Description

    John Harvey Kellogg Archive. A superb collection of approximately 275 pages, letters and documents (most typescript, some manuscript) dating between 1921 and 1937, concerning patent and trademark disputes over several of his products and inventions including his "Zep" cereal, beta lactose, and most significantly, his work with soy acidophilus milk. Kellogg is best known for his invention of Corn Flakes breakfast cereal with his bother Will Keith Kellogg. But he was also a pioneering nutritionist and medical doctor who operated a highly successful sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan that focused on holistic methods. This group includes two Documents Signed and 25 Typed Letters largely secretarially signed, together with letters and documents from attorneys. A small part of the collection concerns a dispute over a particular breakfast cereal during the early 1920s. One of the breakfast cereals, named "Pep" garnered a cease and desist letter from Surburg's Nut Products in New York claming title to the name dating from 1915 forcing Kellogg to rename his product. A back and forth correspondence between Kellogg and his attorneys concerning renaming the product. First Kellogg tried "Pep-O-Wheat", then "Zem", then "Zed", and finally "Zep" (of which there is a sample box in the collection), which was submitted for registration. Included are several manuscript notes (in an unknown hand) with a variety of names for the cereal. There is also similar correspondence concerning the approval for Kellogg's "Sanitarium Bran Flakes". The majority of the archive concerns his pioneering work with soy acidophilus milk and its applications as well as his legal actions against other companies pursuing the same end. He writes, on May 14, 1932 "...I have discovered that the bacillus acidophilus grows more rapidly -- nearly three times as fast -- in soybean milk as in cow's milk. It makes excellent buttermilk. It will undoubtedly live much longer and adapt itself to the condition of the intestine much better than will buttermilk make from cow's milk Also included are Kellogg's notes on the benefits of soy acidophilus milk...What do you think of the patentability of this idea?...". In a series of undated notes, Kellogg remarked, "...Soybean milk has been commonly used for many centuries in China and elsewhere in the Orient in place of cow's milk. It has a much higher protein content than cows milk and also contains carbohydrates which are lacking in cow's milk. Therefore soybean milk has a different and superior value as a food..." Kellogg recommended it for diabetics, "for people sensitized to milk...Good for duodenitis and colitis...cases of extreme toxemia, when all animal proteins are harmful..." The group includes Kellogg's original patent application for his "Method of Making Acidophilus Milk, June 9, 1932" that reads in part: "...The value of bacillus acidophilus milk, for the purpose of improving the character of intestinal flora, is already well established. However, some difficulty has been experienced in making such acidophilus milk conveniently available to those who need it. The production of the acidophilus milk in the homes of the users is much to be desired, if it can be accomplished easily, with certainty of success and at low cost. But the ordinary cultures of bacillus acidophilus do not grow readily in ordinary cow's milk, in fact their early propagation is attended with great difficulty, many transfers being required before the culture can be developed to a strength where it can be employed by unskilled persons for the production of acidophilus milk. It appears that when attempting to develop bacillus acidophilus milk in the usual manner employing cow's milk alone together with the culture, unless the culture is particularly vigorous, other germs entering the milk from the atmosphere or from other sources often grow so fast that they outstrip and defeat the growth of the bacillus acidophilus germs..." The only document we can identify as being authentically signed by Kellogg is a notarized DS, dated May 15, 1929, assigning ownership of the patent for "BETA LACTOSE AND METHOD OF MAKING SAME" to the Battle Creek Food Company. Document bears an embossed notary stamp. Offered together with the copious correspondence and documentation concerning the patent dispute and related ephemera including an original label for one pint of his soy milk. Also includes Kellogg's signed assignment for his patent for "improvements in BETA LACTOSE AND METHOD OF MAKING SAME..." Condition overall very good with only minor faults raining from toning to the occasional marginal tear. John Kellogg's methods were quite controversial for their time, but much of their work was well ahead of its time as these documents clearly illustrate. This rich collection documents the litigious side of the pioneering nutritionist who revolutionized how Americans ate breakfast.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2008
    21st-22nd Thursday-Friday
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