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Making Broad Shoulders: Body-Building and Physical Culture in Chicago 1890–1920

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 February 2017

David S. Churchill*
Affiliation:
University of Manitoba

Extract

In February 1899, the Committee of Physical Culture of the Chicago Public School Board approved an intensive “anthropometric” study of all children enrolled in the city's public schools. The study was a detailed attempt to measure the height, weight, strength, lung capacity, hearing, and general fitness of Chicago's student population. Through 1899 and 1900, thousands of Chicago's primary, grammar, and high school students had their bodies closely scrutinized, measured, weighed, tested, and, in a few cases, diagrammed. What the School Board members wanted to know was the “fitness” of the student body. Were Chicago public school students—many recently arrived immigrants from eastern and southern Europe—vital and vigorous children who could become energetic modern workers and citizens (Figure 1)?

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Copyright © 2008 by The History of Education Society 

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References

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