I was asked to provide a list of my top 5 picks in the field of animal history (or human-animal histories as I normally refer to it). It was a really tough list to make! On any given day I could come up with a completely different list of books that have inspired me in this field. And I hate that I had to limit it to only five books, although as you will see, I managed to sneak in a few more. This is a growing, shifting, and changing field, and I am so excited for all the work that is being done in human-animal history right now. If you are curious about human-animal histories this list will get you started, but there are so many other good books and articles to read too. I’d love to hear what your favourites are!
“We Practice the Convictions of our Minds and Hearts”
As the weather starts to turn colder, many of us are thinking about getting a new winter coat. I love that there are so many cruelty-free fashions to pick from! Imagine my delight, then, when during the course of my research I learned about a woman who was making cruelty-free alternatives to fur coats, silk scarves, and “kid” gloves over 100 years ago! Her name was Maude (“Emarel”) Freshel, and she was the co-founder of an organization known as the Millennium Guild. The Guild advocated for a lifestyle that included a vegetarian diet and hosted lavish meat-free Thanksgiving dinners in Boston in the early years of the 20th century. The sale of the cruelty-free outerwear that Freshel sewed helped to fund the activities of the Guild. A number of these fashions were featured in the Boston Sunday Post on November 17, 1912.
Freshel told reporter that members of the Millennium guild “have found splendid substitutes for furs, feather hat trimmings and kid gloves, and know we are better off without eating meat. We practice the convictions of our minds and hearts.”
Freshel was also the author of The Golden Rule Cookbook, a vegetarian cookbook promoting the abstention from meat eating for ethical reasons. Freshel defined a vegetarian (remember, the term “vegan” didn’t exist until 1944) as someone who “for one reason or another condemns the eating of flesh.” She saw this as occupying “a very different place in the world of ethics from one who is simply refraining from meat eating in an effort to cure bodily ills.” Freshel’s dog, a terrier named Sister, was also a vegetarian and reportedly enjoyed such foods as lentils, peas, apples, oatmeal, and buttered toast.
*This post was also published on The Unbound Project website.
Upcoming talk in Guelph
I am really honoured to have been invited by Dr. Sally Hickson to speak at the University of Guelph later this month as part of their art history speaker series. The event takes place on Tuesday, November 19th at 5:30. More details below.
If you are in the Guelph area, please drop by and say hi!