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|Born||February 6, 1895
|Died||December 7, 1976 (aged 81)
Miami Beach, Florida
|Spouse(s)||Neva Parnin (m. 1915; div. 1928)
Betty Brownlee (m. 1931; div. 1932)
|Relatives||Patricia Bragg (daughter-in-law)|
Born as Paul Chappius Bragg, Bragg claimed he was born in 1881 in Fairfax County, Virginia, but genealogical research indicates he was born on February 6, 1895 in Batesville, Indiana, where his father was Editor/Publisher/printer of the "Batesville Democratic Herald" newspaper. Bragg was probably named after his father's younger brother, Paul L. Bragg (who died in childhood and was enumerated at age 1 in the U.S. 1870 Census for Wayne County, Indiana).
Bragg grew up in Washington, D.C. with his parents, Robert Elton Bragg (1866-1944), who had procured a U.S. Civil Service position there ("Batesville Tribune" newspaper, November 28, 1895), and Caroline (Chappius) Bragg (1859-1934). He had two brothers, James Elton and John Harrison Bragg. His father was employed by the U.S. Printing Office. ("Robert E. Bragg, 77, retired government printer,...died Monday at his home....Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Tyler Bragg, Miami, three sons, James of New York, Paul and John, both of Burbank, Calif.;...." Robert E. Bragg obituary, Miami Herald, February 15, 1944). However, in the 1972 Edition of the Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar System booklet, at page 12, and in later editions, Bragg claimed both that his father was "a splendid farmer" and that "I am the oldest of 16 children".
At some point, Bragg enlisted with the Washington D.C. National Guard for "three Years", as is shown on his 1917 Draft Registration, which he filed with the Indianapolis, Indiana draft board that year.
Although Paul Bragg had claimed participation in both the 1908 (London) and 1912 (Stockholm) Olympics as a member of the U.S. Wrestling Team, the "Encyclopedia of American Wrestling" (Pub. 1988, Mike Chapman, author) does not show any such person as a member in either year.
Several years later, Bragg returned to the East Coast and was employed by various YMCAs & school districts in physical or athletic director capacities, his last known position before moving to California being football coach for the 1920 season at Connersville High School, Connersville, PA. ("New Physical Instructor, Paul Bragg, Will Be Coach Of C.H.S. Eleven", The Connersville Daily Courier, July 31, 1920).
In 1921 Bragg and his family, now also including two young daughters, Neva Pauline/Polly and Lorraine Agnes Bragg (both born in Washington, D.C. on 10/14/1917 & 10/3/1919, respectively), came to California, where Paul was again employed by the YMCA (Los Angeles Times, 9/28/1921). Son, Robert Elton, was born in Los Angeles County on March 25, 1922. It is unknown how long Bragg stayed with the Los Angeles "Y", but in 1922 he was in charge of the Physical Education Department at San Luis Obispo [CA] High School (SLO Daily Telegraph, September 15, 1922), and in 1924 he was a physical education teacher at Redondo Union High School, Redondo Beach, CA.("Calling All Grads of Class of 1924", Van Nuys Valley News, March 31, 1974.)
Circa 1926, Paul Bragg apparently left paid employment and became an entrepreneur in the health field, first by opening an establishment on N. 7th Street, Los Angeles, called "Health Center of Los Angeles" and then, in 1928, "Bragg Health Center" on South Hill Street, Los Angeles. Likely to publicize these businesses, he also wrote a weekly health column (in the early days they were "advertorials") in The Los Angeles Times from 1926 to 1928 which he sometimes called "Newslets" and other times "Health Notes". The health services that business endeavors offered are described in the advertorials and columns.
In 1930 Bragg was sued in Federal Court/San Francisco by St. Louis Estes, a Los Angeles-area raw food health lecturer/manufacturer [See Estes Wikipedia page], charging infringement of copyright in that "A 1929 publication of Bragg is a rearrangement of material in an earlier book on raw food written by Estes." ("Raw Food Advocate Sues On Copyright", San Francisco Chronicle October 24, 1930). The outcome of this lawsuit is currently unknown.
1929 was the beginning of Paul Bragg's health lecture tours where he went to various American cities (for instance, San Antonio & Dallas, Texas in 1929; San Francisco & Oakland, California and Denver, Colorado in 1930), rented a facility, advertised heavily, then gave a series of lectures—usually over a period of five or six consecutive evenings. His lectures were free, but he did charge a fee for post-lecture private consultation. ($20 circa 1935—approximately $343 in 2015 dollars per CPI calculation—according to testimony in a Maryland court case against him).
1929 was also the copyright year of the first health book attributed to Paul Bragg as author, "Cure Yourself". Since book stores or book departments in retail stores in that era were usually only accessible in the more highly populated areas, another purpose of Bragg's lecture tours was most likely to promote and sell his books.
