic representative of a drunken father, beastly intoxicated at the very moment when he should have been most sober.

If during gestation the mother is fretful, complaining, and exacting; if she requires to be petted and waited upon; if she gratifies every idle whim and indulges every depraved desire and perverted appetite-as thousands of mothers do-the result will surely be a peevish, fretful child, that will develop into a morose and irritable man or woman, imperious, unthankful, disobedient, willful, gluttonous, and vicious.

if a child has been properly conceived the duty then fall on the mother to ensure proper development. If they want a beautiful child, they need to be surrounded by beautiful objects. An active mind, the mother should devote time to study of a pleasant nature. And for morality, no angry words or unhappy feelings should be tolerated. The husband should do his part by supplying favorable surroundings, suggesting cheerful thoughts, and aiding mental culture.

After birth, the mother still possesses a molding influence upon the development of her child through the lacteal secretion

Hereditary Crime: JH believed that crime and moral vacancy are hereditary, he found in one case, over a period of 75 years 5 sister had a family of 1200 persons as they had all paired with men whose father was an idle, thriftless hunter, a hard drinker, and licentious. The 1200 persons would suffer these crimes

  • Paupers, 280
  • Years of pauperism, 798
  • Criminals, 140
  • Years of infamy, 750
  • Thieves, 60
  • Murderers, 7
  • Prostitutes and adulteresses, 165
  • Illegitimate children, 91
  • No. of persons contaminated by syphilitic disease, 480
  • Cost to the State in various ways, $1,308,000
  • JH believed there was no argument that could be made against the concept of hereditary morals due to this example. But he was uncertain what the best course of action would be as it would require immense societal change,
  • He goes on to say that those born deaf, blind, crippled or "idiotic" are the result of weak parents that ignored their moral responsibility to not reproduce

If parents would stop a moment to consider the momentous responsibilities involved in the act of bringing into existence a human being; if they would reflect that the qualities imparted to the new being will affect its character to all eternity; if they would recall the fact that they are about to produce a mirror in which will be reflected their own characters divested of all the flimsy fabrics which deceive their fellow-men, revealing even the secret imaginings of their hearts,-there would surely be far less of sin, disease, and misery born into the world than at the present day; but we dare not hope for such a reform. To effect it, would require such a revolution in the customs of society, such a radical reform in the habits and characters of individuals, as nothing short of a temporal millennium would be able to effect.

Can you guess where this is headed?


JH as we know had some questionable beliefs of horrific practices, despite the good that he did, it's overshadowed by these things and unfortunately things didn't get better

In the early 20th century more people were coming to North America than ever before, and the old white men that were afraid of the gene pool getting diluted began to get real scared which caused an upsurge of interest in eugenics. This influx of immigration was a massive threat to the American way and no one else could see how precariously things were balanced and once the gene pool was spoiled, there was no way to go back, good stock can only be made by breeding good stock 

And it seems that JH felt similarly: JH was in favor of racial segregation in the US, believing that immigrants and non-whites would "damage" the American gene pool.

"Long before the race reaches the state of universal incompetency, the impending danger will be appreciated, the cause sought for and eliminated, and, through eugenics and euthenics, the mental soundness of the race will be saved." 

Kellogg, J. H. (1913). Relation of Public Health to Race Degenracy. The American Journal of Public Health, p. 656

He spent his last 30 years promoting eugenics. Or as he preferred to think of it "the science of improving the human stock". In 1906 he with Irving Fisher and Charles Davenport founded the Race Betterment Foundation, becoming the major center of the new eugenics movement in America

JH's whole thing around eugenics was that he believed as the gene pool was mixed, it would become weakened and humans would develop diseases and that health would degenerate with each generation, increasing alcoholism, poverty, criminality, sexual promiscuity, "feeblemindedness." Genes weren't very well understood at this time, but since agriculture has been a thing humans have known that introducing new genetics can help strengthen a line and that inbreeding can cause it to weaken and be more susceptible to disease. But what do I know?

And it wasn't just those of different skin colors he wanted kicked out of the gene pool. He was in favor of sterilizing 'mentally defective persons', promoting a eugenics agenda while working on the Michigan Board of Health and helping to enact authorization to sterilize those deemed 'mentally defective' into state law in 1913'

At least 3,800 people in the state were involuntarily sterilized, according to research conducted by Kate O'Connor, a Ph.D. candidate in American Culture at the University of Michigan.

"Michigan didn't have a central registry of eugenic sterilizations. Most states had a central place where records got sent," O'Connor said. "It's an undercount, but it's around 3,800... They were all done under this 1929 law that legalized sterilization for purposes of eugenics, done on 'moral degenerates, sexual deviants, epileptics, the feebleminded or insane.' There's whole monographs on what feebleminded meant. It was less about intelligence and more about how you fit in socially."

Michigan's sterilization law wasn't repealed until 1974. The 3,800 patients sterilized marks the fourth-most of any state. 

