International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo

History of the French Vegetarian Societies

The first French Vegetarian Societies - 1878-1884

From The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), April 1878, p76:

NICE - We are glad to hear that Mr. Thomas Richardson, B.A., has been holding Vegetarian and temperance meetings at Nice, in French and English. He has printed the Danielite pledge, with a few reasons for adopting it, in French. In France, where fruit is plentiful, excellent and cheap, these teachings ought to find ready acceptance.

From The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), September 1879, p180:

Many difficulties still stand in the way of forming a society in Paris. A society has actually been set on foot in Nice, and is patronised by several physicians.

From The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), August 1880, p177 (from a German correspondent) :

A new local society, the "Academic," consisting chiefly of students and undergraduates, been founded in Berlin, likewise two societies in France, one in Paris, one in Nizza.

From The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), October 1880, p209 (Editorial):

Vegetarianism is assuming an organised form in France. The present year has seen three notable incidents in Pairs. The first is the publication of a translation of the Pythagorean Regime of Cocchi; the second the establishment of a Vegetarian Society; and the third the issue of Mrs. Kingsford's remarkable dissertation. Cocchi's book is known to students, but its reissue in a popular form is a timely contribution. In the same volume has been included the treatises of Cornaro and of Lessius - a library of health in miniature. Of Mrs. Kingsford's thesis we may quote the words of Professor Raoux, who says: "The talent, the learning, and the personal experiences of Mrs. Kingsford will assure for her work a great and legitimate success." The Vegetarian Society of Paris has for Presidents M. M. Haureau de Villeneuve, M.D., and Prof. Aderholdt, Ph.D.

There is a Vegetarian Society at Nice presided over by M. Edouard Raoux, a former Professor of the Academy at Lausanne. These are gratifying indications of growth.

from the Soyfoods Center:

New York Times. 1881. "Vegetarianism in France." March 7. p. 3. "A vegetarian society has been founded in Paris, and has just issued its first Bulletin, in which we are told that the object of the society is to discover the 'elementary régime most advantageous to the human species.'... The Paris society has been founded by Dr. Hureau de Villeneuve." The article suggests that vegetarianism should be popular in France, where many members of the lower and lower middle classes are already vegetarians, largely by necessity.

From The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), May 1881, p90

FRANCE - The Société Végétarienne de France (Paris : Rue St. Honoré, 163) has just entered its second year. It issues as journal - La Réforme Elementaire [sic]- and has just revised its rules and designation. The president of the Society is Dr. Goyard, Dr. Aderboldt is secretary.

From The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), July 1881, p134

The second part of La Réforme Alimentaire contains the opening of an interesting essay by Dr. Goyard on the characteristics of Vegetarian regime. Dr. Auselmier answers in the negative the question as to the supposed necessity of fibrine. Dr. Goyard gives an account of the second banquet of the French Vegetarians. Of this we give the menu :-
Menu Végétarien du 21 Avril. Potages - Purée de lentilles, soupe printanière. Hors d'œuvre - Beurre, radis, olives. Entrées - Œufs à la coque, asperges en branches. Quaternaires - Macaroni au blanc de poule, petits pois. Saccharines - Crême à la vanille, ruches d'amygdaline, savarin. Dessert -Fromages Suisses, compottes de pommes, confiture de fraises, dattes, oranges, gaufrettes. Vins - Maçon vieux, Saint-Emilion. Pain de Graham.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), September 1881, p193:

La Réforme Alimentaire, the official organ of the French Vegetarian Society, states that notwithstanding great excitement in the political world, more than sixty journals gave shorter or longer accounts of the Vegetarian banquet recently held in Paris.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), December 1881, p270:

Dr. Goyard, President of the French Vegetarian Society, has lately made a tour through Switzerland, visiting the various Vegetarian and hygienic establishments there.

At a recent meeting of the Paris Vegetarian Society, Dr. Anselmier read an exhaustive account of the Soja hispida, a grain somewhat like a pea in appearance, which is extensively cultivated in China, where it is mostly employed in the making of a vegetable cheese, called Too-foo. The result of experiments made at the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris, is the conclusion that it is not likely to be beneficially employed in France, otherwise than according to the Chinese method.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), February 1882, p43:

At a recent meeting of the French Vegetarian Society, announcement was made of the speedy publication of a Vegetarian cookery book for the middle classes, prepared by a lady, said to be a cordon bleu. At the same meeting the president (Dr. Goyard) was informed that a number of friends to the cause in Switzerland had forwarded for his acceptance an album containing Swiss views as a slight testimony to the value of his services during his recent visit to Switzerland.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), March 1882, p70:

In consequence of the increased number of members of the Paris Vegetarian Society, now more than 100, it has been found necessary to provide some assistance for the president in the execution of his various duties. Dr. Anselmier has accordingly been appointed vice-president of the Society.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), May 1882, p109/110:

La Réforme Alimentaire contains the annual report of the French Vegetarian Society in which Dr. Aderholdt recalls to mind the fact that the first efforts to enlighten the Parisians on the subject of Vegetarianism since the time of Gleïzès were made under the auspices of the German Vegetarian Society, that Society having commissioned Dr. Dock to lecture on the subject during the International Exhibition of 1878. The lectures were well attended, the result being the foundation of a Society numbering ten members, since which time there has been a gradual increase, the number of members at present being 116. The official organ of the Society is reported to be gradually extending its circulation, the number of subscribers at present over 200, members included. The report also states that arrangements have been made with several bakers for the supply of Graham bread, that this important article in the Vegetarian dietary may be produced in perfection.

