Shifts in Physical Culture: A Textual Analysis

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My work of digital scholarship uses Topic Modeling to analyze a set of articles written by Sylvia Ullback, a beauty expert in the 1930s, between 1932 and 1937.  Ullback’s articles shift during this period and the change in her discussion of beauty can be seen in the topic models. For more background on Sylvia Ullback and her career see the website for this project. This is a work in progress and I’ll give more detail about the changes tonight in class but here is what I have so far:


Topic models were created from articles written by Ullback for Photoplay magazine. The articles used represent two periods within Ullback’s editorial career.  The first from February 1932 – June 1935 are the first articles written by Ullback. The second period from January 1937-September 1937 represents the final year of Ullback’s career as a writer and beauty expert.  Between 1935 and 1937 Ullback wrote for both Modern Screen, Photoplay’s biggest competitor, and  Physical Culture Magazine.


  1. girls diet sylvia exercise fat good legs back hands exercises make body give day thin reduce work arms feel

  2. upper waistline perfect lo left arm winter foot york heavy ur ou mother continue skating original keeping front top

  3. health gloria life dear circulation young blues stiff happiness energy bring envelope attractive run youth depression personality problems ruth

  4. sugar juice cup luncheon afternoon inch salad glass broiled dinner tea bread lose clear slices lemon slice salt mineral

  5. air connie allure elbows darlings babies manner ih madame throat apply care nt run glands elbow bennett swell la

  6. eyes hair nose mouth face wax eye powder line stick beauty skin tip perfect type garbo silk lip tn

Data Visualizations: