Henry Salt

From Academic Kids

Henry Stephens Salt (September 20, 1851 - April 19, 1939) was an influential English writer and campaigner for social reform in the fields of prisons, schools, economic institutions and the treatment of animals he was a noted anti-vivisectionist and pacifist. He was also well-known as a literary critic, biographer, classicist and naturalist.


Salt, the teacher

The son of an army colonel, Salt was born in India in 1851 but travelled to England while still an infant in 1852. He studied at Eton College, then graduated from Cambridge University in 1875, and returned to Eton as a schoolmaster to teach classics. Four years later, in 1879, he married Kate (Catherine Joynes), the daughter of a fellow master at Eton. He remained at Eton until 1884, when inspired by classic ideals but disgusted by his fellow masters' meat-eating habits and reliance on servants he and Kate moved to a small cottage in Surrey where they grew their own vegetable garden and sustained themselves through Salt's writing work.

Salt, the writer

His first book, A Plea for Vegetarianism was published by the Vegetarian Society in 1886. He produced an acclaimed biography of philosopher Henry David Thoreau in 1890. These two interests later led to a friendship with Mahatma Gandhi.

In 1891, Salt formed the Humanitarian League. Its objectives included the banning of hunting as a sport (in this respect it can be regarded as a fore-runner of the League Against Cruel Sports).

His circle of friends included many notable figures from late 19th and early 20th century literary and political life, including writers Algernon Swinburne, John Galsworthy, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Havelock Ellis, Count Leo Tolstoy, Peter Kropotkin, George Bernard Shaw and Robert Cunninghame-Graham, Labour leader James Keir Hardie and Fabian Society co-founders Hubert Bland and Annie Besant.

Salt's writing

Salt wrote more than 40 books, plus numerous pamphlets and articles. The following is just a selection:

  • A Shelley Primer (1887)
  • Life of H.D. Thoreau (1890)
  • Animals' Rights: Considered in Relation to Social Progress (http://animal-rights-library.com/texts-c/salt01.htm) (1892)
  • Richard Jefferies: A Study (1894)
  • Selections from Thoreau (1895)
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley: Poet and Pioneer (1896)
  • Richard Jefferies: His Life and His Ideas (1905)
  • The Faith of Richard Jefferies (1906)
  • Cambrian and Cumbrian Hills: Pilgrimages to Snowdon and Scafell (1908)
  • The Humanities of Diet (1914) (two (http://animal-rights-library.com/texts-c/salt02.htm) excerpts (http://animal-rights-library.com/texts-c/salt03.htm))
  • Seventy Years among Savages (1921)
  • Call of the Wildflower (1922)
  • The Story of My Cousins (1923)
  • Our Vanishing Wildflowers (1928)
  • Memories of Bygone Eton (1928)
  • Company I Have Kept (1930)
  • Cum Grano (1931)
  • The Creed of Kinship (1935)


  • Stephen Winsten Salt and His Circle (1951)
  • George Hendrick Henry Salt: Humanitarian Reformer and Man of Letters (1977)

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