Bernarr Macfadden (born Bernard Adolphus McFadden, August 16, 1868 – October 12, 1955) was an American proponent of physical culture, a combination of bodybuilding with nutritional and health theories. He also founded the long-running magazine publishing company Macfadden Publications. He was the predecessor of Charles Atlas and Jack LaLanne, and has been credited with beginning the culture of health and fitness in the United States.
Bernard Adolphus McFadden
August 16, 1868
Mill Spring, Missouri, United States
|Died||October 12, 1955 (aged 87)|
Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
|Resting place||Woodlawn Cemetery|
|Occupation||Bodybuilder, author, magazine publisher|
|Known for||Founder of Macfadden Publications|
Born in Mill Spring, Missouri, Macfadden changed his first and last names to give them a greater appearance of strength. He thought "Bernarr" sounded like the roar of a lion, and that "Macfadden" was a more masculine spelling of his last name.
As a young child, Macfadden was weak and sickly. After being orphaned by the time he was 11, he was placed with a farmer and began working on the farm. The hard work and wholesome food on the farm turned him into a strong and fit boy. When he was 13, however, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri and took a desk job. Quickly his health reverted again and by 16 he described himself as a "physical wreck". He started exercising again with dumbbells, walking up to six miles a day and became a vegetarian. He quickly regained his previous health.
Macfadden founded Physical Culture magazine in 1899, and was editor up to the August 1912 issue. Aided by long-time Supervising Editor Fulton Oursler, Macfadden eventually grew a publishing empire, including Liberty, True Detective, True Story, True Romances, Dream World, Ghost Stories, the once-familiar movie magazine Photoplay, and the tabloid newspaper, The New York Graphic. Macfadden's magazines included SPORT, a preeminent sports magazine prior to Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated.
Ghost Stories was a nod in the direction of the rapidly growing field of pulp magazines, though it was a large-size magazine that preserved Macfadden's confessional style for most of its stories. In 1928, Macfadden made more overt moves into the pulps with, for example, Red Blooded Stories (1928–29), Flying Stories (1928-29), and Tales of Danger and Daring (1929). These were all unsuccessful. In 1929, Macfadden underwrote Harold Hersey's pulp chain, the Good Story Magazine Company. Macfadden titles like Ghost Stories and Flying Stories continued as Good Story publications. Other intended Macfadden pulps, like Thrills of the Jungle (1929) and Love and War Stories (1930), originated as Good Story magazines. In 1931, Macfadden purchased the assets of the Mackinnon-Fly magazine publishers, which gave him the pioneering sci-fi pulp Amazing Stories, and several other titles; they were published under the Teck Publications imprint. This apparently made Good Story expendable and financial support was withdrawn almost immediately. The Teck titles lasted under Macfadden control until being sold in the late '30s, after which Macfadden was absent from the pulp field.
Macfadden also contributed to many articles and books including The Virile Powers of Superb Manhood (1900), MacFadden's Encyclopedia of Physical Culture (1911–1912), Fasting for Health (1923), and The Milk Diet (1923).
Macfadden popularized the practice of fasting that previously had been associated with illnesses such as anorexia nervosa. He felt strongly that fasting was one of the surest ways to physical health. Many of his subjects would fast for a week in order to rejuvenate their body. He claimed that "a person could exercise unqualified control over virtually all types of disease while revealing a degree of strength and stamina such as would put others to shame" through fasting. He saw fasting as an instrument with which to prove a man's superiority over other men.
Macfadden had photographs of himself taken before and after fasts to demonstrate their positive effects on the body. For example, one photograph showed Macfadden lifting a 100-pound dumbbell over his head immediately after a seven-day fast. He also promoted fasting by appealing to racial prejudices, suggesting that fasting was a practice of self-denial that only civilized white men would choose to embrace. Macfadden acknowledged the difficulties of fasting and did not support it as an ascetic practice but rather because he believed its ultimate benefits outweighed its costs.
He was particularly opposed to the consumption of white bread, which he called the "staff of death".
