Cool Find: Physical Culture Magazine October 1920

One of my favorite parts of this job is getting to dig through piles of old stuff and find something that doesn’t necessarily have any monetary value, but gives me a glimpse into the past.  How people thought, or what the prevailing social norms were.

This week, a copy of Physical Culture magazine from October, 1920 popped up, and it is jammed full of little gems for thought.

First off, I loved this passage from Albert Edward Wiggam’s article “Shall I Marry Him? A Lesson in Eugenics,” which presses the fact that if women turned up their noses at breeding with fools, soon the world would be devoid of fools:


Billiards may not in themselves be bad.  One cigarette or cocktail will not kill a man instantly.  But, I am always leery of the youthful expert in these lines.  I never see a young man make a big run of pool or fancy billiars but I think of the anecdote of Mr. Herbert Spencer, the famous English philosopher, when a young cockadoodle challenged him to a game of billiards.

Mr. Spencer made an excellent beginning when the young squirt picked up his cue and ran out the entire game.  “Well, young man,” said Mr. Spencer, “to play billiards as well as I do is evidence of a philosopher.  But to play billiards as well as you do is evidence of a misspent youth.” If all the good young women of the country would combine against this breed of expert nincompoops, the world would speedily reform itself.


The next item of note is an article from Edith M. Bates Williams, making it very clear that the notion of “women’s work” is baloney, and goes on to illustrate how to coerce your Let him do it!man into doing his part of household chores.

This revolutionary notion prompts an editor’s note, as follows:

Here is a writer whose pessimism in regard to housework would almost take the honey out of the honeymoon.  Do you think she is overstating her case? Do many women not find a great deal of joy in their housework? To them it is not drudgery; it is a daily source of delight…We shall be pleased to hear the opinions of our readers on the subject. – Editor


And finally, we’ll leave you with this advertisement for a line of revitalizing massage equipment…

Are you all fagged out?

That’s all for this round. As always, let us know if you have any vintage items for sale!


About C. Scott Lovejoy

C. Scott Lovejoy (@back2past) Scott may appear grouchy, but he's actually pretty cuddly and makes sure Back to the Past marches ever forward in the quest to bring you the best pop culture finds! Currently lurking somewhere around Crusader in the Stanton system.

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