Letter from Oliver Wendell Holmes to John Collins Warren

Dublin Core

Title

Letter from Oliver Wendell Holmes to John Collins Warren

Subject

Correspondence
Phrenology
Homeopathy
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1809-1894 (author)
Warren, John Collins, 1778-1856

Description

While Holmes' views on homeopathy are well attested, this letter to Dr. John Collins Warren (1778-1856) indicates he had at least some early interest in the concurrent phrenological movement. Holmes here invites Warren to attend his lecture on the subject at Harvard and modestly states, "I can truly say that the limited time and attention, which the hurry so apt to attend the close of lectures has allowed me, render me very diffident in approaching the subject at all, and especially so in the presence of one who, however lenient in his judgment, could hardly avoid seeing the imperfections which must attend my brief glance at the subject."In 1849, Warren had taken possession of the Boston Phrenological Society's collection of casts and skulls, including the skull of Johann Gaspar Spurzheim. That collection now resides with the Warren Anatomical Museum.

By 1861, however, Holmes’ views on phrenology were set. He said, “I am not one of its haters; on the contrary, I am grateful for the incidental good it has done…. Yet I should not have devoted so many words to it, did I not recognize the light it has thrown on human actions by its study of congenital organic tendencies. Its maps of the surface of the head are, I feel sure, founded on a delusion, but its studies of individual character are always interesting and instructive.”

Abstract

Letter from Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) to John Collins Warren (1778-1856) concerning homeopathy and phrenology

Creator

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1809-1894

Date Created

1850 February 28

Rights

The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all materials in this collection. For use information, consult Public Services at chm@hms.harvard.edu

Access Rights

Access to the original work depicted requires advance notice. Contact Public Services at chm@hms.harvard.edu for additional information

Is Part Of

Warren Library of the Harvard Medical Library (1.Mw.1921.W)

Format

text

Extent

1 manuscript letter (2 pages)

Language

English

Type

text

Identifier

DigID0002201
DigID0002202

Provenance

Bequest of Dr. John Warren to the Library of Harvard Medical School, 1928

Files

0002201_dref.jpg
0002202_dref.jpg

Collection

Citation

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1809-1894, “Letter from Oliver Wendell Holmes to John Collins Warren,” OnView, accessed July 22, 2024, https://collections.countway.harvard.edu/onview/items/show/6325.