In Memoriam:
Rynn Berry

Vegetarian Historian

Rynn Berry was the historical advisor to the NAVS (North American Vegetarian Society). In his lectures, articles, and books, he specialized in the study of vegetarianism from an historical perspective. Recently, Rynn was commissioned to write the entry on the history of vegetarianism in American for the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink. His first book, The New Vegetarians, was a collection of biographical sketches and interviews of famous contemporary vegetarians. His second book, Famous Vegetarians and Their Favorite Recipes is a biographical history of vegetarianism that ranges from Pythagoras and the Buddha to Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, the Beatles and beyond. In his third book Food for the Gods: Vegetarianism and the World's Religions, Rynn  wrote essays on vegetarianism in each of the world's religions: Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. He also included conversations with prominent vegetarian thinkers from each of these religions. In his last book Hitler: Neither Vegetarian, Nor Animal Lover, (March, 2004), Rynn adroitly demolished the myth that Adolf Hitler was an ethical vegetarian and animal lover. Rynn was completing work on a book entitled Fruits of Tantalus: A History of Vegan Rawfoodism and the Origins of Cooking.

At the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia, where Rynn did his graduate and undergraduate work, he specialized in ancient history and comparative religion A popular lecturer, in New York, where he lived, Rynn taught a college course on the history of vegetarianism (the first of its kind in the nation). His hobbies included book collecting, listening to classical music, translating ancient Greek authors, and theater-going; his favorite pastimes included running, swimming, tennis and cycling. With co-author, Chris Suzuki, Rynn put out an annual vegan guide to New York City, the first of its kind in the country. It was given an enthusiastic review in the New York Times (January 7th, 2004); the first time that America's newspaper of record had ever featured a vegan/ vegetarian travel guide in its pages.