Spurzheim's Contributions


Outlines of Phrenology

Published while Spurzheim was touring in America, the Outlines of Phrenology was phenomenally popular, passing through four separate editions by 1834. The Outlines gives a brief overview of the theory behind phrenology, discusses the basic propensities, sentiments, and intellectual faculties, and then attempts to reconcile the concept of free will with a fatalistic determinism derived from the phrenological assessment of human proclivities. This copy was presented to Henry Hooper by Spurzheim during his lecture tour in Boston, just before his death.


Notes Concerning Education in General in the Un[ited] St[ates] of America

While on tour in America, Spurzheim made extensive notes on the scenery and institutions of the country, contrasting the conditions in New York, New Haven, Hartford, and Boston. These notes may have been intended for publication but were left incomplete at his death. Here, Spurzheim analyzes the educational opportunities available in Boston.


Death of Dr. Spurzheim

This unsigned obituary is one of several articles devoted to J. G. Spurzheim printed in the Journal at this time. Note the prominent medical figures, including John Collins Warren, James Jackson, Walter Channing, and George Parkman, who were associated with his burial at Mount Auburn Cemetery. James Jackson, who attended Spurzheim at his death, concluded that the cause of death was a fever, and John Collins Warren performed the autopsy. The unusual size and weight of Spurzheim's brain proved a source of interest and comment.


Receipt for Spurzheim's Cranium

Dr. Warren's receipt for the brain and skull of Spurzheim and the skull of John Roberton, a Scottish physician and follower of phrenology, who wished his skull to remain beside Spurzheim's. These specimens were additions to the Boston Phrenological Society collection.


Portrait of J. G. Spurzheim, circa 1832

Produced just after his sudden death, this portrait of Spurzheim holding a symbolical head is said to be one of the best productions from the studio of Boston painter Alvan Fisher. Dr. J. Mason Warren, the son of John Collins Warren, purchased the portrait in 1863.

Nahum Capen's Reminiscences of Dr. Spurzheim (1881) includes a phrenological assessment of Spurzheim by Sir George Steuart Mackenzie who claimed he had "Philoprogenitiveness and attachement, well marked; courage, small; self-esteem, moderate; love of approbation, well developed; destructiveness, defective; acquisitiveness, small; cautiousness, large; wit, hope, ideality, marvelousness and imitation, weak; benevolence, veneration, firmness and justice, strong; form, order and number, well developed; coloring and tune, large; eventuality, individuality; causality and comparison, large."

Johann Gaspar Spurzheim
Spurzheim's Contributions