"It is the very ideal of a library for young ladies, with cozy nooks and corners, where a book is twice a book; with sunny windows, some of them thrown out into deep bays; with galleries, reached by winding stairs, where the girls seem to have a keen delight in coiling themselves away in such mysterious fashion that you can only see above the balustrade a curly head bending over some book, doubtless found more fascinating than it could be if simply spread out on the table below."
—Edward Abbott on the library in Wellesley’s College Hall, as reported in the August 1876 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine
Admiration for the portrait of Cardinal Richelieu (1876). Auguste Serrure (Belgian, 1825-1903). Oil on panel.
It appears as if the couple are admiring the Portrait of Cardinal Richelieu (c.1637) by Philippe de Champaigne (French, 1602–1674), currently in the National Gallery.
one relationship of interest which i failed to mention during a previous post dated 12 march is that the greek word θαυµατ has also found its way into the english word thaumatrope—with a literal meaning of “wonder-turning.”
A disk or card with a picture on each side is attached to two pieces of string. When the strings are twirled quickly between the fingers the two pictures appear to combine into a single image due to persistence of vision.
above is my effort to reanimate an undated thaumatrope disc from 1876. watch along as sir wimber clownpants is like “dat ass.”
speaking of soldiers with cravats…did i ever tell you about the time general custer visted a prominent phrenologist?
On the 18th of May, 1875, a quiet gentleman in plain, citizen’s dress, called at the New York office and requested an examination with a full written description… I had no idea who he was and proceeded with the analysis. As the description was published in full in the Phrenological Journal for Sept., 1876, we make a brief extract:
“Your head, measuring 23 inches, is large, and, as we estimate body and brain, a man with a 23-inch head, to be well proportioned, ought to weigh 175 pounds…In the second place, let us advise you to avoid everything exciting in the way of luxury, condiment, food, or drink; for anything that you eat and drink, which is calculated to heat and inflame the system, sets your nerves on fire, worse than it does those of most men.
“You should always avoid overdoing. It is as natural for you to overdo as it is for birds to spread their wings when they feel in a hurry, and it makes little difference what your business is, you would contrive somehow to overdo at it.
You make work of pleasure. If you were an overworked citizen, and went to the country to rusticate for a month in the summer, you would get up all sorts of enterprises, and excursions to mountain tops, romantic ravines, fishing grounds and what-not; and you would blister your hands with rowing, and your feet with tramping, and your face with unaccustomed exposure to sunshine, and you would be a sort of captain-general of all such doings.”
When I got through dictating and desired to write the name in connection with the notes… he replied quietly, ” Custer.”
…He was then on his way to Phil. Sheridan’s wedding at Chicago, and on the 25th of June, 1876, thirteen months later, he was slaughtered with his command by the Sioux Indians in Montana; a verification of my description of his fiery energy which betrayed him to his doom.
everyone knows that custer died at the battle of little bighorn, what this phrenologist presupposes is that if custer’s forehead was sloped differently, maybe custer would still be alive today.
source: forty years in phrenology by nelson sizer. 1888.
Forty years in phrenology; embracing recollections of history, anecdote, and experience (1891) at Internet Archive.