Archives & Special Collections Gallery Exhibit




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Creation Date

Fall 2014


Artifact Label:

Orson Squire Fowler (1809-1887)
The Practical Phrenologist; and Recorder and Delineator of the Character and Talents
Boston: O.S. Fowler, ca.1869

Ishmael, describing Queequeg phrenologically, says:

Whether it was, too, that his head being shaved, his forehead was drawn out in freer and brighter relief, and looked more expansive than it otherwise would, this I will not venture to decide; but certain it was his head was phrenologically an excellent one. It may seem ridiculous, but it reminded me of General Washington's head, as seen in the popular busts of him. It had the same long regularly graded retreating slope from above the brows, which were likewise very projecting, like two long promontories thickly wooded on top. Queequeg was George Washington cannibalistically developed.

Moby-Dick, Chapter 10, “A Bosom Friend"

Orson Fowler, the author of this book, his brother Lorenzo and their business partners Samuel Wells and Nelson Sizer, helped spread the popularity of phrenology throughout the United States.