Where Does "Vegan" Come From?

It was made up by Donald Watson, who founded the first organization for those seeking a lifestyle free from animal products in 1944 in London. Watson and his friends -- correctly -- thought that 'non-dairy vegetarians' was a bit too long a term. So they agreed to create a new word, something shorter and easier to say.

Many options were considered, including vitans, dairybans, benevores, and allvegans. They eventually decided on "vegan" as it took the beginning and the end of the word "vegetarian." It may also have been influenced by the fact that a popular London vegetarian restaurant was named "Vega."

Operation Match: The Earliest OkCupid

In 1965, Harvard students used a dating questionnaire and an IBM 1401—an early version of the computer—to match co-eds seeking love. Students would fill out a questionnaire. It would be copied onto punch cards, and fed into the computer, and within seconds 5 potential partners would be spit out. Workers would then mail the results back to the student. The service was called “Operation Match,” and it cost about $3 per person (or about $22 today).


"Democracy is not static. It is a living force. Every new idea, every new invention offers opportunity for both good and evil."

Herbert Hoover (1874 - 1964), an American engineer, businessman, and eventual president.

The Dulong people are a minority group in China who live in a historically inaccessible area in the Yunnan Province. (A highway built in late 1999 now makes it reachable to the outside world.) It was a tradition for Dulong girls to get a face tattoo when they began puberty, a tradition called “Hua Lian” (“painting the face”) or “Wen Mian” (“tattooing the face").

In the areas along the upper and middle reaches of the Dulong River, the tattoos were a complex pattern of connecting diamonds down the bridge of the nose and across the cheeks and mouth. In the lower reaches, the designs were much simpler. All tattoos were butterfly shaped as they believed that the dead turned into butterflies when they passed. How the Dulong tradition began is unknown. Some speculate that it was so that Dulong women were less attractive as slaves, as Tibetan landlords used to demand families who could not pay taxes would pay in daughters instead.

Unfortunately, the tradition is dying. It almost completely ended after 1949 and the founding of the communist state. Today, there are fewer than 30 women alive with traditional Dulong tattoos.

  Autochrome of Janet and Iris Laing at their family's home in Oxford, England, circa 1908. Photograph was taken by the best-named woman ever, Etheldreda Laing.

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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