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Information about Phrenological

Published on February 27, 2009

Author: englishguyintexas



This is a brief look at a document on Phrenology.

This is the first page of the American Phrenological Journal. This was considered a real science by many people of the period, including many of our prominent writers. This is the study of skull shape to determine characteristics. A bump here or an indentation there might reveal a person’s character traits or intelligence. This copy was published in March of 1865.

This is another page from that same issue. This one shows different head shapes and chin builds. The picture in the top left corner has the skull divided into segments which are supposed to indicate signs of character. A close up of a portion of this page will appear in the next slide so that you may easily read some of the text.

This portion shows the analysis of the lower nose as indicated by the arrow in the picture. This is where the faculty of analysis is located, or at least where its indicator is located according to phrenology. So, if this area is large, you are likely to have good powers of analysis. For a number of years this was taken to be a serious science.

This close up of the diagram on the full page displayed earlier shows how the skull was divided into the signs of character. Although this “science” started off seriously, it degenerated in a few years as hucksters moved in and traveled from town to town like fortune tellers. They were always sure to find some great trait for the customers, a bulge like that of a president, or prominent feature like that of a great writer or philosopher. It made for happy customers, but poor science.

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