Barbells and Bios

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Barbells and Bios, Health and Strength Magazine, Part III

There was a time when Indian club swinging was one of the most fascinating, and even popular, elements of gym culture. Originally brought to Western Europe and the United States in the first half of the nineteenth century, when it was transported from the East India Company, club swinging involved swinging lightweight clubs around the...

September 23, 2020September 29, 2020
Barbells and Bios: Health and Strength Magazine, Part II

Barbells and Bios: Health and Strength Magazine, Part II

Continuing my dive into the backcatalogue of Health and Strength magazine is today’s discussion of an important, at least in my eyes, cover from the early 1920s. The cover features T.W. Standwell from, Dublin, Ireland. Standwell was one of the first Irishmen to appear on the cover of Health and Strength despite the fact that...

September 9, 2020September 11, 2020
Barbells and Bios: Health and Strength Magazine, Part I

Barbells and Bios: Health and Strength Magazine, Part I

Health and Strength magazine began publishing in the late nineteenth century and, up until very recently, was still in circulation. Designed for a British audience, the magazine quickly became one of the most well read and well esteemed pieces of its time. In an age when information on weightlifting was hard to come by, Health...

August 27, 2020September 11, 2020
Barbells and Bios: The Sandow Ringing Dumb-Bell

Barbells and Bios: The Sandow Ringing Dumb-Bell

Old physical culture dumbbells really are a strange phenomenon. From squeeze grip dumb-bells to old wooden objects, the devices people used to build their bodies in the early twentieth century sometimes defy belief. One of my favorite examples of this is undoubtedly the Sandow ‘ringing’ dumbbell. Eugen Sandow, who was recently covered in a Rogue...

August 19, 2020April 15, 2020

Barbells and Bios: A Stark Experience with Graham Hudson

In 2019, I had the opportunity to spend a month traversing through the Stark Center’s numerous collections. Then in the final stages of completing my Ph.D. research, I left Austin after three weeks of frantic typing and photocopying with the unhappy realization that I had a lot more work to do than I realised. This,...

August 5, 2020February 13, 2020
Barbells & Bios: David Chapman, Sandow the Magnificent (Original Manuscript)

Barbells & Bios: David Chapman, Sandow the Magnificent (Original Manuscript)

Few scholars of physical culture and bodybuilding more generally will be unfamiliar with the name Eugen Sandow. Known by many as the father of modern bodybuilding, Sandow helped to popularize health, exercise and weight training to large swathes of individuals in Great Britain, the United States and further afield. He counted Kings and Queens as...

July 22, 2020September 10, 2020
Barbells & Bios: The Abbye (Pudgy) Eville Stockton and Les Stockton Papers

Barbells & Bios: The Abbye (Pudgy) Eville Stockton and Les Stockton Papers

Abbye ‘Pudgy’ Stockton played a central role in popularizing physical culture and exercise for women in the central decades of the twentieth century. Famed for her hand balancing routine at Muscle Beach with her husband Les, Pudgy Stockton has been rightly credited by many as one of the leading proponents of female weightlifting and physical...

July 8, 2020February 19, 2020
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...

June 17, 2020February 19, 2020
Barbells & Bios: The Thomas Beecham Collection

Barbells & Bios: The Thomas Beecham Collection

One of the most iconic images of the Stark Center, aside from the Farnese Hercules, is undoubtedly the Thomas Beecham collection of paintings. Done by the painter Thomas Beecham for Joe Weider, Beecham’s painted several portraits of famed bodybuilders from the 1960s to 1980s. Eight in total, the paintings depicted the awarded winning physiques of...

June 3, 2020February 19, 2020