Revision with unchanged content. Anthropometric History - the study of human stature and its secular trend - provides a powerful framework for the analysis of interactions between economic and biological processes. Medical research has established a clear link between nutritional intake, disease experience and the mean physical stature achieved by a population. This publication investigates the biological standard of living in four different settings: Two of the papers present the results of an investigation into heights in the United States (or the British colonies preceding it); the other two studies focus on Switzerland. For both of the settings, one study is placed in a historical context and assesses the biological well being at the onset of and during the industrial revolution, while the other paper for each country focuses on more recent experiences during the second half of the 20th century. The results provide valuable insights into the standards of living of the general public over the periods under investigation and help to expand the knowledge about the general welfare for periods where other, more common indicators of well-being are either missing or unreliable.