PORTRAIT OF DR LULU HUNT PETERS (1923 PRESS PHOTO OF THE PIONEER DIET DOCTOR)

This press photo features Lulu Hunt Peters (1873-1930), an American doctor and diet expert. She began by writing a featured newspaper column entitled “Diet and Health”. Her column appeared in more than 400 newspapers around the United States. She then wrote a book entitled “Diet & Health: With Key to the Calories” (1918). Dr Peters was the first person to popularize counting calories as a method of weight loss. She educated her readers about the concept of calories and urged them to think of food in terms of calories.  In other words, women should say “I ate 100 calories of bread” and not say “I ate a slice of bread”. Peters also taught her readers how to calculate their ideal weight. Peters maintained a strict diet of 1200 calories a day. Her book was the first weight-loss book to become a best seller. It was among the top ten selling non fiction books from 1922 through 1926. In 1918 the book sold two million copies, and spread the word that “thin is in”. Amazingly, Peters nine year-old nephew was the books illustrator. Peters was born in Maine and moved to California. She received her MD in 1909 from the University of California (Berkeley). Dr. Peters was very aware of obesity having grown up with a weight problem when at one point, she reached 220 pounds. Interestingly, during World War I, Peters considered her diet solution to be a form of patriotism. She viewed dieting as absolute self control and suggested that women organize “Watch Your Weight Anti-Kaiser Classes” to reach their goal weights. In addition, Peters believed that dieting would make war rationing easier and leave left over rations for children. Dr. Peters also supported the suffragist movement. She believed women needed to take better care of their health, exercise, and become more self-sufficient. It is clear that there were some problems associated with Dr Peters weight loss philosophy. Coupled with the fashion industry of that era, the communicated message was that all women should strive to be thin. Dieting was equated with being beautiful and having self esteem. Peters also believed that people who lacked self control over their weight were exhibiting poor morals. She contended that to be thin, women must be strong enough to resist temptation which she described using concepts such as sin, punishment, and redemption. After publishing her book, Peters went to Bosnia where she worked with the Red Cross. Dr Peters book remains in circulation today. In many ways she deserves credit for being a pioneer in the weight loss industry. On the other hand, she also advocated a philosophy that creates shame for those that are overweight, and worse yet, spawns eating disorders.

 

Published in: on May 27, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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SKELETON POSING WITH A LARGE GROUP OF MEDICAL STUDENTS

skeletonThis vintage photograph features a large group of medical students posing with a skeleton. The skeleton is sitting on a stool and is wearing a hat. This image demonstrates that college humor has a long history. It is interesting to note that a young boy is sitting on the lap of a student in the first row. I wonder why the lad is in the photograph and what his relationship is to this medical school class. It is also notable that there is a young man sitting in a second floor window that the photographer only managed to partially fit in the image. This photograph is not a cabinet card. The photo measures 5″ x 8″. The subjects and the photographer are not identified. Neither is the skeleton.

Published in: on July 21, 2015 at 4:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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TURN OF THE CENTURY COUNTRY DOCTOR IN WAUKON, IOWA

This cabinet card features an older man carrying what appears to be a doctors bag. He is dressed as if he is preparing to make a winter house call to check the status of one of his patients. The doctor is wearing a buffalo coat and a fur cap. He is holding a scarf and a pair of gloves. He has a pocket watch that he probably uses to take the pulse of his patients. It must have been difficult to be a doctor in a rural area for many reasons; including having to travel great distances to visit ill patients in all kinds of weather. At least he didn’t have to deal with managed care. The Huffman and Barnard Studio produced this terrific image. Perrin Cuppy Huffman (1833-1894) was a photographer in Frankville, Iowa from 1862-1864; and than worked in Waukon, Iowa from 1865 until 1896. He was of German ancestry, born in Ohio, and settled in Iowa in 1853. His son Laton Alton Huffman became one of Montana’s foremost photographers. At times he worked with partners. His first partner was his wife, Christina Huffman.  He later was associated with the the partner listed on this cabinet card, Barnard. They were partnered between 1882-1894.

Published in: on October 14, 2010 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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Old Time Doctor Making a Housecall in Bernville, Pennsylvania

housecallBack in the day when doctors made housecalls; they may have looked like this gentleman. He appears to be carrying the tools of his medical profession in his doctor bag. This man was photographed by Blatt of Bernville, Pennsylvania. The physician is identified as Joel Stump.

Published in: on March 18, 2009 at 11:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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