So how do you ensure you are only pairing up people with good genetics and morals? If only there was like a list of eligible partners... Or a eugenics registry!

His idea behind a eugenics registry was to curate a good pedigree. Experts could use the registry to determine who would be good matches to create a better next generation, or at least prevent it from deteriorating, but it's unclear what aspects gave someone a higher pedigree, but I can guess they were incredibly racist

Oh wait, I found something

Three national conferences were sponsored by the Foundation, in 1914, 1915, and 1928 respectively. These conferences helped advocated race betterment among the public. The Foundation also worked with the Eugenics Record Office (ERO) in Cold Spring Harbor, to create a eugenics registry. This registry would provide children with pedigrees based on what they inherited from their parents - it was suggested that contests be held, and awards provided based on these pedigrees (Holmgreen, 2002).

So dog shows, but for people!

The first Eugenics con was held in 1914 at the san. It was a 5 day event gathering some of the greatest physicians, philanthropists, academics, politicians and reformers in the country with the intention to study the cause of and cure for "race degeneracy" 

The dinner at the 1st Eugenics Con at the San
The dinner at the 1st Eugenics Con at the San

In his opening statement JH had this to say

"If the race is deg-enerating. it is highly impor- tant that the world should know it and that such agencies should be set in operation as will save the race of man from the common fate of all other living forms as told and foretold by the geologic records of the earth's crust." 

There were 406 delegates for this convention, but there's one in particular that will surprise you.

You know what takes balls? Inviting an African American man to speak at a eugenics con

You know what takes more balls? Accepting the invite

That's right, Booker T Washington, an African America educator, author, orator, and adviser to several presidents of the United States. He delivered his speech on "The Negro Race" to a predominately white audience inside the Sanitarium chapel where he pleaded for fair treatment of African Americans.

"We are more like you than any other race, aside from the color of our skin, that comes into America," he said. "We speak the same language that you do, we eat the same food that you do, we profess, and we have all the ambitions and aspirations that you have, we understand the genesis of your local institutions, we have the same local and national pride you have, we love the same American flag with just as great a fervor as you do. We are American citizens and we are going to stay here with you. That means we are going to help you, or we are going to hurt you, and we want you to help us to get to the point where we can help you. We want to help you and we want to help ourselves."

That's just a small portion of Booker's speech, the whole thing can be read in the nearly 700 page con playbook, which includes a full list of attendees,  speakers and their speeches

Along with more than 50 speeches, the first Race Betterment Conference included meetings, exhibits, entertainment and a "Better Babies" contest featuring more than 5,000 children. The children were inspected and measured and judged in their respective age categories.

Organizations like the Eugenics Record Office would use such contests to collect data and to shape public opinion about eugenics.

The following year, the Race Betterment Foundation snagged a prime spot, up front and center at the panama-pacific international exhibit. An exhibit that drew over 18 million people in from around the world, and there was JH and his white superiority front and center

At least 60 delegates spoke at this con, attracting a crowd of an estimated 10,000 and more than a million lines of newspaper coverage

The 3rd Con
Due to the outbreak of WW1 the eugenics movement got put on hold as the world had more important things to worry about. But in 1928 the 3rd Eugenics con would be held in Battle Creek. This would be the peak of eugenic's popularity in the US, interest rekindled by another large wave of immigrants

But it all began to fall apart during the great depression as it woke up many americans to the novel idea that poverty was not tied to hereditage or genetics. Eugenics only became more unpopular when a man with a funny moustache took things wayyyy too far in Germany in the 1940s

This wouldn't be the death of eugenics, it had just become more subtle and laws that indirectly supported the idea of eugenics still came into play, people just weren't having cons for it anymore, at least not publicly. But that's another story

The strangest thing about all this is that the idea of eugenics goes against many of JH's other beliefs. He and his wife fostered 42 children, many that were POC. He was a huge advocate against segregation in the San, gladly hiring and training doctors and nurses of color.

Kellogg took great care of Sojourner Truth during her visits to the San, having suffered injuries fighting for racial justice. reportedly grafting some of his own skin to her leg to treat an ulcer

And Booker T Washington? The whole reason he came to the first Eugenics Con was because 3 years prior he had become incredibly sick and doctors were not making any progress. So his wife found an African American doctor that had been trained by JH who came and had Booker better than ever after 6 months of treatment, and made him a total believer in all of JH's life wellness. And in 1910 JH had personally invited Booker to come visit the San as a guest. He must've trusted JH enough to accept his invitation to the 1914 con as a speaker. Booker credited JH with saving his life and opened his speech with a dedication to him.

But, you can't just say "I have some friends that are black" and call it a day. The evidence against JH was far greater than the evidence for him

"The intellectual inferiority of the negro male to the European male is universally acknowledged," he wrote in 1902.

