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The Influence of Fowlers & Wells. George Combe (1788 – 1858) Johann Gaspar Spurzheim (1776 – 1832) Charles Caldwell (1772 – 1853) Medical doctor, founder.

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Presentation on theme: "The Influence of Fowlers & Wells. George Combe (1788 – 1858) Johann Gaspar Spurzheim (1776 – 1832) Charles Caldwell (1772 – 1853) Medical doctor, founder."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Influence of Fowlers & Wells

2 George Combe (1788 – 1858) Johann Gaspar Spurzheim (1776 – 1832) Charles Caldwell (1772 – 1853) Medical doctor, founder of University of Louisville School of Medicine Studied under Gall in Paris and Benjamin Rush in Philadelphia Wrote first book on phrenology published in the U.S., Phrenology Vindicated and Antiphrenology Unmasked, 1838 German physician, Gall’s student and proteg é Broke from Gall in 1813, replaced term ‘organology’ with ‘phrenology’ Wrote Outlines of Phrenology and other phrenological tracts Toured U.S. briefly in 1832, died in Boston Scottish lawyer and philosopher Toured U.S. from 1838 – 1840 Wrote The Constitution of Man, 1828 Caldwell photo courtesy of the Caswell County Historical Society

3 Born to Congregationalist minister and wife in Cohocton, NY Trained for ministry at Amherst College Opened Phrenological Cabinet in Philadelphia (1838) before moving to NYC in 1841 Founded The American Phrenological Journal in 1838 Started Fowlers and Wells publishing firm with brother, Lorenzo, and (later) sister, Charlotte, and brother-in-law Samuel R. Wells.

4 A system of self-analysis and self-improvement that was based on phrenological science and adapted for use by the masses. Uses: Self-Knowledge Child Development and Education Marriage Counseling Vocational Guidance Intellectual Self-Improvement Moral Reform Penal and Asylum Reform “I think there is no class of men – not excepting clergymen, who have so good an opportunity of doing good as a practical phrenologist.” –Charlotte Fowler Wells

5 Features: Phrenological Cabinet (museum of skulls, death masks, and busts) Phrenological training center Lecture hall “Reading Room” Publishing firm and office Sales center (books, subscriptions, do-it-yourself kits) Headquarters for the Vegetarian Society of America and meeting place for suffragists Patent office

6 Lorenzo Niles Fowler Analyst, Lecturer, Writer, Publisher Wrote: The Principles of Phrenology and Physiology Applied to Man’s Social Relations, 1842 Marriage: Its History and Ceremonies, 1846 Samuel R. Well Business Manager, Writer, Publisher Wrote: How to Do Business, 1857 New Physiognomy, 1866 How to Read Character, 1868 Lydia Folger Fowler Doctor, Writer, Educator Wrote: Familiar Lessons on Physiology, 1847 Familiar Lessons on Phrenology, 1848 Charlotte Fowler Wells Office Manager, Lecturer Vice-President, American Institute of Phrenology

7 Reformers often cited phrenology when championing movements such as abolition, women’s rights, and temperance Artists of the period sometimes sculpted figures to reflect phrenological ideals Lectures, including those on phrenology, were considered popular entertainment. Orson Fowler was ranked by one newspaper as one of the top 50 lecturers in the country ‘Help Wanted’ ads asked for phrenological recommendations; Personal ads called for mates with compatible heads Modern phrases such as “high brow”, “low brow”, “well-rounded”, and “shrink” are believed to have phrenological roots Women dressed their hair to emphasize best phrenological features

8 Who are you indeed who would talk or sing to America? Have you studied out the land, its idioms and men? Have you learn'd the physiology, phrenology, politics, geography, pride, freedom, friendship of the land? - From “By Blue Ontario’s Shore” Walt Whitman Edgar Allan Poe Herman Melville Mark Twain “I would rather feel your spine than your skull, whoever you are.”-Ishmael in Moby Dick “[He] was a phrenological curiosity: his head was one vast lump of Approbativeness; and though he was as ignorant and as void of intellect as a Hottentot, yet the great leveller and equalizer, Self- Conceit, made him believe himself fully as talented, learned and handsome as it is possible for a human being to be.” – From Jul’us Caesar “A good-hearted old Irish nurse (whom I shall not forget in my will) took me up one day by the heels, when I was making more noise than was necessary, and, swinging me around... Knocked my head into a cocked hat against the bedpost. This, I say, decided my fate and made my fortune. A bump arose and turned out to be as pretty an organ of order as one shall see... Which has made me the distinguished man of business that I am.”-From “The Business Man”

