The H.J. Lutcher Stark Center

Doris Barrilleox Collection

A Finding Aid to the Collection at the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports

Descriptive Summary

Collector: Dorris Barrilleaux Collection, 1978-2009
Title: Dorris Barrilleaux Collection
Dates: no date, 1978-2009
Abstract Known as the “First Lady of Bodybuilding,” Doris Barrilleaux founded the Superior Physique Association (SPA), and had leadership positions with the International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) and American Federation of Women’s Bodybuilding (AFWB). This collection showcases Barrilleaux’s involvement with bodybuilding and the sport’s development from the 1960s to the 1980s. The collection includes an assortment of photographs, audiotapes, videos, correspondence, and documents, as well as articles from a number of bodybuilding magazines from the 1970s to the 2000s.
Extent: 13 Boxes, 610 Folders, 17 Artifacts, 9,634 items
Repository: H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Born in Houston, Texas, in 1931, Doris Barrilleaux is a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, and is known in the bodybuilding community as the “First Lady of Bodybuilding.” In childhood she was inspired by the Tarzan movies, and as a young adult, she was interested in physical activities and sports.

She started weight training in 1955 after giving birth to her fourth child and realizing that, while still thin, she had lost all of her physical strength. She began by reading men’s bodybuilding magazines and doing the workouts shown there with 10 to15 pound weights. Barrilleaux sent a picture of herself in a double-bicep pose, emulating the poses she saw in the men’s magazines to Vera Christenson, a writer for Strength and Health magazine. Christenson responded by requesting a photograph of a more feminine pose. Doris sent one in, and the photograph was published in Strength and Health magazine in 1963.

In 1977, she was encouraged to compete in The First National Physique Competition, a female bodybuilding competition, in Ohio. It was at this point that she began to realize that there were different rules for men and women competitors. For instance, women had to wear pants when having their upper bodies judged and shirts when having their lower bodies judged. Barrilleaux continued her involvement with competitive bodybuilding, including being invited to guest pose at a men’s competition in Tampa, Florida in 1978. It was at this men’s competition that she and Suzanne Kosak, a fellow woman bodybuilder, came up with the idea to create a competition for women that was judged more like the men’s competitions. She also started to photograph bodybuilders because she enjoyed photography, and it allowed her to be more involved in the bodybuilding world.

In 1978, she, along with Suzanne Kosak and Linda Gleason, formed Superior Physique Association, Inc. (SPA). In 1979, they put on the Ms. Brandon Physique competition in Brandon, Florida, with 13 contestants including Doris Barrilleaux. This competition marked the beginning of a change in women’s bodybuilding, particularly in rules. New rules included having a mostly female judging panel, as opposed to a mostly (or all) male panel model that formerly been the convention. Ms. Brandon Physique became the first of many modern women’s bodybuilding competitions, including the first International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) Women’s World Pro Bodybuilding Competition held in Los Angeles.

Superior Physique Association (SPA) was featured on the 1979 TV show, Real People, which highlighted female bodybuilders who wanted to be recognized for body sculpting and to educate non-bodybuilders about the benefits gained from weight training. Both women and men began to show more interest in SPA after the broadcast of the show. In 1979, Barrilleaux co-authored Inside Weight Training for Women, and SPA grew to have representatives in all but two states, as well as many representatives in Europe.

During her career, Doris actively promoted the sport of bodybuilding. She contacted the press, did interviews, did photo shoots, continued photographing bodybuilders, and wrote articles for a number of publications, such as Iron Man, Muscle Training Illustrated, Strength and Health, Muscle Development, and Shape and Flex.

In 1978, she became the women’s editor of Muscle Training Illustrated and was given a regular column, “Curves and Peaks.” She continued to photograph and report on competitions all over the world for publications like MuscleMag International. She can claim over 200 magazine covers to her name.

In 1980, Doris was elected Chairwoman of the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB). Within the IFBB, she formed the American Federation of Women’s Bodybuilding (AFWB), which absorbed the SPA organization. She judged many competitions for the IFBB and the AFWB, including being the head judge for the Ms. Olympia competition in 1981. In 1983, she completed her book Forever Fit.