Dr. Brian C. Wilson, author of "Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and the Religion of Biologic Living." had this to say

"We can honestly say that there is a bit of white supremacy in this," Wilson said. "He was very concerned with Asians or the 'yellow peril.' He was very concerned Asians and especially the Chinese would be able to out-compete the West... He says, 'If we don't deal with this, we're going to be ruled by 'orientals' in the future.'"

So where does this leave us? I do believe that JH's beliefs in eugenics was rooted in his perception of flawed science more than a personal hatred of the disabled, mentally ill and those of other cultures. It seemed that he actually believed that all negative traits could be passed down and that mixing races would detriment both races involved. But does this forgive these beliefs and the work he did to promote them?

No, not in the slightest. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and ignorance. If he had lived past the 2nd world war it would've been interesting to see if his opinions changed for the better or for the worse, as on a whole the world's acceptance of eugenics as a philosophy dropped dramatically. But alas, he died in 1943 at 91 and left his entire state to the Race Betterment Foundation

This left the foundation in charge of Battle Creek College and the Battle Creek Food Company, providing them with a continuous source of funding , in 1947 the foundation had nearly $700k in assets. But in 1967 it had a mere $492.87 and in that same year the state of Michigan indicted the trustees for squandering the foundation's funds and the foundation closed


WK and one of his horses
WK and one of his horses

Oh right, I promised you horses, remember WK? The younger brother?

He was really into Arabian horses, so in 1925 he bought 377 acres of land in Pomona CA and made an Arabian horse ranch where he began breeding with some of the best stock in the world . He also would host weekly horse exhibitions. Some of these horses even starred in hollywood films.

So that's cool. But what happened to him?

WK would never receive a portion of the notoriety or fame JH did, but he went on to do some pretty great things. He never forgot his desire to help make a better world.

In the 1920s he opened a free daycare center in his main factory for his employees. The center paid for free medical and dental exams for the children as well

He had a strong desire to help give the children of his home town the advantages he didn't have as a child. His education had ended at 13 when he was apprenticed at his dad's broom factory. It was a childhood filled with work and responsibility. "As a boy," he later recalled, "I never learned to play." He paid for the creation of a youth center, a public swimming pool and a new elementary school which he named after his mother, one of the first elementary schools to teach children with disabilities alongside children without disabilities

In 1923, he created the Fellowship Corporation, which quietly funded charities throughout Battle Creek and southern Michigan

In 1930 he would establish the WK Kellogg foundation ultimately donating $66 million to it.

Kellogg confined the foundation's giving to "the health, education, and welfare of mankind, but principally of children or youth, directly or indirectly, without regard to sex, race, creed, or nationality." In large part, it was a response to the poverty, strictures, and labor of his own boyhood. But there was another reason. In 1913, his grandson, a toddler named Kenneth Williamson, fell out of a second-story window. The boy nearly died, and was physically disabled for the rest of his life.

Kellogg was astounded that, despite his wealth, he could not find adequate medical care anywhere in southern Michigan. In a letter to a Battle Creek physician, Kellogg wrote that Kenneth's accident "caused me to wonder what difficulties were in the paths of needy parents who seek help for their children when catastrophe strikes, and I resolved to lend what aid I could to such children." A central focus of Kellogg's philanthropy would be children's health care.

A year after opening its doors, the Kellogg Foundation launched the Michigan Community Health Project. Focused on the seven counties of southern Michigan, the 17-year initiative built new hospitals in rural areas, helped organize public-health departments, and provided nurses and doctors for remote towns. In 1942, the State Department asked Kellogg to expand the program to Latin America as a wartime gesture of goodwill. Kellogg willingly complied. "In doing so," notes historian Joel Orosz, "the foundation curiously became international in scope before it became national."

He would also represented one of the first companies to put nutritional labels on food and to include inside-the-box prizes for children (remember that???)

But WK didn't stop there, During the Great Depression, while JH was being forced to lay people off, WK used his savings and directed his cereal plant to work four shifts, each lasting six hours. This gave more people in Battle Creek the opportunity to work during that time. It is even said that he anonymously paid off mortgages at this time for those that were struggling

The foundation is the 7th largest charity in the United States today and continues to support those most in need, including movements like BLM and open border groups much to the chagrin of the Brietbart and other right leaning news sites, who argue that the foundation goes against "everything WK believed", but that doesn't align with the direct he gave future trustees to 'use the money as you please so long as it promotes the health, happiness and well-being of children.'"

Unfortunately the brothers would never reconcile, having spent years fighting in court over cereal. Later in his life JH would write a letter to WK, apologizing and seeking to reopen the relationship. But WK wouldn't receive this letter until after JH's death. Turns out that JH's secretary thought that JH was demeaning himself in the letter and refused to send it

"Dollars do not create character," W. K. Kellogg often said. But he knew that dollars could help, and he charged his foundation, today one of the largest in the nation, with helping "children face the future with confidence, with health, and with a strong-rooted security in the trust of this country and its institutions."