The illustration is from L.A. Vaught’s Practical Character Reader, a volume on the
peculiar and sometimes racially sinister subject of phrenologypublished in 1902. The author maintains that human character is
made up of a combination of 42 elements that can be observed from the shape of the head. The
theory was originated byViennese
physician Franz Joseph Gall in the late 18th century.It introduced, importantly, the
neurological concept of cerebral localisation.
The subject later became irredeemably tainted and discredited when racial anthropologists
used it to justify a brutal and oppressive imperial agenda.