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13th IVU World Vegetarian Congress 1953

Sigtuna, Sweden

from The Vegetarian News (London) Autumn 1953:

Visitors from Overseas

Mr. John Maxwell
We have had the honour, and the pleasure, of welcoming to London, en route for the International Vegetarian Congress in Sweden, Mr. John Maxwell, of San Diego, California. Mr. Maxwell, familiarly known as Dr. Maxwell in the U.S.A., is one of the few remaining pioneers in the vegetarian movement and, despite his 90 odd years (he was 90 in January last), has lost nothing of his keenness and early enthusiasm.

Added to his zeal for vegetarianism, he has also been a practitioner of natural healing for many years, having achieved some spectacular results. Notable among these was the curing of a chronic case of diabetes. As a thankoffering for his cure the patient, who was the founder of one of the broadcasting circuits in America, give Mr. Maxwell the freedom of the air through his transmitter. He was enabled, thereby, t.o advocate vegetarianism and natural healing for ten minutes on five days of each week for five years, notwithstanding repeated attempts of a Meat Packers Union to get him "off the air"!

Mr. Maxwell once visited the Chicago stockyards, an unforgettable experience which he has no desire to repeat. It inspired him to open a vegetarian restaurant in Chicago or, as he calls it, Porkopolis,"a restaurant which he maintained for 32 years, until his sight began to fail just over three years ago. The restaurant became a Mecca for vegetarians from all over the world. One of Mr. Maxwell's friends was the son of Count Leo Tolstoy.

At the age of 87, Mr. Maxwell, through force of circumstances, had to begin life anew and set about earning a living for his wife and himself, yet, notwithstanding the apparently hard knocks of fate, there is no trace of bitterness discernible in this cheery, nonagenarian, vegetarian philosopher, whose generous attitude throughout his long life seems to have been the embodiment of the maxim: It is more blessed to give than to receive." If happiness is the wealth he sought, then Mr. Maxwell would appear to be a rich man indeed.

British by birth, having been born in Accrington, Lancashire, and come south at the age of one month, Mr. Maxwell in his early days was a clerk in the Accounting Department of a well-known wholesale establishment with premises at that time in Wood Street, in the heart of the City of London. On revisiting the scene of his early employment, he was obviously staggered by the extent of the bomb damage and the devastation on every hand. It was amazing to hear him recall details and names of those far away days with no apparent effort.

Although he has been away from Britain for over 45 years, he still retains a great love for the mother country and expressed great gratitude to his fellow vegetarians in America for making it possible for him to revisit the scenes of his birth and early manhood and to attend the International Congress. He travelled alone and enjoyed every minute of his flight across the Atlantic and hopes to return via Britain to the U.S.A.

It is obvious that Mr. Maxwell's courage and undying enthusiasm springs from a deep and simple, though unobtrusive, religious faith; that same faith which was the hallmark of all the great pioneers in our great cause, which gave it its tremendous impetus in the early years and laid the foundations on which is established the movement we are privileged to serve to-day.

Mr. Hobart Huson
Another American visitor we have welcomed in recent days is Mr. Hobart Huson of Texas. Although more markedly American, Mr. Huson also has roots in Britain and has a great love for Britain and the British.

Mr. Huson is a lawyer by profession as well as being a keen student of Pythagoras and an author of books on philosophy. He is at present touring many countries to visit the many Standing Stones, Round Towers and other archaeological features which, it is thought, relate to the sojourning of the mythical Hyperborean peoples, in order to obtain data for a biography of Pythagoras.

Again it was very refreshing and a great pleasure to meet Mr. Huson with his ready smile, his "largeness" and his free American expressiveness; added to which was that same enthusiasm and keen interest in the advancement of vegetarianism which is a characteristic of Mr. Maxwell.

If these two gentlemen are typical of American vegetarians, then we can expect great things in that country so far as the promotion and development of vegetarianism are concerned, and we are proud to have had the opportunity of meeting them both.

The International Field

And now the International Congress, to be held at Sigtuna, the ancient capital of Sweden, is upon us. On the day on which this note is being written the party from Britain - nineteen of us - are setting out from Tilbury on the M.S. Sega, one of the beautiful modern boats of the Swedish Lloyd line. The advance guard of the party have already gone ahead to make final preparations on the spot for the Congress.

What its results will be depends on what we shall make of it during the vital week of our conferring together and later, with rekindled enthusiasm, back in our own countries, fulfilling the job which is nearest to our hand.

It is good to know that we shall have with us some of the elder brethren of the movement whose lives have been dedicated to the cause. From them we shall draw encouragement, reassurance and inspiration to press on in the days ahead with problems so different and yet in many ways so similar to those which they had to meet and overcome in the early days and even up to the present time.

We are indeed grateful for their testimony and for the noble standards they have raised and we pray that that same spirit which enthused and inspired them may descend upon us too, to enable us, who would follow them, to be worthy and to be able to continue the work so conscientiously initiated and established until, at last, that day shall come when "they shall not hurt nor destroy in all God's Holy Mountain," and in very truth "the glory of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea."


As we go to press, the 13th International Congress held at Sigtuna, Sweden, has come to a close and brought with it a sense of useful work accomplished. This feeling was unanimously expressed at the final meeting.

A fuIl account of the proceedings of the Congress, together with the Secretary's report, will appear in the Winter issue of Vegetarian News as time does not allow its inclusion in the present issue.

It will be of interest to readers, however, to know that Mrs. Clarence Gasque of U.S.A. was appointed President of the I.V.U. on the retirement of Mr. W. A. Sibly from that office. Mr. Sibly becomes Past President and will continue to serve on the Executive Committee together with Mr. Oluf Egerod (Denmark) as Deputy President, Mr. Josef Pedersen (Sweden) as Hon. Treasurer, and Mr. H. H. Jones (Great Britain) as Asst. Hon. Treasurer. Newly elected members to the Executive Committee are Frau Eeker-Lauer (Cermany), Dr. Nussbaum (France) and Mr. Woodland Kahler (U.S.A. and France).

A new development was the appointment of Vice-Presidents representative of the countries in which the I.V.U. operates at present. While not having voting power, Vice-Presidents may attend meetings of the Executive Committee of the I.V.U. in an advisory capacity, thus forming a kind of Advisory Council. The names of those appointed are:
Canada: (Eastern) Mr. L.. Pritzker, (Western) Miss J. Kimball.
Denmark: Mr. N. Nielsen.
England: Dr. B. P. Allinson, Mr. J. Hough (re.appointed).
France : Dr. J. de Marquette, Dr. J. C. Nusshaum.
Germany: Mr. H. RaIl, Dr. E. Waag.
Holland: Mr. C. van Nederveen.
India: Dastur F. Bode.
Italy : Prof. A. Capitini.
New Zealand: Mr. C. Hodson.
Norway : Dr. H. J. Rögler.
Scotland: Mr. D. Semple.
Sweden: Major E. Killander, Mr. C. Schelin.
Switzerland : Dr. R. Bireher.
U.S.A.: Mr. L. Fillmore, Mr. W. Kahler (and France), Dr. J. Maxwell, Prof. S. Nearing, Dr. H. Stevens.