During her time with IFBB, she continued to work on standards, rules, and regulations for judging women’s bodybuilding. The SPA initiated the “Couples” competition, which was quickly renamed “Mixed Pairs” to indicate male and female bodybuilders posing together with unique and artistic routines. However, by 1984, this part of competitive bodybuilding was no longer performed in competitions.

Doris maintained a strong and clear vision of the future of women’s bodybuilding. She believed that there should be two classes, one for the more muscular women, and one for the less muscular women, and emphasized the feminine side and art form of the sport. This vision eventually led Doris to leave the IFBB due to disagreements about the direction of women’s bodybuilding as a sport. She wanted women to be able to control their sport instead of men. Anabolic steroids were beginning to become a point of controversy, and she wrote many articles taking a stand against them. She continued to photograph both men’s and women’s competitions until 2004.

In 2011, she was inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame and completed her multi-media DVD, And I Did!, which is an autobiography containing 46 hours of material. The DVD covers her personal life, her family, her bodybuilding photography and participation, and her competition judging. The autobiography also discusses her leadership roles and how she campaigned to change women’s bodybuilding.

Scope and Content

Doris Barrilleaux Papers: 12 Boxes: 85 Folders: 838 photographs, 408 audio tapes, 15 beta tapes, 7 DVDs, 16 books, 13 programs, 1 set of playing cards, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and publications, 1970s - 2000s and undated (1,298 items plus clippings and correspondences)

The collection documents Doris Barrilleaux’s bodybuilding career and her involvement in the development of the sport. Her work as a bodybuilding photographer is represented as well as her work as the founder of the American Federation of Women’s Bodybuilding (AFWB). The collection contains a myriad of items including 408 audiotapes, 22 videos in various formats, 838 photos taken by Doris for competitions and posing, 13 programs from various bodybuilding competitions and events, personal and professional correspondences, articles written both by and about Doris, and newspaper clippings. Some of the prominent topics include judging criteria, posing, steroid use, women in bodybuilding, benefits of bodybuilding, bodybuilding organizations, and bodybuilding photography. Included in the collection are Doris’s personal interviews with some of the founders of the sport, such as Don Peterson, Georgia Miller Fudge, Cheryl Jones, Frank Zane, and Tony Cusak, and photographs emphasizing the changing view of the sport. There are articles from magazines and newspapers, not just about Doris but also about bodybuilding in general. The material dates from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s with a majority of items being from the early 1980s.



Access to the Jesse Mercer Gehman Photo Collection is restricted to visitors of the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture & Sports. The Stark Center welcomes access inquires and encourages research appointments. For more information, phone (512) 471-4890, email, or visit .

"Restrictions on Use"

The Stark Center retains the right to limit the use of the Jesse Mercer Gehman Photo Collection under certain conditions. No copies of any materials in the collection may be made without permission.


The user is cautioned that the publication of any of the contents of this collection may be construed as constituting a violation of literary property rights. These rights derive from the principle of common law, affirmed in the 1976 copyright act, that the writer of an unpublished letter or other manuscript has the sole right to publish the contents thereof for the duration of the copyright. Unless he or she affirmatively parts with that right, the right descends to his or her legal heirs regardless of the ownership of the physical manuscript itself. It is the responsibility of an author or his publisher to secure permission of the owner of literary property rights in unpublished writing. This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).

"Right to Privacy: Sensitive Materials Statement"

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center and the University of Texas at Austin assumes no responsibility.

"Subject Index"

Key Terms
Bodybuilding photography
Bodybuilding posing
Ms. Brandon Physique Competition
Weight training
Women’s bodybuilding
American Federation of Women Bodybuilders (AFWB)
International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB)
Superior Physique Association (SPA)
Doris Barrilleaux
First Lady of Bodybuilding
And I Did
Forever Fit

Administrative Information

Prefered Citation

The Doris Barrilleaux Papers, H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, The University of Texas at Austin. [There is no space between H. and J.]

Processing Information

Collection processed in 2013 by Megan Fischer, Shanda Ransom, and Brittany Stratton under the supervision of Brent Sipes. To contact The Stark Center about the content of the collection, please phone (512) 471-4890, email, or visit

Detailed Description of the Collection


Sub Series: Women
( 5 file )
box folder
1 1 Women's Posed Singles
2 Women's Competition Group
3 Women's Calendar
4 Women's CompetitionSingle A
5 Women's Competition Single B
Sub Series: Men
( 9 file )
box folder
2 1 Men's Group Competition
2 Men's Single Competition (A)
3 Men's Single Competition (B)
4 Men's Single Competition (C)
box folder
3 1 Men's Single Competition (D)
2 Men's Single Competition (E)
3 Men's Single Competition (F)
4 Men's Single Posed
5 Men's Calendars
Sub Series: Mixed
( 5 file )
box folder
4 1 Mixed Groups
2 Mixed Pairs Posed
3 Mixed Competition Couples
4 Mixed Candid Competition
5 Assorted
6 Duplicates


Sub Series: Interviews
( 67 Items )
Anne Murray
Audry Harris
Balik, Arnold Schwartzenegger
Barry Demay (mini recorder)
Beckles, Defender
Benita Carswell, Terrlli
Brian DeMay, Pam Meister
Blaraclou Lee, West Palm, Manning Harrod
Brian Silk
Bruce Randall
Bruce Randall
Caldwell Steele
Carolyn Chesire
Carla Dunlap
Carla Dunlap/Clare Furr
Carline Bond, Barrie Bailey
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones, Deborah Diana
Cheryl Jones, Joyce
Chet Yorton
Chris Dickerson
Cory Everson (cracked tape)
Cory Everson/Jan Todd / Lee Haney
Deborah Diana, Bowen
Dick Kellor
Don Caitlin, Elliot, Lawrence Dennis
Don Caitlin, Lynne Pirie
Don Chuck Smith
Don Peterson
Don Peterson (Bodypart interview)
Don Peterson, Lascn, Jesup Wilkosz
Franco Columbu
Frank and Christine Zane “The Zane Way to a Beautiful Body”
Frank Calta
Georgia Miller Fudge
Georgia Miller Fudge
Georgia Miller Fudge
Georgia Susrind
Grines, Kinkaid, Lawrence, School
Jeannie Secrist, Tony Pearson
Jessie Gautrexus, John Schliker
Kay Baxter, Todd King
Kay Baxter, Labranda
Ken James
Kyle, Cheryl Jones, B. Jones
Lisa Lyons, DJ
Lisa Mauer, Jusup Wilkosz
Miami Interviews
Mike Mentzer, Danny Padilla
Mohamad Makkawy
Nat Shepard, Cory Everson
Patsy Chapman
Price Gaubert
Rachel McLish
Rachel McLish
Roger Frandecky, Lytch
Shelby Tinneck
Shelley Gruwell, Lynne Pirie
Shelley Gruwell, Lynn Conkwright
Shery Atton/ Perder
Timmreck / Timmrick/Luke Tesvich/Kim LeBlanc
Tony Cusak, Ken Bart
Tony Cusak, Weider
Sub Series: Assorted
( 3 Items )
Sub Series: Meetings
( 13 Items )
Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Las Vegas
American Federation of Women Bodybuilding (AFWB)
American Federation of Women Bodybuilding (AFWB)
American Federation of Women Bodybuilding (AFWB) National Physique Committee (NPC) Meeting/Clare Furr, Steroids Stan
American Federation of Women Bodybuilding (AFWB) National Physique Committee (NPC), Dobbins
American Federation of Women Bodybuilding (AFWB) 10/8/84
American Federation of Women Bodybuilding (AFWB) 10/84, 10/84
American Federation of Women Bodybuilding (AFWB) 108/84 Dennis Tinerino
Australia Judges Meeting, Professor Torelli
Beauty Contest Scolaro, International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) Women’s Meeting
Vegas International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) Women’s Meeting
World Competition/International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) Women Exec
American Federation of Women Bodybuilding (AFWB) Clinic
Sub Series: Clinics and Seminars
( 6 items )
Clinic (mini recorder)
DJ seminar
Doris Seminar
Doris Seminar/ Torelli
Tony Pearson Women’s Seminar
Wash Clinic
Sub Series: Radio/TV
( 8 items )
43 Real People
20/20, 3/82 S. Fla TV
John East Show, 10/79, Superior Physique Association (SPA) for EH Tribune
Singapore Radio Luis Congress (mini recorder)
Slide Press #1, R.L.K.
WPLP Talk Show
Sub Series: Music
( 12 items )
A Side: Always a Woman/Deborah Diana / B Side: English
Fulcano, Neil Diamond
Forever Fit: Doris Barrilleaux
Forever Fit: Doris Barrilleaux/Blank
Good Bad, Fevor, Track
Doris Barrilleaux – I am Woman
Doris Barrilleaux – I am Woman
Doris Barrilleaux – I am Woman
Jones, Oliver, Maths
My Turn
Natural High – Commodores
Women Stories


