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ANHS library is now in Austin, Texas

Jim Lennon at ANHS old library in Tampa Florida
INHS has contacted the Kinesiology Department of The University of Texas and talked to Terence Todd, who told us about the Todd-McLean Physical Culture Collection, where ANHS library - or Dr. Herbert Shelton's collection - is now housed.

When ANHS (the American Natural Hygiene Society) was closed down, it's library was given here, approximately in 2001. ANHS library consisted of 2000+ books, mainly books that Dr. Shelton had donated to ANHS. There was also a collection of audio and video tapes, but this was relatively small and is now in the offices of NHA, the National Health Association.

Terry and Jan Todd are both professors at The University of Texas, and they have initiated and kept this research library with collections of old books in physical culture and natural health.
Currently the library is in a temporary location, accessible by appointment only and the books must be read within the library - but there are plans for the university to build a proper library for them, in perhaps 3 years. U of T has a multitude of research libraries.

The natural health part contains 3 large groups:
  1. Dr. Gian Cursio's collection of 5000+ books, 1500 pamphlets & journals
  2. a collection by Dr. Jesse Mercer Gehman - who wrote Smoke over America, a naturopath in Pennsylvania, and editor of the Vegetarian Magazine
  3. Dr. Herbert Shelton's collection - (ANHS library) - 2000+ books
For a detailed list of the collections, see

The Todd-McLean Physical Culture Collection was started thanks to the Todd's close friendship with Victor Boff, well-known owner of health food stores in New York. And a winter bather on Coney Island - several times a week all winter. It was Victor who had good connections with Cursio and Gehman, and helped transfer their libraries to U of T after their death.

E.g. Cursio had a 35,000+ books, housed in 9 library-like rooms in his big house in New York. Not all were on health, he had many other interests. The family after his death threw most of it in the trash, but a good friend of Cursio used to come by every trash-pickup day, and save books from the trash.
Jesse Mercer's family likewise was not interested in his books, and some were in pretty bad condition when they finally arrived at the library.

Note: There is a project to digitize books of the library, but this is only just started.

Todd-McLean Physical Culture Collection
at The University of Texas

The following info is from the website :

Preservation: For many decades, traditional libraries purchased very few journals and books published in the field of physical culture and alternative health care. Furthermore, few private individuals involved in these fields thought to deposit their personal papers and photography collections in public libraries. By establishing this collection at The University of Texas in 1984, the Todds aimed to provide a long-term home at a major research institution for these rare and culturally significant documents and to find means and methods to preserve these documents through perpetuity.

Research: By establishing the Todd-McLean Physical Culture Collection, the Todds hoped to encourage academic scholarship in such fields as physical fitness, weightlifting, bodybuilding, naturopathy, athletic training, and alternative medicine. Over the past two decades, scholars and graduate students from the United States as well as Canada, Italy, Bulgaria, Iceland, Germany , Australia, Great Britain, and Norway have used the collection for a wide variety of projects.

Timeless Teachings - Herbert Shelton Library - 1995 Health Science article

ANHS continues the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Dr Shelton's birth with a look inside the ANHS Herbert Shelton Library.
The extraordinary heritage of Natural Hygiene is safely preserved in the Herbert Shelton Library, located at the ANHS National Headquarters in Tampa, Fla. The collection consists of hundreds of books and periodicals; many are one-of-a-kind. Most of these irreplaceable items were collected over a lifetime by Dr. Shelton.

Herbert M Shelton (1895-1985) was one of the co-founders of the American Natural Hygiene Society Before his death, ANHS purchased Dr Shelton's priceless collection of books on the extensive history of Natural Hygiene dating back to the 1830's.
Beginning with Isaac Jennings, M.D., in the 1830s, an unbroken line of physicians worked tirelessly to formulate the comprehensive science of health that we call Natural Hygiene.The writings of these men and women were far ahead of their times.
Some of the more prominent authors, in addition to Dr.Jennings, include William A.Alcott, M.D.; Russell TTrall, M.D.; Harriet Austin, M.D.; James C.Jackson, M.D.;Thomas L. Nichols, M.D.; Mary Gove Nichols; Charles F. Page, M.D.; Susannah W. Dodds, M.D.; Felix L. Oswald, M.D.; and John H.Tilden, M.D.

This image of Dr Shelton - rescued from an old severely damaged pri nting plate (center), was reprinted (left) and fully restored (right) using computer technology.
A rescued photograph
During a visit to Dr. Shelton's home in San Antonio,Texas, ANHS Executive Director James Michael Lennon met with Dr. Shelton's children, Willowdeen Rossner and Walden Shelton, who donated many valuable items to the Library. These included an old printing plate showing a picture of Dr. Shelton as a young man. The printing plate had been badly scratched and damaged during the decades since it had been made. But with the generous help of ANHS member Stan Darrah, who is a printer, we were able to make a print from the plate. Then, with the help of computer technology, we were able to have all of the damage repaired.The fully-restored picture shows a young, handsome Dr. Shelton. Now we have a rare and previously-unknown photograph of Dr. Shelton that would have been lost.

Preservation continues with help from members
Now in its 11th year, the Herbert Shelton Library is a tribute to the support of ANHS members who have helped to assure its preservation and growth. Hundreds of members have made contributions to help, and the name of every ANHS member who has made a gift to the library is recorded in a Friends of the library book on view in the library. The important preservation work of the library continues. Many books are in need of repair due to broken bindings and general decay over time. These books are kept safely in glass bookcases, and some are so fragile that they cannot be handled.
A duplicate copy section of the library is being created so that members can read through these classics when they visit.
Health Science, magazine of ANHS, 1995

The tradition continues
The pioneering work of the early Hygienists has continued into the 20th century through the efforts of the members of the International Association of Professional Natural Hygienists.These men and women are licensed physicians who make Hygienic care the focal point of their practices.
Health Science, magazine of ANHS, 1995

Natural Health & Energy
INHS Hygienic Review

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