Macfadden established many "healthatoriums" in the eastern and midwestern states. These institutions offered educational programs such as "The Physical Culture Training School". Although he gained his reputation for physical culture and fitness, he gained much notoriety for his views on sexual behavior. He viewed intercourse as a healthy activity and not solely a procreative one. This was a different attitude than most physicians had at the time. He also attempted to found a "Physical Culture City" in Monroe Township, Middlesex County, New Jersey, which folded after a few years and became the vacation-cabin neighborhood, and, later, suburban development of Outcalt.
Nicknamed "Body Love Macfadden" by Time – a moniker he detested – he was branded a "kook" and a charlatan by many, arrested on obscenity charges, and denounced by the medical establishment. Throughout his life, he campaigned tirelessly against "pill-pushers", processed foods and prudery.
Macfadden made an unsuccessful attempt to found a religion, "cosmotarianism", based on physical culture. He claimed that his regimen would enable him to reach the age of 150.
His Macfadden Foundation established two boarding schools for young boys and girls in Westchester County, New York, the Macfadden School in Briarcliff Manor (Scarborough) and the Tarrytown School in Tarrytown. The Macfadden School took the younger children, with some being as young as 3. On March 7, 1943, the advertisement in The New York Times Magazine for the Tarrytown School read: "To Meet the Needs of a Nation at War". The boys at the Tarrytown School wore uniforms and were subject to military type discipline. The Macfadden School operated from 1939 to 1950, the Tarrytown School from 1943 to 1954.
At the peak of his career, Macfadden owned several hotels and a major building in Dansville, New York. He also opened a restaurant in New York City in 1902 called Physical Culture, which was one of the city's first vegetarian venues. Physical Culture vegetarian restaurants were established in other cities such as Philadelphia and Chicago. By 1911, there were twenty such restaurants. Macfadden was a proponent of raw foodism and a follower of Sylvester Graham's philosophies.
Macfadden was married four times and had eight children, seven of whose names began with the letter "B". One of his sons (Jack) appeared on Groucho Marx's show You Bet Your Life (December 31, 1953) and talked about his father (who was 84 at the time).
He met his third wife, Mary Williamson Macfadden, in England when she won a contest "for the most perfect specimen of England womanhood," sponsored by Macfadden. More importantly, she was a champion British swimmer. The couple had eight children: Helen, Byrne, Byrnece, Beulah, Beverly, Brewster, Berwyn, and Braunda. Bernarr and Mary separated in 1932 and divorced in 1946.
When one of his daughters died of a heart condition, he remarked "It's better she's gone; she only would have disgraced me."
Macfadden died of a urinary tract infection in 1955 in Jersey City, New Jersey, after refusing medical treatment. He is interred in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City. Upon his death, Edward Longstreet Bodin became the president of the Bernarr Macfadden Foundation.
After his death, his fourth wife Johnnie Lee Macfadden claimed that there was still money that was buried at various locations across the country. She said that Bernarr told her that he buried the money in steel cartridge boxes, and it amounted to millions. Several people have reported that they saw Macfadden leave one of his hotels carrying a bag and a shovel, thereafter returning with only the shovel. Most attempts to locate the buried treasure have failed. People close to Macfadden have said that the rumors of buried money were false, although in 1960 a steel cartridge box was found buried on Long Island on some property that was once owned by Macfadden; it contained approximately $89,000.
Macfadden has drawn criticism for requesting in his books for patients not to consult any professional physician. It has been noted by critics that Macfadden was a proponent of unorthodox ideas that are widely derided as quackery such as grape therapy supposedly healing cancer.
Morris Fishbein wrote that "In his campaign, Bernarr Macfadden aligned himself with the border-line cultists that oppose scientific medicine and devote themselves to the promotion of some single conception of disease causation, prevention, and treatment."
Macfadden wrote over 100 books. This is a partial list of titles:
Automotive News is a weekly print newspaper written for the automotive industry, primarily individuals associated with automobile manufacturers and suppliers. Based out of Detroit and owned by Crain Communications Inc, Automotive News is considered the newspaper of record for the automotive industry. The brand has a team of more than 55 editors and reporters worldwide.
