Exhibit Checklist

Folly, Fraud, Fakery

The idea for this exhibit (October 15, 2002 - January 15, 2003) started with Paul Collins' Banvard's Folly (New York and London: Picador Books, 2001), an account of thirteen historical figures who for the most were idealistic and dedicated to what they were doing even when there was no gain left for them. History loves people who think "outside the box"; so do we.

This exhibit checklist is presented to you in the spirit of Erasmus's folly. "Folly herself speaks: 'Whatever mortals commonly say about me-and I am not unaware of how bad Folly's reputation is, even among the biggest fools of all-still it is quite clear that I myself, the very person now stand here before you, I and I alone, through my divine radiance, pour forth joy into the hearts of gods and men alike. Hence it is that as soon as I came out to speak to this numerous gathering, the faces of all of you immediately brightened up with a strange, new expression of joy. You all suddenly perked up and greeted me with happy, congenial laughter-so much so that every last one of you here before me, wherever I look, seems to be high on the nectar of the Homeric gods and on the drug nepenthe [an herb to drive away all cares] too, whereas before you all sat there downcast and tense, as if you had just come back from the cave of Trophonius [anyone who consulted this oracle came away gloomy].' "

In what follows, all titles are from Special Collections unless indicated otherwise.

Desiderius Erasmus, d. 1536. Moriae Encomium. Amsterdam, 1629. PA8512 1629

Desiderius Erasmus, d. 1536. In Praise of Folly. New York: Limited Editions, 1943. Private Press Limited Editions

Desiderius Erasmus, d. 1536. The Praise of Folly. Illustrated by Hendrik Willem van Loon. New York, 1942. Memorial Library PA8514 E5

Desiderius Erasmus, d. 1536. The Praise of Folly. New Haven: Yale U.P., 1979. Memorial Library PA8514 E5 1979

 

 

George Psalmanazar, 1679? - 1763, was a European fraud who billed himself as a cannibal and abductee from Formosa, the modern island of Taiwan. Upon his arrival in England in 1704, with a Scottish chaplain as a companion, he became the toast of London society, fascinating spectators with his meals of raw meat and dirty roots, strange religious practices, exotic language and accounts of Formosan culture. Psalmanazar's history of Formosa was an immediate success, reprinted across Europe, and he was sent to Oxford to teach the Formosan language. Skeptics, including Edmund Halley, questioned his story and identity from the start (especially his blond hair and claim that Formosa was part of Japan) but it was not until his death that the public came to know the truth. Psalmanazar was not his real name and he was not a real Formosan; he had invented an entire country and culture, right down to its language, religion and calendar, and he was to live in this imaginary world for much of the rest of his life. His true identity and origin have never been discovered. After Psalmanazar's death in 1764, his maid found a manuscript locked in a desk: it was his full confession.

George Psalmanazar. An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa, an Island Subject to the Emperor of Japan. London, 1704. F669 P95

George Psalmanazar. Description de l'Ile Formosa en Asie. Amsterdam, 1705. Non-current 1343651

Joseph Frederic Foley. [Great Formosan Impostor. Chinese]. Wen xue shi shang di da pian zi. Taipei, 1969. CT788 P83 F612

George Psalmanazar. Memoirs of ****. Commonly Known by the Name of George Psalmanazar; A Reputed Native of Formosa. London, 1764. Non-current 908961

Bernhardus Varenius, 1622-1650. Descriptio Regni Japoniæ et Siam. Cambridge, England, 1673. Psalmanazar had a 1646 edition of this title while writing his book. Non-current 775394

 

 

W.H. Ireland (William Henry), 1777-1835, the son of an antiquarian, was not considered a particularly bright boy but in 1793 he made a discovery that would briefly turn the world of Shakespeare scholarship upside-down: his father was extremely gullible. After Samuel Ireland bought some junk that a scoundrel passed off as having belonged to William Shakespeare young William realized his father had been duped and that he could use this to his advantage. William instantly began forging documents, letters and signatures and passed them off as genuine Shakespeare materials. He "discovered" legal documents, letters written by famous people, lost Shakespeare sonnets, and other nifty things and gave them all to his father, who accepted every one of them as genuine. Eventually William wrote two plays and presented them to his father as Shakespeare originals.

