Clive M. McCay and Jeanette B. McCay - History of Work with Soyfoods, the New York State Emergency Food Commission, Improved Bread, and Extension of Lifespan (1927-2009)

William Shurtleff, Akiko AoyagiISBN: 978-1-928914-27-3

Publication Date: 2009 Sept. 28

Number of References in Bibliography: 164

Earliest Reference: 1927

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1920 spring – Clive graduates from the University of Illinois with an A.B. degree specializing in chemistry and physics.

1923 – Clive graduates from Iowa State College with an M.S. degree in biochemistry.

1925 – Clive graduates from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry under C.L.A. Schmidt.

1927 – Studies nutrition at Yale University on a National Research Council Fellowship under L.B. Mendel, a leading nutritionist of the day. Nutrition had interested Clive even as a boy.

1927 – The young McCay accepts an invitation to become assistant professor of animal husbandry and assistant animal nutritionist in the Experiment Station in the Department of Animal Husbandry at Cornell University.

McCay's most important early contribution was the demonstration that restriction of calories in a diet otherwise adequate extends the lifespan of many species of animals. He was a pioneer in life extension research.

1927 July 11 – Clive marries Jeanette Beyer of Iowa just before they move to Cornell University. She has earned a B.S. degree from Iowa Sate College in foods and nutrition. She later pursued graduate studies in nutrition and child development at Cornell where she was awarded an M.S. degree in 1934 and a Ph.D. degree in 1939.

1936 – Clive is promoted to full professor; he is now Professor of Nutrition at Cornell – a position he held until his retirement.

1941 Dec. – World War II begins.

1942 fall – Dean Carl E. Ladd (of the N.Y. State College of Agriculture) appoints a bread and soybean committee with Clive M. McCay as chairman. At this time the Ithaca Co-op Food Store sells soy flour, Lucile Brewer bakes "Open-Recipe Specification Bread" with 5% soy flour, and a local bakery makes this bread and it is sold at the Co-op.

1942 – Work on sprouting soybeans starts at Carnell. Clive works with a Chinese woman Ph.D. student, and they develop an automatic sprouter. Soy sprouts are sold at the University meat shop and the Co-op.

1943 May – Governor Dewey appoints the New York State Emergency Food Commission.

1943 June – Governor Dewey holds a special luncheon in Albany for publicists featuring the work of the Emergency Food Commission. Serves soy sprouts, open specification bread, etc.

1943 – Jeanette B. McCay is put in charge of publications for Emergency Food Commission. Multilith machine is obtained for publishing leaflets. 10,000 sent to New York City, mailing room is set up and thousands are used by clubs, home bureaus, etc.

1943 July 19 – Article about Governor Dewey and his luncheon featuring soybean foods appears in Life magazine, with numerous photos.

1943 Sept. – Article appears in Reader's Digest magazine titled “Are you neglecting the wonder bean?”

1943 – Hundreds of meetings, demonstrations, training schools. 250 community soybean dinners attended by 7,500 people. 35,000 people taught to use soy. 300,000 people receive printed recipes sent out by the Food Commission.

1943 July – Clive M. McCay leaves Cornell for the U.S. Navy in Bethesda, Maryland. He conducts research on nutrition.

1943 Oct. 6 – Article in New York Times titled “Americans urged to eat less meat.” The Emergency Food Commission “will probably go down in history as being famous for the promotion of the soybean,” says Jeanette B. McCay.

1944 mid – Program ebbing. Bread taken off the market at Co-op; poor baker.

1945 Feb. – “Soybeans: An old food in a new world" (by Jeanette B. McCay et. al) published as Cornell University, Extension Bulletin No. 668. 65 p. A very innovative and important document.

1945 Sept. – World War II ends. The Food Commission has sent out 935,000 leaflets featuring the use of soy products in foods.

1946 July – The McCays leave Washington and return to Cornell and Green Barn in Ithaca. Soy continues to demand a portion of their time and activities. It is still a live issue although the war has ended. Bread that contains soy is the focal point.

1947 – Clive McCay is asked by Governor Dewey and Frederick MacCurdy, M.D. (Commissioner of the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene) to help in improving the nutritional quality of food for 96,000 patients in 27 mental hospitals in New York State. Their budget allowed but fifty some cents per day for each patient. Work was begun with other staff from Cornell and Mrs. Evelyn Flack and others from the hospitals. Specialists for the American Dry Milk Institute are also enlisted to help in developing an improved bread. This included 6 percent high-fat soy flour, 8 percent dry milk solids, and 2 percent wheat germ for every 100 pounds of unbleached white flour. In the laboratory, studies with McCay's rats showed good growth in contrast to those on ordinary white bread – which languished and died.