The company is headquartered at 1155 Gratiot Avenue in downtown Detroit.Bates method
The Bates method is an alternative therapy aimed at improving eyesight. Eye-care physician William Horatio Bates, M.D. (1860–1931) attributed nearly all sight problems to habitual strain of the eyes, and felt that glasses were harmful and never necessary. Bates self-published a book, Perfect Sight Without Glasses, as well as a magazine, Better Eyesight Magazine, (and earlier collaborated with Bernarr MacFadden on a correspondence course) detailing his approach to helping people relax such "strain", and thus, he claimed, improve their sight. His techniques centered on visualization and movement. He placed particular emphasis on imagining black letters and marks, and the movement of such. He also felt that exposing the eyes to sunlight would help alleviate the "strain".Despite continued anecdotal reports of successful results, including well-publicised support by Aldous Huxley, Bates' techniques have not been objectively shown to improve eyesight. His main physiological proposition—that the eyeball changes shape to maintain focus—has consistently been contradicted by observation. In 1952, optometry professor Elwin Marg wrote of Bates, "Most of his claims and almost all of his theories have been considered false by practically all visual scientists." Marg concluded that the Bates method owed its popularity largely to "flashes of clear vision" experienced by many who followed it. Such occurrences have since been explained as a contact lens-like effect of moisture on the eye, or a flattening of the lens by the ciliary muscles.The Bates method has been criticized not only because there is no good evidence it works, but also because it can have negative consequences for those who attempt to follow it: they might damage their eyes through overexposure of their eyes to sunlight, put themselves and others at risk by not wearing their corrective lenses while driving, or neglect conventional eye care, possibly allowing serious conditions to develop.Castle Heights Military Academy
Castle Heights Military Academy was a private military academy in Lebanon, Tennessee, United States. It opened in 1902, became a military school in 1918, and closed in 1986.
The Academy was founded in 1902 as Castle Heights School by David Mitchell, President of Cumberland University, also in Lebanon, and Isaac W. P. Buchanan, a mathematics professor there, together with A. W. Hooker and Laban Rice, an English professor who served as the school's headmaster and was later also President of Cumberland University. It was initially coeducational; it became a military preparatory school for boys in 1918 as a result of World War I.In 1928, Castle Heights Military Academy was struggling financially and was bought for $100,000 by Bernarr Macfadden; the Bernarr Macfadden Foundation operated it until 1974. An auditorium and gymnasium were built and named for Macfadden, and Mitchell's house, purchased from his heirs in 1936 and used to house the junior school, was called Macfadden Hall. Macfadden required the students to eat salads every day, not to use condiments or pillows, to participate in sports, and to drink so much milk that the school acquired a dairy. Students' height and weight appeared on their monthly report cards. In 1954 the school had grown to almost 500 students, had a 150-acre campus including a hospital, and operated a summer camp. In 1963 Sanford Naval Academy was founded in Sanford, Florida, as a sister institution.Despite a return to coeducation in 1970, the school ceased operations in 1986 in the face of declining enrollment and debt. Its buildings have been restored and now serve as the Lebanon City Hall, Lebanon Museum and History Center and other small businesses. Previously undeveloped areas of campus have been subdivided and now feature businesses such as banks and nursing homes. Records and other school memorabilia are maintained by Cumberland University. The Mitchell House served as the headquarters of the holding company for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store from 1998 to 2013. It was purchased by Sigma Pi fraternity in 2013 and now serves as the fraternity's international headquarters.Composograph
Composograph refers to a forerunner method of photo manipulation and is a retouched photographic collage popularized by publisher and physical culture advocate Bernarr Macfadden in his New York Evening Graphic in 1924.
The Graphic was dubbed "The Porno-Graphic" by critics of the time and has been called "one of the low points in the history of American journalism". Exploitative and mendacious, in its short life (it closed operations in 1932) the Graphic defined "tabloid journalism" and launched the careers of Ed Sullivan and Walter Winchell, who developed the modern gossip column there. Film director Sam Fuller worked for the Evening Graphic as a crime reporter.
