Thursday, December 6, 2012

How to Teach According to Temperament and Mental Development; On Phrenology in the School-Room and the Family by Nelson Sizer.

How to Teach According to Temperament and Mental Development; On Phrenology in the School-Room and the Family by Nelson Sizer.  Hardcover book with decorative boards (no dust jacket) published by S.R. Wells 1877, 331 pages with some black and white illustrations.

“An attempt is made, in this work, to aid parents aid teachers to understand the talents and dispositions, as well as the constitutional temperaments of those committed to their care, and to point out a more successful way to guide, control, and educate them. The author feels certain that his purpose will be approved, and entertains the hope that those whom he addresses will find something which they may profitably learn and apply. During more than thirty years, he has labored by means of public lectures, by the pen, and in more than a hundred thousand personal consultations, to set forth the principles of mental development, culture and training, and to show how the bodily conditions may be so regulated as to secure health, happiness, success, and long life; in short, how to make the most of each human being, both in body and mind. The aim of this work, therefore, is to give the reader the results of a long course of observation, study, and practice, with the hope that its teachings may become a perpetual benefit to all generations.”

Nelson Sizer was a someone in the world of Phrenology, but that Phrenological world is now long gone.  Phrenology… mmmm… Fortunately when I found this title hiding away on a shelf full of antiquated education texts, I had a fair idea what Phrenology was and sure enough, a quick interwebs search back home at Huc & Gabet headquarters, confirms that it is a dodgy science (pseudoscience) relating to something to do with the shape of your head, although according to this website,  it is a “science”.    

Phrenology is a true science, which is there to benefit humanity.”  

 I’m sure Nelson would agree with this, but I’m a little more skeptical and seriously doubt that the shape of my head, or anyone elses head, is going to benefit humanity.  

So who would be interested in this book?  That’s a good question, for which I’ll quickly make up a few answers: 
  1. Anyone interested in Pseudoscience.
  2. Anyone who still believes in the theories of Franz Joseph Gall (a bigwig in the world of Phrenology).
  3. Anyone interested in antiquated teaching methods... or the maltreatment of small children. 
  4. Anyone with a head.
  5. … that’s about it… can’t think of anymore.
I don’t want to get bigheaded about finding this book, but it is sort of interesting and obscure enough for me get excited about… and to write about here.  Other book dealers often ask me if I’ve found anything special recently and for a week or so, this was the book I told them about.  Not one of them laughed, all of them (including the lumpy headed ones) agreed, that it is special.

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