Came across this very informative link that has loads of information about the true golden age of iron men (late 19th century - early 20th century) featuring the likes of Eugene Sandow, Herman Goerner, Charles Atlas and many others.
The site also contains news, magazine articles and books published about these men and their amazing feats of strength and muscularly developed bodies.
Eugene Sandow who can be considered the first true bodybuilder had published a few books and what surprised me was how far ahead of his time he was in his knowledge. This is the link to his books (go to the bottom of the page):
Even back then, these men emphasized the importance of free weights over machines (they understood the concept of range of motion for stimulating hyperthrothy and strength) and also realized the mind-body connection and how physical culture aided not only in a healthier, stronger body but also a healthier, stronger mind.
In skimming some of their articles and books, they also emphasized the importance of symmetrical development (discouraging the notion of the top-heavy look that some favored even during those times) for overall health and strength.
They encouraged women to engage in the sport as well, even though (just as it is today) the prevailing fear back then was that a woman engaged in exercise may lose her sexuality and feminine grace.
These are the true pioneers of this craft and those of you with an interest in the history of bodybuilding might find this interesting. I was really surprised to find that most of the advice given by them is still applicable today.
Thread: The Golden Age of Iron Men