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America's First Dietitian

Sarah Tyson Rorer (1849-1937)
“Fruits as Foods and Fruits as Poisons,” in The Ladies’ Home Journal, June 1898, v.15  
MU Libraries
AP2 .L135  (1897/1898)

Sarah Tyson Rorer portrait
Image credit: Philadelphia Cook Book (1886)

Sarah Tyson Rorer was head of the influential Philadelphia Cooking School, a well-known cookbook author, and a magazine publisher.  One of the first prominent cooks to be concerned with health issues, Rorer educated herself in chemistry, anatomy, and medicine.  She worked with doctors to develop special diets for the sick and malnourished.  Because of this work, she is often considered the first American dietitian.

Rorer worked as an editor at The Ladies’ Home Journal for over 14 years, where she wrote on cooking and health issues.  This article is part of a series on healthy eating.  Even with her scientific background, Rorer was a product of her time; here, she dismisses strawberries, oranges, and most other citrus fruits as “poisons,” warning that children and the infirm should never eat them.

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