Ingersoll on Vivisection

April 29, 2015


In August, 2014, the Robert Green Ingersoll and the Reform Imperative conference was held at the Center for Inquiry. During that event, I was photographed showing Susan Jacoby a letter that Ingersoll wrote about vivisection (the image can be seen on Jacoby’s Wikipedia page). Vivisection is the practice of performing operations on live animals for the purposes of research.


Ingersoll denounced vivisection many times, and the letter I showed Jacoby was just one example. There are also several examples of letters and articles Ingersoll wrote in the various collections of his writings.


I received another example in the mail recently, sent to me by Cynthia Van Ness, Director of Libraries & Archives at the Buffalo History Museum. She sent a twelve-page newsletter called Higher Humanity (the official publication of the American League for the Prevention of Legalized Crime; published in Buffalo, NY) from May, 1919. The entire issue is devoted to the subject of vivisection.


On page eight, the entire letter to Philip G. Peabody, of Boston, was reprinted. It was originally written in 1890, and Ingersoll points out that “Never can I be the friend of one who vivisects his fellow-creatures. I do not wish to touch his hand.”


This publication will be added to the Center for Inquiry Libraries (thank you Cynthia!). The letter that was featured in the photo with Susan Jacoby is on loan to the Ingersoll Museum and will be on display at the museum during the 2015 season.