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May 4, 2011

John Harvey Kellogg and the Pursuit of Wellness

JAMA. 2011;305(17):1814-1815. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.557

In 1888, the powerful Michigan Central Railway erected a Romanesque train station in a remote hamlet in southwestern Michigan called Battle Creek. It was built to accommodate the multitude of health-seeking pilgrims flocking from all over the United States and Europe to “take the cure” at the town's luxurious sanitarium.1

Passing under the station's arches of rough-hewn gray granite and Lake Superior brick between 1870 and well into the Great Depression were such luminaries as John D. Rockefeller Jr, fleeing from the disastrous events in his family's coal mines at Ludlow, Colorado; Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, whenever they were in need of a tune-up or recharge from the stresses of industrial gigantism; Amelia Earhart, before her important flights; Warren G. Harding, before embarking on his presidential run; and Booker T. Washington and Sojourner Truth, nursing wounds fresh from fighting the war against racism.