Phrenology at the Countway Library of Medicine
Both the Boston Medical Library and the Harvard Medical Library have long held strong collections of published works on the subject of phrenology, and the Boston Medical Library acquired a collection of letters of Nahum Capen, of the phrenological publishing firm of Marsh, Capen, and Lyon, in 1884. This already impressive array of source materials was enhanced in 1970 by the purchase of a cache of letters and manuscripts of noted phrenologist J. G. Spurzheim, documenting his American tour and final years, and a rich assortment of pamphlets, minute books, and phrenology-related manuscript items from the British Phrenological Society, formerly in the possession of its secretary, James W. Marshall, documenting developments in phrenology into the middle of the twentieth century. Complementing the library collections is the Boston Phrenological Society's collection of casts and skulls housed in the Warren Anatomical Museum. All of these resources make the Countway Library an extraordinary repository for the history of the phrenology movement.
Purchased for the Boston Medical Library, 1970
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