From the 1840s to the 1920s, the popular medical movement of Phrenology took hold in the U.S. During this time phrenology was similar to pop-psychology. Phrenology was the pseudo-science that claimed to be able to identify a person’s character by the bumps on their skull. The ‘evidence’ was the belief that the brain was made up of 37 unique organs that each controlled a behavior or personality trait. Many practitioners of Phrenology, including most famously the Fowler family, believed that the organs could be exercised and a person could have a better and happier life. It also had contemporary critics and a sinister side.
The Health Science Library has several distinctive artifacts from the mid-19th to early 20th Century practice of Phrenology on exhibit. Please visit the second floor rotunda to experience the past of Phrenology.
Paul Andrews, MA