The H.J. Lutcher Stark Center

The Christopher Gian-Cursio Collection

The H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Christopher Gian-Cursio 1910-1985
Title: Christopher Gian-Cursio Collection
Inclusive dates: undated, ca. 1800 – ca. 1980
Abstract: Christopher Gian-Cursio was a naturopathic doctor, nutritionist, author, editor, and researcher. The collection reflects Gian-Cursio’s professional career as a practicing Natural Hygienist and his extensive research into the development and pioneers of the health movement in America, especially James Jackson’s “Our Home on the Hillside” Hygienic Institute in Dansville, N.Y. Also included in the collection, are a substantial number of clippings on a broad variety of health-related subjects such as food and nutrition, cancer, chiropractic care, fasting, sexual health, a small assortment of newspapers from the middle-to-late 1800s, and correspondence with other leading figures of the Natural Hygiene movement, including Jesse Mercer Gehman and Herbert Shelton. The Gian-Cursio Collection also includes an extensive complement of books, which are listed in the University of Texas Libraries catalog.
Quantity: 3 Boxes, 2 Oversized Boxes, 48 Folders, approx. 700 Items
Language: English
Repository: H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, The University of Texas at Austin.

Biographical Note

Christopher Gian-Cursio

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.

Scope and Content

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.

Subject Index

Buildings and Institutions
Health for All
Health Freedom Brigade
Lakemont Health Resort
Law Offices: Manners and Amoon
McFarlin Clothing Company
Medical Freedom Defense Committee
National Association of Professional Practitioners
Smithsonian Institution
Strength and Health Magazine
The American Natural Hygiene Society, Inc.
The Dansville Institute
The Long Island Historical Society
The Vegetarian Society of New York, Inc
Print Media: Newspapers
American Jewish Ledger
American Temperance Intelligence
Chicago Tribune
Dansville Herald
Democrat and Chronicle
Herald of Health
Liberty Pass
New-York Tribune
The Albany Patriot
The Albion
The American Vegetarian
The Banner of Light
The Chicago Sun
The Echo
The Island
The Lily
The New York Herald
The New York Times
Print Media: Papers and Articles
American Dry Milk Institute
Buisson method (alternative to vaccination)
Food Preparation
Natural Hygiene
Science Magazine
Service Citizens Medical Reference Bureau
Sexual Health: 2
United States Public Health

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

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.]

Processing Info

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
, call 512-471-4890.

Text converted and EAD tagging provided by:

Brandt Van Unen and Ryan Blake under the supervision of Brent Sipes, 2016

Collection Arrangement

Series: Subject Files, undated, ca. 1800 – ca. 1980
(30 Folders)

box folder
1 1 Abolition & Slavery 1841 – 1954
(5 items)
box folder
4 Abolition & Slavery: Microform of The Abolitionist & The Liberty Press ca. 1841 – ca. 1843
(1 item)
2 Abolition & Slavery: Inscribed placeholders from microform 1841 – 1954
(12 items)
box folder
1 3 Alcott, Bronson 1831 – 1856
(2 items)
4 Anatomy 1908 – 1962
(4 items)
5 Anti-Fluoride 1928 – 1966
(5 items)
6 Anti-Pasteurization 1925 – 1949
(11 items)
7 Anti-Vaccination 1909 – 1939
(11 items)
8 Anti-Vivisection 1923 – 1945
(7 items)
9 Cancer 1975 – 1979
(6 items)
10 Chiropractic Practice 1939 – 1979
(6 items)
11 Environmental Effects on Humans undated
(1 item)
12 Health For All Articles undated
(12 items)
13 Jackson, James Caleb & Jackson “Our Home on the Hillside” Institute #1 1845 – 1925
(19 items)
14 Jackson, James Caleb & Jackson “Our Home on the Hillside” Institute #2 1845 – 1925
(17 items)
15 Jennings, Issac undated
(3 items)
16 March, Alden 1832 – 1964
(8 items)
17 Milk & American Dry Milk Institute 1925 – 1945
(15 items)
18 Natural Hygiene 1850 – 1947
(5 items)
19 Nutrition #1 1881 – 1958
(12 items)
20 Nutrition #2 1881 – 1958
(11 items)
box folder
2 21 Rabies & Hydrophobia #1 1948 – 1980
(72 items)
22 Rabies & Hydrophobia #2 1948 – 1980
(71 items)
23 School Education 1869 – 1965
(2 items)
24 Self-Healing 1933 – 1980
(32 items)
25 Sexual Health undated, 1973
(2 items)
26 Smith, Gerrit 1825 – 1980
(41 items)
27 Spirituality & Transcendentalism 1967
(1 item)
28 Trall, Russell T. 1862 – 1864
(7 items)
29 Women’s Suffrage & Rights 1799 – 1979
(9 items)

Series: Leaders of Natural Hygiene Movement - Shelton and Gehman, ca. 1940 – ca. 1981
(2 Folders)

box folder
3 30 Gehman, Jesse Mercer 1945 – 1962
(14 items)
31 Shelton, Herbert 1940 – 1981
(6 items)

Series: Gian-Cursio, Christopher, undated, 1953 - 1980
(5 Folders)

box folder
3 32 Correspondence of Gian-Cursio, Christopher 1953 – 1980
(77 items)
33 The Dansville Institute 1978 – 1980
(3 items)
34 Imprisonment of Gian-Cursio, Christopher 1964
(3 items)
35 Journal of Gian-Cursio, Christopher 1968
(1 item)
36 Speeches & Lectures undated
(4 items)

Series: Publications, 1846 - 1984
(8 Folders)

box folder
5 The Albany Patriot (microfilm photocopies) 1854-1849
(24 items)
American Temperance Intelligence 1835
(1 item)
box folder
3 37 Journal of Neurophysiology 1950
(1 item)
box folder
5 Liberty Press 1846
(1 item)
box folder
3 38 Newspaper & Magazine Clippings #1 1973 – 1984
(13 items)
39 Newspaper & Magazine Clippings #2 1973 – 1984
(13 items)
40 Newspaper & Magazine Clippings #3 1973 – 1984
(13 items)
41 Newspaper & Magazine Clippings #4 1973 – 1984
(13 items)
42 Newspaper & Magazine Clippings #5 1973 – 1984
(13 items)
43 Newspaper & Magazine Clippings #6 1973 – 1984
(13 items)
box folder
5 New-York Tribune 1865
(1 item)
The New York Herald 1861 – 1863
(10 items)
box folder
3 44 Science Clippings/Magazines/Articles/Papers in Packets 1901 – 1939
(4 items)

Series: Miscellaneous, undated, ca. 1820 - 1980
(3 Folders)

box folder
3 45 Ephemera undated, ca. 1820 – ca. 1980
(13 items)
46 Microcopy Resolution Test Chart 1963
(1 item)
47 Notepad undated
(1 item)

Series: Audio, 1958
(1 Folder)

box folder
3 48 Open Reel Audio Tape: Diseases of Respiratory Tract & Abolishment of Fear in Living 1958
(1 item)