Barbells & Bios: Physical Culture Magazine

Barbells & Bios: Physical Culture Magazine

Established by American physical culturist Bernarr MacFadden in late 1899, Physical Culture Magazine was one of the most iconic American health, weight lifting and physical culture magazines of the early twentieth century. Covering everything from health and diet to fictional short stories, Physical Culture is a deeply rich resource for scholars of health, physical culture, gender, sport and American politics. The early years of MacFadden’s magazine witnessed the evolution of his health thinking, the promotion of his first physical culture competition (held in Madison Square Garden) and a series of disputes with American politicians and physicians. Thanks to the Stark’s digitization efforts, the first four years of Physical Culture are available free to the public using this link

Having previously conducted research as an overseas scholar, the importance of such digitization projects cannot be underestimated. It allows those working outside the United States the opportunity to undertake work on MacFadden’s magazine, which although covered extensively in the past, remains an under explored part of American history more generally.  

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