It was only a matter of time, of course, before the bubble burst. William was ultimately not an especially good forger; he wrote letters in dreadful pseudo-Tudor prose, forged signatures that looked nothing like the real ones and eschewed research for his imagination. No one, except for his poor gullible father, would have believed any of it and as long as the forged documents remained private his secret would be safe. Unfortunately for William, Samuel's pride in his son's discoveries led him to put the documents on display where they were inspected by London's elite.

The forgeries were speedily unmasked but nobody suspected young William Ireland because he was clearly too slow-witted, utterly incapable of such creativity and panache. In order to deflect suspicion from his father, William had to confess, had to write an account of what he did, and how he did it. The villain had to prove he was the villain, because nobody would believe him otherwise.

Samuel Ireland went to his grave believing that his son's forgeries were genuine. William continued writing, his own material, and in a delicious ironic twist, William's last major forgery, a play entitled Henry the Second, is apparently quite good. After two years as a forger, William may have developed some genuine talent as a writer.

[W. H. Ireland]. Stultifera Navis. London, 1807. Thordarson T 2022

W. H. Ireland. An Authentic Account of the Shaespearian Manuscripts. London, 1796. CA 9338

Samuel Ireland, d. 1800. An Investigation…into the Authenticity of the Shakspeare Manuscripts. London, 1797. PR2950 M35

Samuel Ireland, d. 1800. Mr. Ireland's Vindication of His Conduct, Respecting the Publication of the supposed Shakspeare MSS. London, 1796. PR2950 A4

F. G. Waldron, 1744-1818. Free Reflections on Miscellaneous Papers…of William Shakspeare, in the Possession of Samuel Ireland. London, 1796. PR2950 W3

[W. H. Ireland]. Miscellaneous Papers…of William Shakspeare…in the Possession of Samuel Ireland. London, 1796. CA 5024

[W. H. Ireland]. Chalcographimania. Satiricus Sculptor, Esq. [pseudonym]. London, 1814. CA 3815

[W. H. Ireland]. Vortigern. London, 1799. PR1241 O447

 

 

Born in the Ohio frontier, Delia Bacon would travel far and wide in order to prove that it was Walter Raleigh, Edmund Spenser and Francis Bacon who wrote the plays credited to "that wretched player" Shakespeare. Author, teacher and lecturer Bacon moved in circles, albeit at times on the edge, that included such prominent Americans as Catharine Beecher, Samuel Morse (his work with ciphers sparked her idea that the Shakespeare plays were written in a code to hide their political philosophies) and Ralph Waldo Emerson. With Emerson's support she traveled to England in 1853 to find definitive proof of her theory. Unfortunately, she did not undertake any hard research on the subject at major London museums and libraries, choosing instead to reread the plays in isolation, hunting for clues left by Francis Bacon, and ultimately sinking into madness. Following an aborted attempt to open Shakespeare's tomb where she was certain Francis Bacon had hidden proof of the plays' authorship, Bacon finally published, thanks to Nathaniel Hawthorne, the fruits of her labor in the large and virtually unreadable The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakespeare Unfolded. Savaged by critics, Bacon's mental state worsened and she was ultimately committed to an asylum, first by the mayor of Stratford-on-Avon and after her return to the United States by her brother. Hawthorne noted after her death that "no author ever hoped so confidently as she; none ever failed more utterly," but others took up her theory most notably Ignatius Donnelly, sometimes hunter for the lost city of Atlantis, in his The Great Cryptogram which focused solely on Francis Bacon as the true author of the plays.

Delia Salter Bacon, 1811-1859. The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakespeare Unfolded. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1857. Cairns YDSMA B12 Cutter

Delia Salter Bacon, 1811-1859. Tales of the Puritans. New Haven: A. H. Maltby, 1831. Cairns Y B127 T Cutter

Delia Salter Bacon, 1811-1859. The Bride of Fort Edward, Founded on an Incident of the Revolution. New York: S. Colman, 1839. Cairns Y B127 B Cutter

Ignatius Donnelly. The Great Cryptogram: Francis Bacon's Cipher in the So-Called Shakespeare Plays. London: S. Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1888. [Facsimile, 1972] PR2944 D6 1972

Catharine E. Beecher. Truth Stranger Than Fiction: A Narrative of Recent Transactions, Involving Inquiries in Regard to the Principles of Honor, Truth, and Justice, Which Obtain in a Distinguished American University. Boston: Phillips, Sampson & Co., 1850. [This is an account of an earlier scandal that involved Delia Bacon, a broken engagement and accusations of "indecorous behaviour."] Cairns PS1054 B57 Z55