1948 – The Cookie Crock starts baking the new formula for the Ithaca Co-op Food Store again; it is soon selling around 1,000 loaves a week.

1949 – Members of the Co-op name the bread “Triple Rich" then “Golden Triple Rich” because of its creamy color, and its special ingredients of dry milk, 6% soy flour, and unbleached white flour with wheat germ.

1949 and 1950 – The Co-ops take a strong stand at Bread Hearings in Washington. The bread industry and FDA oppose better bread. There is much publicity about the Cornell formula that is "too good to be called bread." Other co-ops are now taking up "Triple Rich" bread.

1950 March 30 - Article in the New York Times titled “Richer bread to be used in city schools.” Starting in two weeks, pupils in the city’s 650 elementary schools will be able to eat a better bread, developed at Cornell University by Dr. Clive McCay.

1950 – A family recipe and bakery formulas are printed by the McCays to answer letters that are flooding in.

1950 – Messing Brothers, bakers in Brooklyn, starts making "Cornell Bread" - first time the name was used. Soon others started using the name.

1951 June 6 – Jeanette’s letter is published in the Ladies' Home Journal and immediately brings in 1,000 letters and requests for information.


1952 – Jeanette starts teaching a group of older persons in adult education for the Ithaca public schools. Publishes a booklet titled Senior Citizens Cook Alone and Like It.  She also prepares another booklet for the Ithaca Co-op, Cooking for Good Health.


1953 – McCays spend Sabbatical year at University of Basel in Switzerland.

1955 – The first booklet by the McCays is published: You Can Make Cornell Bread, giving source of ingredients and names of bakers considering baking the bread.

1956 – Book, Feel Like a Million, by Catharyn Elwood, gives generous praise to Cornell Bread, and encourages readers to write for their booklets.

1959 Oct. – Clive suffers his first stroke, alone in the woods with his dogs. He is unable to speak. But after two years, including time in the hospital, he has almost recovered.

1961 Oct. – Clive has a second and more devastating stroke.

1961 – Messing Brothers abandons bakery because of union troubles. Cornell Bread booklet, reprinted and revised. Price, 25¢.

1962 – Dr. Clive McCay retires from Cornell University because of ill health. The McCays move to Florida.

1967 June 8 – Clive McCay dies at his home in Englewood, Florida at age 69. He practiced his own teaching of a good diet, exercise, staying thin, and living in a healthful and moderate way. But he overestimated his own strength to deal with the continuously rising crescendo of his activities and responsibilities.

1967 – Jeanette starts to donate Clive’s personal papers to the Cornell University Archives. Requests for the bread booklet continue and supplies dwindle.

1972 – The Sunday New York Times Magazine publishes a story about Cornell Bread titled “The Do-Good Loaf."

1973 – An enlarged, revised version of the booklet You Can Make Cornell Bread is published. First printing 8,000 copies; second printing 10,000 copies. Price $1.00. Excellent support and publicity given by newspapers and magazines. Booklet out of print.

1980 – Another revised and enlarged edition, now titled The Cornell Bread Book, is printed by Dover Publications, 180 Varick Street, New York, N.Y. 10014. Price $2.70 postpaid.

1980 Nov. – Article concerning booklets in Better Nutrition magazine.

1981 July – Another article in Better Nutrition. These two enthusiastic endorsements stimulate thousands of letters and orders.

1986 – Jeanette finishes donating Clive’s personal papers to the Cornell University Archives. The Nutrition Department transferred additional papers in 1994, and various individuals have donated materials as recently as 2000. As of Sept. 2009 this collection consists of 52.1 cubic feet of material in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections of the Cornell University Library.

1994 – Jeanette writes a biography of Clive and has it published (505-pages).

1999 Feb. 13 – Jeanette B. McCay, PhD, dies in Englewood, Sarasota, Florida.

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Click here to download the full text to open and read book Clive M. McCay and Jeanette B. McCay - History of Work with Soyfoods, the New York State Emergency Food Commission, Improved Bread, and Extension of Lifespan (1927-2009)