Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Scrapbook A >> [Page 143] >> Phrenology (Page 12)

Item informationTitle: Phrenology (Page 12)
Genre: Reviews/Essays
Publication informationVolume: A

    Time periods
    Digitization Digital collection: William Gilmore Simms Digital Collection
    Rights: Digital Copyright © 2013, The University of South Carolina. All rights reserved. For more information contact The South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208
    Resource Identifier: SA_18xx_504

    Places of publication:

    Sources/ReviewsSources consulted by researcher:
    • Pseudonymous Publications of William Gilmore Simms
    Composition history
    ''Phrenology,'' American Monthly Magazine IV (New York: Monson Bancroft, 1835): 9-12. [Source of clipping]

    ''Phrenology,'' The American Ladies' Magazine VII (Boston: James B. Dow, 1834): 509-514. Excerpt of the article is found on pp. 509-11.  

    Position: center 

    This four-page clipping is taken from American Monthly Magazine IV (1835) and signed ''S.'' The essay defends ''Phrenology'' as ''strong, vigorous, active, and rapidly in progress'' (9).  The writer declares that human beings ''had been accustomed from the earliest ages to ascribe intellectual superiority to the good forehead [. . .] The Phrenologists have done nothing more than find a name for the things that mankind had found before'' (9).  The writer calls for a popular abridgment of Phrenology writings that would be cheap and accessible to the public (11).  He concludes by recommending the study of Phrenology to all readers since in his own view, it has been vindicated as a science for understanding humanity: ''That all the jokes of the small critic have been thrown away, and are pointless—that craniology is not Phrenology—that Phrenology is not materialism, and that without Phrenology, the true means of human education must ever be, in great part, wanting to our hands'' (12).  

    While this essay has never been definitively attributed to Simms, evidence suggests that he might have written it under his often used pseudonym, ''S,'' which is signed at the end of this piece.  Kibler considered it a ''probable'' attribution, but was unable to locate the source (Pseudonymous Publications 75).  Simms was a frequent contributor to American Monthly Magazine, particularly around this time (Letters, 1:cxiv); in 1834, he wrote two articles in Volume III of the journal under the pseudonym ''S,'' titled ''The Philosophy of the Omnibus'' (May 1834, pp. 153-59) and ''The Progress of Civilization'' (Aug. 1834, pp. 361-72); Simms also had two poems published in the same issue under ''S,'' titled ''The Exile's Native Land'' (July 1834, pp. 293-95) and ''Summer in the South'' (Aug. 1834, p. 397).  The ''S'' pseudonym, the date of publication, and the essay's presence in Simms's scrapbook, all make a compelling case for Simms's attribution.  See Letters, 1:64n, 2:95n.