Delia Salter Bacon, 1811-1859. Historical Lessons. [New York: 1852]. Cairns PS1054 B57 H5 1852

 

 

John Cleves Symmes (1780-1829) was not the first to traffic in hollow-earth theories, but his ideas on the topic were compelling enough to attract the admiration of Jules Verne and Edgar Allen Poe. Symmes' unusual hollow-earth twist posited that one could enter habitable, inner spheres of the planet via convenient openings located at the North and South Poles. A hero of the War of 1812, Symmes nearly persuaded Congress to fund his crazed expedition to the North Pole (at the time still unexplored) in a giant, metallic, corkscrew-shaped vehicle, to prove his controversial thesis that the world was hollow and full of thriving populations of very pale shut-ins. Although self-delusion and public scorn eventually derailed his subterranean ambitions, writers Jules Verne and Edgar Allan Poe became rabid fans of Symmes' theories and gave them immortality in classic works of science fiction. After Amundsen (determines position of the magnetic North Pole, 1906; reaches the South Pole in 1911) and Peary (reaches the North Pole in 1909) returned from their successful polar expeditions with news of some very closed and decidedly solid Poles, Symmes and his theory were nearly finished. Marshall B. Gardner, however, did not abandon the theory: in his version, the earth contained a sun 600 miles in diameter portrayed in the picture of the aurora borealis (book no. 3).

Americus Symmes (son). The Symmes Theory of Concentric Spheres. Louisville, KY, 1878. Geology Library. J.C. Symmes issued several publications on his theory in 1818-1819.

Captain Adam Seaborn. Symzonia: A Voyage of Discovery. Gainesville, FL, 1965. Originally published in 1820. A burlesque of Symmes' theory of concentric spheres. PZ3 S987 Sy

Marshall B. Gardner, b. 1854. Journey to the Earth's Interior, or Have the Poles Really Been Discovered. Aurora, IL, 1913. 69 p. and Revised and enlarged ed., 1920, 456 p. CA 15700 no. 586

Koresh (pseudonym of Cyrus Reed Teed, 1838-1908) and Ulysses G. Morrow. The Cellular Cosmogony, or The Earth a Concave Sphere. Chicago, 1899. CA 15700 no. 572

William F. Lyon. The Hollow Globe; or The World's Agitator and Reconciler: A Treatise on the Physical Conformation of the Earth, Presented through the Organism of M. L. Sherman, M.D. Chicago, 1875. Sherman functioned as Lyon's medium. CA 15700 no. 584

William Reed. The Phantom of the Poles. New York, 1906. CA 15700 no. 581 and no. 582

Jules Verne, 1828-1905. [Voyage au center de la terre. English] A Journey to the Center of the Earth. New York, 1966. First published in 1864? Private Press Limited Editions Club

Edgar Allen Poe, 1809-1849. Ms. Found in a Bottle. Poe's first published story (1833) won for him a fifty-dollar prize in a contest conducted by the Baltimore Saturday Visiter [sic]. It relates the disastrous end of a ship approaching one of the polar holes. In 1838, Poe's Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym tells of a lost Antarctic island populated by exiles from Symzonia. Y P75 3T Cutter

Jules Verne, 1828-1905. Voyages et Aventures du Capitaine Hatteras. Paris, [1867]. Another hollow earth fiction. A third, not on display, is Le Sphinx des glaces translated as Antarctic Mystery. PQ2469 V8

 

 

A blending of religion and science, the 19th-century Spiritualism movement provided its proponents with empirical proof, in the form of communication with the dead, that the soul is immortal. Baxter's Certainty of the Worlds of Spirits is an early example of ghostly studies while Aubrey writes of the various manifestations spirits assume including the rappings and knockings that would provide Spiritualists with their first means of after-death communication. Growing out of interest in the Fox Sisters' 1848 "Rochester Knockings" and liberal theology, the Spiritualism movement in the United States attracted artistic, political and religious luminaries. Women were particularly attracted to the movement as it provided them with a platform for social reform and indeed many adherents became involved in the women's rights movement that emerged from the Seneca Falls convention. Andrew Jackson Davis, aka The Poughkeepsie Seer and The John the Baptist of Modern Spiritualism, worked tirelessly on behalf of the movement. Workers in the Vineyard is a who's who of the 19th-century movement while Judson offers a personal account of her conversion to Spiritualism. Twing and Underwood worked in the field of spirit writing and Underwood includes a sample of Charlotte Brontë's ghostly signature in her book. Magician Harry Houdini was a great debunker of spiritualist activities and is pictured with his friend and believer in spiritualism Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Julia Schlesinger. Workers in the Vineyard: A Review of the Progress of Spiritualism Biographical Sketches, Lectures, Essays and Poems. San Francisco, 1896. Cairns BF1261 S34 1896

Andrew Jackson Davis, 1826-1910. The Fountain; with Jets of New Meanings. First edition. Boston: William White & Company, 1870. BF1291 D26

Carrie E. S. Twing [Carolinn Edna Skinner Twing], b. 1844. Contrasts in Spirit Life; and Recent Experiences of Samuel Bowles, Late Editor of the Springfield (Mass.) Republican, in the First Five Spheres. Also a Thrilling Account of the Late President Garfield's Reception in the Spirit World. Springfield: Star Publishing Company, 1881. Cairns BF 1301 T82 1881

Richard Baxter, 1615-1691. Certainty of the Worlds of Spirits. London: T. Parkhurst, 1691. Thordarson T 240

John Aubrey, 1626-1697. Miscellanies, Upon the Following Subjects . . . London: A. Bettesworth and J. Battley, 1721. BF1410 A8

Emma Hardinge, d. 1899. Modern American Spiritualism. New York: The New York Printing Company, 1870. Cairns BF1241 B7 1870

Lilian Whiting, 1847-1942. After Her Death: The Story of a Summer. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1897. Cairns BF1261 W5 1897

Harry Houdini, 1874-1926. A Magician Among the Spirits. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1924. BF1042 H6

Abby A. Judson, 1835-1902. Why She Became a Spiritualist: Twelve Lectures Delivered before the Minneapolis Association of Spiritualists. Boston: Colby & Rich, 1892. Cairns BF1261 J9 1892

Sara A. Underwood, 1838-1911. Automatic or Spirit Writing, with Other Psychic Experiences. Chicago: Thomas G. Newman, 1896. Cairns BF1261 U5 1896

 

 

René Prosper Blondlot, 1849-1930, was a fine French physicist, a correspondant for the Section of General Physics of the Paris Academy of Sciences and a recipient of three of the Academy's most important prizes, chiefly for his work with Maxwell's theories of electromagnetism. Unfortunately he achieved notoriety for his "discovery" of N-rays, really a form of self-deception.

Amidst the excitement of Wilhelm Roentgen's 1895 discovery of X-rays, Blondlot claimed to have discovered another form of radiation, the N-ray. He asserted this new ray, named for the town of Nancy, was emitted by all substances except green wood and certain treated metals. In 1903, Blondlot maintained he had generated N-rays using a hot wire inside an iron tube and that the rays were detectable by the slight glow of a calcium sulfide thread after the rays were refracted through a 60-degree angle prism of aluminum. The N-rays were reported to be invisible, except when viewed as they hit the treated thread. Blondlot simply moved the thread across the gap in the prism's spectrum where the N-rays were thought to be and when the thread illuminated he said it was due to N-rays. The discovery was celebrated in French scientific circles and talk of a Nobel Prize for Blondlot followed. There was only one problem; N-rays did not exist. They were simply a trick of the eye and it was an American, Robert W. Wood, who ascertained this fact after playing a little trick on Blondlot-after he removed the prism from Blondlot's experiment Blondlot was still able to see the rays. It did not take long for scientists to disavow the N-ray and for Blondlot to sink into obscurity. For more information, see, for example, Mary Jo Nye, "N-rays: An episode in the history and psychology of science," Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, 11:1 (1980) 127-156.

Brigadier General A.J. Pleasonton, 1808-1894, the officer in charge of Union forces defending the state of Pennsylvania, was a voracious reader. One title in his library, Robert Hunt's Researches on Light, dealt mostly with the action of light on inorganic chemicals and its contribution to the art of photography. Pleasonton, however, was influenced by a chapter on the effect of light on organic materials and set up experiments involving blue glass. Eventually he persuaded himself and countless others of the utility of blue glass for growing larger plants and animals and curing all sorts of physical and mental diseases. Both he and his follower S. Pancoast became so enamored with blue, that they printed their books in blue ink. In 1877, the weekly (at that time) Scientific American put an end to the fad with three articles on "The Blue Glass Deception."

