“Comfortable Corsets” Circa 1893

This post was written by Cathy Rae Smith who had a 2011-2012 Graduate Research Assistantship at the National Museum of American History Library. “Style, Comfort, Economy” touted the full color exposition pamphlet for Royal Worcester WCC Corsets.  The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago gave attendees an opportunity to see the leading products and advances of the time–including this company’s fully boned, tightly laced corsets described as offering “great FLEXIBILITY, always comfortable.”

Digitization Dispatch: Physical Culture

Greetings! This month, we have a look at a real gem in the Smithsonian History, Art, and Culture digital collection. Two volumes of a turn-of-the-century serial devoted to all things related to the human body and its maintenance: Physical Culture. At turns laughable and insightful, this title is a hoot  to page through. It features everything from workout tips to fad diets, diets meant to add pounds, mind you. For example, judging by the amount of ink it gets, the milk diet was very popular back in 1908. When adhering to a milk diet, the publishers warn, it’s important to consume milk only. No solid food of any kind! So, don’t add cheese, for example! It’s kind of like a phlegmy protein shake diet!

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