The next book fair will be in ABERGAVENNY (for details click here) on Sat 25th June
CLICK
HERE TO SEE DETAILS OF ALL OUR FAIRS 

THE MAY ONLINE BOOK FAIR IS NOW OPEN!  CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE.

Book Description

EXERCISE, HEALTH, AND BEAUTY – SYLVIA OF HOLLYWOOD’S SCARCE 1930S SLIMMING REGIME FOR STARS OF THE SILVER SCREEN

Octavo (177 x 122mm), pp. vi, 119, [1 (blank)], [2 (blank l.)]. Half-tone portrait frontispiece, 16 half-tone plates with illustrations recto-and-verso, included in the pagination. (Occasional light marking and spotting, pp. iii-vi lightly creased, pp. 45-67 with small, unobtrusive burn mark at lower margin.) Original pictorial blue pebbled cloth, upper board lettered in black and decorated with female figure on wide gilt band, spine lettered in black, endpapers with contemporary stylised map of Hollywood by Russell Patterson. (Extremities lightly rubbed and bumped, spine slightly faded, a couple of light marks on the lower board.) A very good copy in the original pictorial binding. Provenance: price of 3d. on front free endpaper.
Dealer Notes
First edition. As adviser to Hollywood stars including Gloria Swanson, Carole Lombard, and Jean Harlow, the Norwegian-born Sylvia Ullback (1881-1975, ‘Sylvia of Hollywood’) trained the rich and famous in the 1920s and 1930s into perfect shape. Apparently denied the possibility of becoming a medical doctor, Sylvia had first studied nursing and massage before emigrating to America in the early 1920s. She relocated to Hollywood in 1926, where she (a successful slimmer herself) became associated with the slenderising movement. From 1931 she pursued a career in publishing books on health and beauty in New York – Streamline your Figure is one of three successful monographs – as well as hosting radio shows on beauty and celebrity and writing a column for a popular magazine, becoming a media phenomenon and the face of figure consciousness of her time.

Sylvia advocated a programme of massage, diet, and exercise, and it is the last that Streamline your Figure focuses on. Written in a conversational style, it advises on how to avoid bulky muscles: ‘If you have heavy calves and thick ankles, bicycling, tap dancing, climbing steep stairs and such, are taboo!’ (p. 6). Her regime operates on the assumption of an ideal body and very much advocates traditional standards of beauty: all body parts should be in ideal proportion to each other; a good posture is paramount; a woman’s figure ought to restore itself after childbirth; and excess fat is to be eliminated but pleasing curves preserved. The numerous illustrations show parallels between Sylvia’s exercises and other forms of exercise of the early twentieth century, while her Norwegian origins likely inform her enthusiasm for ice skating and for exfoliating with a rough towel after a bath (comparable with the early twentieth-century fashion for dry brushing the skin).

The map of Hollywood on the endpapers identifies such showbusiness landmarks as ‘Stars Homes’, ‘Producers Homes’, ‘Dancers’, ‘Drive In’, ‘The Strip’, and the studios of United Artists, Warner, and Universal.

This work is scarce: WorldCat lists 6 copies in US institutions and one in Sweden; Library Hub Discover records just one copy in a UK institution (British Library).
Author ‘SYLVIA OF HOLLYWOOD’ [i.e. Sylvia ULLBACK]
Date 1939
Publisher New York: Macfadden Book Company, Inc.

Price: £45.00

Offered by Type & Forme

Friends of the PBFA

For £10 get free entry to our fairs, updates from the PBFA and more.

Join PBFA

Membership of the PBFA is open to anyone who has been trading in antiquarian and second-hand books for a minimum of two years subject to certain criteria.
Find Out More