A.J. Pleasonton. Influence of the Blue Ray of the Sunlight and of the Blue Colour of the Sky. [2nd ed.] Philadelphia, 1876. Thordarson T 4864

S. Pancoast, 1823-1889. The Kabbala, or True Science of Light. Philadelphia, 1877. Pancoast also published a title: Blue and Red Light, or Light and Its Ray as Medicine.

Rene Blondlot. "N" Rays. Translated by J. Garcin. London, 1905. QC485 B67

Alphonse Berget, b. 1860. Le Radium et les Nouvelles Radiations (Rayons X et Rayons N). New Edition. Paris, 1904. QC721 B5

Rene Blondlot. Introduction a l'Etude de la Thermodynamique. 2nd edition. Paris, 1909. This book by Blondlot is well-regarded. LIE B62

Robert Hunt, 1807-1887. Researches on Light. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1844. LK H94 Cutter

 

 

Doctor Franz Anton Mesmer started his career in the 1770s by plagiarizing a dissertation on the effect of planets on human health. After meeting Maximillian Hell, a Viennese Jesuit and healer, who cured people with a magnetic steel plate, he began work that would lead to the development of Mesmerism. Inspired by Hell's numerous satisfied customers, Mesmer stole his magnetic therapy and convinced his own clients that it worked because of a very subtle magnetic fluid flowing through everything that is sometimes disturbed and needs to be restored to its proper flow. Hell, Mesmer theorized, was unblocking the flow of this magnetic fluid with his magnets but Mesmer eventually discovered that he could get the same results without magnets and posited that "animal magnetism" accounted for his ability to correct the flow of the universal magnetic fluid

Mesmer also discovered that while not necessary, the practice of waving a magnetized pole over a person, having his subjects sit in magnetized water or holding magnetized poles, while he moved around in brightly colored robes, made for better drama and for larger audiences. Mesmer ultimately used his extraordinary powers of suggestion to send people into frenzied convulsions or sleeplike trances and was so successful that to this day we use his name to describe the exercise of such powers over others. With Louis XVI's and Marie Antoinette's help, Mesmer set up a Magnetic Institute where his patients sat with their feet in a fountain of magnetized water while holding cables attached to magnetized trees. The French medical establishment and a commission that included Benjamin Franklin ultimately denounced him as a fraud.

The spirits of Fr. Hell and Dr. Mesmer might be happy to know that magnetic stimulation of the brain's left prefrontal cortex is being tested as a possible aid for depressed patients.

Antoine Laurent de Jussieu, 1748-1836. Rapport de l'un des commissaries charges par le roi… Paris, 1784.

Franz Anton Mesmer, 1734-1815. Aphorismes. Paris, 1786. CA 3552

John Bell. The General and Particular Principles of Animal Electricity and Magnetism, &c. [London]: 1792. Thordarson T 263

Louis Alphonse Cahagnet, 1809-1885. Celestial Telegraph. London [1850?]. Thordarson T 482

Academie Nationale de Medecine. Report of the Experiements on Animal Magnetism. Edinburgh, 1833.

Bormes. Lettres de M.L.B.D.B. a M.P.L.G.H.D.L.S. Geneva, 1784.

Charles Poyen. Letter to Col. Wm. L. Stone … Boston, 1837.

William Barlow, d. 1625. Magneticall Advertisements. London, 1616.

 

 

Sometime in 1868, an itinerant lecturer who called himself "Parallax" gave a series of evening lectures on "Zetetic Astronomy" in York, England. The lecturer's real name was Samuel Birley Rowbotham and his Zetetic astronomy was a flat Earth system that he had largely invented. His basic argument: If the Earth is globe, you can throw out your Bible. On the other side of the Atlantic, preacher, philosopher and orator John Jasper shared similar views and gained national fame in 1878 when he first preached his famed Sun Do Move sermon, an attempt to prove through biblical references that the sun revolves around the earth. Jasper delivered this sermon by invitation more than 250 times, and once before the entire Virginia General Assembly. Both Rowbotham and Jasper gained followers who were drawn to this religious based world-view and dozens of Zetetic societies sprang up in England and America. Few people today believe in a flat earth, although the theory still has adherents.