During the Braggs' first decade in California, Paul & Neva Bragg divorced, and in the 1930 U.S. Census, Neva & her new husband, August Busch, were shown living with the three Bragg children in Los Angeles, CA.
The Florida Marriage Index documents the marriage of "Paul C. Bragg" and "Betty Brownlee" (born Gertrude Elizabeth Brownlee 6 July 1902, Eau Claire, WI) on 17 Feb. 1930 in Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida. On their Application for Marriage, Miss Brownlee gave her occupation as Advance Manager for the Bragg lectures, and Bragg stated his age as "49", his residence as "1109 N. Hudson, Hollywood, Cal.", & his birthplace as "Pinkle, Virginia" on the same form. However, the following year, Gertrude Elizabeth Bragg filed for divorce against Paul C. Bragg in Los Angeles County Superior Court, which Divorce Decree was granted in January 1932. There is currently no indication that Paul Bragg ever remarried.
There is no record of Paul Bragg being counted in the 1930 U.S. Census, although Burbank, CA city directories of the time reflect his residence in that city from 1935 to 1954, and that his food manufacturing company, Live Food Products, Inc., was also located there during that period. Subsequently he relocated to Desert Hot Springs, CA, and later in the 1960s, at least part-time, to Hawaii.
Bragg was reported to have died of a heart attack in the emergency room of South Shore Hospital in Miami, Florida on December 7, 1976. However, the surfing accident story has never been independently confirmed by other sources. Bragg was cremated on December 10, 1976 by the Lithgow Funeral Center, Miami, Florida, per his Florida death certificate. The disposition of his remains is unknown as neither his death certificate nor any known newspaper articles reporting his death made mention of any official or private services.
Although Bragg claimed advanced scientific degrees in newspaper and magazine interviews—including, but not limited to, his 1975 People article—it is unknown if these claims are accurate. The most recently released 1940 Federal Census (April 2012, accessible on-line), showing him living on National Avenue in Burbank, California, gives his age as "45" and the highest attained academic grade for him as "H1", which would be only one year of high school. On October 8, 1914, Washington, D.C.'s Evening Star newspaper reported that Paul C. Bragg was appointed to the student staff of The Balance Sheet, a newly planned newspaper of that city's "Business High School", as its "Athletic Editor". Currently, no books authored by Bragg refer to any specific educational accomplishments, but a 1977 publication he co-authored with Patricia Bragg, titled The Shocking Truth about Water, appends the titles of N.D. and Ph.D. behind his name.
Bragg advocated using deep breathing, water fasts, organic foods, drinking distilled water, juicing, exercise, listening to one's body, and many other techniques as methods of prolonging life span. Until he died at a believed age of 95, but as we read above, at a much more likely legal age of 81, Paul stated that every human being could, at least in theory, live to 120 by following his regimens.
Patricia Bragg, Paul's former daughter-in-law, according to official records, has since taken over Bragg's health empire, having previously married (and later divorced) Bragg's son, Robert Elton Bragg. She has stated that she was legally adopted by Paul.
Bragg was the inspiration and personal health and fitness adviser to top Olympic stars from three-time swimming Gold Medalist Murray Rose to four-time track Gold Medalist Betty Cuthbert of Australia, his relative Don Bragg (pole-vaulting Gold Medalist), and others. Jack LaLanne, the original TV Fitness King said that "Bragg saved my life at age 15 when I attended the Bragg Crusade in Oakland, California".
Paul Bragg also wrote many successful books, such as The Miracle of Fasting and Live Food Cook Book and Menus (Hollywood, California: Live Food Products, Inc., 1930).
- Bragg Live Foods & Health Books - Pioneering Health Since 1912
- Dr. Paul Bragg, 94, Turns the Actuarial Tables: 'I Have An Ageless, Tireless, Painless Body'"People" Magazine, 8/11/1975
- Washington Post 11/22/1915
- Los Angeles Times, 9/26/1928, p. 24
- Los Angeles Times 05 Dec. 1931
- Los Angeles Times 12 Jan. 1932
- This was reported on Friday, December 10, 1976 in The Miami Herald at Page 10-B ("He was stricken at the Crest View Apartments and rushed by rescue squad to the hospital where he died a short time later."), and confirmed by Bragg's Certificate of Death issued by the State of Florida, State File No. 76-084611, Register No. 15075. However, some people who knew the family reported that a surfing accident months before had left him with a lingering infection due to water in the lungs, after collapsing from the effects of the infection he was treated for a suspected heart attack. The strong medications used to rescue him contrasted too severely with his lifestyle and in his weakened state he succumbed.
- Public Records, L. A. County Case No. D490122)
- Pignataro, Anthony (28 February 2008). "In the Name of the 'Father'". Maui Time Weekly. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
- Bragg Live Foods inc. website (http://bragg.com/about/paul.html)