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Lesley Steinitz

Research Interests

I am interested in what British people understood healthiness and good nutrition to be around the turn of the twentieth century. This was a turning point in the history of nutrition science when the science of proteins was starting to unravel and vitamins were starting to be discovered. My starting point are the industrially manufactured ‘health foods’ such as Bovril, Oxo, Cadbury’s Cocoa and a variety of other brands of 'patent foods' which were marketed on the basis of their health-giving powers. I make extensive use of paper and digitised newspapers, periodicals and scientific and medical journals, scientific and popular health manuals, photographs and old food packaging, trade cards and other advertising paraphernalia. My work is interdisciplinary, bringing approaches from the history of science and medicine, material culture, gender studies, book history and from the social sciences to bear on historical sources. My PhD is tentatively entitled: 'Industrial health foods and culture during Britain’s Decadent Era (1880-1920).'

Research Supervision

My supervisor is Dr Emma Spary (Corpus Christi College) and Dr Anne Secord is my adviser.


  • Modern British History