Studying the Art of Growing Old with Metchnikoff, Hauser, Lowman, and Thompson: Advice About Aging, 1900-1960

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Walton, Ann




This work explores shifting attitudes about aging in the first half of the twentieth century by tracing the rise of four figures, and by examining discussions that surrounded their work on aging in the press. Bacteriologist Élie Metchnikoff, food scientist Gayelord Hauser, and advice columnists Josephine Lowman and Elizabeth Thompson were seen as authorities on their subjects and wrote during a period of significant change: increased longevity, the advent of retirement, and growing scientific interest in aging produced a plethora of press discussion that plunged into the “problem” of old age. Their ‘prescriptions’ captivated attention in both Canada and the United States, illustrating the growing search for management and improvement that dominated discussions of aging. It is argued that while aging became the specialization of experts who studied it objectively, popular messages relayed that there was an “art” to growing old, its success determined by preparation, attitude, and personal will.


Canadian History




Carleton University

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