The organizers of the Physical Cultures of the Bodies Conference are pleased to announce the winners of the scholarly paper competitions:

The David P. Webster Graduate Student Essay Winner is Rachel Ozerkevich, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for her essay:  

“Crafting the Ideal Woman: Photomechanical Manipulation in Edmond Desbonnet’s Physical Culture Publications.”  Rachel Presents at 3:00 CST tomorrow.

The Terry Todd Award for Best paper by a Working Scholar goes to Anastasija Ropa, Latvian Academy of Sport Education, for her essay:

“ Physical Culture in Renaissance Europe: Some Evidence from Pietro Monte’s Collectanea.” Anastasija presents at 9:00 AM CST tomorrow.


The conference is on January 15, 2021, from 8 am to 6 pm Central Standard (Texas) Time. Audience members are encouraged to drop in and out of the conference as they please. 

Although the conference is free, audience members must Register here to get the Zoom link to enter the conference.

You can download the official program, by clicking this link: Program. 

We look forward to a great day of history, debate, and discussion!

Your hosts—

Jan Todd, Conor Heffernan and Kim Beckwith

Opening video courtesy of Sansom Media. 

Stark Center Access 

Because of the on-going Covid pandemic the Stark Center galleries and exhibits remain closed for the foreseeable future.  The Reading Room will continue to be open – by appointment only – during the Spring semester of 2021. Our staff is working and we are happy to help with research requests. Write us at this address or call us at 512-471-4890.

The  Stark Center is located in the North End Zone (NEZ) building; to access this building you must complete a check-in procedure.  Once you schedule your appointment with us, we will email you the link to the form you’ll need to complete this procedure. To make your appointment, either call (512-471-0995) or email the Stark Center at least 30 minutes before you arrive.  For more information, click here.
–Jan Todd, Stark Center Director


Welcome to the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports. The Stark Center is a library containing thousands of books and magazines related to sports, fitness, nutrition, and alternative medicine; an archive containing films, photography, and the personal papers of prominent athletes, coaches, writers, and educators; a digital resource; and, an exhibit space, featuring The Joe and Betty Weider Museum of Physical Culture.

Introducing THE STRONGMAN PROJECT A New Stark Center Resource Made Possible by Rogue Fitness

Introducing THE STRONGMAN PROJECT A New Stark Center Resource Made Possible by Rogue Fitness

I am proud to announce the launch of The Strongman Project a new web outreach of the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center which can now be seen at:  Our plan is for The Strongman Project to grow and evolve over time as we will be adding new materials regularly to the site. The Strongman Project is launching with more than 5000 individual items (such as articles, photos, letters, scrapbooks) and eight “curated” features. On the site’s home page you can choose either the “Features” or “Browse” button to begin exploring.  We will add two curated features as well as more...

Edmond Desbonnet, La Rois de la Force and the Chronicling of History

One of the challenges facing historians of physical culture across ages is the issue of biography. Those strongmen and women from the nineteenth and early twentieth-century who did so much to capture our respective attention were, for better or for worse, masters of publicity. It is so often difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction when it comes to the real lives of these performers, and for very good reason. The often dirty secret of the fitness industry is that aside from being performers and athletes, such individuals were also entrepreneurs. They had stories and products to sell and, as...

The Stark Center is a research center housed within the Department of Kinesiology & Health Education.  We are a unique combination of library, archive, and gallery/exhibit space.  Click on the images below for more information.

Browse the Complete Journal Archive


The Stark Center is committed to making its resources available to the public.  To that end, we are creating a variety of digital projects, including flipping books and interactive exhibits.


The Stark Center features collections from around the world related to all aspects of physical culture and sports.

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