The Christopher Gian-Cursio Collection
The H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports
Christopher Gian-Cursio was born in Rochester, New York on February 4, 1910 to Antonio Gian-Cursio and Maria Bianchi. He was an early adopter of and advocate for alternative medicine, naturopathy, and, what he would come to call, Natural Hygiene. In the early 1930s Gian-Cursio attended Dr. Benjamin Lust’s American School of Naturopathy, which in 1902 was the first institution to introduce naturopathy to America. His professional career began with the establishment of his orthopathy practice–which holds that prevention and treatment of disease and illness is possible by fasting, dieting, and eschewing nearly all medical treatment and medicines–in Rochester, New York in 1934. On July 11 of that same year, he married Vingenzia “Jenne” Gugino in Batavia, NY, with whom he parented three sons and two daughters.
In 1944 he acquired Warner Castle, a 22-room private residence built on a corner of Highland Park in Rochester, and transformed it into a convalescent home. The following fall, the New York State Department of Education had Dr. Gian-Cursio arrested and prosecuted on a charge of practicing medicine without a license after one of his patients died upon returning home following six weeks of treatment. Although he was acquitted of the charge in May 1946, it would be only the first of at least eight trials that Dr. Gian-Cursio would face throughout his career; he would eventually be imprisoned by the state of Florida. The first acquittal in 1946 also marks the beginning of his long-time activism on behalf of “medical liberty”: the right of Americans to choose treatment according to their beliefs about healing.
In 1952, Dr. Gian-Cursio relocated from Rochester to New York City, but returned each month to Buffalo, Rochester, and Batavia to attend to his remaining patients there. At this time, he took a position as editor of the Journal of Natural Hygiene, and continued to be a prolific author and speaker at conferences and events across the country.
He was estranged from his wife at the end of his life and he lived with his personal assistant until his death on July 26, 1985 in Rochester, NY.
Christopher Gian-Cursio Collection: 3 Boxes, 2 Oversized Boxes: 48 Folders, approx. 700 Items.
The bulk the collection comprises subject files covering various topics, from both Gian-Cursio’s career as a practicing naturopath and natural hygienist, to the substantial amount of research he did on the early history of health reform movements in America. The materials included in the collection include, photocopies of diaries and letters of early health pioneers, photocopies of articles, full newspapers and newspaper clippings, microfilm printouts of newspapers, photocopies of both excerpts and full books, commercially-produced pamphlets, and numerous professional papers and articles written by both Gian-Cursio and others. The materials cover a broad date range, with much of the research material dating from the mid-to-late 1800s, and material related to Gian-Cursio’s practice and treatment of patients mostly dating from the mid-to-late 1900s. The collection contains a few photographs, a small assortment of postcards, and an open reel magnetic audiotape.
Access to the Gian-Cursio Collection is restricted to visitors of the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports. The Stark Center welcomes access inquires and encourages research appointments. For more information, phone (512) 471-4890, email , or visit .
Restrictions on Use
The Stark Center retains the right to limit the use of the Gian-Cursio Collection under certain conditions. Access to student records containing information protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is restricted. No copies of any materials in the collection may be made without permission. Some restricted items may be available at the discretion of the Stark Center. Redacted versions of restricted materials may be made available. No copies of any materials in the collection may be made without permission.
The user is cautioned that the publication of any of the contents of this collection may be construed as constituting a violation of literary property rights. These rights derive from the principle of common law, affirmed in the 1976 copyright act, that the writer of an unpublished letter or other manuscript has the sole right to publish the contents thereof for the duration of the copyright. Unless he or she affirmatively parts with that right, the right descends to his or her legal heirs regardless of the ownership of the physical manuscript itself. It is the responsibility of an author or his publisher to secure permission of the owner of literary property rights in unpublished writing. This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).
Right to Privacy: Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center and the University of Texas at Austin assume no responsibility.
The Christopher Gian-Cursio Collection, H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture & Sports, The University of Texas at Austin. [There is no space between H. & J.]
Collection was processed in 2016 by Brandt Van Unen and Ryan Blake under the supervision of Brent Sipes. For information about the content of the collection, please write
Brandt Van Unen and Ryan Blake under the supervision of Brent Sipes, 2016