Bodybuilders Through the Ages
Over the past 150 years, bodybuilders have gone from circus sideshows to celebrities, imparting fitness lessons along the way
- By Jesse Rhodes
- Smithsonian.com, July 20, 2009
(UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library Department of Special Collections)
Introduced to weightlifting by her husband, Stockton became a regular at California’s Muscle Beach. This 5-foot-1, 115-pound bodybuilder later opened the Salon of Figure Development—a women’s-only gym—and wrote the column “Barbelles” for Strength and Health magazine in which she encouraged women to lift weights for the sake of figure contouring and athletic prowess. Although generations of strongwomen preceded her, Abbye Stockton took the image of muscular women out of the sideshow and into the local gym.