Of fever high, or parts that swell—The remedy is calomel.

Of fever high, or parts that swell—The remedy is calomel.

Physicians of the highest rank—To pay whose fees would need a bank— Have pressed their science, art, and skill Into a dose of calomel. Whate’er the patient may complain Of head, or heart, or nerve, or brain, Of fever high, or parts that swell—The remedy 

She looks strong and moves with a will + paul broca, phrenologist + true companionship + 19th C water-cure dating ad

She looks strong and moves with a will + paul broca, phrenologist + true companionship + 19th C water-cure dating ad

Dr. Dio Lewis’s School for Young Ladies, The American Phrenological Journal and Life Illustrated, Fowler & Wells Company, 1867. Reflections on Jan Todd’s Physical Culture and the Body Beautiful: Purposive Exercise in the Lives of American Women, 1800-1870: Part V (of V). Dio Lewis and 

Phrenology, the Freud of the 19th C (Todd, Part IV)

Phrenology, the Freud of the 19th C (Todd, Part IV)

A Review of Andrew Combe, M.D.’s Observations on Mental Derangement in The Medico-Chirurgical Review 16, no. 32 (April 1, 1832): 423–34. (My research, not in Todd’s book.) Part IV of Reflections on Jan Todd’s Physical Culture and the Body Beautiful: Purposive Exercise in the Lives 

In Order to Jump Scientifically: Todd, Part III

In Order to Jump Scientifically: Todd, Part III

All images are from M.’s A Course of Calisthenics for Young Ladies, in Schools and Families, 1831. I particularly love this illustration. We have used “science-based training” since (at least) 1832. Always so cutting edge, aren’t we? Further reflections on Jan Todd’s Physical Culture and 

Physical Culture and the Body Beautiful: Purposive Exercise in the Lives of American Women, 1800-1870 (II)

Physical Culture and the Body Beautiful: Purposive Exercise in the Lives of American Women, 1800-1870 (II)

The top headline on a discarded NYT by the window caught my eye as I was reading Todd’s book in a cafe. “Recent discoveries suggest that the female body may be more resilient, dynamic, and expansive than science has historically considered it.” Science has been 

the body beautiful // & how to pick a trainer

the body beautiful // & how to pick a trainer

Though before my time, the teenager standing in a used bookstore laughing over an antique 19th-century advice book in 1968 could have been me. Only 50 cents, Jan Todd, now a historian and professor of physical culture and sport studies at UT Austin, bought the 

A House Full of Females

A House Full of Females

Americans are fascinated by the idea of polygamy, in the Orientalism of the harem (which only the wealthy can and could afford to practice), or the former practices of American Mormonism. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a Mormon Harvard historian, presents a complicated picture of Mormonism in 

Book Review: Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment

Book Review: Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment

  Popular religious life in New England, unlike Europe, had no Christmas, cathedrals, abbeys, liturgies, wedding ales, or anything done away with by the Protestant Reformation of 1517. Yet the settlers did come with “folk” beliefs, sometimes older than Christianity, that had not been specifically 

Book Review: Radical Spirits by Anne Braude

Book Review: Radical Spirits by Anne Braude

Ann Braude. Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women’s Rights in Nineteenth-Century America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989, 2001. Anne Braude’s 1989 Religious Studies classic Radical Spirits was one of the first texts to discuss how religion empowered women politically through the late nineteenth-century phenomenon of Spiritualism, a 

Book Review: Riotous Flesh by April R. Haynes

Book Review: Riotous Flesh by April R. Haynes

April R. Haynes. Riotous Flesh: Women, Physiology, and the Solitary Vice in Nineteenth-Century America. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2015. When Sylvester Graham offered the same sex advice to women as men—no masturbation, which would cause insanity, disease, and death, and no sexual excess