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Whipple Library

Department of History and Philosophy of Science
A pink and a green ticket to a phrenological lecture

The Library holds around 350 items on the subject of phrenology – the belief derived from the theories of Franz Josef Gall (1758–1828) that the mental faculties are located in various parts or 'organs' of the brain, and investigable by feeling the surface of the skull, with the size of an organ being an indication of its power. The core of the collection was donated in the 1970s by Miss Frances Hedderly, former President of the British Phrenological Society (founded in 1887 by the American phrenologist L.N. Fower), following the disbanding of the Society in 1967. Many of the books carry the stamp of the British Phrenological Society, as well as bookplates outlining the library rules and recording dates of issue. The collection includes rare editions of the works of George Combe (1788–1858), the most influential British phrenologist and founder of the Edinburgh Phrenological Society (1820), the first of many societies devoted to the subject of phrenology.From a flier advertising 'The Brighton Phrenological Institution, Professor and Mrs. J. Millott Severn, advisers in careers, professions, businesses, trades, marriage'

The Library recently acquired additional material on phrenology formerly owned by Frances Hedderly, donated by the publishing firm C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd. The donation includes manuscript material as well as books, charts and callipers.

More images of the Phrenology Collection

Opening hours

Monday - Friday

09:15 - 19:00