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Can Bull Med Hist. 1999 Spring;16(1):89-124. doi: 10.3138/cbmh.16.1.89.

Masculinity, Work, and the Fountain of Youth: Irving Fisher and the Life Extension Institute, 1914-31.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Abstract

In 1914, Progressive Era reformer Irving Fisher and wealthy contractor Harold Ley founded the Life Extension Institute (LEI), a business venture organized to address the problems of American health. For approximately two decades, from 1914 until the death of its medical director in 1931, the Life Extension Institute widely promoted its health maintenance program of annual physical examinations and health literature. The advertised goal of the LEI was to extend life without old age, as well as improve masculinity and good business practices through adherence to health principles. The first two decades of activities of the Life Extension Institute offer a window for examining early twentiethcentury ideas about the relationships between health, old age, and masculinity. The LEI literature constructed a picture of healthy, vigorous, and efficient American working men that helped to cement ideals of masculinity to ideals of health.

KEYWORDS:

Ere progressiste; Life Extension Institute; Progressive Era; gender; genre; health policy; masculinity; masculinité; mortality; mortalité; politique sanitaire; public health; santé publique; tuberculose; tuberculosis; typhoid; typhus

PMID:
28195809
DOI:
10.3138/cbmh.16.1.89
[PubMed]
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