History Nebraska Blog

It's All in Your Head

Phrenology bust and chart belonging to Frederick Blaine Humphrey of Lincoln. Phrenology was a popular nineteenth-century pseudoscience that claimed a person's personality and intellect could be determined by studying the shape of the skull. It was based on the theory that the brain was divided into various organs (areas) that controlled specific elements of character. Look at the "organs" listed on this phrenology bust, and then feel your head. Maybe you'll begin to understand the roots of your behavior.

Phrenology bust (NSHS 4274)

Source: Frederick Blaine Humphrey, Lincoln (NSHS 4274)

Phrenology booklet

Source: Frederick Blaine Humphrey, Lincoln (NSHS 13000-3284)

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