Are you ready to hand over some cash to someone who can prove to you ...

Advertisement for the "Swoboda System". Mostly text, with some portrait images.

Are you ready to hand over some cash to someone who can "prove to you readily by demonstration that you are living an inferior life?" Ready to become completely successful with "no loss of time" or "special bathing"?

This ca. 1916 advertisement is from Alois P. Swoboda (1873–1938), a notable promoter of mail-order physical culture instruction who briefly counted President Woodrow Wilson amongst his clients (he soon after used the opportunity to claim that his product carried the guarantee of United States government). The Swoboda System of Conscious Evolution largely amounted to instructions to "Swobodians" to perform light calisthenics and drink four pints of water a day.

This advertisement was found on the reverse of a less successful, less virile advertisement in Hagley Library's Alexander Magoun advertising collection subseries of Hagley Library's David Sarnoff Library collections (Accession 2464). David Sarnoff (1891-1971) was president of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), one of the country’s leading manufacturers and vendors of radios, phonographs, and televisions. He established the David Sarnoff Library to house his private papers and professional records.

The collections developed further with the acquisition of papers of former RCA executives, scientists, and engineers, including Alexander Magoun, curator for the David Sarnoff Library from 1998 until 2000. Hagley Library obtained the Sarnoff collection records shortly after the Sarnoff Corporation closed the library in 2009. The College of New Jersey obtained the museum objects.

To view a selection of material digitized from this collection, click here to visit its page in our Digital Archive.