Muscleman Charles S. Atlas was born Angelo Siciliano in Italy, immigrating to New York as a young boy. After failing to build up his body using weight training equipment, he stumbled upon the concept of resistance exercise, pitting one muscle against another to build strength, while watching a lion during a visit to the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn, and soon turned himself into a muscular beauty. He got his start in physical culture demonstrating exercise equipment and working as a circus strongman, ripping telephone books in half and performing other feats of strength. He later found work as an artists' model, becoming one of the most sought after in the country, and was chosen "The World's Most Perfectly Developed Man" in 1922 by Physical Culture magazine.
Bodybuilding materials from Charles Atlas training courses, publicity and promotional materials, and photographs.
Charles Atlas Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History