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Published in: Transactions & Studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (1976) Volume 43, Issue 4.


Phrenology is the doctrine that held that the moral and intellectual faculties of the mind were innate and located in specific areas of the brain, and that a deficiency or surfeit of each could be detected by an examination of the external surface of the skull.

This paper concentrates on the introduction of this doctrine to the United States, focusing on Philadelphia where it began and where for a time it became a controversial doctrine within the medical profession.

In particular Philadelphia physicians such as Benjamin Rush and John Bell were early adherents of phrenology.

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