"Composographic" images were literally cut and pasted together using images of the heads or faces of current celebrities, glued onto staged images created in Macfadden's in-house studio, often using newspaper staffers as body doubles. Composite photographs, or photomontages, had been used in the nineteenth century by such photographers as William Notman to capture indoor scenes that would not have been otherwise possible before the flashbulb was developed.Macfadden used them to represent events that were inconvenient to photograph, particularly with the equipment of the day: private bedrooms and bathtubs, Rudolph Valentino's unsuccessful surgery, Valentino's funeral, and notably on March 17, 1927, a full-page image of Valentino meeting Enrico Caruso in heaven. The very first faked photograph—that of Alice Jones Rhinelander baring her breast in court (part of the Kip Rhinelander divorce trial)—is said to have boosted the Graphic's circulation by 100,000 copies.Apart from their sensational subject matter, composographs have relevance as a historical reference point in the current debate over staged and doctored news photos. Some of the Graphic composographs have an unforgettable eerie visual impact. In a 1997 academic paper called "Staged, faked and mostly naked: Photographic innovations at the Evening Graphic, 1924–1932" and a shorter online essay, Radford University professor Bob Stepno points out that the Graphic was published before improvements in photojournalism technology and standards that made possible the photorealism of Magnum Photos, Black Star and others during World War II.Detroit Mirror
The Detroit Mirror was a daily morning tabloid newspaper published in Detroit, Michigan.It ceased publication in August 1932 without warning, only giving a week of severance pay to its employees. At that time it had a circulation of 170,000. But it had lost 2 million dollars in sixteen months despite having made huge gains in both circulation and advertising revenue during the spring of 1932.
It was owned by publishers Robert R. McCormick and Joseph Medill Patterson, also owners of The Chicago Tribune and New York Daily News. They had taken it over in 1931 from Bernarr MacFadden as a partial payment for Liberty magazine that was taken over by MacFadden. Max Annenberg was the Detroit Mirror's local publisher and his son Ivan was circulation manager.
Some other notable employees were Bert Whitman, a cartoonist from 1929 to 1932 and Zeke Zekley who began working as an editorial and comic cartoonist there at age 18.
On Sunday October 4, 1931, the new Dick Tracy comic strip made its first ever appearance in the Detroit Mirror.Edward Longstreet Bodin
Edwart Longstreet Bodin (August 5, 1894 – August 1983) was a mystery writer and founded the "Spiritual Party" as a platform for a run for President of the United States in the 1952 presidential election. He claimed in his book Scare Me! to be a descendent of Jean Bodin. He was a literary agent and mentor to L. Ron Hubbard.Prior to authoring books, Bodin wrote for Strange Stories magazine as "Lucifer" and Thrilling Mystery magazine as "Chakra."
His book Scare Me! addressed ghosts, ectoplasm, demons, zombies, werewolves and other similar topics. In it, he thanked sixty-eight people, including Arthur J. Burks, Jack Dempsey, Ruth Lyons, Lowell Thomas, Nathaniel Schachner, Theodore Tinsley, F. Orlin Tremaine, Arthur Leo Zagat, William B. Ziff and L. Ron Hubbard. Upper Purgatory covered such subjects as ESP, flying saucers, the afterlife, and the Shakespeare authorship question.
In 1953, he suggested that if Winston Churchill doublecrossed the United States, the atom bomb should be used to divert the Gulf Stream in order to freeze England. He suggested the same thing two years later in Upper Purgatory, claiming to have received a letter from William E. Bergin, Adjutant General of the United States, treating the idea seriously (pages 17–18). He also suggested the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was due to psychic intervention to prevent America's government from being overrun by Communists.