At the last meeting of the French Vegetarian Society, much interest was excited by a paper read by Dr. Thurman on the means adopted by Dr. Kynaston for promoting an increase in the amount of fruit by a special method of treating fruit trees, of which an account has already appeared in the Dietetic Reformer.

At a recent meeting of the Paris Vegetarian Society, amongst many other subjects of interest a discussion arose as to the desirability or not of retaining any portion of the bran in flour used for making bread.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), August 1882, p180:

Several pages of the last number of La Réforme Alimentaire are devoted to the proposed rules of the French Vegetarian Society, comprised in about sixty articles. They are mostly such as are common to similar societies, the only exception worth mentioning being the prohibition of any discussion of the principles of the Society at their banquets; on which occasions it is also required that all intended speeches must be previously submitted for the president's inspection. Before finally adopting the rules they are to be fully considered at a future sitting, when also a paper on the word "Vegetarian" will be read by Mr. Anderholdt.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), February 1883, p45:

La Réforme Alimentaire of November, 1882, refers to a pamphlet by M. de Wogan, published in France, entitled, "How to Live Well on 5d. a Day." This pamphlet by reason of its social and hygienic importance, was, at a meeting of the Vegetarian Society of France of October 12th, referred to a committee for further attention.

On the reading of a paper at the meeting of the French Vegetarian Society on Oct. 12th by Dr. Oidtmann, on the abuse of salt, an interesting discussion followed.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), April 1883, p107:

FRANCE - Dr. Aderholdt writes from Paris to the Vereins-Blatt, that all the medical members of the French Vegetarian Society strenuously oppose the strict carrying out of the natural diet, and that the statutes of the Society were, through the exertions of Dr. Hureau, deprived of their distinctive character; public opinion, at first favourable, has shifted to the opposite extreme, and members of the Society are ridiculed for calling themselves Vegetarians when they really are not. The poilce have refused to authorise the Society, on the grounds that it is "absurd," and have demanded the dismissal of foreigners from the committee. The Society continues to exist under the name of "Société pour la Reforme Alimentaire," and to advocate a mixed diet; the Vegetarians proper intend to form a separate club entitled, "Thaylysie."

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), February 1884, 59:

An article by Herr Springer on La Réforme Alimentaire (the official organ of the French Vegetarian Society), in the Vereins-Blatt, after describing the contents of that journal, of which brief summary has already appeared in the Dietetic Reformer, critisises somewhat severely the remarks made by the president at a recent meeting of the Paris society, to the effect that whilst he is himself a Vegetarian, he is in the habit of prescribing the use of flesh-meat to his patients in certain cases, several other members also claiming the liberty to make use of such articles of food at their discretion. Herr Springer gives an account of an interview he lately had with a French Vegetarian, who deplored the half hearted manner in which the principles of Vegetarianism were being carried out in Paris. He quoted the words of Shakespeare: "Trust not the physicians!" and gave it as his opinion that it was being taken up more as an interesting novelty than as an important step towards the improvement of the human race. According to his informant, the first president, Dr. Haveau de Villeneuve, fearing to incur the ridicule of his medical colleagues, expressed the wish that it was only the misuse of flesh-meat that should be forbidden by their rules. His successor in office, Dr. Goyard, was very active at first, hoping to found a new medical school, but after a tour in Switzerland, where he met with Drs. Dock, Hahn, Raoux, and others, he appears to have considerably modified his views, stating that he was not disposed to ruin his practice. The existing president, Dr. Anselmeier, is described as an enlightened omnivore. The article concludes with some suggested additional rules, of an ironical character, and expresses the belief of the writer that if for experimental purposes the remains of M. Gleïzès should ever be exhumed, it will be found that the decisions come to at a recent sitting of the French society will have caused him to turn in his grave.

from the Soyfoods Center:

Bonnejoy, Ernest. 1891. Le végétarisme et le régime végétarien rationnel: Dogmatisme, histoire, pratique [Vegetarianism and the rational vegetarian diet: Dogmatics, history, and practice]. Paris: J.B. Ballière et Fils; Lausanne: Payot. p. 209. In 1880 Doctor Hureau de Villeneuve founded la Societé Vegétarienne de Paris and published on October 22 the first issue of la Réforme Alimentaire. This was the only issue published until after the society became la Societé Vegétarienne de France under the direction of Dr. Goyard / Goyart. The society dissolved in 1882.

Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England). 1899. "Vegetarian Society of France." May. p. 151-52. "Early in the eighties there was a society called first the Societé Vegétarienne de Paris and afterwards the Societé Vegétarienne de France, but it made little impression and after two years work was dissolved."
"We are glad to learn from La Réforme Alimentaire that the French vegetarians have again decided to form a Vegetarian Society to be called, like its predecessor, the Societé Vegétarienne de France. The offices are at Boulevard de Strasbourg, 75, Paris, and by a very sensible arrangement with the Societé Belge pour l'étude de la Réforme alimentaire, the two societies will have as a joint organ the interesting little magazine La Réforme Alimentaire, which... thus becomes the organ of vegetarianism throughout the whole of the French speaking world."
Note: An OCLC record (Aug. 2004) for the periodical La Reforme Alimentaire (Brussels) says that it was published from 1881 to 1914. "Organe des Sociétés Vegetariennes de France et de Belgique." Therefore, it is possible that the French Vegetarian Society existed as early as 1881. A copy of issues from the early years of this periodical would clearly reveal when the French Vegetarian Society was established. [ now done via the British journal above].

If you have any more information about anything on this page please contact John Davis -