John Jasper, 1812-1901. De Sun Do Move. Richmond, Va., [19-?] c1882.

Joseph Cooper. The Earth is Flat, After All. Denver, CO, n.d.

John Hampden, d. 1891. The Popularity of Error, and the Unpopularity of Truth . . . London, 1869.

Alfred H. Barley. The Drayson Problem. Exeter, England, 1922.

Karl A. Smith. Is the Earth a Whirling Globe, 2nd Edition revised and enlarged by A. Smith. The Arcade, Northampton, England, [19-?]

Major-General A.W. Drayson, 1827-1901. Untrodden Ground in Astronomy and Geology Giving Further Details of the Second Rotation of the Earth and of the Important Calculations Which Can Be Made by Aid of a Knowledge Thereof. London, 1890.

Rectangle, pseudonym of T. Winship. Zetetic Cosmogony. Durban, South Africa, [1897].

Lady Blount and Alfred Smith. Zetetic Astronomy. Surrey, England, [190-?]

William Carpenter, 1830-1896. One Hundred Proofs That the Earth Is Not a Globe. Special Edition. Zion, Ill., 1929.

 

 

In 1769, Empress Maria Theresa summoned Wolfgang von Kempelen, a thirty-five-year-old Hungarian civil servant, to witness the performance of a visiting French conjuror and put his scientific background to use in explaining his tricks. Inspired by the performance, Kempelen created a new toy-a chess-playing automaton named The Turk to amuse the court and impress the empress. Word of his machine spread beyond the Viennese court and in its 85-year career The Turk would encounter and challenge such famous people as Benjamin Franklin, Catherine the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Babbage and Edgar Allan Poe. In addition to entertaining crowds, The Turk sparked an early debate over artificial intelligence and the value of machinery. The Turk eventually made its way to America where it toured until fire destroyed it in 1854. Only after its destruction did the truth about The Turk became widely known-it was a hoax, not a true thinking machine, but an elaborate toy with enough room inside for a man to sit and control the levers.

Joseph Friedrich Freyherr zu Racknitz, 1744-1818. Ueber den Schachspieler des Herrn von Kempelen und Dessen Nachbildung. Leipzig: J. G. I. Breitkopf, 1789.

Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, 1805-1871. Memoirs of Robert-Houdin. New York: Dover Publications, 1964.

 

 

Ephraim Wales Bull's (1806-1895) folly was assuming he would become rich from his development of Concord grapes in 1853. As an embittered old man he ordered his epitaph: "He Sowed, Others Reaped." His gift was his passion to develop an American grape. It took more than thirty-seven years and over twenty-two thousand seedlings to breed the main ingredient for a quintessential food of North American children: grape jelly. (Legal protection for plant varieties was made possible in 1930.) Thomas Bramwell Welch, however, became very rich on the Concord grape by finding a way to make non-alcoholic grape juice and marketing it at the 1893 World's Fair. In contrast, Bull's contemporary, Henry Bessemer (1813-1898) used extraordinary measures to protect his discovery. For his first fortune from powdered bronze, Bessemer built a factory without windows and ordered components for his machines from four cities so that engineers would be unable to fathom the process About 150 patents are listed in his Autobiography.

Henry Bessemer (1813-1898). An Autobiography. London: Offices of Engineering, 1905. "But in this particular case the conditions were most unfavourable for patenting, owing to the fact that the article produced was only a powder, and could not be identified as having been made by any particular form of mechanism." P. 82

William Chorlton. The American Grape Grower's Guide. New York: C.M. Saxton, c1852. Steenbock Library "To give a long list of native grapes would be only penning a useless array of words, considering there are so few that are of sterling merit. … The American Pomological Society at their last meeting came to the conclusion that the only sorts worthy of being considered best were Isabella, Catawba, and Diana with a recommendation for further trial of the Concord." Pp. 114-115.