9 “To teach learners those organic conditions which indicate character is the first object of this manual. And to render it accessible to all, it… crowds into the fewest words and pages just what learners need to know… ‘Short yet clear,’ is its motto.” –From The New Illustrated Self-Instructor in Phrenology and Physiology by O.S. and L.N. Fowler “How would it not be well to employ, or settle, a practical phrenologist in every town… to give advice to parents respecting the children… If the phrenologist be also a physiologist, as should be the case, he would advise how to keep them well so they would need no physician with his pills, potions and plasters.” -From a lecture by O.S. Fowler Source: The Traveling Phrenologist in the White Mountains, Joseph Becker, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, September 9, 1882

10 Greater rights for ‘the common man’: Expanded suffrage Broadened education and higher literacy rates Economic shift brought on by the Industrial Age: Mass production/publication Faster transportation Breakdown of agrarian society Greater opportunity in cities Lack of guidance for the young

11 “Mothers would have no trouble in properly bringing up their children, nor would there be dissension between husband and wife if the individual marks written upon each human cranium were but understood.” - Charlotte Fowler Wells “Husbands and wives, having quarrelled and separated, being ‘unequally yoked’ or, from the unrestrained indulgence of antagonistic faculties, have applied to me for examination and advice, which has subsequently been adopted, and they now rejoice under the foliage of the domestic olive-branch… Husband and wives are beginning to regulate their connubial habits, and settle their disputes… by the aid of phrenology.” – Nelson Sizer Some titles by O.S. Fowler: Matrimony, or Phrenology and Physiology applied to the selection of Suitable Companions for Life Love and Parentage Amativeness Creative and Sexual Science

12 “Learn to know yourself before losing years of your best time in experiments. If you have not the physical and mental capability for a mechanic it would be unwise to adopt that calling, and have to change for something else after vainly trying a few years to accomplish only an unsuccess.” – From a lecture by O.S. Fowler “Find out your peculiarities of mind, and decide at once on the profession or business you wish to pursue… then cultivate the faculties that are necessary to quality you for success in the calling you have chosen.” - Lorenzo Fowler

13 “Bright red hair should marry jet black.” “Red-whiskered men should marry brunettes.” “Curls should not marry curls.” Those very fleshy should not marry those equally so, but those too spare and slim” “Strongly feminized men should marry strongly masculinized women.” “Will each of those, to whom this friendly memento is sent, please cut out this extra leaf, mark in the right hand dotted spaces, left blank for that purpose, the sizes of their respective organs, according to their own charts.. And return the same together with their daguerrotype… to me.” – Included in book of verses by poet Jesse W. Goodrich, along with his own phrenological reading Source: The University of Delaware Special Collections

14 1847 –Memory and Intellectual Improvement, by O.S. Fowler Hereditary Descent: Its Laws and Facts Applied to Human Improvement, by O.S. Fowler Self-Culture and Perfection of Character Including the Management of Youth, by O.S. Fowler 1848 – Physiology Animal and Mental: Applied to the Preservation and Restoration of Health of Body and Power of Mind, by O.S. Fowler 1851 – Matrimony, or, Phrenology and Physiology Applied to the Selection of Congenial Companions for Life, by O.S. Fowler 1852 – Love and Parentage Applied to the Improvement of Off-spring, by O.S. Fowler 1853 – The Illustrated Self-Instructor in Phrenology and Physiology, by O.S. and L.N. Fowler 1854 – Tobacco Diseases, with a Remedy for the Habit, by Joel Shew 1856 – How to Behave: A Pocket Manual of Republican Etiquette, by Samuel Wells 1857 – How to Do Business, by Samuel Wells How to Write, by D.H. Jacques 1858 – Home Treatment for Sexual Abuses, by Russell Trall 1859 – Hints Toward Physical Perfection, by Russell Trall

15 The term self-help (or self-improvement) refers to self-guided improvement — economically, intellectually, or emotionally— often with a substantial psychological basis. Samuel Smiles ( ) published the first self-consciously personal-development "self- help" book — entitled Self-Help — in Its opening sentence: "Heaven helps those who help themselves." Sociologist Micki McGee argues in her 2005 book Self-Help, Inc. that the burgeoning self- improvement industry masks Americans' economic anxieties during a period of economic decline. She sees Americans as "belabored" — at work on themselves, inventing and re-inventing themselves so as to remain employed and employable.


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