"Voices from the People": Letters to the American Phrenological Journal, 1854-64

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					"Voices from the People": Letters to the American Phrenological Journal, 1854-64
Michelle G Gibbons
Journalism History;
				
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Description: This article examines letters sent to the editors of the American Phrenological Journal, a monthly periodical dedicated to the pseudoscience of phrenology. This "rebel medical journal," which existed on the fringes of nineteenth-century American medical journalism, demonstrated remarkable longevity, remaining in print for more than seventy years. While phrenology is largely remembered because of its prominent practitioners and well-known supporters, letters sent to the journal provide insight into how ordinary individuals engaged with phrenological ideas. Three types of letters were common: those that sang the virtues of phrenology and the APJ; those that contained questions; and those that pointed out problems or concerns with phrenology. The letters showed that readers were drawn to phrenology as an overarching system with far-reaching explanatory power but troubled by its contradictions in detail. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]
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