Robert Buchanan. The Culture of the Grape, and Wine-Making. 5th ed. Cincinnati: Moore, Wilstach, Keys, 1855. Steenbock Library "I shall be gratified to receive letters from all persons having new varieties of hardy grapes in their vicinity …. After importing foreign grapes for thirty years, from all latitudes, I have never found one worthy of cultivation in open air … We have neglected our native grapes." P. 106

Andrew S. Fuller (1828-1896) The Grape Culturist. New York: Orange Judd Co., 1892. Steenbock Library. "Among all the varieties that have been thoroughly tested, the Concord is without doubt the most profitable for market. … Although its fruit can not be called the best in quality, still it seems to suit the masses." P. 219

Welch Grape Juice Company. Grape Juice as a Therapeutic Agent. Westfield, N.Y.: [1921] Middleton Health Sciences Library "The amount of protein in grape juice (1.3%) compares very favorably with the protein in mother's milk (1.5 %), hence grape juice may justly claim to possess some real nutrient, i.e., tissue building or tissue repairing properties." P. 7

 

 

Phrenology is the study of the structure of the skull in order to determine a person's character and mental capacity. The Viennese physician Franz-Joseph Gall (1758-1828) claimed there are 26 "organs" on the surface of the brain which affect the contour of the skull, including a "murder organ". Gall was an advocate of the "use it or lose it" school of thought in that he believed brain organs which were used got bigger and those which were not used shrunk, causing the skull to rise and fall. Gall called the study of these cranial hills and valleys "cranioscopy." Others, such as Johann Kaspar Spurzheim (1776-1832) who spread the word in America and George Combe (1788-1858) who founded the Edinburgh Phrenological Society, developed more specious divisions and designations of the brain and skull, such as "metaphysical spirit" and "wit." In 1815, Thomas Foster called the work of Gall and Spurzheim "phrenology" (phrenos is Greek for mind) and the name stuck.

Phrenology advanced the correct notions that the human brain is the seat of character, emotions, perception, intellect, etc., and that different parts of the brain are responsible for different mental functions. However, in Gall's time it was only possible to study the brains of the dead; thus, phrenologists could only associate the different structures in the brain with supposed mental functions that were in turn associated with the contour of the skull. Little was done to study the brains or the behavior of persons known to have had neurological problems, which might have helped in the process of locating parts of the brain responsible for specific neurological functioning. Instead, mental faculty localization was arbitrarily selected. Gall's early work was with criminals and the insane and his brain "organs" reflected this interest. Spurzheim got rid of "theft organs" and "murder organs," but he mapped out areas for "benevolence," "self-esteem," and "conjugal love."

Although phrenology has been thoroughly discredited and has been recognized as having no scientific merit, it still has its advocates. It remained popular, especially in the United States, throughout the 19th-century and it gave rise to several other pseudoscientific characterologies, e.g., craniometry and anthropometry. It is difficult to explain the early popularity of phrenology among scientists, since the empirical evidence for a direct relationship between the brain and character was scant. An unplanned experiment provided some solid evidence for such a relationship in 1848 when Phineas Gage's moral character changed dramatically after an explosion blew a tamping iron through his head (Damasio). Gage was leading a railroad construction crew near Cavendish, Vermont, when the accident occurred. "Before the accident he had been a most capable and efficient foreman, one with a well-balanced mind, and who was looked on as a shrewd smart business man." After the accident, he became "fitful, irreverent, and grossly profane, showing little deference for his fellows. He was also impatient and obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating, unable to settle on any of the plans he devised for future action."* On the other hand, one might conclude that the Gage incident blew a hole through the theory that bumps on the head were the keys to the functions of the brain beneath.

Palmistry or chiromancy is the practice of telling fortunes from the lines, marks, and patterns on the hands, particularly the palms. Palmistry was practiced in many ancient cultures, such as India, China and Egypt. The first book on the subject appeared in the 15th century. The term 'chiromancy' comes from the nineteenth century palmist who went by the name of Cheiro. (The Greek word for hand is cheir.) Palmistry was used during the Middle Ages to detect witches. It was believed that certain spots on the hand indicated one had made a pact with the Devil. Palmistry was condemned by the Catholic Church but in the 17th-century it was taught at several German universities, Britain outlawed palmistry in the 18th-century. It is popular enough in America in the 20th century to deserve its own book in the Complete Idiot's Guide series.

Some palmistry mimics metoposcopy or physiognomy. It claims that you can tell what a person is like by the shape of their hands. Creative people have fan-shaped hands and sensitive souls have narrow, pointy fingers and fleshy palms, etc. There is about as much scientific support for such notions as there is for personology or phrenology. All such forms of divination seem to be based on sympathetic magic and intuition.

Richard Saunders (1613-1675). Physiognomie, and Chiromancie, Metoposcopie, The Symmetrical Proportions and Signal Moles of the Body … London, 1653

Richard Saunders, 1613-1675. Palmistry, The Secrets Thereof Disclosed. London, 1663.

