|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
The Vegetarian World Forum
THE VEGETARIAN No. 4 Vol. 3 - WINTER 1949 pp.11-12:
AFTER a day or two of chaos in which three hundred and fifty travel-weary delegates from all over the United States, Canada, and Europe, were bedded down in accommodation suitable for two hundred and fifty, The First American Vegetarian Convention settled down to serious work and proceeded to build an organisation worthy of that great nation.
Even the promoters do not claim that the Convention was well organised, yet its success is a tribute to their dogged efforts against terrific odds. Not only were the vast distances of the American continent a severe test, but the Conference was held against a background of violent conflict, which ranged from racialism to personalities. To ignore or gloss over these difficulties would detract from the ultimate achievement.
The thought of a hundred extra guests was too much for the Camp Aurora staff, so half of them walked out. Our first bouquet, therefore, goes to Dr. Robert Anderson, an over-70-year-old nature curist, who shouldered the catering burden, raided the surrounding country for real vegetarian food, and galvanised the remaining staff and helpers into feeding the multitude.
Our second bouquet goes to Dr. Jesse Mercer Gehman, whose masterly and almost ruthless chairmanship kept the discussions on the rail, and smoothed over the undercurrent of strong personal disagreements. Finally, we pay a tribute to that great political writer and debater, Scott Nearing, whose sound commonsense and forthright utterances repeatedly saved the Convention from wandering into vague and pointless by-paths.
We went to America under the impression that it is a matriarchal country - we were soon disillusioned. If " Momma" rules in the home, she is certainly kept out of public life, and if we might be permitted one rather severe criticism of the American Convention, it is that there were no women speakers.
We were wondering how best to express our feelings about the Convention, when a letter arrived from Mrs. E. M. Gordon Kemmis, one of the Europeans present. Since it gathers up most of what we felt and would like to express, we give it thankfully:
The first official act of the American Vegetarian Union was to apply
for membership of the International Vegetarian Union. We can assure a
warm welcome for any Americans who find it possible to attend the next
meeting of the I.V.U. at Arnhem, Holland, in July, 1950.