- Collection ID:
Steckel, Geo. (George), 1864-
Falk, B. J. (Benjamin J.), 1853-1925
Sarony, Napoleon, 1821-1896
Some materials in French.
- Physical Description:
The collection documents Eugen Sandow and other bodybuilders through correspondence and photographs.
Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection contains original and copy photographs of Eugen Sandow and other bodybuilders and actors, by well known photographers Warwick Brooks, Napoleon Sarony, Benjamin J. Falk, George Steckel, and others; correspondence with well-known bodybuilders such as Joe Weider and Katie Sandwina; and periodicals and books about Sandow.
The collection is divided into four series.
Series 1: Background Materials, 1894-1958
Series 2: Correspondence, 1902-1954
Series 3: Publications, 1926-03-1955-01
Series 4: Photographs, 1889-1952
Ernest Edwin Coffin (1898-1954) was a California amateur bodybuilder, and weightlifter and collector of bodybuilding memorabilia, especially on the subject of Eugen Sandow. Coffin considered himself the world's expert on "Sandowania" and spent over 40 years writing and collecting memorabilia about Sandow as well as other strongmen such as Joe Weider, Milo Steinborn, and Katie Sandwina.
Born Frederich Muller (1867-1925) in Konigsberg, Prussia, Muller emigrated to England in 1889 and become a citizen in 1906. Muller adopted the stage name of Eugen Sandow and ran several schools of physical culture, performed, lectured, and wrote about strength amd mental and physical health. Sandow toured the United States in 1893 with his manager, Florenz Ziegfeld, the "Follies" showman. Sandow's first American appearance was at the World's Fair in Chicago where he was an instant success. Ziegfeld marketed Sandow as "the perfect man," and "the modern Hercules." Sandow used his popularity to market books, a magazine (
), and exercise equipment.
Collection processed by Alison Oswald, archivist, 2019.
Materials in the Division of Culture and the Arts
The Division of Culture and the Arts holds hand weights, a cut-out, and a dumbbell belonging to Eugen Sandow. See accession #2001.0179.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated to the Archives Center by Dan Manhart in 2009.
Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Ernest Edwin Coffin Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
The collection was assembled by Ernest Edwin Coffin, a collector of Eugen Sandow memorabilia.
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012