J. B. Chironomia: or, The Art of Manuall Rhetorique. London, 1644.

J. B. Chirologia: or The Naturall Language of the Hand. London, 1644.

Johann Pezzl (1756-1823). Ulrich von Unkenbach und seine Steckenpferde. Wien, 1800-1802.

Buchanan's Journal of Man. Cincinnati, v. 2, no. 2, Aug. 1850.

The American Phrenological Journal and Miscellany. Philadelphia, v. 3, no. 4, Jan. 1841.

Lorenzo N. Fowler, 1811-1896. Fowler's New Illustrated Self-Instructor in Phrenology and Physiology. 16th edition. London, [1870].

Buchanan's Journal of Man. Cincinnati, v. 4, no. 1, Jan. 1853.

O. S. Fowler, 1809-1887. Love and Parentage. 10th edition. New York, 1846.

Jean Joseph Sue, 1760-1830. Essai sur la Physiognomonie des Corps Vivans, Considérée depuis l'Homme jusqu'a la Plante. Paris: Chez L'Auteur and Chez Du Pont, 1797.

O.S. Fowler, 1809-1887. Fowler's Practical Phrenology. 35th edition, enlarged and improved. New York: Fowlers & Wells, 1846.

 

 

Greek philosophers believed in the four elements of earth, air, water, and fire. Aristotle, the most influential of the Greek philosophers, proposed that elements also contained two of the following qualities: heat, cold, moisture, and dryness. For example, fire was hot and dry; water was cold and moist; air was hot and moist; and earth was cold and dry. Aristotle helped shape natural philosophy for centuries. The nature of combustion proved particularly vexing fro philosopher and chemist alike. One answer, the phlogiston theory, was enunciated by the German physician and chemist Georg Ernst

According to the phlogiston theory, propounded in the 17th century, every combustible substance consisted of a hypothetical principle of fire known as phlogiston, which was liberated through burning, and a residue. Stahl also saw the rusting of iron as a process in which phlogiston was freed and the metal reduced to an ash or calx. The theory was superseded between 1770 and 1790 with the work of Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier. The latter showed that burning and rusting both involved oxygen and concluded that both ash and rust were compounds of oxygen.

Robert Boyle (1627-1691). Essays of …Effluviums to which are Annext New Experiments to Make Fire and Flame Ponderable. London, 1673. Boyle burned many substances, demonstrating for many that the ash weighs more than the original.

Johann Becher (1635-1682). Actorum Laboratorii Chymici Monacensis seu Physicae Subterraneae. Frankfurt, 1669. This treatise presents the basis of the phlogiston theory. He assumed that on burning substances or calcining metals the "terra pinguis" escaped. The last, 9th edition, was published in 1738. Stahl was one of his students.

Georg Ernest Stahl (1660-1734). Opusculum Chymico-Physico-Medicum. Halle an der Saale, 1715. This work includes the Zymotechnia Fundamentalis, the first statement of the phlogiston theory.

Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794). Traité élémentaire de chimie. Paris, 1789. 2 vols. This title, claims Denis Duveen, freed the science of chemistry from its phlogiston chains and formed the starting point of modern progress. This title may have contributed as much to chemistry as Newton's Principia to physics.

___________ System der antiphlogistischen Chemie. German translation. 2nd revised ed. Berlin and Stettin, 1803. Vol. 1 of 2. First published in German in 1792. The title says it all.

Esteemed chemist Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) author of The Docrine of Phlogiston Established … Northumberland, 1800, is credited with the discovery of oxygen in 1774. Note the continued use of the term phlogiston in this work.

 

Although Lavoisier demolished the phlogiston "industry" (Stahl had many followers), a few scientists could not let go.

Richard Kirwan (1733-1812). An Essay on Phlogiston and the Constitution of Acids. London, 1789. Published first in 1787, a French 1788 translation included adverse comments by Lavoisier and others. This edition includes a translation of the adverse comments and rebuttals by both Kirwan and William Nicholson, translator. Kirwan did not abandon phlogiston until 1792. On the other hand, he made valuable contributions on gravity and the analysis of mineral waters.

Geologist James Hutton (1726-1797). A Dissertation upon the Philosophy of Light, Heat and Fire. Edinburgh, 1794.