In 1956, Bodin was the President of the Bernarr MacFadden Foundation, worth about $5,000,000. That year he also provided the foreword to a book by Blanche A. Draper, the pastor of "The Church of the Radiant Flame," a woman who worked as a psychic and medium.Ghost Stories (magazine)
Ghost Stories was a U.S. pulp magazine that published 64 issues between 1926 and 1932. It was one of the earliest competitors to Weird Tales, the first magazine to specialize in the fantasy and occult fiction genre. It was a companion magazine to True Story and True Detective Stories, and focused almost entirely on stories about ghosts, many of which were written by staff writers but presented under pseudonyms as true confessions. These were often accompanied by faked photographs to make the stories appear more believable. Ghost Stories also ran original and reprinted contributions, including works by Robert E. Howard, Carl Jacobi, and Frank Belknap Long. Among the reprints were Agatha Christie's "The Last Seance" (under the title "The Woman Who Stole a Ghost"), several stories by H.G. Wells, and Charles Dickens' "The Signal-Man". The magazine was initially successful, but began to lose readers, and in 1930 was sold to Harold Hersey. Hersey was unable to reverse the magazine's decline, and Ghost Stories ceased publication at the start of 1932.Hillman Periodicals
Hillman Periodicals, Inc. was an American magazine and comic book publishing company founded in 1938 by Alex L. Hillman, a former New York City book publisher. It is best known for its true confession and true crime magazines; for the long-running general-interest magazine Pageant; and for comic books including Air Fighters Comics and its successor Airboy Comics, which launched the popular characters Airboy and The Heap.Hotel Deauville (Miami)
The Deauville Beach Resort at 6701 Collins Ave, Miami, FL 33141, is a celebrated beachfront hotel on Miami Beach. It was designed by Melvin Grossman and built in 1957.Liberty (general interest magazine)
Liberty was a weekly, general-interest magazine, originally priced at five cents and subtitled, "A Weekly for Everybody." It was launched in 1924 by McCormick-Patterson, the publisher until 1931, when it was taken over by Bernarr Macfadden until 1941. At one time it was said to be "the second greatest magazine in America," ranking behind The Saturday Evening Post in circulation. It featured contributions from some of the biggest politicians, celebrities, authors, and artists of the 20th-century. The contents of the magazine provide a unique look into popular culture, politics, and world events through the Roaring 20s, Great Depression, World War II, and Post-War America. It ceased publication in 1950 and was revived briefly in 1971.Macfadden Communications Group
Macfadden Communications Group is a publisher of business magazines. It has a historical link with a company started in 1898 by Bernarr Macfadden that was one of the largest magazine publishers of the twentieth century.McFadden (surname)
McFadden is a Scottish and Irish patronymic surname meaning "son of little Patrick". The Celtic prefix "Mc" means "son of", while "Fadden" is derived from the Gaelic Páidín, meaning "little Patrick". There are variant spellings including McFaddin, MacFadden, Mac Phaidin, the Scottish McFadin, McFadyen, MacFadyen, McFadwyn, McFadyean, MacFadzean, McFadyon, McFayden, Fadden, Fadyen, Faden, Fadin, and Fadwyn. McFadden is uncommon as a given name. People with the surname include:
Andrew McFadden, Australian rugby league football coach
Bernarr Macfadden (1868–1955), American proponent of physical culture
Bob McFadden (1923‒2000), American singer, impressionist, and voice-over actor
Brian McFadden (born 1980), Irish singer
Bryant McFadden (born 1981), American football player
Callum McFadden, Bassist with the band Hooton Tennis Club
Charlie "Specks" McFadden (1895–1966), American country blues singer and songwriter
Claron McFadden, American soprano
Cynthia McFadden, correspondent for the American Broadcasting Company
Cyra McFadden, American writer
Daniel McFadden (born 1937), economist, Nobel laureate
Darren McFadden, American football player
David McFadden, Canadian poet
David Henry McFadden, Manitoban politician
David James McFadden, Ontario politician
Eric McFadden, American musician
Gabrielle McFadden, Irish politician
Gates McFadden (born 1949), American actor and choreographer
Gene McFadden (1949–2006), American singer and songwriter
Hugh McFadden (poet) (born 1942), Irish poet, critic, literary editor, journalist
Hugh McFadden (Gaelic footballer), Irish Gaelic footballer
James McFadden (born 1983), Scottish footballer
Jim McFadden, hockey player
Johnjoe McFadden, Irish academic
Joseph McFadden, Scottish actor
Joseph P. McFadden (1947–2013), American Roman Catholic bishop
Ken McFadden, American basketball player
Kenny McFadden, American basketball player who played and coaches in New Zealand
Louis Thomas McFadden, member of the U.S. House of Representatives
Lucy-Ann McFadden (born 1952), American astronomer.
