"For a love of beauty and strength" : a history of muscularity, masculinities, & American culture, 1880-1973

Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of History

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 353 pages) : color illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Amy Murrell Taylor

Committee Members

Carl Bon Tempo, Susan Gauss, Richard Hamm


American Culture, Masculinity, Print Media, Race, Sexuality, Masculine beauty (Aesthetics), Weight lifting, Body image in men, Nutrition, Bodybuilders, Masculinity in popular culture, Racism in popular culture, Homophobia, Sexism

Subject Categories

Ethnic Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | United States History


For a Love of Beauty and Strength is a cultural history of muscularity in the United States from 1880-1973. It explores what the muscular male body has meant to Americans in different eras in United States history and how American cultural trends were imprinted onto that body. I explore how the muscular male body can be a sign of nation building in one era, for example, and then a representation of the greatness of a consumer culture in another. This dissertation therefore examines the interactions between the muscular male body and its larger historical context amid immigration, a global depression, world wars, and other major historical events.

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