Sub Series: Competition
( 7 items )
Hawaii International Bodybuilding Championships
Miss Olympia Competition 1982, 31-89
Miss Olympia Part 1, 1983
Miss Olympia Part 2, 1983
Mr. Asia Championship, 1982, Tokyo
Ms. Brandon Physique part 1, 2010
Ms. Brandon Physique part 2,
Sub Series: TV Shows
( 8 items )
Living for Today, W0_06_010
Motivational Weight Control, 30-969
Motivation Weight Control, 30-708
Motivation Weight Control, 31-89
Patter with Ken James
Real People
To Tell the Truth
Womens World of Bodybuilding
Sub Series: Documentary
( 1 item )
Muscle Madness documentary, 1981 part 1 and part 2


Sub Series: Articals and Books written by and about Doris
( 28 file )
box folder
9 1 American Karate and Muscle and Bodybuilder
2 And I Did Autobiography
3 Artwork
4 Book – Icarus Press
5 Florida Muscle News
6 Golden Years
7 Iron Man
8 Magazine Materials
9 Man of the Month
10 Miscellaneous Articles
11 Muscle Training Illustrated (MTI), 1982 (A)
12 Muscle Training Illustrated (MTI), 1982 (B)
13 Muscle Training Illustrated (MTI), 1982 ( C)
14 Muscle Training Illustrated (MTI), 1983
15 Muscle Training Illustrated (MTI), 1984 (A)
16 Muscle Training Illustrated (MTI), 1984 (B)
17 Muscle Training Illustrated (MTI), 1985
18 Muscle Training Illustrated (MTI), 1986
19 Muscle Training Illustrated (MTI), -
20 Muscle and Fitness, and Shape and Flex
21 Muscle Magazine International
22 Natural Body and Fitness
23 New Musclear Development (MD)
24 Not Submitted
25 Riveriew
26 Sent
27 Superior Physique Association (SPA)
28 Strength and Health and Muscle Development
Sub Series: IFBB Publications
( 4 file )
box folder
10 1 Events- IFBB Publications
2 General Information- IFBB Publications
3 Health and Research- IFBB Publications
4 Women- IFBB Publications
Sub Series: Event Programs
( 3 file )
box folder
10 5 Event Programs- 1979-1982
6 Event Programs- 1984-1993
7 Event Programs- 1994-2008
Sub Series: Other
( 2 files )
box folder
10 8 Playing Cards
9 Newspaper clippings
Sub Series: Books
( 2 file )
box folder
10 10 General Books
11 Perzonalized Books


Sub Series: Correspondence: 1983
( 27 file )
box folder
11 1 A
2 B1
3 B2
4 C
5 D
6 E
7 F
8 G
9 H
10 I
11 J
12 K
13 L
14 M
15 N
16 O
17 P
18 Q
19 R
20 S1
21 S2
22 T
23 V
24 W
25 X
26 Y
27 Z
28 Correspondence List of Names
Sub Series: Correspondence: General
( 6 file )
box folder
12 1 Draft Correspondence
2 IFBB and AFWB Correspondence
3 Isreal
4 SPA Correspondence
5 Scanned Duplicated Correspondence
6 Assorted