Mark McFadden, television news journalist
Mary McFadden, American fashion designer
Nicky McFadden, Irish politician
Pat McFadden (British politician), British politician, member of Parliament
Patrick McFadden, Irish politician
Patricia McFadden, Swazi radical feminist
Susan McFadden, Irish singer and actress
Tarvarus McFadden (born 1997), American football player
Tatyana McFadden (born 1989), American Paralympian athlete
Tom McFadden, American actor
W. H. McFadden, American oil executiveMetropolitan Magazine (New York City)
Metropolitan Magazine, known in its later years as Macfadden's Fiction-Lover's Magazine, was a monthly periodical in the early 20th century with articles on politics and literature. Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was editor of the magazine during World War I.Milo Hastings
Milo Milton Hastings (June 28, 1884 – February 25, 1957) was an American inventor, author, and nutritionist. He invented the forced-draft chicken incubator and Weeniwinks, a health-food snack. He wrote about chickens, science fiction, and health, among other things. Some of his writing is available in book form and on Project Gutenberg. Hastings was married twice and had three children.New York Graphic
The New York Evening Graphic (not to be confused with the earlier Daily Graphic) was a tabloid newspaper published from 1924 to 1932 by Bernarr "Bodylove" Macfadden. Exploitative and mendacious in its short life, the "pornoGraphic" defined tabloid journalism, launching the careers of Walter Winchell, Louis Sobol, and sportswriter-turned-television host Ed Sullivan.Penny Cafeteria
Penny Cafeteria was a vegetarian restaurant located at 511 Third Avenue (Manhattan) between 34th Street and 35th Street. It opened during the Great Depression, in December 1931. The establishment was opened by the Bernarr MacFadden Foundation, begun by publisher Bernarr MacFadden, in September 1930. MacFadden based the concept on a similar business he opened in the winter of 1902, located at City Hall Place.
The philanthropist had resources of $5,000,000. It enabled the unemployed of New York City to buy food at 1 cent per dish and a five-course meal for 5 cents. From its opening on December 29, 1931, Penny Cafeteria served meals to 2,500 to 3,000 customers per day. On opening day,
the restaurant offered cracked wheat, Scotch oatmeal, lima bean soup, green pea soup, soaked prunes, seeded raisins, whole wheat bread, butter, raisin coffee, and cereal coffee. MacFadden initially planned to keep the eatery open until May 1932. Food was sold at about cost and was provided twenty-four hours daily when demand warranted.In July 1940, a penny cafeteria opened at the Bowery branch of the Y.M.C.A. at 8 East Third Street. On its first day, July 1, the establishment served more than 900 needy youths. The cafeteria was funded by proceeds of the Wilhem Loewenstein Foundation. It offered three meals for twenty-five cents.Search for Beauty
Search for Beauty is a 1934 pre-Code dramedy film, with some musical Busby Berkeley-esque athletic sequences, directed by Erle C. Kenton and starring Buster Crabbe and Ida Lupino. They play a pair of lovers and aquatic champion Olympians (he a swimmer, she a diver) who become the face of a health magazine, which over their objections is turned into a "skin" rag. Armstrong and Michael portray ex-cons with the 'scheme' (and both have designs to break up the loving couple for themselves), and Gleason is their cohort. In his first few scenes Crabbe promotes exercise: "Get off your (pause) 'feet' and get on them!"Sorakichi Matsuda
Matsuda Sorakichi (1859 – August 16, 1891) was a Japanese professional wrestler of the 19th century. He became a feature attraction in America, competing in a distinctly western sport, long before it was adopted in Japan.True Detective (magazine)
True Detective (originally True Detective Mysteries) is an American true crime magazine published from 1924 to 1995. It initiated the true crime magazine genre, and during its peak from the 1940s to the early 1960s it sold millions of copies and spawned numerous imitators.